Introduction: Stuffed Hobbes (with Pattern)

Picture of Stuffed Hobbes (with Pattern)

The comic strip Calvin and Hobbes was wildly popular through its run in the papers. Like most people, I've always been a fan, and now my kids are as well. For Christmas a few years ago, I thought a stuffed Hobbes doll would make a great gift for one of my sons.

The artist of the strip, Bill Watterson, famously refused to allow his characters to be licensed and capitalize on their popularity, feeling that doing so would undermine the integrity of the strip. Despite obvious interest, Calvin and Hobbes merchandise was never available. Thankfully, you can buy all the comics in book form. I recommend picking up the box set if you don't already have it: Calvin and Hobbes box set on Amazon

Since you cannot buy a Hobbes doll, I figured I'd make my own!

For anyone interested in duplicating this Hobbes doll, I'm sharing the pattern I came up with for free. The pattern produces a Hobbes that is about 16 inches tall.

The pattern shared here is for personal, non-commercial use only.

My son loves his Hobbes and has been happily dragging him around for years. If you make one, please post a photo in the comments!

Step 1: Pattern

Picture of Pattern

I spent a while digging through my Calvin and Hobbes books studying the Hobbes character when he was in the stuffed-toy form.

Early versions of Hobbes were very cartoony, and things like the shape of the nose and the number and placement of stripes were not always consistent. His proportions also appear to have changed slightly over the years. Later versions were crisp, clean and very consistent in the features. I based my Hobbes doll off of pictures that appear in the later strips.

To create the pattern, I broke the doll down into separate basic shapes. After some trial and error, I had a pattern that yielded all the needed body parts that fit together to my liking.

This pattern requires creating and stuffing all of the different body parts separately, hand stitching them all in place, and then hand stitching all of the stripes in place individually.

If that wasn't completely clear, this project requires a ton of hand stitching. You've been warned!

Begin by printing out my homemade Hobbes pattern, preferably on stiff paper like card stock.

You will need about 1/3 yard of orange fleece, some little bits of black, and a couple small pieces of white. You will also need some polyester stuffing, poly stuffing beads if you want, two black 3/4" plastic buttons, and some thin black cording or yarn.

Step 2: Body

Picture of Body

Print and cut out all the pattern pieces, and tape the two pieces together that form the pattern piece for the body.

Use the pattern to cut out all the various shapes from fleece, according to the colors and number of pieces needed as indicated on the pattern.

Sew the white belly piece to one of the orange body pieces. I did mine on the machine with a zig-zag stitch, although now that the doll is finished I wish I had sewn it on by hand so it matched all the other exterior stitching on the doll.

With the white belly facing in, sew the two body pieces together along the longer sides only.

Sew the round orange bottom piece into the bigger end of the body section.

Turn the completed body right-side-out, and fill it with polyester stuffing, leaving the stuffing about 1/2" from the top. Hand stitch the top of the body closed as shown in the last photo.

I filled my Hobbes doll pretty firmly with stuffing, figuring it would break down and become more floppy over time. However firmly you choose to fill your doll, just make sure you do it consistently in all the different body parts. I didn't do it on anything but the tail, but you could add stuffing beads to the ends of various body parts to add weight if desired.

As far as seam allowances, I usually just line my material up with the right edge of the presser foot on my machine, which is about 1/4".

Step 3: Arms and Legs

Picture of Arms and Legs

Sew the white ends onto each arm and leg piece as shown in the photos.

I tested out sewing some stripes onto a practice arm (at the point shown in the third photo), but I didn't like the way the machine-stitched stripes looked on the completed arm. I decided to complete the entire Hobbes doll without stripes and sew them all on by hand at the end. This proved incredibly tedious, but allowed for very precise sizing and placement of stripes, which I appreciated.

Please examine the last three photos carefully if you have any questions on how the rounded ends of the arms and legs are accomplished.

Turn the arms and legs right side out, and fill with stuffing. Do not sew them shut at this point.

Step 4: Ears

Picture of Ears

Sew both pairs of ear pieces together, and turn them right-side-out.

To get a nice curve to the ears, fold the bottom half of each ear in half and place a few hand stitches to hold them in place, as shown in the photos.

Step 5: Head

Picture of Head

Sew all the pleats on both pieces of the head as shown in the photos and indicated on the pattern.

Before sewing the two head pieces together, sew the ears in place onto one of the head pieces, right side to right side, just outside of the top two pleats, as shown in the fifth photo. (The ears appear different because this was an earlier test piece, but the method is the same.)

Note that the pattern for the ear pieces is not round, but they will appear so once they are sewn into the head. I sewed the bottom 1/2-inch or so of each ear into the head . . . just a bit more than a typical seam allowance.

With the ears in place where you want them, sew the two halves of the head together, and turn right-side-out. Fill the head with stuffing, but do not sew it shut.

Step 6: Tail

Picture of Tail

Sew the tail pieces together in the same manner as the arms and legs, according to the pattern, and fill with stuffing. I added some stuffing beads to the end of the tail to add some weight so it would flop around.

Step 7: Attach Head to Body

Picture of Attach Head to Body

To attach the head to the body, begin by folding in about 1/2" of the fabric at the bottom of the head, like in the second photo.

Use orange thread to hand stitch the head in place. Nice, tight slipstitches work best for this, as well as for attaching the arms, legs and tail to the body. Learn how to do the slipstitch right here. (Thank you jessyratfink.)

I didn't like the way the head looked after my first attempt (shown in the first photo), so I took it off and added more stuffing and then re-sewed it in place. The extra stuffing helped create a more defined transition from head to body, which I thought more closely matched the Hobbes doll as he appeared in the strip.

Step 8: Prep Arms for Attaching to Body

Picture of Prep Arms for Attaching to Body

Use a needle and thread to nip and tuck the arms as shown to create a shape similar to what is shown here in the first three photos.

Examine photos 4 - 7 carefully to see the steps I took to achieve this shape. The completed arm should be about 5 inches long.

Step 9: Prep Legs for Attaching to Body

Picture of Prep Legs for Attaching to Body

Sew the tops of the legs shut as shown in the photos.

I guess it's not completely necessary to do it this way, but I thought it was nice and tidy.

Step 10: Attach Arms and Legs to Body

Picture of Attach Arms and Legs to Body

Use a needle and thread to attach the arms and legs to the body as shown. A curved upholstery needle may make things a bit easier when you're working in the tight crevices where the arms and legs meet the body.

When the arms are attached, they should be positioned about 3/4" down from the head, and about 1/4" away from the white belly.

Disregard the muzzle showing in these photos. It was a first attempt which I wasn't happy with, so it was removed and replaced with a new one which is shown in the next step.

Step 11: Muzzle

Picture of Muzzle

Begin the muzzle by sewing all the pleats as indicated on the pattern piece.

I recommend hand stitching the nose and mouth in place before attaching the muzzle to the head. I used a simple whipstitch (thanks again jessy) to attach the nose to muzzle, and muzzle to head, as well as for attaching all the stripes later on.

The mouth was made with some thin black cording and was stitched in place with a heavier needle.

Stitch the muzzle in place, but leave the bottom inch or so open. Fill it with stuffing and then stitch it all the way closed.

Step 12: Eyes

Picture of Eyes

I wanted to use buttons for the eyes, but I couldn't find any in the shape was looking for.

I ended up buying some simple black plastic buttons that were 3/4" in diameter, and used a sanding attachment on my Dremel to carefully sand them down to the oval shape seen in the photos.

You could sand them down by hand, but it's much quicker with a Dremel. Just be careful, work slowly, and don't sand off your finger tips.

Stitch the eyes in place, positioning them as shown in the photos.

Step 13: Stripes

Picture of Stripes

The two bottom-most stripes on the both the arms and legs, and the five stripes on the tail are all made from 3/4" strips of fleece.

The upper-most stripes on the legs were made from strips that were about 1/2" wide.

All other stripes were custom made as I went along, but I've included them in the PDF pattern. (You're welcome!)

Hand stitching on all of the stripes is a tedious process, but it's rewarding each time you see a newly completed stripe and you're one step closer to a completed Hobbes.

In the pattern, I've numbered and labled all the stripes to help you know where to put them. Note that the first stripe below the neck stripe is number 1 in the pattern, and so on down his back. Note that depending on the placement of your arms and legs, you may need to make adjustments to the size and shape of the back stripes, mainly numbers 1, 2, and 6.

The tail is the one piece of the body I left off until the very end. It was easier to sew the stripes onto it first, and then attach it to the body after.

Take a close look at all of the photos for placement of the stripes.

Step 14: Accessories

Picture of Accessories

No homemade Hobbes would be complete without at least a few accessories.

Through the strip, Hobbes is seen wearing a variety of different things. I made him a tie, a Calvinball mask with flag, and his classic red scarf. Maybe I'll get around to making him some other items as well when I get a chance. (A cool sombrero, perhaps?)

For anyone that decides to make this, I'd love to get some feedback on how it goes. Please let me know if there are any parts that need more clarification or detail.

My kids love it. I'm kind of nervous that they're going to destroy it, but I guess I could always fix it, or at least make a new one . . .

Let me know what you think, and if you make yourself a Hobbes doll please post a photo in the comments below!

Comments

seamster (author)2013-11-19

For anyone having trouble finding the link to the pattern, here it is:

seamster's Stuffed Hobbes Pattern

tashabirdie (author)seamster2017-11-24

Thank you so much! This will make a little girl's Christmas!

NicoleL121 made it! (author)2017-12-12

Thanks so much for the pattern! My boyfriend loves Calvin and Hobbes so I made him the doll for Christmas since you can’t really buy it anywhere. It’s not perfect but I definitely think it looks good for my first time ever using a needle and thread! Lolol

seamster (author)NicoleL1212017-12-12

Excellent! Nice to see how it turned out!

Glad you found this helpful, and thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. Always makes my day :)

PortalCube13 (author)2017-11-27

How did you do the muzzle? Mine is really small and doesn't cover as much of the face as I would like . . .

seamster (author)PortalCube132017-11-28

Hmm. All of the info I have about the process is in step 11. There are dozens of of photos of people's Hobbeses here in the comment section . . does yours look nothing like any of these that others have made?

Perhaps you can share a photo of your muzzle so I can see where you're at with it, and maybe that way I can offer some assistance.

MaryP204 made it! (author)2017-11-06

Well, I made Hobbs for my daughter in high school, but now another member of our family wants one, so off to my sewing machine. It's so fun to see them love him, just like Calvin. It's a hard pattern though. Thanks.

seamster (author)MaryP2042017-11-06

Hi Mary,

Thank you for the photo and comment. I always appreciate it! :)

I'm glad you found this and were able to make one.. and now another!! Cheers!

marymaxx made it! (author)2017-10-13

Thanks for the wonderful instructions! I was able to make a most satisfactory Hobbes and am now working on a second one. Son-in-law saw the one i made my grown son and fell in love!

I like how the head came out slightly tilted. I considered redoing it, but i think it looks more expressive this way! I used beans in his bottom and the end of his tail to make him easier to position on a shelf.

seamster (author)marymaxx2017-10-13

Awesome! He looks so good, very well done.

Thank you for the photos!! :)

bttrcup93 made it! (author)2017-10-01

I made this for my 20-year-old son who was overjoyed to receive it last Christmas. I couldn't fine the nice orange fleece that was just the right tone and I made the eyes from fleece. I'm proud I actually finished it. This was my first try at this amount of hand-sewing.

Thank you for the awesome tutorial and pictures.

seamster (author)bttrcup932017-10-01

Awesome! Thank you for the sharing the photo!! Always makes my day. Cheers! :)

Miss Pascal made it! (author)2017-09-01

My very first sewing project (and probably my last - those stripes were a LOT of work), but I really wanted to make this for my little nephew/godson. I couldn't be happier with the result. My nephew loves his Hobbes (as does his dad, a big Calvin&Hobbes-fan). Thank you very much for the pattern!

seamster (author)Miss Pascal2017-09-01

Nice work!! Thanks for the photos, it's always awesome to see a new Hobbes enter the world :)

just4sally made it! (author)2017-08-26

Thanks for the pattern - very helpful! My son wanted a Hobbes to talk to, but wanted him bigger than your pattern - so printed it at 150% and he also wanted different material (he chose a non-fluffy/furry polyester material), it took longer because I had to turn under the edges on all the stripes, but he loves him so it was worth it! I also decided to embroider the eyes...

seamster (author)just4sally2017-08-28

That looks awesome! Glad you found the pattern and were able to make this! :)

ashervivi88 made it! (author)2017-08-27

Thanks for the detailed instructions + template! This was my first-ever sewing project and I really liked how it turned out. I hand sewed all of it and made my own polymer clay buttons (glazed with clear nail polish) for the eyes.

seamster (author)ashervivi882017-08-28

Nice!!

I love that you made the eye-buttons from scratch; that sounds like a great option. Thank you for the comment and photo! :)

champ12345 (author)2017-08-15

cute

SaumyaS17 made it! (author)2017-07-28

Made this for my boyfriend two years ago, and he still thinks it was the best present ever. Planning to make another one for my best friend.

Thanks for such detailed and clear instructions.

seamster (author)SaumyaS172017-07-28

Very cool! Your Hobbes looks excellent : )

LeafsWillWin (author)2017-06-01

Hi I noticed that you stated that if you were to redo the body you wouldn't have done the zig zag stitch. What if it was a single line using the sewing machine instead? How close can you get to the edge with that? Would that even work? Or what stitch would someone recommend for the hand stitch? I just don't understand how a hand stitch could possibly be better than the machine. I don't know too much about sewing but would love to make this for my first kid due in July. Thanks!

seamster (author)LeafsWillWin2017-07-12

The machine zigzag stretched out the area where the white belly meets the body, and made it wavy. If I made another, I'd hand sew it to avoid that issue, but also so all visible stitches were done by hand, just for sake of uniformity. That's the reasoning for me, but I think a straight machine stitch would work just fine. Good question - sorry for the slow response!

BjN3 (author)2017-07-12

It's really cool, but seems difficult to make...

Creativa03 made it! (author)2017-04-07

Thanks Seamster for sharing the pattern!

I'm finished and I am very happy with the results

I used fleece black for the eyes, I changed the shape of the nose (so that it does not look very triangular) and I distributed the arms and legs according to what I wanted

It has been an experience!

Fuzzy Monkey made it! (author)2017-03-15

Finished this a few weeks ago, and thought I would share because it turned out great! I gave him as a present to my boyfriend who loved Calvin and Hobbes and he was really touched. Thanks so much for sharing your pattern!

seamster (author)Fuzzy Monkey2017-03-15

Your Hobbes looks so good!! I love the fuzzy parts as well as the expression. Good work!

The boyfriend is a lucky guy to get a handmade Hobbes like this - awesome to see how it turned out! Thanks for sharing the photos : )

Fuzzy Monkey (author)seamster2017-03-21

Thanks so much!

ftleung made it! (author)2017-03-02

Forgot to show completed images of the Hobbes 2.0 & 2.1 (3rd and 4th versions).

ftleung made it! (author)2017-03-02

The Hobbes Evolution....

I first attempted to make Hobbes a couple years back using felt (far left). That was a terrible choice. I was just too eager to start, and I grabbed whatever I could. The felt material will just allow knots to slip through the fabric causing it to fall apart. Also, very thick and no elasticity. Nevertheless, I learned a lot making the process for future Hobbeses much easier.

Second one, Hobbes 1.0 was for more my daughter (middle Hobbes in 1st photo). Pretty much stuck to Seamster's instructions. I changed the position of the legs however to be more forward facing. That was difficult to line up seams. Also, I added a lot of "beans" to the base so that he could lean forward without flopping over.

I made a third for my brother for his 45th birthday. On that one, I decided to make the stripes on his back and head slightly wavy to give it a more tiger-like appearance... a departure from the comic strip for sure, but pleasant to the eye. What do you think?

A fourth iteration was completed for my son, who gave me a strict timeline to complete it.... before 2017! I completed it a day before his birthday 12/29. On this one I decided to recess his eyes a bit. Still was not completely satisfied, but it saves me from manually shaping the head and pushing in the eyes on a daily basis.

Still have three more to complete.... my oldest brother's, oldest daughter's,.... AND one for myself naturally!

Seamster, you rule!

seamster (author)ftleung2017-03-02

Wow, these represent a lot of work!!

You've clearly gone into production mode with all these Hobbeses! Well done, and thanks for the photos :)

ftleung made it! (author)2016-02-26

Made it for my daughter last year... I am in the process of making one for each of my brothers, but have since lost some steam. Missed Christmas, and now aiming for their birthdays. Thanks for the instructable!

Creativa03 (author)ftleung2017-03-01

Hi! ftleung

I would like to know what material you used for your eyes ??

ftleung (author)Creativa032017-03-01

Hello Creativa03,

Thanks for the question. I just used some buttons... I believe 3/4 inch diameter. Not sure if the picture shows, but they have a smoky grey swirl. I thought they looked nicer than a set of matte, solid black buttons.

As the original instructions stated, it is hard to find oval buttons. So I filed these down by hand. Probably would have been easier with a Dremel.

Good luck!

Creativa03 (author)ftleung2017-03-02

Thanks for the answer!! :) I'm doing a Hobbes....I hope to show the photo very soon to Seamster...I feel that I am cultivating patience hahaha

seamster (author)ftleung2016-02-26

You're very welcome, and thank you for sharing the photo of your finished Hobbes!

It always makes my day to see another homemade Hobbes! :)

MatthewM97 (author)2017-02-10

Thanks for the pattern, about to give it a go. What type of stitches did you use for the stripes (apologizes if you mentioned it, I didn't have any luck finding it)?

seamster (author)MatthewM972017-02-10

Hi,

I mention it pretty briefly in step 11 - but it's easy to miss. I used a basic whipstitch for the stripes. Good luck, be sure to post a photo when you're done! :)

Joyzmom (author)2017-02-03

The pattern was easy to follow and sewed pretty quickly. What took the longest was the stripes!! All hand sewn. I found it was easier to see them on with a curved needle. I also glued the arms legs and tail on before stitching because it was going to a 7 year old boy I used fabritac. Thanks for the pattern!!!

seamster (author)Joyzmom2017-02-03

Excellent! Nice to see how your Hobbes turned out. Thanks for the photos! : )

Joyzmom made it! (author)2017-02-03

I made him for my nephew. His sister made a scarf for him

AmandaH204 (author)2017-01-18

I did it ! For my brother's birthday, my 3 years old son is Calvin and now have his Hobbes ! For a huge fan like me it's just perfect !

seamster (author)AmandaH2042017-01-18

Yay! Very cool, nice to see the photo of your finished hobbes!

Thanks for taking the time to share a photo. This always makes my day! :)

san2007x1 made it! (author)2017-01-14

I made mines but I marked the stripes. I just made it out of boredness but now I LOVE IT SO MUCH. Thanks!

seamster (author)san2007x12017-01-15

Looks good, thanks for the photo! :)

Pegasaur (author)2017-01-08

Thanks so much for this! Have been wanting to make it since my daughter got into the comic strip and FINALLY hunkered down with 1 week before her 8th birthday. Am not a seamstress by any means but was able to follow your detailed instructions and happy I did!!! Thank you!!

seamster (author)Pegasaur2017-01-08

Very nice! Your Hobbes looks so warm and fuzzy! Thanks for the photos and the comment. I always love to get these notes, so thank you! :)

Pegasaur (author)seamster2017-01-09

Forgot to mention I used the plush type of fleece to make it that much more huggable, but word of wisdom to those that are tempted-- that material sheds impressively while cutting and sewing. Testimony of how popular this item is: my two boys are requesting a Hobbes now too!! Yikes...

SarahS173 made it! (author)2016-11-27

My mom and I made a Hobbes for one of my favorite hockey players on the Colorado Avalanche (his first name is Calvin, it was a must). I neglected to get a photo of him with his Hobbes but he says he likes it!
Mom had to do most of the sewing and it took a long time, but overall totally worth it. We will be making a couple more for friends in the near future. Instructions were generally easy to follow!

seamster (author)SarahS1732017-01-08

Very nice! Glad you made one. Thank you for the photos and message, I always appreciate hearing from people who make this :)

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