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How-Tuesday: Make a Donkey Softie

Mar 24, 2009

by katiearms 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!


  • GemmaBeads

    GemmaBeads said 12 years ago

    Looks like a fun one!

  • 3squares

    3squares said 12 years ago

    This is adorable! I have to try it. Thanks for the fun project.

  • raegunfabric

    raegunfabric said 12 years ago

    oh I love him. I'll definitely be making one so so cute!

  • monamivie

    monamivie said 12 years ago

    Oh, I love this project! So cute!

  • WoollyWonka

    WoollyWonka said 12 years ago

    So sweet!

  • SeaFindDesigns

    SeaFindDesigns said 12 years ago

    sounds like fun!!

  • DariaDesign

    DariaDesign said 12 years ago

    ooohhhh.... how cute!

  • HoboBethy

    HoboBethy said 12 years ago

    oooo I cant wait to make one of these for my daugher, she loves donkeys!

  • amarshall

    amarshall said 12 years ago

    I soooooo can NOT sew!!!! But that is way cute! I'll stick to making jewelry =D

  • kippyfure

    kippyfure said 12 years ago

    What fun it would be to handsew one of these with embroidery on felt with blanket stitched seams!

  • lucybluestudio

    lucybluestudio said 12 years ago

    So cute! I wish I could sew. LOL, I can't even thread the bobbin without tangling everything.

  • KellesKitchen

    KellesKitchen said 12 years ago

    I want one! If you make it a little fatter with floppier ears and a detachable tail it's totally Eeyore!

  • mosey

    mosey said 12 years ago

    ooh ooh i want one! xo

  • thepaintedlily

    thepaintedlily said 12 years ago

    So cute! I'm going to make one for when our new baby arrives!

  • MyJunkyTrunk

    MyJunkyTrunk said 12 years ago

    Softies are adorable! Looks super easy, too!

  • poppyswickedgarden

    poppyswickedgarden said 12 years ago

    Awwwe this reminds me of JACK a life sized version of this Donkey my mommy made me when I was a little girl! Jack always made me better when I was sick, memories! I may have to make him to remind me of Jack all the time!

  • y0omii

    y0omii said 12 years ago

    this is just TOO cute! I can't wait to try this :D

  • dogties

    dogties said 12 years ago

    Great donkey stuff... And to think I could make one too.

  • MyJunkyTrunk

    MyJunkyTrunk said 12 years ago

    Softies are so adorable! They look super easy to make, too.

  • EpicBones

    EpicBones said 12 years ago

    Myra Masuda you are awesome!!!!

  • neverenoughhours

    neverenoughhours said 12 years ago

    Love that donkey! Love that book (and I'm not just saying that coz I'm in there).

  • niTeBecOmEsdAy

    niTeBecOmEsdAy said 12 years ago

    these are so adorable, and look like so much fun to make! thanks for sharing!

  • katiearms

    katiearms said 12 years ago

    neverenoughhours, Your giraffe is adorable, I just checked him out! :]

  • FoodForHands

    FoodForHands said 12 years ago


  • solocosmo

    solocosmo said 12 years ago

    totally adorable!

  • TheCottageCheese

    TheCottageCheese said 12 years ago

    This is too cute! It reminds me so much of an Eyore stuffed animal I had as a child. The tail kept falling off, and my sweet Mom kept sewing it back on.

  • BPyarns

    BPyarns said 12 years ago

    super cute!

  • dragonhouseofyuen

    dragonhouseofyuen said 12 years ago

    Jack is gorgeous and so too is the Burro mum!

  • orangepoppy

    orangepoppy said 12 years ago

    what a fun project, can wait to make one for my son!

  • uncharted

    uncharted said 12 years ago

    so sweet!

  • anteakbooteek

    anteakbooteek said 12 years ago

    As a collector of all things donkey, this is adorable. As a fellow crafter, even more enticing. Bravo!!

  • busterandboo

    busterandboo said 12 years ago

    Assume we can't sell the finished product??

  • PipocaHandmade

    PipocaHandmade said 12 years ago

    That's a darling donkey! Too cute!

  • instantcrimson

    instantcrimson said 12 years ago

    adorable, I want to make one now.

  • JudyThompsonArt

    JudyThompsonArt said 12 years ago

    I like your presentation!!...Judy

  • VictorianInspired

    VictorianInspired said 12 years ago

    too cute!

  • Mattamorphis

    Mattamorphis said 12 years ago

    That is too cute. I want to make one covered in Rhinestones. Bead it baby! -Matt

  • LadybugSF

    LadybugSF said 12 years ago

    This one time, at Disneyland, I sat on Eyore's lap all afternoon. Whoever that Eyore was, man he was so nice.

  • InfiniteCosmosGirl

    InfiniteCosmosGirl said 12 years ago

    omg!!! that is too cute! I have a real live donkey named Berry (I call him Buddy Boy usually) so i will most definitely have to make one of these and name it Buddy!


    BLUERAINBOW said 12 years ago

    thank you sooo much! the donkey is too cute!

  • IceCreamCandy

    IceCreamCandy said 12 years ago

    this is so cool!

  • FlyingButtons

    FlyingButtons said 12 years ago

    Darling! I have so many fabric scraps...maybe I will sew one so I will have a little buddy on my craft table. :)

  • NickyBeeShop

    NickyBeeShop said 12 years ago

    Oh ! I love him, he is so cute :-)

  • ashdesautels

    ashdesautels said 12 years ago

    Great idea! Love him! :)

  • ishtarolivera

    ishtarolivera said 12 years ago

    Lovely donkey!

  • MouseTrapVintage

    MouseTrapVintage said 12 years ago

    My spirit animal! I love it!

  • SimpleTraditions

    SimpleTraditions said 12 years ago

    Thank you so much! I can't wait to make this for my boys!

  • manfredmonkeys

    manfredmonkeys said 12 years ago

    I love it!!

  • CraftZany

    CraftZany said 12 years ago

    Oh how cute! Can't wait to make one!

  • MartaWeaverJewelry

    MartaWeaverJewelry said 12 years ago

    Hee Hah, that's cute!

  • coltsgroovies

    coltsgroovies said 12 years ago

    FUN, FUN, FUN! Too cute!

  • squirrelvintage

    squirrelvintage said 12 years ago

    My grandson will love this we watch Shrek over and over.

  • akane

    akane said 12 years ago

    Aww... I'm usually not a fan of donkeys, but this little guy is so cute!

  • jodieflowers

    jodieflowers said 12 years ago

    too cute! hee haw!

  • ThePhantomMoon

    ThePhantomMoon said 12 years ago

    This is now in my list of to do's .. :) thanks for sharing!

  • hanginmoon

    hanginmoon said 12 years ago

    ^_^.......♧♧ ♡. ┢┦aΡpy ♡^_^♡ ☜♥☞  ♡. ︻︼─一 ▄︻┻┳═一 ▄︻┳一 ▄︻┻═┳一 ▄︻┳-一 ♡. ▄︻┻═┳ ︻┳═一 ▄︻┳一· ▄︻┳═一 ︻┳═一oO ♡. -─═┳︻ ∝╬══→ ::======>> ┈━═☆ ┣▇▇▇═─

  • MeredithHiltDesigns

    MeredithHiltDesigns said 12 years ago

    I ADORE donkeys - we have two. They are the sweetest things on earth. She's captured their spirit perfectly!

  • craftyfolk

    craftyfolk said 12 years ago

    so cute! i've been in the mood to get back on the sewing machine, this may just be the thing.

  • lauraslefthook

    lauraslefthook said 12 years ago

    I just flipped through that book at my local library. Unfortunately, I am not a sewer, but the projects look like they are really cute. Very slim pickings for the knitters and crocheters in the book, however.

  • PearlZenith

    PearlZenith said 12 years ago

    My mom has an Eeyore softie remarkably similar to this, from when she was a child. I loved him, though she didn't let us play too much with it, because we were hard on things as kids.

  • SuezStudio

    SuezStudio said 12 years ago

    looks like fun to make and just too cute!!!. Great idea thanks for sharing.

  • Yoursewsweet

    Yoursewsweet said 12 years ago

    I love it!! One of my favorite characters as a kid. Thanks for the memories.

  • Ennaa5

    Ennaa5 said 12 years ago

    Cutee!, I love it! :')

  • samewish

    samewish said 12 years ago

    I use to be try to make a human doll sitting down on chair..hope can make it!

  • LooFooTooFoo

    LooFooTooFoo said 11 years ago

    i think i have to make him...

  • BohemianLights

    BohemianLights said 11 years ago

    Animals are Angels who walk the Earth.

  • flaviaamadeu

    flaviaamadeu said 11 years ago

    It is so beautiful!

  • ravensrealm

    ravensrealm said 10 years ago

    Love this so much! My daughter has slept with 2 stuffed donkeys since she was 2. She is now 12, and this donkey will be the first stuffed animal she tries to make herself. Thank you!

  • MyLittleFandom

    H. Heller from MyLittleFandom said 9 years ago

    Am I missing something insanely obvious or is there no belly under piece? I'm new to sewing so this is in fact a serious question haha :3

  • MyLittleFandom

    H. Heller from MyLittleFandom said 9 years ago

    Oh goodness, I've just found it. Never mind haha!

  • katekk1200000

    kate young from CutTheSew said 6 years ago

    THIS design drawing "s very smart! @challo

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