dastardly owl laboratory and the silly bug club

lots of hand sewn stuffed owls in progress

Update : find the owl sewing pattern here

The bodies are piling up as the owl shape is getting fine tuned. I’m preparing for owl workshops (PS – 2 spots have opened up in the 10/20-21 class) and ultimately a print and pdf owl pattern so every detail and dastardly proportion is being examined. I’ve started with the body shape. There are two construction methods I use for making owls, I created two patterns that produce slightly different shapes, one more rubenesque and another more sculptural and a bit more realistic. I might be the only one who can tell the difference. I tried to choose one to work on but ended up with a hybrid.

owls on my work table

The next step is to test and revise again and again until only what is essential is left, the shape is expressive, the pattern pieces assemble perfectly and any fussiness is removed. After each prototype I adjust and resew and if the adjustment is successful it is further refined in Adobe Illustrator.

stitched owl shape

I arrived at the body shape that feels just right yesterday. And the body pattern pieces feel good too, it snaps together like nobody’s business. Even with difficult fabric like this odd tweedy stuff from mrs. brown’s skirt. I’ve been making things from that turn of the century skirt for 8 years and I’m sorry it’s is almost gone now. It has made lots of wonderful owls and rats and spiders but the weave is loose, thick, ravely and a little slippery, super hard to sew.

hand stitched owl feathers

I’m ready to move on to the feathers, feet and features. As I finish my little pile of owly bodies I’ll experiment with those details until each is transformed into a teachable technique and or pattern piece that produces reliable results.

And the silly bug club! Thanks so much to everybody who showed up for the challenge. I drew a name from a hat and the winner of the mosquito rag doll is @bonniecapaulgallery ! I’ll message you on instagram for address etc. I hope you keep making and posting silly bugs, this was fun and I’ll offer you another challenge soon. Have a beautiful weekend and I’ll leave you with a few highlights from the posts and you can check out all the silly bugs here.


  1. Clare milford

    I’ve made some lovely birds from your song bird pattern. Up to number 5. So still very much a novice.
    Thank you for your inspiration.

  2. I’m so excited for an owl pattern. For some reason I feel that my house is sadly lacking an owl.

    • Hi Alice, maybe it does need an owl! I’m excited about sharing the pattern.

  3. Katherine

    I am so looking forward to when you have an owl pattern available….ever since I first saw your owls I have wanted to make one! Thank you!

  4. Two plastic owls sit on my front porch banister so as to keep pesky birds from soiling it. However, since I like making creatures, I need to make an owl for my bird collection. I have started searching my fabric stash for the appropriate moment when your patterns arrive. I love that Mrs. Brown skirt, perfect for your owls body, hard to find used woolen clothes at thrift shops here in Southern California

  5. I can hardly wait for an owl pattern. Hopefully sometime soon, so I can make one as a Christmas gift for an avid owl fan….pretty please?!

  6. cannot wait for the Owl pattern, it was a big stern old owl made from vintage tweed that first brought me to your blog and the wonderful world inside your head :o)

  7. I have been making your mushroom pattern, and have delighted those to whom I have given them as gifts. I do have a question: since I have mostly quilting cottons to work with, where can I find the lovely fabrics that you use? Thank you!

  8. Susan Vigansky

    I am SO EXCITED for an owl pattern!!!!! Can’t wait!

  9. I CAN NOT WAIT for your owl pattern!! I’m so excited, I can hardly stand myself!! Love your creations!!

  10. I love your owls and bought your owl pattern that is for sail now. I changed it to something more like your big owls, with the gorgeous eyes and beautiful wings. I can not wait to ad realistic owlfeet to with real legs! So I’m looking forward to a pattern too! 🙂

  11. I first saw your Owls on pinterest and have longed to make one for SO LONG!! I can hardly wait for your pattern to be available . Love your work -you are an inspiration and it’s artists like you- who share your ideas and patterns– that help others fulfill a creative need. THX.

  12. Judy A Klem

    I Love your blog, Ann and have purchased several of your Patterns. I am currently making 40, yes 40, mushroom to take to Argentina in October! We will be visiting our “daughter’ and I will give the mushrooms to people we meet there. Each will have a tag crediting you as the designer too. Maybe you will gain some new fans. As soon as I finish the mushrooms I will sent you a picture.
    I can’t wait for the owl pattern!

  13. Jeanette Sappe

    Oh have I been waiting!! I can’t wait for the Owl pattern. Hoot Hoot I have been obsessed every sense I seen my first Ann Wood Owl on Pinterest. I started following your blog, bought several patterns but have been patiently waiting for this one. Bring on fall I want this pattern.

  14. I already bought several patterns from you and I can’t wait for the Owl pattern! Love your work, blog, photos – thanks so much for sharing your creativity and inspiring others!

  15. Dear Ann,

    I love your owls a lot.
    Owls always remember me to my daughter Mira, she died ten years ago.
    She was my owl !
    So I also love to have a pattern from this owl to make some on my own.
    I also love all the other creatures you make. They have so much personality !
    Fondest regards from germany

  16. carol shannon

    Love your creations, and can’t wait for the owl pattern. Thank you for sharing. Carol

  17. Ann,
    I have, at long last, finished my first owl. He has been christened, “Master William Smith.” I wanted to post a photo but doesn’t look like that’s an option here. However, he has been posted on my Instagram feed @always.a.wildflower .

    Master Smith sends his thanks for the “Little Owls” pattern from which his humble beginnings originated. And I, send my thanks for your continued inspiration from which to draw.

  18. Love your creations, and can’t wait for the owl pattern. Thank you for sharing a pattern.

    Best Regards From Bangkok- Thailand

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