Introduction: Giant Stuffed Squid
I'm going to show you how to make a giant squid from fleece. This squid is roughly 8 feet long and about 7lbs. and takes a bit of time to make(between 15-20 hours total). A while ago my friend and I saw a post online of a Giant stuffed squid, we both decided to make one and, when done, bring the two to work for a 'Squid Day". The original post had a rough sketch of the pattern, and basic instructions on what to attach to what. This instructable is an elaboration of that pattern and a detailed account of how I made mine and tips to make yours. If you still need a reason to make one of these, cats love them. My cat has designated it her new cat bed.
- 2 yards of a soft fabric- this will be the main color of your squid, I recommend fleece
- 1 yard dot patterned fabric- this will be the section cup side of the tentacles, I used bumpy minky but a spotted cotton fabric is good too
- Stuffing, around 5lbs.
- Around 20 pieces of paper
- 1 sheet black felt (optional)
- 1 sheet white felt (optional)
- Sewing machine
- Needle and thread
- Pen or pencil
A thin but sturdy dowel is also helpful, I used a 3/8th" by 4' dowel, I think half inch would've worked a little better but this is just to help stuff the tentacles and arms.
Step 1: Pattern
You will need at least 20 pieces of paper to make the full 8' squid pattern, I found it easier to lay and tape the paper out before drawing your pattern. Use the following dimensions and pictures as a guide to make your squid pieces. Measurements will be the widest and thinnest points on the pattern piece.
- Arms(short limbs)- 26" long by 3.5" wide at the top
- Tentacles(long limbs with clubs on the ends)- 51" long by 4.5" wide at the top, the thinnest point should be right above the clubs, at their widest the clubs should measure 4"
- Mantle- 37.5" long by 14.5" wide at the bottom, 19" at the widest point, 14" wide about a foot from the top
- Fins- about 16" along the side that connects to the mantle and 6" at the widest point, but fins are weird so try whatever size you think will look good, I also messed around with a couple different shapes before settling on this one, look up some pictures of squids and find something you like
- Where the beak would go- 13.5" long by 8" wide
- Head- 31" wide by 10" tall
Once your pattern is drawn and all pieces are cut out, lay out your fabric. I prefer to trace my pieces onto the fabric before cutting to help me with spacing but there is plenty of fabric to pin and cut off the bat. Make sure to take note of which side is the "pretty" side and which way the fabric runs, you want to make sure the fabric goes the same way as your pattern, otherwise it will ruffle the fabric to pet your squid.
You will need:
- 8 pieces of each fabric
- 2 pieces of each fabric-note these will be too long to fit with the run of the fabric in one piece(this will mostly matter if you use a fabric like minky, not noticeable with fabrics like cotton), you can either run it sideways which is what I did, or run with the fabric and cut two pieces to sew together.
- 2 pieces of your main fabric but make sure to flip your pattern for a side one and two, unless your pattern is symmetrical (mine is not)
- 4 pieces of your main fabric, making sure 2 are side one and 2 are side two otherwise your fins wont all be the "pretty" side of your fabric
- 1 piece of your main fabric
- 1 piece of your main fabric
Check the pictures for a rough sketch of how I arranged my pieces on my fabric.
Cut all pieces out.
Step 2: Arms
Gather up all your piece 1's and make friends with your sewing machine.Before you start sewing learn to refill and put your bobbin into your machine if you don't already, I think I had to do this four times just for the arms, its really helpful to figure this out before you start sewing. Next for my fabric (fleece and minky) I set my stitch length and tension to the middle setting, and used the wider straight stitch setting on my machine.
- Use a scrap piece to test your settings, take a longer piece of each scrap and run that thru your machine to make sure your settings will work and that your machine is working properly. If you are more of a beginner sewer you may want to cut an extra piece 1 of each fabric for a test arm, to help get the hang of the shape.
- Take one piece 1 of each fabric and lay them together with the "pretty" sides facing in.
- Pin the two pieces together leaving enough space for your sew machine foot to fit (about 1/2" for me) This helps make sure you don't let one piece get bunchier than the other while sewing, causing the ends to not line up when you get to the end.
- Starting at the top stitch around the edge, pivoting when you get to the tip of the arm to go up the other side, stopping when you get back to the top. DO NOT stitch the flat top shut. To help ensure your stitches do not unravel at the start and end of each arm stitch about a half inch, then reverse your machine back to the start and continue as normal.
Once all your arms are stitched and inside out, you will need to flip them and stuff them.
The best way I have found to flip them is to trim the excess fabric at the tips and scrunch the arm up (like putting on a sock or tights) as much as you can and using the dowel, or a pencil to poke the rest of the arm up thru the middle of the scrunched up bit. There may be better ways to do this so mess around with them.
Once all the arms are flipped, to stuff them scrunch the arm up as much as you can and start with a blob of stuffing about the size of a clementine, use the dowel to squish the stuffing to the tip of the arm then use your hands to roll the end of the arm to even out the stuffing. Continue in this manner using gradually larger blobs of stuffing until the arm is almost full. Leave between 1/2" and 1" unstuffed to be able to sew the arms closed.
Once all arms are stuffed, pin the ends shut and stitch closed, stitching all the way across in one direction then reversing across to make sure it doesn't come undone.
Step 3: Tentacles
Similar to the arms, you will need your piece 2's.
- Lay them out with "pretty" sides facing in and pin together.
- Make sure your bobbin is pretty full before you start, mine needed almost a full bobbin for the two of them.
- Sew around the edges just like you did with the arms, making sure to be careful around the clubs and right above them. You will need to get stuffing into the clubs so make sure not to stitch that space above them too thin.
To flip inside out
- Trim around the tips of the clubs and the skinny part above the clubs, this will help with the shape when we stuff them.
- Starting with the tip of the club start squishing the club back up inside the tentacle, continue inching the club up the inside of the tentacle until you can pull it out the top right-side-out, see pictures for help.
- Once completely right-side-out, smooth and squish the clubs and their seams to better define their shape.
Stuffing the tentacles is probably the worst part of making this squid. Knowing that, be patient and the best way I have found is a combination of scrunching the tentacles, squishing the stuffing through, rolling the tentacles with both hands to squish and elongate the stuffing inside, and poking the stuffing into the tentacle with a stick. Good luck and I'm sorry I don't have better instructions on this.
Once the tentacles are stuffed, pin and stitch the ends closed same as the arms.
Step 4: Fins
Start with all four of your piece 4's.
- Lay them out with "pretty" sides facing in.
- Pin around the curved edge and sew just that edge, leaving the flatter side open.
- Flip fins right-side-out
- Stuff the fins, pinning the flat sides closed as you go. It helped me to pin the top and bottom first then stuff stuffing through a gap in the middle before pinning that shut too. If you want your fins to be puffy you'll want to stuff as much stuffing as possible into each fin.
- Once stuffed and pinned, carefully stitch that side closed as well, this is a little tricky as the stuffing is so bulky.
Step 5: Mantle
Gather your fins and piece 3's
- Lay out one piece 3 with "pretty" side up, line up your fins where you want them.
- Flip your fins onto your fabric and pin them with the flat seam lining up with the edge of piece 3. This works best if you squish the stuffing away from the seam, pin the stuffing back and work down the fin to add one piece 3. Then adding the top piece 3 "pretty" side down on top with another set of pins. Just make sure there is enough space to sew around it still or that you can see your pins that are closest to the edge.
- Once the fins are pinned go around the rest of the piece 3's and pin all sides except the flat bottom.
- Sew all the way around the curved U shape.
- Once sewn all the way around flip right-side-out.
The seams may not match up perfectly and you may even end up with a random hole between your fins and mantle, this is OK. Unless it is a particularly big hole it will most likely not be noticeable once the mantle is stuffed.
Step 6: Attaching the Arms and Tentacles
Gather piece 6 and all ten of your arms and tentacles.
- Lay piece 6 "pretty" side up and line all the arms and tentacles bumpy side up, making sure there are four arms between the tentacles so the tentacles will be across from each other when the squid is assembled.
- Pin the arms and tentacles to piece 6 leaving about 1/2" between the top of piece 6 and the top of the limbs, and 1/2" between the end arms and the ends of piece 6, see pictures for reference. If you want your seams to line up and your long tentacles to be on the sides of your squid, start with a tentacle on one end of piece 6.
- Sew one continuous line straight across all limbs. I recommend having something for the limbs to rest on while sewing otherwise they try to drag the whole piece off the table.
- Once limbs are attached, lay piece 6 down again "pretty" side up.
- Fold in half to line up the 10" edges of piece 6, pin together
- Sew together, creating a tube with arms and tentacles on one side.
Step 7: Attaching Everything
You will need your tentacle tube and your mantle.
- Flip tentacle tube so the "pretty" side is in, with the bumpy tentacle side facing out.
- Turn tube upside down and put the mantle thru the tube to align the bottom edge of the mantle with the opening of the tube that has no tentacles. The "pretty sides of the mantle and tentacle tube should be facing each other.
- Pin the mantle and tube together all the way around.
- Sew around the tube to attach the mantle and tube.
- Pull the tube and limbs down to turn right-side-out, completing the body of the squid.
Step 8: Stuffing and Finishing
You should now have a squid with a large hole surrounded by arms and piece 5.
- Stuff the body of the squid.
- Once stuffed find piece 5 and line up on the bottom of your squid.
- Pin piece 5 to all the arms and tentacles.
- Using needle and thread sew piece 5 to the body of the squid. Ladder stitch piece 5 on, aiming for right above(closer to the body) the tentacle seam on the outside and right below(closer to the tentacle) the seam on the underside of the squid. You should be able to make it all the way around with a length of thread roughly three times the circumference of the tentacle tube.
Step 9: Eyes (optional)
If you prefer your squid more whimsical or goofy, I gave mine large comical eyes...
With your black and white felt, cut two large circles. About 4" (white) and 3" (black) in diameter.
Line up your eyes how you like and sew the circles together.
Figure out where on your squid you like them and stitch them onto the squid.
This works best with a whip stitch.
Now you have a giant squid!
Runner Up in the
Fiber Arts Contest