Richard Scarry was a favourite author of mine when I was a child, and I was delighted to hear that a children's television show based on his books, Busytown Mysteries, was going to be produced and aired on Kids' CBC. I was even more delighted when my two year old nephew fell in love with both the books and the television show.
Lowly Worm was and is my favourite Busytown character too. When I was young, I was intrigued by his apple car, and I loved trying to spot him on the pages of the books. As an adult, I appreciate that he both reflects and inspires kids' creativity: he becomes a much needed skipping rope in a story, and a child later uses a skipping rope in real life to mark an imaginary shoreline.
To indulge our mutual love of Lowly Worm, I created a cuddly and posable Lowly Worm stuffy. This project would be a bit tricky for a preschooler, but could easily be completed by slightly older kids with just a bit of assistance. For parents, it is an easy and quick craft to make, especially if you choose to use fabric glue instead of sewing him together.
To make your own cuddly and flexible Lowly Worm you will need:
- a large piece of cream or tan coloured felt (at least 9' by 12' inches)
- pieces of dark green, red, light blue, felt
- small scraps of yellow, white and black felt
- two pipecleaners
- a small amount of polyfill stuffing
- a needle and various colours of thread, or fabric glue
- pins (if sewing)
- a pencil and paper
- a black permanent marker (optional)
1. Make a paper pattern for Lowly's body by drawing a long, skinny "bubble L" on the fold of a piece of paper ("L" is for Lowly Worm). Cut out. This will form the basis for Lowly's body:
Pin pattern to cream felt, and cut out:
2. Create the pattern for Lowly's shoe by drawing a short, squat, bubble "L" onto the fold of a piece of paper. Cut out and open:
Pin pattern onto red felt, and cut shoe out.
3. Pin red shoe to the bottom of Lowly's body. Glue or whipstitch shoe to body.
4. Cut out rectangular strips of green, blue, and white felt. Each strip should be as wide as Lowly's open body. The green piece (Lowly's pant) should be the longest, followed by a shorter blue strip (his shirt), and a narrow white strip (his collar). Pin each piece onto Lowly's body, and whipstitch or glue into place.
5. Cut out a two round eyes from white felt, and two slightly smaller circles from black felt for pupils. Glue or stitch black felt on top of white felt. Fold Lowly's body together, right sides facing out, and glue or stitch an eye to each side of Lowly's face:
Use a pencil to sketch a smile onto either side of Lowly's face. Use a chain stitch and black embroidery thread to embroider mouth, or simply trace over the pencil line with black permananent marker.
6. Sandwich two pipecleaners between the sides of Lowly's body. Trim pipecleaners so that they are equal length to the length from the bottom of Lowly's shoe to the top of his neck. Pin body together.
7. Blanket stitch Lowly's body closed, adding small amounts of fiberfill stuffing as you go. If using glue instead of stitching, add the stuffing when you add the pipecleaners, and glue body together. You may need to pin or hold the body in place for a few minutes while the glue dries.
8. Create Lowly's bowtie by cutting a small rectangle out of red felt. Pinch rectangle together in centre to form a bow shape:
Create a band for the bow by cutting a small strip of red felt, and wrapping it around the centre of the bow. Stitch or glue band into place, and then stitch or glue the bow to Lowly's body just underneath his chin.
9. Create Lowly's hat. Cut out a narrow rectangular strip of yellow felt for his hand band, and two bell shapes from green felt to form the hat itself:
Place the two green hat pieces on top of one another, right sides facing, and glue or stitch around the top and side edges, leaving the bottom open. Turn hat right side out, and glue or stitch yellow felt around the lower mid section of the hat to create the hat band. Place hat on to Lowly's head, and if desired, secure with a few stitches or a bit of glue.
10. You're finished! Bend, explore, and imagine what your Lowly Worm can be. "L" is for Lowly Worm:
"C" is for creativity:
And "T" is for telephone. Here is an example of Lowly doing what he does best; becoming something else: