How to Make a Cute Owl Glasses Case – Embroidery “In The Hoop”

Owl Glasses Case - Project Overview

I have been hunting for a project to make useful and reasonably priced gifts for my Etsy shop for some time.  I hope these cute owl glasses cases will make nice presents – suitable for both men and women.  I thought it was about time I offered something for the men in our lives?!

I am new to “in the hoop” (ITH) embroidery, so this was a first for me.  I learned a lot during the creative process and can now share some of my tricks and tips with you.

I made these glasses case using a pattern supplied by The Embroidery Garden.  The pattern comes with detailed instructions, but brief step-by-step instructions are given below so you can get an idea what is involved and how to get started if you want to make your own owl glasses case.

There are two designs available.  I made the large sized one – suitable for sunglasses.  You can add a closure if you like, but I though this spoiled the look of the owl a bit, so I chose not to.

The pattern appealed to me not just because of the really cute owl shape/design but also because  there really is no sewing involved except the closure of the turning opening at the end.  The glasses case is genuinely all made “In the Hoop”.

Step by Step Instructions

What You Will Need:

Owl Glasses Case materials
Owl Glasses Case - Materials

You will also need a piece of water soluble stabiliser large enough to fit your hoop with enough overlap to enable you to pull it tightly and firmly.

I used Madeira Avalon Plus with good results.

Owl Glasses Case - Water Soluble Stabiliser (WSS)
Water Soluble Stabiliser

Embroidery Sewing Machine

You will also need an embroidery sewing machine.  I use a Bernina 580, but there are many other brands to choose from.  You need a machine that is not just capable of basic embroidery but one which has an embroidery attachment capable of taking a dedicated hoop.

Each machine uses a different embroidery file type and you usually need to specify which filetype you want to purchase when you buy and download an embroidery design.  Bernina uses EXP files.

Video - How to Make An Owl Glasses Case - Step-by-Step

If you are the sort who likes to SEE how to make something rather than READ through all the instructions, then this short video captures all the basic steps involved in making an owl glasses case “In the Hoop”.

Owl Glasses Case "In the Hoop" - Step-by-Step

  1. Wash and starch your fabrics.
  2. Hoop your water soluble stabiliser.
  3. Get your sewing machine ready for embroidery:
    1. Drop the Feed Dogs
    2. Load your embroidery bobbin with bobbinfil
    3. Insert your embroidery needle – use a new needle for each project
    4. Load your design onto your sewing machine and perform a check to ensure you are using the right sized hoop.
  4. Find the centre of the hoop, using the template supplied with your sewing machine.
  5. Place a piece of batting on the hoop and the fabric for the front on top of that.
  6. Now – you are ready to start embroidering.  The design sews a tack line and placement circles for the eyes. You can remove the hoop now and place your eye fabric over the guidelines. 
  7. When the eyes are stitched with a zig zag, trim the surplus material away, then sew the rims of the eyes and the centres.
  8. Change your thread – if you like – to sew the belly quilting and beak,
  9. Now place your pocket over the design, stitch in place and then place your back over the whole design.
  10. The design completes by stitching a firm line all the way around  the edge to make the owl shape.
  11. You turn the design out through the opening left at the bottom.  Press lightly and then hand sew the opening closed.
  12. Turn again to reveal the front of your owl – all now nicely embroidered – and the pocket at the back to hold your glasses.
  13. A last press and your owl glasses case is good to go!
Owl Glasses Case
Owl Glasses Case "ITH"
Owl Glasses Case - The Eyes
The Eyes Have It!
Owl Glasses Case - Eyes and Belly
Owl Glasses Case - Eyes and Belly
Owl Glasses Case - Wings
Place the Wing Fabric
Owl Glasses Case - Tack the Wings
Tack the Wings in Place
Owl Glasses Case - Cut Away Wings
Cut Away the Surplus Fabric

Tips and Tricks

  1. It is a fact of life that thread breaks when you are doing embroidery.  It is really annoying when it happens – but easily retrievable.  I got experienced at backtracking through the design stitch by stitch to find where the thread broke and then starting again where I left off to achieve a perfect finish.
  2. The golden rule with “in the hoop” embroidery is that you can remove the hoop from the machine as many times as you like during the embroidery process.  As long as you never remove the material from the hoop or alter its placement, then your sewing machine will faithfully return to the same point each time and sew out the design faultlessly.  Once you have removed the fabric from the hoop though, it is game over!
  3. You do need to trim the surplus fabric away very close to the stitching line, otherwise, you will be left with ragged little ends that show through your final embroidery in an unsightly way.  I did sew the wings and eyes a couple of times on two of my designs because I wasn’t quite happy with the finish.  Non fray fabrics like felt work really well for the eyes and wings – linens/cottons are a bit more of a challenge.
  4. Don’t be tempted to miss out the step of starching your fabrics.  It really does help to stabilise them and achieve a professional looking finish.
  5. My cutting mat got full of threads and fluff after I had cut out all the fabric for this project.  I cleaned it using a solution of a 1/4 cup of white vinegar to a gallon of water in the bath using a toothbrush.  A soft eraser is also useful to remove any stubborn threads.  Your cutting mat really should last a lifetime if you look after it well!
  6. If ever you need reassurance that you can sew thick fabrics with ease, then I do urge you to watch this very funny You Tube Video … Go on – you know you want to…?

Heart Up-Cycling!

Heart Upcycling Logo

This project was a great way to use up the growing pile of fabric remnants I am slowly accumulating.

I found fabrics with a weight to them nicest to work with – velvets, corduroy and denim all worked well to give a nice firm case that holds a pair of sunglasses securely – especially when bolstered by the cotton batting.

I was a bit worried that the fabric sandwich might be too think for the sewing machine to handle, but it coped brilliantly.  

Owl Glasses Case Jaunty Jeany
Jaunty Jeany - made from a pair of old denim jeans
Owl Glasses Case Denim Jeans
One Pair of Old Jeans - so many ways to up-cycle them!
Owl Glasses Case - Back Velvet Skirt
A Black Velvet Skirt ...
Owl Glasses Case - Sparkly Woven Skirt
and a Sparkly Woven Skirt ...
Owl Glasses Case Chicy Beeky
become ... "Chicy Beaky"!
  • I am still working my way through the bumper bag of remnants that my neighbour Mich donated to me last year.  She will recognise several of her fabrics given a new lease of life in my owls.

Would you like your own Owl Glasses Case?

If you like these cases, but don’t have time/resources to make one for yourself, then visit my Etsy shop.

Working with up-cycled fabrics means everything I make is unique – you will never find another like it.  When they are gone, they are gone!

I donate all my profits to support the valuable work at Birmingham St. Mary’s Hospice.

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