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Friday, December 20, 2013

Stuffed Animal Harness - Great Stocking Stuffer

I've mentioned Ozzie the Adventure Kitty a few times lately, so I thought I'd shed a little light on his now famous harness.

We do a lot of hiking and Bean rides along in a backpack on my husband's back.  She wanted to bring her panda with her on a hike one day, but I vetoed that since he is way too big for her to hold onto.  Instead I told her she could bring her Ozzie Kitty.  She wasn't sold on the idea until we called him Ozzie the Adventure Kitty who loved the great outdoors. 

Unfortunately, Ozzie also "loved" jumping up to see the birds, and trees, and plants, and rocks, and well.... you get the picture.  I had to follow behind picking Ozzie up every time he just HAD to see something and he launched himself out of the backpack. 

A harness was the best idea I could come up with the keep him securely attached, yet still give him some freedom to "explore" his surroundings.  I also wanted it to be able to fit some of her other similarly sized stuffed animals in case Ozzie wasn't the only one keen on adventure.

When I made this Baja Hoody I made a bunch of bias tape using this fun mushrooms fabric by Aneela Hoey from A Walk in the Woods.  I used some of the leftovers to construct this super easy harness.  Since this would make a great stocking stuffer I thought I'd make Ozzie a new Christmas harness and post the super easy way I made it.

For a harness that fits a standard Beanie Baby sized animal all you'll need is:
30" bias tape
2 snaps (I used the great Babyville ones I bought for this project)

Start by sewing the bias tape together along the folded edges, turning under the ends as you go, to completely enclose the raw edges.

Fold the bias tape in half and pin 7.5" from the fold.  Stitch a rectangle from the pin, to about 1" from the fold, and then back to the pin. 

Attach the female side of the snaps facing down (as shown in the picture above) at the ends of the harness.  Attach the male side of the snaps facing up at the start of the Y, right below the sewn rectangle.

To put the harness on:

Step 1: start with the Y at the base of the neck
Step 2: flip the animal over, bringing the ends under the arms, crossing in front, and up to the shoulders
Step 3: flip the animal back over and snap the ends to the snaps at the base of the Y
Step 4: rejoice!

Add a carabiner (or another method of securing the harness - a velcro tab would work) and your harness is complete!  Super easy, right? 

If you have a larger or smaller animal the following is how you can customize the harness to fit.
After sewing the binding together to conceal all the raw edges, you will need to wrap the harness around the animal as follows to make sure you have the correct sizing. 

Step 1: fold the bias tape in half, mark the center with a pin, and with the stuffed animal on its back, cross the two ends, making an X
Step 2: flip the animal over and pull the two ends over the shoulder area until they meet the rest of the harness (which wrapped under the arms) at the back
Step 3: squeeze the folded together middle section at the back making sure that the pin you placed in Step 1 is still at the center of the folded end (pin not pictured)
Step 4: Pin the two pieces together where you squeezed.  This pin replaces the 7.5" mark from the rectangle step above.  Proceed with the rest of the instructions as is after sewing your customized rectangle. 

We love Ozzie's little harness. It means he can go a lot of places with us where I would otherwise be too worried about losing him. We just attach him to one of the buttons of her coat and he's good to go.

walking in the snow with daddy

riding on the Santa Train with mama

being coy with pafa

and of course, Ikea
Having Ozzie with her out and about makes her seem more relaxed and he gives her a little more courage.  She has the doctor listen to his heart and then it's not quite so scary when she has to have her own listened to too.  She brings him to story time and she's less shy and wants to tell people about her kitty.  If we don't have him with us now, and someone talks to her while we're out, she'll say Ozzie is in the jeep, hehe. 

Next time you have some leftover bias tape, you should try making one of your own.  It makes a great (easy!) last minute addition to a stuffed animal gift.

As usual, linking up to:

The Chicken Chick Shaffer Sisters encourage. inspire. uplift. create. Photobucket I Made That Thursday! Get Your Crap Together Photobucket


  1. Brilliant!!! My daughter once dropped a favorite froggy in a store. My mother spent an hour looking before she found it, and then because she originally bought it at that store and they still had them stocked on their shelves, had to buy it back. Haha!! Anyway, just wanted to let you know I linked to your tutorial over at Craft Gossip: --Anne

  2. What a nice story about Ozzie's adventure. :o)
    The harness is a good idea, thanks for sharing.


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