When you get into sewing, you end up with a lot of scrap fabric lying around. This predicament began my quest for a use for all this fabric and then I though of it- stuffed animals!
Stuffed animals are loved by kids (and even adults) of all ages, and there are tons of free patterns online to get you started! Because of the wealth of resources, they are also super easy as a beginning sewing project.
Today, I will be showing you how I made my stuffed animal penguin. There are some things I would do differently, but I had a lot of fun and learned a lot in the process!
Now to the making!
Step 1: Draft Your Body Pattern
I started out this project with a pattern and slowly modified it over time. For the body pattern, I created a cross with the short side about 2/3 the length of the long side. I then joined the lines with a smooth arc. Basically, you want a leave shape.
Pro tip: Wax paper and sharpie is great for drafting your own pattern! The wax paper is super flexible on your fabric, translucent, and holds the marker well.
When you are happen when your pattern, transfer it over to your fabric. I'm using a fleece fabric, but really anything will do.
Pin your pattern on and cut out your shape around the edges. Do this three more times so you have four identical pink pieces.
Step 2: Front of the Penguin
I took the pattern from step 2 and re-purposed it here, changing the shape to allow for my penguin to have a white belly!
Cut out a shape similar to what you see here and save both pieces of the pattern.
Pin the "outline" part of the pattern onto a pink fabric piece, and cut out around the edges. Flip the pattern over and do the same thing on another piece.
Then, take the second half of your pattern and pin it onto another piece/type of fabric. I'm using a white fleece fabric. Cut out your piece, flip the pattern, and repeat.
You should have two "outlines" in your base fabric and two "bodys" in your secondary fabric.
Step 3: Pin It Together
Pinning is so important so that way when you get to your sewing machine, everything doesn't fall apart on you!
Pin together your pieces, leaving the bottom of the penguin open. He should look something like a deflated beach ball at this point.
Out may choose to pin and sew the outline and body you cut in step 3 at this point. It mag be trickier to sew these together as you go, depending on your skill as a sewer.
Step 4: The Beak
Take some more scrap fabric and cut out two triangles for the beach of your penguin.
On your pinned up penguin, find the center of the front (it should be right where the primary fabric ends against the secondary fabric). Cut a small slit about as wide as your beak and pin it into place.
You will sew around this little circle so the beak can be filled with stuffing.
If you are struggling when it comes to sewing the beak on, feel free to sew a straight line across to keep the beak in place, but closing it up for any stuffing.
Step 5: Sewing
While sewing, slowly remove the pins as you hit them and as you go.
Some sewing things to keep in mind:
- Sew the right sides of the fabric together so you always see the wrong side, you will flip this inside out later.
- Test your fabric under your sewing machine first. Fleece is thicker than cotton so you may need to play with your speed and settings. I used a straight stitch at about 2" but that's what worked best for my fabric.
- A mistake isn't the end of the world, that's why they invented seam rippers!
- Always allow for at least 1/2" seem allowance
Step 6: Wings
For the wings, I drafted a pattern like a tear drop with a flat base. I pinned and cut this fabric from both my primary and secondary fabric.
Pin these wings together (matching primary with secondary) and sew them up so you have a little pocket with an open bottom.
On the penguin, cut a slit the width of the wing on either side where you want the wings to be. To hide the seem, sew the correct sides together (you'll want to flip your penguin inside out for this) similar to what you did for the beak. Once again, if you are struggling sewing around a circle for the wings, sew a straight line across to close the hole and the wing.
Step 7: Feet
For the feet, I free handed my own pattern to what I thought looked like penguin feet. I cut this pattern out of yet another small piece of scrap fabric and left a small hole to flip the feet right side out again.
Fill the feet with stuffing- we'll be coming back to them.
Step 8: Stuffed Penguin
At this point, you are done with your penguin! Great work! Stuff your penguin to the brim!
I was a little sloppy in drafting my pattern and his proportions got way off when I cut pieces out of the white pieces.
He's somewhat of an obese penguin which I'm going to fix in the next step, but in my attempt to fix one problem I disregarded anything remotely like a pattern and he got a little lopsided.
For a recent sewing project I've been working on, I created a mock up out of even more scrap fabric. I haven't posted my patterns here since I don't believe them to be helpful, but I highly recommend making a draft pattern/mock up.
Step 9: Sew the Feet On
Remember how you left the bottom open? Time to hide that hole with the feet.
I found this was easiest to do by hand sewing, but of course, if you really have no time or patience for hand sewing...hot glue can work just fine.
Do a few quick stitches to close the hole at the bottom and then with that, connect on the feet so they poke out under the penguins body.
Step 10: Done (and Googly Eyes)
Here is the finished and slightly lopsided penguin! Like I said, drafting a pattern is so important, and while I started with one in mind, I quickly went rogue.
While I was making this penguin, I met the nicest family of a mom and her two daughters. The mom was mainly confused as to why I was making my penguin pink, but the daughters were having a ton of fun watching me and playing with the fabric I was using. Before the family left, the daughters picked out a pair of googly eyes for my penguin. Of course, it wouldn't be complete without them!
What color penguin will you make? If you have any questions or suggestions, leave a comment below. And as always, thanks for reading!