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How to Make a Puppet: Sewing & Assembling a Fox

  • puppet pattern
  • By Jay Nielsen

This tutorial will teach you how to craft your very own Muppet-style fox puppet. If you are just joining us, head over to part 1 of this tutorial: How to Make a Puppet: Pattern & Materials for a Fox. We will be using a machine for most of the sewing, but you can do it all by hand if you really want to. Sew all of the seams with a 1/4 inch margin. We recommend reading through all of the instructions before you begin, so there are no surprises.

Ready when you are!

Sew the face and chest

Start with your sewing machine threaded with white thread. We only need white thread for the face and chest pieces, so we’ll sew those first and get the white thread out of the way. Make sure you have your machine threaded with white thread for these steps or your fox will have orange lines running through her face. Your fox would not be very happy about that. Place the two face pieces right sides together and pin the chin in place.

01 - place face pieces right sides together

02 - pin chin edge together

Sew only the chin edge together (that’s the shorter curved edge).

03 - sew only chin edge together

Open the face piece, flip it so the right side of the face is lying on the right side of the chest piece, and line up the neck opening with the top of the chest.

04 - align neck opening with top of chest pattern

Pin it in place and stitch it together.

05 - pin and sew neck to face

When it’s all done it should look something like this:

06 - face pattern sewn to chest pattern

Sew the arms

We’re all done with the white thread for now, so you can safely put it somewhere where you won’t be tempted to use it. Pin the black arm pattern #2 to the orange arm pattern #1 right sides together. Stitch the pieces together.

07 - pin arm pattern 1 and 2 right sides together

07 - arm pieces sewn together

Fold the right sides of the arm piece together length-wise, making sure to line up the seams. Position one of the rod pocket squares where you would like the puppet rod to be inserted (this doesn’t need to be precise).

08 - fold arm in half and position rod pocket

Mark the position of the rod pock on both sides of the arm (this does need to be precise).

09 - mark one side of the arm

10 - mark the opposite side

Open the arm piece and stitch one rod pocket square to the wrong side of the arm piece on both sides, lining up with the markings we just made.

11 - stitch two rod pockets to arm piece

Fold the arm in half length-wise again, lining up the rod pockets and the arm #1/arm #2 seam and pin it in place.

12 - fold arm in half again

13 - pin arm together

Starting from the tip of the arm, sew around the black edge and stop with your needle lowered into the corner of the rod pockets. Pivot 90 degrees and continue stitching around the edge of the rod pocket.

14 - sew to the rod pocket and stop

15 - sew the rod pocket

16 - sew the rod pocket

Continue sewing the length of the arm piece, leaving the short orange end open.

17 - continue sewing arm piece

18 - fox puppet arm

Using a wooden dowel, turn the arm piece inside out and fill with polyester stuffing to desired firmness.

19 - turn arm inside out

20 - stuff fox puppet arm

21 - stuffed fox puppet arm

Flatten the opening of the arm piece, aligning the seam in the middle, then stitch it in place.

22 - press edges together

23 - stitch opening shut

Now you’re a pro at making fox arms, so it’s no big deal to repeat these steps to make the second one.

24 - repeat puppet arm technique

Sew the ears

Sewing the fox ears can be a little tricky if you want a fancy ear tuck, but I’m sure you can handle it! Start by pinning one white piece on top of one orange piece, right sides together.

25 - pin ear pieces together

Stitch all but the flat bottom part together and repeat for the second ear.

26 - ears sewn together

Trim some of the seam allowance from the tip of the ear, then flip it right side out.

27 - trim seam allowance on ears

28 - flip ear piece inside out

This next bit is the tricky part. It’s not entirely necessary, so if it doesn’t make sense, just skip it. What we’re trying to do here is give the ear a little crease so it looks less like a triangular piece of fleece and more like a fox ear. To do this, roll one edge until the inside seam allowances lie flat against the orange fabric. Then fold some of the white fabric over itself so that the opposite seam allowances line up with their like color.

29 - fox puppet ear tuck

Stitch the ear tuck in place. If you don’t trust your machine sewing skills, now might be the time to hand stitch. The ear only needs to hold its shape until we sew it into the fox head, so it doesn’t need to be a perfect stitch. Repeat these steps for the second ear, but roll the ear tuck from the opposite side so that the finished ears appear to be mirrored.

30 - finished fox ears

Attach the arms

Attaching the arms and ears to the body can be difficult to pull off with a sewing machine because you’ll be stitching through four layers of fleece. It can be done, but we officially recommend hand stitching these seams. We’ll begin by sewing the arms in place. Using the body pattern as a guide, mark and cut slits for the arms in the orange body piece.

31 - mark fox arm slit

32 - mark opposite arm slit

33 - cut arm slits

Line the top edge of the finished arm up with the bottom edge of the arm hole in the body pattern. Make sure the right sides of the fabric are together and that the arm seam points toward the center of the body piece.

34 - line up fox arm

Flip the top half of the body over the arm, align the edge of the arm hole with the top of the arm, and pin it in place.

35 - flip top of body pattern over arm

The top of the arm should be flush with the two edges of the arm hole. There should also be a 1/4 inch margin on the outside edge of the body, before the arm. If there is not, cut the arm hole a little bit deeper. If all is well, stitch the arm in place.

36 - sew arm in place

Repeat this technique for the other arm.

37 - sew opposite arm in place

Attach the ears

Attaching the ears is exactly the same as attaching the arms. Ensure that the ear tuck lies toward the center of the body piece and that the white fabric is face up, then stitch it in place the same way you did the arms. Depending on how far apart you want the ears to be, you may want to cut the ear holes a little deeper. Just make sure there is at least a 1/4 inch margin on either side of the ear.

38 - align ear with ear slit

39 - flip top over ear piece

40 - stitch ear in place

When everything is attached, it should look like this:

41 - ears and arms in place

Sew the chest and face to the body

Position the edge of the chest and face piece we made in the beginning up with the edge of the fox body right sides together and pin it in place. The nose edges on the white and orange fabric must line up, and the neck seam should line up with the arm seam. If you line these two points up right, it doesn’t matter if the bottom edges don’t line up exactly.

42 - line up face and chest with fox body

43 - line up fox nose edge

44 - line up neck seam with arm seam

Sew all the way down the edge of the body and repeat for the opposite side.

45 - fox body edges sewn

Pin the nose piece to the top edge of the face, right sides together. The curved edge should point toward the body. Remember this, and there is only one way to place this piece.

46 - pin nose in place

Sew the nose in place and repeat for the opposite side of the face.

47 - nose pieces sewn

Finally, we can pin and sewing the head seam together. Make sure you pin the right sides together and line up the two ear seams. Sew all the way to the tip of the nose, but do not sew the short end of the nose piece, inside of the mouth opening.

48 - pin head seam

49 - head seam sewn

Hand sew the felt mouth

You should now have a very strange looking inside out fox with a big gaping hole for a mouth. Gently pulling the tip of the nose and the chin to stretch the hole open, line up the face piece with the mouth piece, right sides together. Pin in place, tugging the cheeks out to the edge of the mouth piece.

50 - align mouth piece with fox head

51 - fox mouth pinned in place

Hand stitch the face to the mouth piece.

52 - hand stitch mouth piece to face

53 - sewn fox mouth

Glue the mouth plate

To give the puppet face structure, we’ll glue the felt mouth plate to stiffened felt and foam sheeting. Start by making a glue guideline by centering the mouth pattern on the foam mouth piece and tracing it.

54 - make a glue guideline

Following the directions on your fabric glue, glue the two stiffened felt mouth pieces to the foam.

55 - glue the foam

56 - glue stiffened felt

57 - fox puppet mouth plate

Allow the stiffened felt/foam sheeting combo to dry before gluing the felt fox mouth to the stiffened felt pieces.

58 - glue top of stiffened felt

59 - glue felt mouth piece

Press the fox mouth to the stiffened felt, tugging the edges to ensure no bubbles get trapped between layers.

60 - press fox mouth to mouth plate

Once the glue has dried, you can turn your puppet right side out.

61 - inside out fox puppet

62 - turning fox puppet inside out

63 - finished fox puppet

Attaching the eyes

The only thing your puppet is missing now is eyes. You can use whatever buttons you like, and placement is entirely up to you. Try putting them in different spots until you find what you prefer, then glue or sew them in place.


Aww, so cute! Now, who wants to learn some HTML?

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