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, 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.

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 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!

2015 Edit: If you happened to see the story about the lost stuffed Hobbes tiger at the Tampa International Airport and all his ensuing adventures with the airport staff, that Hobbes was made from this pattern! Woo-hoo!

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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 I'm guessing is about 1/4".

Step 3: 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

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

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

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!
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seamster (author) 1 year ago
For anyone having trouble finding the link to the pattern, here it is:

seamster's Stuffed Hobbes Pattern
CoraT made it!16 days ago

Thanks, Sam! Mine is a bit shorter and rounder... Baby Hobbes?

seamster (author)  CoraT16 days ago

Oh my, major cuteness! He turned out looking excellent. Thank you for the photo!

CoraT seamster4 days ago

Thanks, Sam! Thank you again for posting the tutorial. =)

CapMiffy made it!13 days ago

Thanks so much for sharing the pattern. Made one for my college son. Did most of it on the machine so it only took a couple of days. Used really fluffy black and white cloths, which had the irritating habit of fraying so blanket stitch was necess for belly, nose, and muzzle. I figured adding the stripes would be pretty tedious so I bought striped fleece on Etsy.com where I also found black oval buttons. The tie is one my son wore when he was little. I'm pleased but my son would have preferred hand-made stripes.

seamster (author)  CapMiffy13 days ago

Hey, it looks good! The real tie is a very nice touch. Thanks for sharing the photo!

How tall will he be?
seamster (author)  melanie.klar16 days ago

He ends up being about 16 inches tall.

StephanieL7 made it!22 days ago

Here is a better view of Hobbes on his own. I want to make one for myself now, but don't know if I have any more energy left!!

Summer in NY-6649.jpg

My mother in law found some old vintage black buttons she had somewhere for us to use for his eyes, too! Very cool. My son picked two different ones, saying he wanted his Hobbes to be Unique.....

StephanieL7 made it!22 days ago

These two are inseparable! I hand-sewed mine since I do not have a sewing machine, but I think the results are acceptable!!

Summer in NY-6644.jpg
seamster (author)  StephanieL722 days ago

Awesome! I'm glad you were able to make one. Very nicely done!

VickieD1 made it!1 month ago
Calvin and Hobbes was my son's favorite comic as a child. His baby is due in August, a boy, who will be named Calvin. My son wants a GIANT Hobbes for photo ops for the next 18 years. I enlarged your pattern 300% and have struggled with this tiger to attach his stripes, but I think he's going to turn out just fine. He sits nearly 4 feet tall. I need only attach his tail and he's complete. I thank you for this pattern!

WHOA!!! Super impressive!

seamster (author)  VickieD11 month ago

Oh my . . . MEGA HOBBES!

This is so cool! Thank you for sharing this photo. Very inspiring!

sunashine1 month ago

Thank you so much. My brother (35) always loved Calvin & Hobbes and has read the books of his comic strips. He commented he wanted a Hobbes doll after the boy in the news lost his homemade one at the airport. It was his bday yesterday, but figure i'll give him one for a bday gift. THANKS FOR THE TEMPLATE! =) p.s. i started it. we'll see how it turns out, i'm doing it all by hand. thanks for the accessory ideas, too!

seamster (author)  sunashine1 month ago

Awesome, I'm glad you found this!

If you start to doubt your commitment as you go (especially sewing on all those stripes!), be sure to look through the comments here and see all of the Hobbeses people have made. It's inspiring!

Be sure to share a photo when you're done. Best of luck! :)

The stripes took me a week. hahah I didn't have the energy to get them all done at once, so I did a few at a time.

Hi Seamster, thanks for your feedback and encouragement, i'm ready to start the stripes. i'll check out others Hobbes dolls, and also post a pic later. thanks again!

sully4433 made it!22 days ago

My son loves his Hobbes! Thank you so much! Do you have any patterns for the accessories (scarf, mask, etc)? I'd love to make them as well, but am worried about my ability to go it alone. Cheers!

Spud and Hobbes.jpg
seamster (author)  sully443322 days ago

Very cool!

I don't have patterns for the accessories. Sorry! But I think you can do it. You should just jump in and give them a shot :)

DanielleM31 month ago

Hello ! The second one is made , thank you soo much , I made 2 happy kids !

seamster (author)  DanielleM31 month ago

Very nicely done! Thank you for sharing the photo here. Your Hobbeses look great!

dlove131 month ago

nice! Thanks can't wait to try this ?

This is fantastic. :) I already have a couple of my friends asking me to make one for them... after I make mine, of course. ;)

I was wondering, though... how tall is Hobbes once he's finished? One of my friends is quite tall and large (his nickname is Hagrid, for VERY good reason!), and he wants one a little bit more size appropriate for him. Lol! Just curious as to how tall Hobbes is sitting to start with, so I can estimate how much to scale him up. Thank you!

Thank you for the compliment!

The pattern makes a Hobbes that is about 15 inches tall.

Love Love Love this!! Keep up the amazing work!

caperutto1 month ago

Whoa! It's lovely!

I will make one for my wife! Congratulations!

DBB31 month ago
This is a wonderful gift to C&H fans. I know if this had been around 20 years ago, I would have made one for my son. I be printing this one out for the future. :) Thank you!
KittyCat 91 month ago

i love calvin and hobbes!


That's great!

ClareBS1 month ago

Excellent, I love Calvin & Hobbes too. The airport story is amazing.

mlaiuppa.1 month ago

Wouldn't it be easier to attach some of the stripes before constructing the arms and legs?

buck22171 month ago

Brilliant, my absolute favorite cartoon strip ever, every (older) little boy knows exactly where Calvin is coming from, I am in my 50s and still as irresponsible as him!

pezrampage made it!1 month ago
Also, my little guy went as Calvin for Halloween and of course Hobbes ("Hob-Ums") was with him!
seamster (author)  pezrampage1 month ago

Awesome! Thank you for the photo!

pezrampage1 month ago
I wasn't sure if you had seen it, but one of your Hobbes stuffies made the news!http://happyplace.someecards.com/awww/this-stuffed-tiger-was-lost-at-the-airport-then-he-went-on-a-grand-adventure/
seamster (author)  pezrampage1 month ago

Yes, I saw that!

It totally made my day. I shared a few links around with family and friends to brag . . . and a couple people said "Yah, yah, but how do you know that was from your pattern??"

. . . because there are only a few handmade Hobbes patterns out there, and I know mine like the back of my hand! :)

tigerfood made it!1 month ago

Here is my version. I made him out of old cashmere sweaters (underlined with old t-shirts for sturdiness), so he is very soft.

Thank you so much for creating and sharing this, it obviously has made many people very happy!

seamster (author)  tigerfood1 month ago

Oh, very nice! Yours turned out looking excellent. Good work!

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