One of my favorite reasons to pull out my sewing machine is to make a softie! In today’s post, we’re going to sew a sloth softie and I’m also including a tutorial that demonstrates how to add safety eyes to fabric. I made my sloth a pillow pal with an envelope back so it’s easy to wash up in case of any spills during the sloth’s adventures. 

Sew a Sloth!/How To Add Safety Eyes to Fabric by Underground Crafter - boxy sewn sloth pillow on faux wood background

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation (at no added cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links. This post is sponsored by Clover USA, but all opinions and thoughts are my own. My sewing machine sponsor is Baby Lock and this post is part of our ongoing collaboration. Additional materials for this post were generously provided by Fairfield World and VELCRO® Brand. Camera was generously provided by B&H Photo Video and Pro Audio.

Ever since I started sewing more regularly again, I’ve been on the hunt for cool sewing notions to add to my tool bag. I love to sew softies, but I’ll admit that putting the eyes on is kind of a nightmare without the right tools. 

Sew a Sloth!/How To Add Safety Eyes to Fabric by Underground Crafter - boxy sewn sloth pillow hanging from tree

I’m a huge fan of Clover notions for crochet and knitting, but I wasn’t as familiar with their sewing tools. Earlier this year, I reached out to the nice folks at Clover USA and they sent me a box of goodies to play with in anticipation of National Sewing Month.

Sew a Sloth!/How To Add Safety Eyes to Fabric by Underground Crafter - Clover USA sewing tools

For this project, I went back and forth about which animal to make into a softie. I wanted the project to be part of the Little Gifts Sew Along, so I needed to keep the fabric requirements at a yard or less. It seems like sloths are everywhere these days (and with good reason, since they’re so darn cute) so in the end that’s what I decided to make. 

Sew a Sloth!/How To Add Safety Eyes to Fabric by Underground Crafter - boxy sewn sloth pillow on chair

My version has very long arms so the Sloth can grab on to pretty much anything. You can make the arms shorter if you’d like. I also made the pillow case an envelope closure so the cover is easy to remove for washing in case of spills or other messes. I hope you enjoy this critter as much as I do!

Sew a Sloth!/How To Add Safety Eyes to Fabric by Underground Crafter - boxy sewn sloth pillow sitting on brownstone stoop

This is the seventeenth pattern in the Little Gifts Sew Along. Are you just hearing about the Little Gifts Sew Along? Get all the details here.

  • You can join in by sewing the projects as you have time.
  • Share your progress and post pictures of your finished projects. Tag your projects and posts #sewlittlegifts and #stockingstuffersal on all social media.
  • If you’d like to chat with other sewists, join the Underground Crafters Facebook group.
  • By the end of the SAL, you’ll have up to 25 handmade gifts.
  • Use the button below on social media. Right click (on desktop) or tap and hold (on mobile) to save.
Little Gifts Sew Along 2019 with Underground Crafter

Sew a Sloth! + How To Add Safety Eyes to Fabric

Sewing Project by Underground Crafter

Sew a Sloth!/How To Add Safety Eyes to Fabric by Underground Crafter - boxy sewn sloth pillow on faux wood background

Sew a Sloth! is an easy-to-sew pillow pal. This Sloth has extra long arms. In my version, the arms aren’t stuffed to make them easier to wrap around for hugs. This Sloth is not suitable for infants and toddlers because the plastic eyes and nose and the arms could pose a hazard. If you decide to gift your Sloth to someone far off, ship the Sloth pillowcase by itself with a gift card for the pillow insert to save on shipping! This is the seventeenth of 25 free sewing projects by 12 bloggers in the Little Gifts Sew Along.

Finished Size

  • Fits a 12” x 16” (30.5 cm x 40.5 cm) pillow form.

Tools

Materials

Instructions

Prepare and cut fabric

  • Iron your fabric.
  • To maximize your fabric, use your 45 mm Rotary Cutter, Cutting Mat, and acrylic ruler to cut your pieces.
  • From the dark color, cut 2 arms – each 4” (10 cm) x width of fabric. Cut an 8” (20.5 cm) x width of fabric piece. 
    • From the 8” (20.5 cm) piece, cut an 8.5” (21.5 cm) piece. Cut this piece into 2 smaller pieces that measure 8.5” x 2.5” (21.5 cm x 6.5 cm) and 8.5” x 5.5” (21.5 cm x 14 cm).
    • From the 8” piece, cut 2 pieces that measure 2.5” x 16.5” (6.5 cm x 42 cm) each. Cut 2 pieces that measure 2.5” x 3.5” (6.5 cm x 9 cm) each.
  • From the light color, cut the following pieces. 
    • 8.5” x 2.5” (21.5 cm x 6.5 cm), 
    • 8.5” x 4.5” (21.5 cm x 11.5 cm),
    • 3.5” x 4.5” (9 cm x 11.5 cm), and
    • Cut 2 pieces that measure 12.5” x 9” (31.75 cm x 23 cm) each for the back of the pillow.
Sew a Sloth!/How To Add Safety Eyes to Fabric by Underground Crafter - cut fabric with rotary cutter

Project Notes

  • Use a 1/4″ seam allowance throughout.
  • Pin pieces with Flower Head Pins to ensure that seams are straight.
  • Use the Finger Presser to flatten seams between steps. Press seams towards the dark fabric.
Sew a Sloth!/How To Add Safety Eyes to Fabric by Underground Crafter - Finger Presser
Sew a Sloth!/How To Add Safety Eyes to Fabric by Underground Crafter - clipping threads
  • Check your bobbin thread before you start your project. It’s no fun to realize you haven’t actually been sewing. (Ask me how I know.)
Sew a Sloth!/How To Add Safety Eyes to Fabric by Underground Crafter - winding thread for bobbin

Sew the Sloth’s face

  • Follow the assembly diagram for fabric piece placement.
Sew a Sloth!/How To Add Safety Eyes to Fabric by Underground Crafter - sewn sloth pillow assembly diagram
  • Sew the three small pieces together first.
Sew a Sloth!/How To Add Safety Eyes to Fabric by Underground Crafter - pinned fabric
Sew a Sloth!/How To Add Safety Eyes to Fabric by Underground Crafter - sewing
  • Sew this piece to the remaining light color pieces.
Sew a Sloth!/How To Add Safety Eyes to Fabric by Underground Crafter - pinned fabric
Sew a Sloth!/How To Add Safety Eyes to Fabric by Underground Crafter - sewing
Sew a Sloth!/How To Add Safety Eyes to Fabric by Underground Crafter - face in progress
  • Sew this piece to the shorter dark color pieces.
Sew a Sloth!/How To Add Safety Eyes to Fabric by Underground Crafter - pinning pieces
  • Sew the long, dark color pieces to the sides of this piece. 
Sew a Sloth!/How To Add Safety Eyes to Fabric by Underground Crafter - pinning pieces

Decorate the Sloth’s face

  • With the Fabric Marking Pen, mark the positions for the safety eyes and nose on the Sloth’s face, using the pictures as a guide.
  • Tip: Practice creating a hole on a scrap piece of fabric before you decorate the Sloth’s face.
  • Use the Tapered Tailor’s Awl to make a widening hole at the marked position. (You may want to use the I Sew for Fun Protect ‘n Grip Thimble on the forefinger of the hand which is on the wrong side of the fabric since the Awl point is sharp.) Continue to turn the Awl until the hole is wide enough to insert the first safety eye.
  • Insert the safety eye. Make sure the fabric is flat on the wrong side so that it doesn’t pucker. When you are satisfied with the position, press the washer into place on the back of the fabric until it clicks.
  • Repeat the process with the Awl to add the second safety eye and the nose.
  • Thread the embroidery needle with the floss. Use the back stitch to create a smile. (If you’re new to embroidery, you can find a video tutorial for the back stitch at the end of this post.)

Sew the arms

  • Fold the short edges of each arm over and seam.
  • Cut pieces of the VELCRO® Brand Sew On Tape. I used pieces that were the width of the tape, but I would recommend smaller pieces if you want the Sew On Tape to be less visible. 
Sew a Sloth!/How To Add Safety Eyes to Fabric by Underground Crafter - VELCRO Brand hook and loop fastener
  • Pin the hook side of the VELCRO® Brand Sew On Tape to one arm, about 1/2″ from the seam. Pin the loop side of the VELCRO® Brand Sew On Tape to the other arm, about 1/2″ from the seam.
Sew a Sloth!/How To Add Safety Eyes to Fabric by Underground Crafter - pin VELCRO Brand hook and loop fastener to arms
  • Sew the Sew On Tape into position. Remove the pins.
Sew a Sloth!/How To Add Safety Eyes to Fabric by Underground Crafter - sewing VELCRO Brand hook and loop fastener to arms
  • Fold the first arm over lengthwise with the Sew On Tape on the inside. Sew closed along the long edge with a 1/4″ seam.
Sew a Sloth!/How To Add Safety Eyes to Fabric by Underground Crafter - sewn arms
  • Repeat for the second arm.
  • Starting at the edge with the Sew On Tape, turn the arms right side out.
Sew a Sloth!/How To Add Safety Eyes to Fabric by Underground Crafter - turning sloth arms inside out

Assemble the pillow

  • Fold over one short edge of each light color piece of fabric for the back of the pillow and seam.
Sew a Sloth!/How To Add Safety Eyes to Fabric by Underground Crafter - sewing sloth arms
  • Place the Sloth face on the bottom with the right side facing up.
  • Pin the pieces of the light color fabric over the Sloth face so that the wrong side sides of the seams are facing up and overlap.
Sew a Sloth!/How To Add Safety Eyes to Fabric by Underground Crafter - pinning pillow case
  • Insert the arms in between the fabric for the back and the face. The short edges of the arms without the Sew On Tape should be pinned close to the lower part of the face. 
Sew a Sloth!/How To Add Safety Eyes to Fabric by Underground Crafter - turning pillow case inside out
  • Tip: Pull the arms out of the pillow opening as you may sew over them by accident if they are inside of the pillow.
  • Sew the pieces together with a 1/4″ seam all around, being sure to backstitch at corners to reinforce the pillow case.
Sew a Sloth!/How To Add Safety Eyes to Fabric by Underground Crafter - turning pillow case inside out
Sew a Sloth!/How To Add Safety Eyes to Fabric by Underground Crafter - inserting pillow form

Hang out with your new sloth buddy!

Sew a Sloth!/How To Add Safety Eyes to Fabric by Underground Crafter - boxy sewn sloth pillow sitting on park bench
Sew a Sloth! + How To Add Safety Eyes to Fabric

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