Guest Project — Dragon Tails {sewing tutorial}

9 Mar
My name is Jessica from Running With Scissors and I’m so thrilled to be guesting here today!
  My blog is just a collection of projects I’ve been working on as I run around sewing, crafting, refinishing furniture, painting, building furniture, and trying to decorate, all for the least amount of money possible.  Being cheap motivates a lot of my creativity.
Being a mom also gives me a lot of inspiration, making things for my toddler son and our baby girl due in a few weeks.
Today I’ll be showing you how to make 
dinosaur (or dragon) tails!

**Please be respectful of my designs and only use this tutorial for
personal use.  Not intended for commercial sale or manufacture, even on a
home based scale.
Make them for yourself or as gifts, but I’d appreciate not using my design and instructions for profit.

This is a simple, fun, toy for kids.  I designed these tails with two straps that wrap around their waist with velcro in front making it easy for them to get them on and off themselves.

These have been fun during these long winter months when we have to play inside.  My boy has “dino fights” with his dad where he wiggles his bum to use the tail as a sword…it’s pretty cute.
1/2 to 3/4 yard main fabric– pretty much any fabric that’s not stretchy (this yellow is polyester lining)
1/4 yard spike fabric
5″ velcro
Polyfil batting (small bag)

tail: (cut 2): 22″ x 11″
waist straps: (cut 4): 12″ x 3″
circle: 7″ in diameter
(*I cut a 7″ square, fold it in fourths, then cut the curve from fold to fold)
spikes (cut 2): 22″ x 3.5″
1. Trim tail strips
Taking your two strips 22″ x 11″, lay them face down.  On one end you’ll measure 4.5″ from each side.  The two inches left in the middle will be the tip of the tail.
On the other end, you’ll measure 4″ along the sides as a marker.  Connect these two markings to create a diagonal for the cone shape of the tail.  Cut off the triangular sides and throw them away.

2. Make Spike Strip
NOTE: To make the spikes easier, you could cut 1 strip out of felt or fleece and just cut out a spike strip leaving the raw edges that won’t fray, rather than sewing your spikes with 2 strips of fabric.
Take your two spike strips and lay them right sides together.  Draw a row of triangles along the strip for the tail spikes.  Begin at one end and work your way to the other, making the spikes shorter and narrower.  I left about 1/2″ between each spike.
Sew along your spike line.  When you get to the corners it helps to pivot by dropping your needle down into the fabric, lift your presser foot, move the fabric, then start sewing again.
Once your spikes are sewn, trim along your sewn line with 1/4″ seam allowance along the whole strip.
Next, you’ll need to trim the seam allowances to make it easier to turn the spikes right side out.
On the top of the spikes, you’ll trim off the point, being careful not to snip through your seam.
In between each spike, you’ll snip diagonally into each corner, once again don’t snip through your sewing. 

Then you can turn the whole strip of spikes right side out, using a pen lid, knitting needle, etc. to push the tips of the points out.  Iron your spike strip nice and flat.

3. Sew Tail Body
First we’ll sew the spikes to one piece of the tail.  Pin the largest spike to the tall side of your tail piece, lining up the raw edges.
Sew the spike strip to the tail piece with 1/4″ seam allowance.  This is just basting, or tacking the pieces together.
Next, put your second tail piece so right sides are together, with the spike strip in the middle of the sandwich.
You’ll sew down the spike strip again, this time with 1/2″ seam allowance, making sure you sew past the troughs so there is a space between each spike when you turn it right side out.
Also, sew a slight curve as you go around the tip of the tail.
When you sew around to the other side, you’ll need to stop your seam to leave a hole for turning the tail right side out later.  I leave about 4 to 5″ unsewn underneath the spikes.  This way, it’s on the bottom of the tail.
4. Sew Waist Straps
Take your 4 strips for the waist straps and put 2 right sides together.  This will give you two sets.
You’ll sew down a long side, across the short, and up the other long side on each set.  Use 1/2″ seam allowance.
Then you’ll need to snip off the corners, being careful not to cut through your seam.
Next you’ll turn each strap right side out, pushing out the corners with a pen lid or knitting needle.
I like to top-stitch the edges to make the straps lay nice and flat.  For this tail I used a zig-zag stitch with contrasting thread, but you could always just sew a straight stitch.
The last step to make your waist strap is to sew your velcro pieces to each end.   Center the velcro in the center of your strap and 1/2″  from the very end.
5. Complete Tail Construction
To close the large end of the taill, first mark the quarters by lining up the top (spike) seam with the bottom seam and pinning the folds on the sides.

Next you’ll pin your waist straps inside the tail.  Pin the straps to the quarter side marks.
The important thing to remember is the velcro has to be pinned opposite so the straps will match up around the waist.  So put one waist strap with velcro down on the right side of the tail, then pin the other waist strap with the veclro facing up into the cavity of the tail.
Sew the straps to the sides of the tail 1/4″ from edge. 
To finish off the tail, you’ll pin your circle fabric (with the right side facing into the tail) around the large tail opening.  I fold my circle in quarters so I have a crease vertically and across to use as a guide to pin to the two seams (top and bottom) then line up with the waist straps on the sides.
Next you sew around your circle with 1/2″ seam allowance.
6. Stuff and Finish
At this point your dino tail is sewn and you can turn it right side out through the hole you left on the bottom seam.  Your velcro waist straps should be oriented to match and stick together, and your spikes should stand up out of the top seam.
Next you’ll stuff your tail with Poly-fil batting.  The density of your stuffing does determine how the tail will look.  I stuffed this yellow tail tighter than the blue or green tails, and I noticed it stood almost straight out from the boy’s back, where leaving the stuffing a little looser makes a more droopy tail.  Whichever you prefer.
Once your tail is stuffed to your liking, pin the hole closed underneath.  I chose to just machine sew the seam shut, but it would probably look best to hand-sew the seam closed to allow it to lay flat. 
Then you’re finished!  Now you can whip out a whole set with different colors!
Some ideas for variation:
length: it’s easy to make the tail longer or shorter, by cutting the tail and spike pieces longer than 22″, but all the same length. 
felt or fleece spikes: as mentioned ealier in tutorial, you could make the tail even easier by cutting felt or fleece spikes with one layer rather than sewing/ turning 2 pieces of fabric
make it girly: you could make a more feminine tail for little girls by making the spikes rounded scallops rather than pointed spikes
printed fabrics: I stuck with bright solids, but textured or printed fabrics would look awesome too.

var _gaq = _gaq || [];
_gaq.push([‘_setAccount’, ‘UA-17358383-1’]);
(function() {
var ga = document.createElement(‘script’); ga.type = ‘text/javascript’; ga.async = true;
ga.src = (‘https:’ == document.location.protocol ? ‘https://ssl’ : ‘http://www’) + ‘’;
var s = document.getElementsByTagName(‘script’)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s);

Oh my goodness – that is so cute! 
I love those Dino tails!! 
Thanks Jessica!! 
Check out the fun ideas at Running with Scissors:
Be sure to check out the wonderful ideas on  
PS – the winners of last week’s giveaways have been announced over on the


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: