Wear Your Favorite Animal Close to Your Heart

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May 9th, 2017     

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Tell everyone you heart squirrels, parakeets, iguanas...whatever you want!

Tell everyone you heart squirrels, parakeets, iguanas...whatever you want!

Kayte Terry

Choose different fabrics for each design element or, if you prefer, use the same fabrics.

Choose different fabrics for each design element or, if you prefer, use the same fabrics.

Kayte Terry

Stitch around the perimeter of each shape.

Stitch around the perimeter of each shape.

Kayte Terry

Tell everyone you heart squirrels, parakeets, iguanas...whatever you want!

Tell everyone you heart squirrels, parakeets, iguanas...whatever you want!

Photo: Kayte Terry

One day, when I was a teenager, my brother Jesse came home with a squirrel. Jesse was in elementary school and, on his short walk home, a baby squirrel started following him, then ran up his leg and finally settled on his shoulder. My brother, in a mix of confusion and pure joy, ran home to my parents, the squirrel tagging along for the ride.

My mom took the squirrel to the Audubon Society, and they told her that the squirrel had probably been abandoned by his mother, that he was too young to let back into the wild, and that it would be great if we could raise him for a few months. He also said that the little squirrel may have some neurological damage but that he couldn't be sure until he got older. And so, for just a little while, we had a pet squirrel. We named him Chip.

We grew to love Chip like we loved our other pets. We had lots of pets at this time: two cats, two mice, an iguana, a frog, several anoles, and, briefly, a conure parrot. A squirrel seemed like a natural addition to our weird little zoo. Chip slept in my mom's pocket when she worked at home and played with my brother and me when we were home from school.

But we knew that our time together would be short. When Chip got big enough, we would let him go out more to climb trees, eat nuts, and all the other things squirrels should do. Eventually, we let Chip go and said goodbye.

A few months later, we learned that Chip indeed had some neurological damage and had to be put down. My mom made a plaque for him that read: "In Memory of My Greatest Animal Friend-Chip the Squirrel" and we put it in the backyard beneath the tree he learned to climb on. It was very sad, but we hoped that he enjoyed the short time he had with us.

This project is dedicated to Chip.

I provided a squirrel template, but you can also use an image of your own. For good animal silhouette, look through Dover's copyright-free images and enlarge the silhouette as desired. You can find pretty much any animal you can think of in these books!

What you'll need:

  • Paper-backed fusible webbing
  • Marker
  • Paper and fabric scissors
  • Scraps of cotton fabric
  • Iron
  • T-shirt
  • Cardboard
  • Sewing machine and contrasting thread

1. Print out the PDF of the template and cut out the design.


Roughly cut out your shapes.

2. Trace the templates onto one side of the paper-backed sheet of fusible webbing with a marker, and roughly cut out each template with paper scissors.


Choose different fabrics for each design element or, if you prefer, use the same fabrics.

Iron the fusible webbing to the reverse side of your fabrics.
posted in: t-shirt, pet

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