You can use old jeans, sewing scraps, and a little
imagination to create...
By Jody M. Wright
Would you like to make a unique toy for your children or a
gift for someone special? Something that will appeal to
toddler or teenager ...that's inexpensive and personal
...and that will challenge your resourcefulness and
creativity? If so, gather the following materials and
stitch up a dinosaur!
 Discarded Jeans. Two pairs of
adult-size denim jeans, faded about the same, so that the
pieces will match when they are put together and one pair
of children's jeans, brightly colored, for the mouth and
spikes on the spine.
 Felt. A 4" X 8" piece of black for the
eyes and a 1-1/2" X 6" scrap of pink or red for the tongue.
 Thread. A spool of blue
quilting thread to use when sewing the jeans (it's
stronger than the regular variety), and a spool of black
for the eyes.
 Self-adhering fastener (such as
Velcro). A 9" length of 1-1/2"-wide fastener to attach the
limbs securely to the body. (Perhaps you can recycle some
of this, too-say, from outgrown coats or tennis shoes.)
 Stuffing. Two bags of 16-ounce
polyester fiberfill. Shredded foam is economical but messy.
Or look around the house for such alternatives as old
stockings or leftover pieces of quilt batting.
 1/8" foam . This is to make the spikes
stand up along the spine. (Sometimes this foam is used as
packing material.) As an alternative, you can use some of
whatever material you're using for stuffing.
ENLARGE THE PATTERN
Rule a 2" grid on a large piece of wrapping or graph paper.
Then, using the diagram provided here, carefully copy the
design-one square at a time-onto the paper to produce a
CUT IT OUT
 Prepare the denim material by cutting the jeans open at
the inseam and spreading them flat, with right sides
together. Lay out the pattern pieces to make best use of
the denim, and cut out a total of two front panels, two
side panels, four legs, four arms, and eleven spikes.
 Cut the Velcro into three 3" strips, and then cut one
of the strips in half to be used on the arms.
 Cut two eyes and one tongue from the pieces of felt.
 From the child's jeans, cut the mouth (on the fold) and
 Cut eleven spikes and two eyelids from the foam.
PUT IT TOGETHER
 Spikes . Form the spikes by placing
one piece of denim and one piece of colored cloth with
their right sides together, then adding a piece of foam.
With the foam on the bottom, stitch the two curved sides,
clip the curves, and turn right side out. Make eleven of
 Eyelids . Place the right sides of the
denim together with the foam on the bottom side. Stitch
around the circle, clip the curves, and turn right side
 Eyes . Baste around the eyes, gather
by pulling the threads, and stuff.
 Body . With right sides together, sew
one of the front panels to one of the side panels. Stitch
the Velcro in place as indicated on the pattern. Repeat for
the other side.
 Spine and front seam . Alternating
blue denim with contrasting fabric, pin spikes along the
spine, pointing down. Pin the two front/side pieces, right
sides together, around the whole body. Stitch, leaving the
mouth and bottom areas open.
 Tongue and mouth . Attach the tongue
to the mouth. Pin the mouth in the open area on the face,
right sides together, and stitch. Clip curves. Turn the
entire body right side out.
 Arms and legs . Sew the Velcro strips
on the arms and legs as shown on the pattern. Place the
right sides together and stitch. Turn them right side out.
 Stuffing . Stuff the arms, legs, and
 Handwork . Close all open seams.
Attach the arms and legs to the body with the Velcro, then
tack around each limb to conceal the fastener. Turn the raw
edges of the eyelids under and sew them to the face, then
stitch the eyes in place under the eyelids, again turning
under the raw edges.
Now, who said dinosaurs are extinct?
One of MOTHER's staffers decided to whip up her own version
of Jody Wright's "Deno, "using materials she had at home.
She discovered she had only one pair of usable
jeans and—since they were women's size
nine—they would certainly not provide enough fabric
for this project. So, she dug around in the scrap bag and
came up with a remnant of duck-type cloth that would blend
with the denim and serve as a contrast.
By laying out the pattern carefully, the enterprising
seamstress managed to cut two front panels, two legs, two
arms, the eyelids, and eleven spikes out of the jeans. She
then cut the back panels, mouth, two more legs and arms (to
be used next to the body), and the eleven contrasting
spikes from the other material.
A piece of red-and-white-striped fabric formed
the tongue (there was no felt in the house), and two large
brass buttons added eye interest. (She had planned to
embroider the eyes-and would have done so if giving the
animal to a small child-but since her teenaged
daughter had already claimed the dinosaur for her
menagerie, the buttons were a safe enough solution.)
Bit s of leftover Velcro were used to
attach the arms and legs. (Though this make-do approach
worked, using the larger strips suggested by the author
would definitely be easier.)
The only stuffing on hand was a one-pound bag of
shredded foam, so this was used for the body,
limbs, and spikes. Admittedly, fiberfill and 1/8"
foam would be less messy, but the effect was quite
satisfactory. In fact, our designer decided she liked the
stuffed spikes better than those shaped with the 1/8" foam,
even though hers were probably more trouble to make.
Bringing Deno to life was a fun project, the staff er
concluded, but one that took more time than she'd bargained
for (about six hours all told). Then again, the hours
invested seemed a small enough sacrifice for creating a
companion far a lucky young person!