For Christmas I made my daughter a super-cozy robe. I had fabric leftover and planned on making a matching octopus stuffie to go with it. I wanted to incorporate other senses into it besides softness, like a pocket for Hot Hands, to offer a warm buddy to hold or read with. As I thought more about this and the design shape, I thought it would also be nice to fill it with buckwheat and lavender, which smells when you squeeze it, but certainly even more if it is heated! I wanted a light in there as well. Not a reading light, say with its eyes, as she may think that is creepy, but just a friendly glow.
Step 1: Creating the Pattern
I know what an octopus looks like, I mean, I know it has 8 arms with suction cups on the inside so that it can scale up your shower wall, and a big bulbous head with eyes way down low that makes it obvious it came from another planet... but I think I want some reference pictures before I create the pattern out of muslin. Lemme go type "octopus" in the box 8" above and see what I find.....
Step 2: These Look Promising!
Well, since this is supposed to be a cute and cozy stuffie, maybe the pink one on the bottom will be more suitable.
Thinking about the shape and the seams, I think I want to segment the head into 4 pieces, each with 2 arms. Think of an orange, if you cut it into 4 segments and then laid them flat, what would they look like? Then add two long legs, plus seam allowances for everything. I'll go draw out on muslin, cut out and sew it all together, and see how it looks. Maybe something that looks like a spoon with 2 legs, x 4.
Step 3: Muslin Test, Then Cut for Real
This is the shape I ended up with after sewing 4 of my first drafts together. Very similar to my original, I just fattened the head a bit and elongated the arms.
Now I cut 4 with the plush grey fabric.
This stuff is pretty messy when cut. Sheds everywhere!
Step 4: Now for the Inside
I folded the head of the muslin to square it off. I don't want the same shape on the inside. Rather, I want a smaller pocket to contain one heat pad and a light source/battery.
I like this blue fabric that I lined her robe with; it kind of mimics the suction cups!
Step 5: Pin and Sew
I sew just the head sides to each segment, right where the pins begin and end.
This stretchy, messy fabric gets sewn with the serger, 2 needles/4 cones.
As I finish attaching the last segments together to complete the head, I sew across the top and a little onto the opposite seam, pushing the very top of head to the right, into the machine, to catch all the fabric, closing up the hole.
I think I need to clean my camera lens!
Step 6: Put It All Together
I stitch 4 sets of blue arms together, then slip over grey body, so that the right sides of both fabric are touching.
I stitched with the blue on top as it is less stretchy than the grey.
Both of these fabrics have pile, so I put a few pins in and checked the placement as I was sewing.
Turned right side out. The blunt end of a chopstick works great.
Step 7: Buckwheat and Lavender
Now I need to fill the arms full of buckwheat and lavender.
Why buckwheat and lavender?
I made a lot of Japanese style pillows and filled them with buckwheat and lavender. Some people really like them and is all they will sleep with. It is what I sleep on as well, so I bought a huge bag of it and lavender. Lavender is soothing, relaxing and all that good stuff. Here is an interesting write-up I just found about the benefits of buckwheat pillows.
Filling the arms took a little more time than I originally figured; the buckwheat is light and flaky and so needs to be pushed down to the bottom,rather then just falling on its own accord. I used a chopstick for pushing through the funnel and a large knitting needle head to push down through the arms. It smelled so great while I was doing this!
I left about an inch unfilled as I still had stuff to do with the head.
Step 8: Eyeballs and Other Cuteness
Using the pink octopus as my guide, I hand-sewed some white and purple felt on, then used black yarn for some details to make it all pop. I thought purple lips would look best and had some yarn scraps to create them.
Step 9: Lights!
I have this cool strand of red LED lights with a coin cell battery holder that I got from Adafruit.
I decided to divide the strand in half and make two coiled bunches, and sew those up against each cheek.
I then stuffed the head with about 3 cups of the lavender/buckwheat mix, also topping off the arms.
After I finished that I sewed 3 pieces of boning along the 3 edges of the pocket. This would give me a rigid pocket that when flipped inside the octopus would stay there.
Pocket stitched closed with battery holder just on the outside.
Step 10: Cute!
I love the way she is blushing!
The pocket turned in very easily. I put the battery holder in first, then the handwarmer in second to show what it looks like. This is an old one. There are new ones in that package. I love those things. Once you take them out of the package they stay warm for at least 8 hours!
I can't wait 'til her Birthday in several days to give this to her! She's never had an eight-armed stuffie and I think she'll just adore this Sensorific Octopus!