The Etsy Blog

How-Tuesday: Make a Donkey Softie handmade and vintage goods

We jumped on this adorable donkey tutorial by Myra Masuda and immediately knew we needed to share! Download the complete project instructions here, or follow along below, courtesy of Softies Only a Mother Could Love: Lovable Friends for You to Sew, Knit, or Crochet by Jess Redman and Meg Leder. This makes a great gift for the kiddo or the adult toy-collector in your life.


Tracing paper
Sewing needle
Sewing machine
Stuffing stick (or chopstick or pencil)

Body fabric – An 18 cm x 30 cm (7 in x 12 in) piece of plain fabric for the main body; a 15 cm x 25 cm (6 in x 10 in) piece of new or vintage patterned fabric for the inner body.

Extra fabric – A scrap of plain tan or cream fabric for the muzzle; scraps of white felt for the eyes and black felt for the pupils; interfacing for the ears.

Thread – Colored sewing thread to match the body fabric; brown, pink and white embroidery thread for the mane and tail.

Stuffing – Polyfill.

1. Trace and cut out the pattern using the template provided. Pin it to the fabric and cut out the pieces. You will need to cut 2 main body shapes, 2 inner body shapes, 6 ear shapes (2 in each fabric, plus 2 in interfacing), 2 muzzle shapes, and 2 pupil shapes from your fabric.

2. Pin each muzzle to a main body piece (x to x, right sides facing). Sew Together.

3. Pin body/muzzle pieces together (right sides facing) and sew around the top of the body from A to B, leaving an opening for turning right-side out and stuffing (as marked on the pattern).

4. Pin the inner body pieces together (right sides facing) and sew from A to B.

5. Pin the inner body piece to the main body piece (right sides facing), A to A and B to B. Sew together.

6. Trim edges and clip fabric around the curved edges. Be careful not to clip the seam. Turn right side out.

7. Using a stuffing stick, push small amounts of stuffing into the tight corners first — legs and muzzle. Gradually fill the rest of the body until the stuffing is firm and even, but not too tight.

8. Hand-sew the stuffing opening closed using a ladder stitch.

9. For the eyes, sew each black felt oval onto a white felt circle and then position the eyes on the head as marked. Sew in place. Make French knot with the white embroidery thread for each pupil, as marked on the pattern. Use 3 strands of brown embroidery thread to sew the nostrils onto the muzzle using a straight stitch. Then use 3 strands of pink embroidery thread to sew the mouth using a back stitch. Sew the eyelashes with black embroidery thread.

10. For each ear, pin together a solid color fabric piece, patterned fabric piece, and interfacing (with fabrics right sides facing). Sew together, leaving the base open for turning right-side out. Turn right-side out and iron flat. Turn the base edge of the ears under 6 mm (1/4 in) and hand-sew closed using a ladder stitch. Sew right and left bottom corners of the ear together to form a ring. Position ears to the head (y to y) and attach with a ladder stitch.

11. For the tail, fold the tail piece in half (right sides facing) as marked on the pattern. Sew along the long edge to make a tube. Turn right-side out. Turn the edges under 6 mm (1/4 in) at each end and sew closed using a ladder stitch.
12. Use black embroidery thread for the end of the tail. Insert the needle into the tail, about 8 mm (5/16 in) from the end. Pull through, leaving about a 5 cm (2 in) tail. Cut off, leaving a tail of equal length. Repeat all the way around the end of the tail. Tie a piece of thread around the tail tassel, close to the end where it is attached to the tail. Attach the tie to the end of the tail so it won’t slip off. Trim the tassel to a uniform length.

13. Pin finished tail to the back of the donkey at B. Attach with a ladder stitch.

14. Use black embroidery thread to stitch the mane. Starting at point C, insert needle on right side of “spine” and bring out 3 mm (1/8 in) over, on the left side of the spine, leaving about 2.5 cm (1 in) tail on the right side. Insert needle at the first point of entry and bring out at the second point (effectively “tying” the thread to the spine). Cut off, leaving a 2.5 cm (1 in) tail on the left side. Repeat this process until you’ve worked your way from point C to point D. Once finished, trim the mane to a uniform length of about 2 cm (3/4 in).

Thanks to Myra Masuda, Jess Redman, Meg Leder and the folks at Penguin for sharing this project.
More crafty project downloads can be found in our How-Tuesday series on the Etsy blog!