Make Your Own Stuffed Hobbes (Free Pattern!)

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Introduction: Make Your Own Stuffed Hobbes (Free Pattern!)

About: I got an old sewing machine when I was just a kid, and I've been hooked on making stuff ever since. My name is Sam and I'm a community manager here at Instructables.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

Toy Challenge 2

Finalist in the
Toy Challenge 2

Holiday Gifts Challenge

Participated in the
Holiday Gifts Challenge

Sew Warm Challenge

Participated in the
Sew Warm Challenge

199 People Made This Project!

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184 Discussions

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Lizzle25
Lizzle25

3 months ago

Our oldest LOVES Calvin and Hobbes. Weeks ago I set out on a quest to find him a gift relating to the comic, and I quickly learned that there's not much out there because of the lack of license. I did a quick search for a homemade version of Hobbes, I'm not a yarn artist so doing one via crochet or knit was out of the question. And there was a lot of patterns for that. And then I came across this amazing tutorial you put together!
Thank you so much for doing this! He was a really great project to do and it took me a couple of weeks because I could only work on him when my son was in bed or having quiet time....so there were a couple nights of staying up until 2:30-3:30am!
My son's birthday is today and he was thrilled to receive him!
Thank you so much!

Do you happen to have instructions for making the tie?

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seamster
seamster

Reply 3 months ago

Awesome, I'm glad you were able to find this and make one for your son!

Unfortunately, I don't have a pattern or anything more than what I've shared here. It's more of a tie-like shape though, and I cheated with hot glue and velcro, so hopefully you can piece together something similar. Go for it, you can do it! :D

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Lizzle25
Lizzle25

Reply 3 months ago

Here he is! Made his accessories this morning. He will get his red scarf this fall.

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mcdubbs
mcdubbs

Question 3 months ago

I am currently sewing this together and am about to sew all the parts together, but I am at a loss as to how I should correctly sew the stripes on. I used an applique whip stitch for the belly and would like to retain that look, but I am unsure of how to make the stitches uniform working from the right side only and where to put the starting knot. (I had two marks I made on my thumb with marker so that my whip stitches were about a 1/16" apart and 1/16" in when sewing the belly)

1
seamster
seamster

Answer 3 months ago

This project was so long ago that I don't recall many details other that what I've already written in the steps, but for the starting knots I think I just made them on the underside (the to-be-hidden side) of the stripes, and tucked the loose ends under the stripes as I started stitching them in place.

As far creating actual stitches, I just eye-balled the placement. No distances were measured between stitches or anything like that - as long as they're close enough to not create puckers along the edges, and far enough apart to keep the fabric from getting stretched out it should work. Loads of people have successfully duplicated this with the info provided, so I'm sure you'll get it too. Cheers! :D

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mcdubbs
mcdubbs

Reply 3 months ago

Thank you for the quick response! I have a tendency to overthink things :) Your instructions have been great, and I am very happy that you put this together and released it for anyone. Thank you Seamster!

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Hey Jude
Hey Jude

9 months ago

Love it - have a kiddo who loves Calvin & Hobbes!!

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match.delacroix
match.delacroix

9 months ago

You are SO The Best!!! Thank you thank you thank you ! I'll post the one I will make for my son as soon as finished. It's a luck I still have a few weeks until his birthday! Lots of love from Argentina!

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Dianabee1988
Dianabee1988

11 months ago

just download it! ill do it for my son who loves it, but anyway my thing is... THANK YOU! BEAUTIFUL GENEROUS MOM! cant love you more right now. have all our love energy. and ill definitively add my pic when its done :* blessings and have a beautiful day.

0
seamster
seamster

Reply 11 months ago

Glad you found this! Good luck as you make your own : )

0
jywshum
jywshum

Question 1 year ago on Step 5

Hi, i was wondering for the head, do I need to cut out all the pleats like you do for the muzzle? the pictures seem to indicate that they don't need to be cut out, but i would just like to make sure. thanks so much in advance!

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0
LarissaP10
LarissaP10

Answer 1 year ago

Não é necessário cortar!

0
zakbobdop
zakbobdop

1 year ago

The accesories for when he "has to entertain female friends" is a nice touch :)

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Italiankiwiblog
Italiankiwiblog

1 year ago

Oh my gosh! My favourite cartoon character in the "flesh"! Hobbes looks just fantastic!

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seamster
seamster

Reply 1 year ago

Thank you!! My kid still has the original Hobbes I made for this instructable, although he's become quite tattered at this point :D

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Jessnasset
Jessnasset

Question 1 year ago on Step 3

Why does it seem like I am missing some pieces. What are the white pieces with 4 humps and the longer arms and legs? I have white pieces with 2 humps. Should I be sewing 2 arm pieces together? Thank you!

0
seamster
seamster

Answer 1 year ago

Please examine step 3 closely. Several pattern pieces are to be placed on a fold in the fabric, so the resulting fabric piece is a doubled version of the paper pattern.

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punkinann
punkinann

6 years ago on Introduction

Love this! Wonder if there's any way to modify the arms/legs attachments so the arms and legs fall forward instead of to the side?

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XuZu
XuZu

Reply 1 year ago

I did it. I basically tweaked the legs and arms a little and then rotated them from the pattern so they are more like the strip. Now he's in a seated position. You really don't need to do much except attach them differently. Also note that this will affect the stripes later on which I discovered...later on.