picnic bugs : a free and easy sewing pattern for a silly bug doll

free bug doll sewing pattern

You have probably seen these guys, they show up frequently at picnics (hence the name). They don’t come to pester, just to say hi. They’re friendly like that. Aggressively and relentlessly friendly. They don’t even get mad if you put them in a jar. Just take them to a picnic once in a while.

Good things come out of play. These guys turned up a couple years ago in a silly bug experiment. They crack me up. And they’re a perfect scrap project – you only need a little bit and a mismatched variety is nice. And they make a silly and sweet surprise for somebody little’s lunchbox.

sew a silly bug

make a picnic bug:

download the pattern

You will also need:

  • fabric scraps – I used cotton and linen
  • twine or yarn for legs
  • stuffing
  • large embroidery needle
  • a chopstick
  • a bamboo skewer
  • basic sewing supplies

1. Cut out the body and eye pattern pieces – pin to doubled fabric with the right sides together and cut out. Pin the stomach pattern to a single piece of fabric and cut out.  Note – the wings are double sided so you’ll need 4 pieces – 2 for each wing. I used 2 different fabrics.  Pin the pattern to the 2 layers of fabric with the right sides together and cut out a wing, then flip the pattern and repeat for another wing.

2. Cut a slit in the stomach area of the body pattern for turning and stuffing – make sure it’s smaller than the stomach cover.

3.  Mark your quarter inch seam allowance on the fabric (really – it helps a lot). Pin the two body pieces with the right sides together and  sew all around the body.  Pin two pairs of wings with the right sides together and sew – leave open as shown.

4. Clip little notches all around the body and wings being careful not to cut the seam. Clip the points off the wings too and clip along the curve.

5. Turn the body and wings right side out. Run the chopstick over the seam inside with firm pressure on the body and wings. this helps open the seam for a smooth shape.  Press each piece.

6. Stuff the body – I’m using wool stuffing.

7. Stitch the stomach closed. this will not show. Don’t pull the stitches too tight – just enough to close. Stitch the wing openings closed too.

8. You can use you large needle to move the stuffing around and fine tune – this helps fill out the curves.

9. Pin the stomach and eyes in place and whip stitch around. Optional- whip stitch around the wings with a contrasting thread.

10. Stitch and elongated X for each eye and a little W between for a mouth.  I also added a few horizontal stitches on his neck.  For tips on hiding your knots see this post.

picnic bug legs

11. For legs you’ll need a long length of colored twine or yarn. A heavy weight embroidery thread could work too. I’m using black twine I got at a craft store.  Cut about 28 inches of string and thread onto a very large embroidery needle. Tie a knot about 5 inches from the end. You will also need a thin bamboo skewer. A  wooden tooth pick will work too.

12. Use the skewer as an awl. You want to push the sharp end into the seam to make a hole on each side. Without the hole you would not be able to pull the string through.

13. Use the needle to pull the sting though until the knot catches. Make another knot on the other side close to the body but do not pull it tight.

14. Insert your large needle into the knot and use it to pull the knot to the body.

15. Tighten the knot and remove the needle.

16. Repeat for as many legs as you’d like to give your bug. I added a couple more knots at the middle of his legs.  I attached all the legs and then trimmed them.

And give your bug antennae too – using the skewer to make  2 holes in the head seam.

free bug doll pattern

17. I like to add a hanging loop to the back sometimes – I’m using a little piece of twill tape – you could use string or fabric too.

18. Pin the wings in place on the back and whip stitch along the top corners – indicated above by the yellow line.

bug doll free sewing pattern

If you make picnic bugs I’d love to see! Please use #annwoodpattern on instagram.

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  1. Oh, these are so cool! Maybe they could be filled with citronella-soaked stuffing and hung in trees to keep actual bugs away? Obviously not to be put in lunchbags if so …

    • Or fill with sand/gravel, and put one on each corner of the picnic tablecloth or blanket – keeps it from blowing away.

      • Debbie Dominguez

        That’s an awesome idea! I’d like to make them for all my grandkids who love picnics!

  2. Donna Vandable

    Love the picnic bug. I am restoring an old dollhouse and can’t wait until I incorporate some of your patterns.(

  3. Lol. I hate bugs but these are darling! Going to have to make at least one! Thank you

  4. Thank you for this happy and adorable pattern Ann, I’ll definitely be making these! ❤️

  5. Dot Lewallen

    These are absolutely wonderful. I must make a bunch of these to take to my next Doll maker’s Guild meeting.

  6. Thank you for sharing your silly bug pattern, such a fun little project. I will be making it with my grand daughter, who loves bugs. You are a very generous , kind person.

  7. Hi. Love all the inspiration you share. And useful information. Thank you.
    I want you to see these! If you go to etsy and search “37 vintage stuffed calico ball ornaments,” there are some beautiful vintage hexie balls I think you will like. I saw them just after reading your scraps post, while on my perpetual hunt for more calico fabric.

  8. Beth Maroney

    Love your stuff! Next on the list to make after the “very nice mic”. Thanks for your inspiration and free patterns.

  9. Jodie Brown

    Oh these are fab! I run a preschool in the UK and I’m thinking of making of for each of my preschoolers and embroidering their name on a bug’s tummy, so they can use it for recognising their name at circle time. Luckily I only have 6 to make for now!

  10. Hi , Thank you for this great idea, just made 30 for my daughter-in-law’s Year 2 class for Christmas and the small grandchildren saw them and asked where are theirs! Lol

    I put coloured tuff of hair on each one just to make them a little different.
    Wish I knew how to send a picture of them to you. Lol
    Thanks again.

  11. So so cute.I am on vacation and love your ideas can’t wait Till I get home to try your patterns.

  12. WOW, these sure are CUTE!!!! Now why in the world would I make a silly thing like this??? Well, who knows, but I’m a gonna , and spread these little buggers around and have fun doing it. Thanks for sharing some really fun things to sew. Love them.

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