Reindeer Mask Tutorial - Bonus Pattern Piece

Reindeer Mask Tutorial

Can you believe we’re halfway through November, moreover, that it’s only 5 weeks until the Silly Season starts?!  I can’t, but that’s mostly because I live in topsy turvy land these days.  I’ve been in Australia for 12 years now but I still can’t get used to Christmas and Spring occurring at the same time.  I really need those environmental clues of the Northern Hemisphere, the autumn leaves falling, the nights drawing in, the chill in the air, to get me into the christmas spirit.  I pine for snow and log fires, sledding and hot chocolate, mittens and hot water bottles.

That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy a hot christmas.  It’s a lovely holiday here, full of light and the joys of early summer.  Little girls in white dresses, cherries and stone fruit, seafood and cocktails, bright sunshine and cool breezes.  We throw open all the doors and lounge around in the garden, enjoying balmy evenings under twinkling fairy lights.

Nonetheless, I do find that it requires more of a conscious effort on my part to make December feel festive, and because I am determined that my children should find it as magical as I remember the holidays from my childhood being I tend to overcompensate by going all out with the decorations, music, christmas craft activities, and, of course, handmade gifts.

One of my favourite Christmassy things to make are these little Reindeer masks. I’m heading to Swagger Child Design Market this Sunday so I have been busy stocking up on them, and today I’m offering you a free pattern piece so that you can make them too.  The cute little fawn in my Woodland Creatures Sewing Pattern can be transformed into a festive Reindeer with the addition of these antlers.  Download the pattern extension piece here and scroll down for the tutorial.  If you don’t have a copy of the Woodland Creatures PDF and would like one then you can purchase it here.


1. Download the bonus pattern pieces and print out.  Make sure that you set your print settings to 100% or select ‘no scaling’.  Measure the 1” square on the page to check that it has printed correctly.

2. Cut out the pattern pieces and pin them to a double layer of felt.  Cut around each piece and then sew the two layers together, sewing 5mm (¼”) from the edge.

Reindeer Mask

TIP:  For a neater finish and an easier time sewing, draw around your pattern pieces while they are pinned to the felt.  You will need a white marker or chalk pen to do this on the dark brown felt.  DO NOT cut the felt out.

Instead sew 5mm (1/4”) inside your drawn line and then cut along the white line once you have sewn the two layers together.

Doing it this way stops the felt from shifting as you sew which can be a particular problem when sewing around curves.

Reindeer Mask Tutorial

3. Sew your fawn mask following instructions on the PDF pattern.  When you come to sew the 2 layers of the face together, sandwich each antler between the 2 face layers, positioning each approximately 1cm (½”) from the ear, and letting the base of the antler extend at least 1.5cm / ¾” into the mask.  Pin in place before sewing around the face.

Reindeer Mask

As you can see I use the same technique for sewing all of my masks i.e. I sew before cutting wherever possible - It's quicker and gives a much nicer finish!

Well, that's it.  You're done!

Happy Holidays.

Reindeer Mask

Say 'Hello' to Bonnie! (And to a free doll nappy / diaper pattern) 

Little Amigo Doll in a mini Geranium Dress | Willow & Stitch

This is Bonnie.  She's a 'Little Amigo' doll from Meg McElwee's 'Growing up Sew Liberated' book.  It's one of my favourite sewing books - so many lovely play things to make for your kids.  I think I might have made them all.... This is the third Little Amigo doll that I've made.  'Max' and 'Molly' are two of my kid's most loved toys.  Our sweet little friend, Brea, always makes a bee line for them whenever she's here too, so it was a bit of a 'no-brainer' when it came to her 3rd birthday present - she simply had to have one too. 

For some reason I always feel compelled to make dolls in the image of the child that they're for - they're always thrilled when they notice that the doll has hair 'just like me!' and eyes 'just like mine!'  

I dressed Bonnie in a miniature Geranium Dress from Made-by-Rae and made her a necklace of tiny colourful pompoms.  She came with a little note which read:

Hello Brea,

My name is Bonnie.  I like cuddles and tea parties.  Will you look after me please?


P.S. Happy Birthday!

Little Amigo Doll in a mini Geranium Dress | Willow & Stitch

And of course no doll is complete without a set of nappies.  I made 3 so that she can have plenty of changes / coordinate her nappy with her outfit.  They are very quick and easy to make and a fantastic way to use up scraps.  Click on the image below to download your pattern pieces.

Free Doll Nappy / Diaper Pattern and Tutorial | Willow & Stitch

This nappy will fit a doll with a waist of up to 35 cm (14") down to about 21 cm (8").  For reference this doll is 45 cm (18")

You will need:

33 cm x 30 cm (13" x 12")  Cotton

33 cm x 30 cm (13" x 12")  Towelling / Fleece / Microfibre lining

2 x 2.5 cm (1") pieces of Velcro (optionally more for smaller sizes - see note on sizing at the end)



Cut 1 piece each from the cotton and from the lining.  Lay them one on top of the other with right sides together.

Free Doll Nappy / Diaper Pattern and Tutorial | Willow & Stitch

Stitch right around the edge of the nappy with a 1 cm (1/2") seam allowance.  Leave edges open between the notches on the long side of the nappy.

Free Doll Nappy / Diaper Pattern and Tutorial | Willow & Stitch

Clip corners and curved edges, taking care not to cut through your line of stitching.

Free Doll Nappy / Diaper Pattern and Tutorial | Willow & Stitch

Turn nappy to the right side using a knitting needle / chopstick to push out the corners.  Press, folding under the seam allowance at the turning hole.  Pin closed.

Free Doll Nappy / Diaper Pattern and Tutorial | Willow & Stitch
Free Doll Nappy / Diaper Pattern and Tutorial | Willow & Stitch

Edge stitch right around the nappy, sealing the turning hole as you go.  

Free Doll Nappy / Diaper Pattern and Tutorial | Willow & Stitch

Affix velcro to the nappy, placing the loops on the lining of the back (long) edge and positioning the velcro a few mm in from your edge stitching line.  Place hooks on the right (cotton) side of the nappy front (short edge) - again positioning them a few mm in from the edge stitching.  Sew all 4 pieces of velcro in place, sewing right around the edge twice for strength.

If you wish to make this nappy for a smaller doll than this one you will need to adjust the velcro accordingly.  The velcro loops on the back (lining) of the nappy can stay as above and then you can either sew a 16 cm (7") length of velcro right across the top of the front of the nappy, or you can cut a shorter length and simply sew a single piece in the middle of the top front of the nappy. 

Free Doll Nappy pattern and tutorial | Willow & Stitch

My kids will spend hours playing with their 'babies' and changing their nappies.  I'm always especially pleased when my little boy plays with 'Max' - his little amigo doll! I'm not sure why I love it so much, I think it's for the same reason that I love seeing my little girl playing with cars or playing superheros - It's always so nice to see them just enjoying what they're doing without any reference to gender stereotypes and with no preconceptions of that's a 'girl's toy' or a 'boy's game' and that's precisely how it should be - don't you think?  

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Free Dribble Bib Pattern and Tutorial

This is another project from the Mama and Baby sewing book which I wrote for my sister last year.  I'm still working on getting it ready to publish online but thought I'd share some of the projects beforehand.  Check out my Tutorials page for more free patterns and tutorials.

This little cowboy style neckerchief is fantastic for keeping your baby’s clothes dry, particularly as wet t-shirts can cause chaffing and soreness on their little chins and chests. The soft jersey fabric is very absorbent and the folds catch all the dribbles.  When it gets too wet or dirty you can just pop on a new one without needing a whole outfit change.  These are quick and simple to make and are the perfect project for using up scraps. Click on the image above to download the pattern.

Many people are afraid of using stretch / knit fabrics – and I have to admit that I was one of them before I started playing around with them and discovered that they’re actually great to work with and really very easy once you understand a few basics.  If you're new to sewing with knits then I suggest you check out my 'Beginner's Guide to Knits'.

In any case, don’t panic, all you need to remember is not to stretch the fabric when cutting it (a rotary cutter and mat is perfect for this) and to use a ball point (stretch) needle for your sewing machine. A ball point needle (as the name suggests) is a needle with a slightly rounded tip, meaning that it can pass between woven fibres without cutting them and potentially causing runs in knit fabrics.


You will need:

25cm x 50cm of Jersey knit (you can up-cycle an old t-shirt if you like)

25cm x 40cm of fleece / bamboo / towelling or similar for backing.

2 press studs

Dribble bib pattern pieces - click on the image at the top of the page to download them. Pattern pieces include a 1cm (1/2") seam allowance.



1. Cut 1 of the bib front from your knit fabric, and 1 of the bib back from your fleece or bamboo backing fabric. Be sure to transfer all pattern markings. Markings for press stud positions should be copied onto the RIGHT side of the bib backing.

Press and sew the pleats:

2. With the bib front right side up, fold bib right sides together so that one of the outer pleat markings is matched to the middle mark.  Pin through both layers of fabric where the mark is, then fold bib back to the right side to form a pleat. Press the pleat away from the centre of the bib and pin in place. Repeat for the other side of the bib. Baste along the top edge of the bib front to hold pleats in place.

Willow & Stitch | Free Dribble Bib Tutorial

Join the bib front and back:

3. With bib front and back right sides together, match central notches along the top edge of the bib. Pin in place. Next, match and pin the notches at the pointed tip of the bib (the bottom).  Now align the corners of the bib front and back and pin these in place.  Ease the knit fabric into place so that it matches the edge of the bib back, taking care not to stretch either piece as you do so and allowing the excess knit fabric to form gentle folds in the middle of the bib.  Continue pinning the top and side edges.

4. Using a ball point needle on your sewing machine, join the two pieces with a 1cm (1/2") seam allowance. Sew right around the big, leaving a 5cm (2") turning hole on one of the side edges and backstitching at either side of your turning hole to secure the stitches.

Clip seams and Topstitch bib:

5. Trim seams at corners and tip of bib to 5mm.  Clip seams every 2 cm along sides and top of bib, taking care not to cut through your line of stitching.  Do not clip seam allowance at your turning hole.

6. Turn the bib to the right side, using your fingers or a knitting needle / chopstick to push out the corners. Use your fingers to pinch seams along the edges and pin them in place. Allow your knit fabric to extend a few mm (1/8") past the bib backing so that if you look at the bib from the back you can see a very narrow band of the bib front right around the edge. This will give the bib a better shape by ensuring that the backing fabric is not stretched too tight which would cause the bib tip to curl upwards.

7. Topstitch 5mm (1/4") from the edge, right around the bib, closing the turning hole at the same time. Remove pins as you sew, taking them out just before you reach them to allow fabric to relax into shape.

Attach press studs:

8. Attach your poppers according to the manufacturers instructions. The pattern includes positions for 2 press studs so that you can adjust the size of the bib as your baby grows.

Free Dribble Bib Pattern | Willow and Stitch

Look at that dribble bib in action, soaking up all that goo - Isn't it a beautiful thing?!  Is there a dribbly baby in your life who needs one (or two or three?) of these?

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Our Favourite Playdough Recipe


Today was a playdough kind of day.  Everyone was a little bit grumpy, everything was turning into an argument and we were on a downwards spiral.  So we made playdough, and as is often the case, everything began to turn around.  The kids love measuring out the ingredients, choosing colours and scents and kneeding the warm dough.  The kneeding is like a kind of therapy, It slows your heart and deepens your breathing. And then of course there are the endless play possibilities.  

This is our favourite playdough recipe.  It's quick and easy and makes beautiful silky soft playdough which will keep for months in an airtight container.



2 cups plain flour

1 cup salt

1 tablespoon cream of tartar

1 tablespoon of oil

2 cups of water

Add all the dry ingredients to a saucepan.  Add the water and heat, stirring continuously until the mixture begins to thicken and pull away from the sides of the pan.  It can get to be a pretty good arm workout but continue to heat and stir for another minute or so.

Tip contents out onto the work surface, allow to cool a little and kneed until smooth.



Colour:  If you want to make only one colour, you can add a few drops of colouring to the water at the start.  If you want to make a couple of different colours then add the colouring to the dough once it has cooked and you have portioned it.

Scent:  I love adding essences to playdough to make it a truly sensory experience.  This time we added a teaspoon of coconut essence, but try adding lavender oil for a calming experience, or a tablespoon of coco powder (although that does increase the chance that the little ones are going to try to eat it!)

Sparkles:  Add a tablespoon of glitter to the dough.  Ella's favourite version of playdough is blue with silver sparkles - unsurprisingly she calls it 'Elsa playdough'.

Do you have a favourite playdough recipe?  Do you go for a cooked or no cook recipe?  Have any fun variations?

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Baby's First Soft Block - Free Tutorial

Baby's first soft blocks - a free tutorial from Willow & Stitch

Every baby needs a set of building blocks and these are the perfect first blocks for your baby. They’re just the right size to hold and there are no hard edges (especially good in the early days when your little darling is liable to involuntarily whack themselves in the face with whatever they’re holding!). They also provide a lovely sensory experience for your child as each side uses a different textured or coloured fabric, just waiting to be explored by little fingers – and mouths.

 For each block you will need:

  • Six 9cm (4”) square scraps of fabric. Try to find as many different textures or colours as possible, think about cotton, silk, satin, corduroy, denim, felt, fleece, wool, linen etc.
  • Six 9cm (4”) squares of medium weight fusible interfacing.
  • Hobby fill / Toy Stuffing.


Cut your fabric squares and use a hot iron to affix a square of interfacing to each one.  

Make a Row:

Take 4 of your fabric squares and place them in a row. Sew a 1cm (1/2”) seam to join each block to the next. Start and stop each row of stitching 1cm (1/2”) from either edge.

Using a hot steam iron, press all seams towards the bottom block in the row. 

Place the remaining two squares on either side of the first square in your row of 4.

Join square B to square 1, sewing with a 1cm (1/2") seam and beginning and ending your row of stitching 1cm (1/2") from either edge as before.  Repeat to join square A to the opposite side of square 1. 

Fold square A down so that side 2 meets the second square in your row. Align the edges, making sure that any other seam allowances are pinned out of the way of your seam. Join with a 1cm (1/2") seam, beginning and ending your stitching 1cm (1/2") from either edge of the square.

Repeat to join side 3 of square A to square 3, and side 4 of square A to square 4.  Each time be sure to keep all other squares and seam allowances out of the way and begin and end stitching 1cm (1/2") from the edges.

Join the top edge of square 1 to the bottom edge of square 4 in the same manner to form a box with an open lid. Just like this:

Sew 2 more sides of the lid of the box closed in the same way as before.  Leave one edge open.  Press the seam allowances on this edge to the wrong side. Turn the block to the right side.  Use your fingers to push out the corners.

Fill your block with toy stuffing / hobby fill.  Press it into the corners and along the edges but don't over fill the block or it will end up looking more like a ball!  Loosely packing the stuffing also means that the block is easier for your baby to grasp.

Seal the last side of your block using an invisible slip stitch and you're done!

I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial.  I always love to hear your comments and feedback!

Free Wooden Teething Ring Tutorial

Free Teething Ring Tutorial and Pattern from Willow & Stitch

This simple yet beautiful teething ring provides 3 different textures for your baby to experience, the wooden ring is perfect for sore little gums, while the fabric ears provide something soft to chew on, are easy to grip and have the added bonus of mopping up all that dribble!  The fabric can easily be removed and washed. It is simple and quick to make and would be a perfect baby shower gift. Team it with a coordinating feeding bib or burp cloth set for a beautiful gift.

You will need:

  • 55 x 12 cm (22 x 5") of towelling
  •  55 x 12 cm (22 x 5") of cotton
  • 1 wooden teething ring, approx 6cm (2 1/2") in diameter
  • Rotary cutter and cutting mat (optional)
  • A chopstick or knitting needle to assist with turning fabric to the right side.

Before you start:

  • Use 1cm (1/2") seam allowance unless otherwise stated.
  • Remember to wash, dry and press all fabrics before cutting.
  • Wooden teething rings can be found in many stores on They’re very inexpensive so buy a few for future projects. 


1. Download the pattern template using the link above. Print at 100%.  Set page scaling to 'None' and do not check any options such as 'Shrink to Fit'  Printing on A4 or US Letter paper will work fine.  There is a 1" (2.5cm) Square on the page which you can measure after printing to ensure that your pattern piece is the correct size.

2. Using the pattern piece provided, cut one from your towelling and one from your cotton. Take care not to stretch the towelling as you cut it (a rotary cutter is helpful here).  Place the pieces one over the other, right sides together and pin in place.  Join the two pieces by sewing right around the edge. Leave a 10cm (4") gap for turning at the end of one of the long sides.

3. Snip corners and trim seam allowances to 5mm (1/4"). Clip seams at 1cm (1/2") intervals along curved edges, taking care not to cut through your line of stitching

4. Turn fabric to the right side. This may be quite tight (which is why we trimmed our seam allowances) so work slowly and gently, using a chopstick or similar to push the fabric through. Press with a hot steam iron.

5. Topstitch right around the edge of the teether, closing the turning hole.

6. Knot the fabric around the ring as follows:

7. Fold your fabric in half and pull the looped end half way through the wooden ring as shown above.  Fold the ends of the fabric back under the wooden ring and pass them through the looped end of your fabric:

8. Check that the fabric is lying nice and flat and pull tight. 

9. Turn the teether over and place a few stitches at the point where the two sides meet (see illustration below).  This will stop the fabric from sliding off but will still allow it to be removed for washing.

You're done.  All ready for munching!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.  I always love to hear your comments and see what you have made.  Get sharing with #WillowAndStitch on Instagram or add your photos to the Willow and Stitch Flickr pool.