Guest blogger series | Hobby horse pattern + Tutorial

by Admin on 20/09/2011

in Guest blog series2 2011, Toys+Plush, Whip Up Tutorials

Abby Glassenberg is an artist, teacher and mother living in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Abby works from her home studio sewing soft toys and soft sculptures. Her book The Artful Bird: Feathered Friends to Make and Sew was published by Interweave in January of 2011. Abby blogs at

Thank you, Kathreen, for inviting me as a guest on today! As you may know, I love to make softies and I especially love to design my own softie patterns and teach others to do so as well. I am currently writing a book about soft toy design (due out with Lark Crafts in the spring of 2013) in which I am showing step-by-step how to design your very own softie patterns, from beginner techniques to advanced jointed, gusseted toys. Writing this book is a dream come true for me!

I thought it might be fun to share a pattern for a hobby horse here on today. My daughters, Stella (5) and Roxanne (7) have a dearly beloved handmade Hobby Horse named Blackberry that they ride around our upstairs hallway many afternoons after school. I hope you’ll enjoy making this hobby horse for a special child in your life.

Hobby Horse Pattern & Tutorial

(Sewing pattern by Abby Glassenberg for personal use only)


  • brown wool-blend felt, 1/2 yard, or felted wool sweater in brown
  • scraps of wool-blend felt in lighter brown, white, blue and black
  • white embroidery floss, 12 inches
  • fiberfill toy/pillow stuffing
  • wooden dowel 1 inch wide or narrower, broomstick or tree branch, about 36 inches
  • rag or fabric scrap for wrapping the end of the dowel
  • twine, ribbon or string for the bridle
  • brown yarn for mane
  • all-purpose thread in white, black, and blue


  • cardboard and a pencil
  • sewing machine
  • hand-sewing needle
  • embroidery needle
  • curved upholstery needle
  • scissors for fabric
  • disappearing fabric marker or tailor’s chalk
  • hot glue gun (optional)

Notes on pattern: The pattern for the horse’s head is large so you will need to piece it together. No seam allowance has been added in the pattern so you will need to add a 1/4 inch seam allowance to all of the pattern pieces except the eye and eyelid. Transfer the pattern to stiff cardboard and cut out. Pattern pieces can be downloaded here in 4 parts: Part 1 : Part 2 : Part 3 : Part 4.

Step 1: Place the head and head gusset pattern pieces on the wool-blend felt or felted wool sweater and trace around them with tailor’s chalk or a disappearing fabric marker. Cut them out, transferring markings.

Step 2: Cut two ears in light brown felt and two in darker brown felt. Place one light against one dark and stitch around, leaving the bottom open. Repeat for the other ear. Trim the seam allowances to 1/8 inch, clipping across the tip of the ear near the stitching line, and turn the ears right side out. Fold each ear on the fold line and pin to hold.

Step 3: Place one ear against one head piece where marked, lining up the raw edges, and baste. Repeat for the other ear.

Step 4: Stitch the head gusset to one head piece from point A to point B trapping the raw edges of the ear in the seam as you go. Repeat for the other head piece.  Stitch the remainder of the horse’s head, leaving the bottom open. Clip the curves, especially at the neck and turn the head right side out.

Step 5: Stuff the head firmly until it is about 3/4 of the way stuffed. Wrap the end of the dowel or stick with a rag. Tie the rag in place with twine.  Insert the dowel into the head pushing it all the way up to the crown. Push stuffing around the dowel so that it is snug inside the head. Finish stuffing the head, leaving about 2 inches at the base of the neck unstuffed, as marked.

Step 6: Tie off the base of the neck with twine. Use a double knot to secure. If you’d like, put a bead of hot glue underneath the felt, where it meets to the dowel, all the way around to secure.

Step 7: With no seam allowance, cut out two circles of felt in black for the pupil, two in blue for the eyeball, and two in white for the white of the eye. With floss, take three small straight stitches in the pupil to form a highlight. Layer the eye and stitch each layer in place with coordinating thread.

Step 8: Place eyelid pattern piece on a folded piece of brown wool-felt. With no seam allowance, cut out. Repeat so that you have two eyelids. Nestle eyes between eyelid layers. Stitch the eyes to the head.

Step 9: For the nostril, use brown yard to tie a French knot on either side of the muzzle.

Step 10: For mane, thread curved upholstery needle with a single 36 inch strand of brown yarn. Take a small stitch at the top of the head, pulling yarn through so that it leaves a 3 inch tail. Cut yarn 3 inches from the head. Tie yarn ends in a double knot to hold. Repeat to create a mane of desired thickness. Trim mane to desired length.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Maya September 20, 2011 at 2:03 pm

This is absolutely gorgeous!!
Thank you so much for sharing this with us!!


2 Isobel Morrell September 20, 2011 at 3:30 pm

That’s a thoroughly great tutorial – if the book you’re working on is half as good, I’d like a copy when it is published. Please let me know when it’s ready, as I love making soft toys (see the website addresses) but use other folks patterns. Have never been able to make my own and would love to try. Your book sounds just the job!

Hope you do visit – would love to keep in touch.


3 Scrapiana September 21, 2011 at 6:29 am

Gosh, that makes me feel nostalgic! We made hobby-horses like that at school, but cheated by using a gent’s sock as the head. Thanks, Abby.


4 Ayana September 21, 2011 at 9:05 am

Uuhh this looks very nice! I will try it! Thank for sharing!!


5 Wendy October 23, 2011 at 7:17 pm

I made this today to go with my daughter’s cowgirl Halloween costume. It turned out really cute! I made a couple modifications- used large buttons for eyes, and sewed the mane in by machine. This is my first foray into stuffed toys, maybe I’ll try some more with the leftover materials. Thanks so much for the pattern and the step=by-step directions!


6 Annika November 8, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Thank you for this great tutorial!
You can find my version about the hobby horse from here:


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