My wonderful Daughter-in-Law was here with her family over Christmas. Sock Monkeys are something she has made and sold at craft fairs and little gift shops. I remember when she came to me with a poorly written pattern and a pair of knee highs to make her first Sock Monkey. Now she has the whole process down to a science. She shared all the little tricks she and her Hubby, (my son), figured out during their Sock Monkey adventure. She encouraged me to share it with you. Just so you know; I made 3 of the 4 monkeys in this picture. So here we go, learning How to Make a Sock Monkey.
1 pair of knee high socks (for large monkey $2.50 a pair at Target, for smaller monkey use children’s socks for $2.00 a pair)
Thread (to coordinated with the color of the socks)
Chalk (if your socks are dark colored)
Magic marker (if your socks are light colored)
Buttons or child safety eyes
First turn your socks, inside out. Lay your inside out socks, out on your work surface. Have one with the heel in the center and folded down toward the sock opening. The other with the heel folded out (like a traditional Christmas stocking).
Here is a drawing (I am still learning how to use the computer program) of the two socks. The red lines show where you want to draw the lines on the inside of your socks.
. So here is the sock that will be the monkey main body and legs. Draw a line from the top of the sock to just below where the fold down of the heel is.
On the other sock, draw a line from just below the heel to the end of the opening, draw another line over by the other edge of the sock from the opening to just below the toe. You don’t need to draw a line around the heel, just be aware that this heel will be the monkeys muzzle/mouth and you won’t sew it down, just cut it out and hand sew it where you need it to be. Draw the two ears, as is indicated by the elongated half circles. My Daughter-in-Law indicated that the ears were constantly being changed as she developed the best way to make these monkeys. These are how we made them this time.
The green lines indicate where you will sew the lines. First you sew a straight line then you turn around and go back over the straight line with a zigzag stitch. This will reinforce the sewing so that you will not have to go back and hand sew close, a lot of little pops in the seams.
Thread your machine with the color thread you want (match or contrast, I used contrast so that you can see where I sewed). First sew the legs, across the opening of the sock, back stitch and forward stitch at each corner and the beginning and end to reinforce those places. When you get to the top of the line, reinforce, lift the pressure foot, turn 180° and change to zigzag stitch, then zigzag back over the straight line.
Now sew the other leg the same way.
Follow the same pattern for the two arms. Notice that one arm is wider than the other arm. You want the arms to be the same size when you stuff them, and the one (middle) arm will have two seams instead of one like the arm on the right. You will eye ball this and do your best to make both arms the same length. Next you will sew on the very long and narrow tail. Sew almost to the toe of the sock and then sew back on the straight line with a zigzag stitch like you did for the arms and legs. Sew around the ears, leaving a little gap for a place to stuff the ears. Be sure to zigzag over the straight line for as ears, just like you did for the other body parts. The first monkey I made, I didn’t do that, and trying to sew it after it is cut is harder than sewing first and then cutting. Now all the machine sewing is done.
I hope you have a good pair of sewing scissors for cutting the pieces apart. Scissors that have cut paper are too dull to cut sock material. Anyway, first you cut between the two legs, and ½ inch beyond the end of the stitching. This little distance between the legs makes an opening between the legs, in the crotch, for turning and stuffing the body and the legs.
From the other piece, cut out the muzzle/mouth piece (the heel area of this sock). Then cut out the ears.
Then cut out the 2 arms and the tail. Be sure you cut the around so that the sewing for each piece will be inside that piece when you are done cutting. You will have a very small amount of sock left. You may throw that away.
First start with the monkey body and legs, reaching into the crotch opening, pull the body part right side out.
Now stuff the body with polyester stuffing. The heel area will be the monkey’s bum. If it looks lumpy, roll the body between your palms, rolling up and down the body until it looks smooth.
Now to turn and stuff the legs, (this same technique will be used for the arms and tail), You start with the foot of the leg, using an index finger push the foot up toward the opening in the crotch, gathering the length of the leg material along your finger.
Just when you get the foot showing out the opening at the crotch, stop, pull your finger out and start stuffing. As stuffing reaches the opening, pull more leg down and keep stuffing the new area until the whole leg has been stuffed. This is so much easier than trying to stuff a whole arm, leg or tail, once it has been totally turn right side out. Again, roll the leg between your palms to smooth out any lumps.
Repeat with the other leg, taking care to make sure the two legs are the same diameter and length. The body is stuffed. GREAT!
Repeat the process used for the legs, to stuff the tail, and the arms. Again roll to remove lumps and make sure the two arms are the same diameter and length. Turn the ears inside out and put a little stuffing into the opening for ears with dimension.
Get out the hand needle and thread. Now is the time I should explain how to use a blind stitch. If you already know how to hem, a skirt, pants, etc., this is the same stitch, but since there are people who are out there who have already done a great job of do teaching it, I will send you to their link here: http://www.ehow.com/video_4407403_hand-hem-skirt-blind-stitch.html. Using the blind stitch, close up the crotch opening. Much better.
Using straight pins, pin the top of the muzzle down, leaving the bottom open. Fold under the edges and use the blind stitch to sew the top of the muzzle to the body.
Remove the straight pins as you go. Stuff the muzzle, and then close the bottom of the muzzle, by folding under the edges and again using the blind stitch to close it off.
Next we do the ears. Blind stitch the little opening in the ear closed.
Whip the two bottom corners of the ear together.
Then whip the bottom center of the ear to the place where you whipped the two corners together.
Blind stitch the ears to the head a little below and behind the eyes.
Now you may sew on the button eyes. Place the buttons in the places you like them best and sew the buttons on (I am assuming you know how to sew on a button, if you don’t, you can learn how here: http://www.ehow.com/how_2271722_sew-button-hand.html). (If this monkey is for a small child, you may want to use child safety eyes, which will need to be put in place before you stuff the body. Then you will need to place the muzzle to fit the eyes.)
Next we fold in the ends of the arms and the tail. Figure out where on the bum of the monkey you want the tail and blind stitch it in place.
Do the same with both arms. Try to eye ball it, and make the arms level/even with each other.
One final step, using embroidery floss, embroider a mouth. You and use a running stitch, (You can barely see it, I did it in red) or as my Daughter-in-Law did, just one long piece of thread, with it tacked down in the corners and in the middle. DONE and DONE! Isn’t it cute!
If you want your monkey to be a holiday gift, use holiday patterned socks. The possibilities are endless! Enjoy!