This simple and fun highland cow (or “coo”) DIY dog toy is easy to sew in a few hours. Using scrap fabric and old T-shirts or sheets for stuffing makes it very low-cost. Instructions and free pattern available.
It’s also a great beginner project for kids. Sewing is a great way to hone STEM skills.
As a pet parent, you know how expensive toys are! We re-use the stuffing over and over again, so these patterns are very cost-effective.
Duffy, our Scottie, loves his Scottish Highland Coo!
A free, printable highland cow pattern template is available for download.
The photo step instructions are very detailed for beginner sewers. If you know how to sew, you can zip by!
There are better patterns out there, no doubt! This one is simple and fast, ideal for dog toy destroyers…
We would love to hear from you if you try this! Feedback is always appreciated if the instructions or pattern needs to be adjusted.
Note for Parents
The Basic Highland Cow is a great introductory pattern for kids learning to sew. It’s a good way to improve on the basics of sewing. But, please note parental supervision is needed: sharp needles, pins, scissors, sewing machines, and irons all pose potential dangers! We will continue to add easy sewing patterns for budding crafters.
Supplies for the Highland Cow
- Fabric (10oz heavy duck cotton canvas, sturdy cotton, fleece. TIP: the heavier fabric is more difficult to turn inside out)
- Thread (I prefer Gutermann sew-all-thread or extra-strong thread)
- Sewing needle (for machine or hand. I use a denim sewing machine needle for heavy-weight fabric)
- Stuffing (old t-shirts or old sheets, cut into strips)
The stuffing was made from old sheets and t-shirts cut into strips. I prefer this stuffing for three reasons:
- Natural materials
- Re-usable (Duff shreds his toys)
- Less likely to be inhaled or consumed than polyester stuffing
- Free! Low-cost!
I also double-stitched the seams, hoping the toy would last a little longer, but this is optional.
Caution: Never leave your dog unsupervised with a toy.
Instructions: BASIC Highland Cow
Download the free cow pattern template (in resources, below.)
Cut out the two pattern pieces (just a rough cut, doesn’t have to be perfect)
Tape the two pieces together where it says “attach here” like in the photo.
If using printed fabric, fold the fabric so the “right side” is on the inside. The right side means the “printed or pretty” surface of the fabric. If using plain cotton canvas it doesn’t matter too much.
The photo shows fabric folded so that the bright red plaid “the right side” is on the inside, and the “wrong side” or fuzzy lighter part is on the outside.
TIP: This is a good sewing skill to learn since almost every sewing pattern will have these instructions. It’s important to follow the instructions or your pattern pieces will not fit together!
Fold the fabric so the print is on the inside, and pin the pattern piece in place. Folding the fabric will give you two pieces of A.
Cut the piece out.
Remove the paper pattern.
Pin the two fabric pattern pieces together, leaving them unpinned (open) where marked.
Seams: All the seams are narrow seams. This is the “seam allowance” and is about 6mm wide.
OPTIONAL: I prefer a double-stitched seam for a stronger seam (like in the photo) for dog toys. That means two rows of stitching instead of one.
If you prefer a larger seam allowance, you can increase the size of the pattern if desired.
Sew the two pieces together in a narrow seam, except for where marked “leave open,” turning (pivoting) around the corners when needed.
Optional: double stitched seams for extra durability
It will look like the photo when it is done.
Turn the cow inside out
TIP: use a pencil (use the blunt eraser end, not the pointy one or you could poke a hole through the fabric)
The cow will be fully turned right side out.
Use the eraser end of a pencil to push out all ends.
Stuff ’em using whatever method you are using.
Strips of sheets or shirts work best, cutting into smaller strips. You can push the pieces in with the blunt end of a pencil.
Fold the seam allowance and hand sew the open end up.
You can make the hand-stitched seam pretty using an invisible slip stitch or do a quick non-fancy stitch – for me, Duff will rip it apart so I’m not being picky!
Not perfect, but done!
FANCY HIGHLAND COW
Follow the same Steps 1-5
Cut four small squares of a different fabric, the same width as the cow feet, like in the photo.
Cut out the pieces with the right sides together (pretty side on the inside.)
Pin the right side of each square to the right side of each foot, like in the photo.
Sew the four pieces onto the feet with narrow seams.
Iron them flat.
Cut out a piece of fabric (A), matching the curve of the head, and fit it inside the two horns.
It can be as long as you want the hair to be.
TIP: You can mark the outline first using a chalk pencil, then cut it out (like in the photo below)
With the A right sides, pin A to the inside of the body B.
Pin the body together.
Sew it together in a narrow hem, leaving it open where marked.
Turn the cow inside out.
TIP: use a pencil (the blunt eraser end, not the pointy one or you could poke through the fabric)
Cut the “hair” into little strips.
Then follow steps 8-10 above.
HIghland Cow Toy Pattern
The Big Sis