Thursday, 14 February 2013

Sock-Cats and Dogs - Make Soft Toys From Socks



This is another simple, inexpensive  project that is relatively quick to make, and a great way to spend a rainy afternoon with older children. You will need:

A pair of ladies ankle-socks (preferably new!)
Some hollowfibre filling
Some scraps of felt
Embroidery threads

When choosing socks to make your kitten/puppy, try and find a pair that has a simple repetitive pattern (flowers, stripes) and that is patterned all over the foot. Many socks only have the pattern on the top of the foot, not the sole, and the sole part will form the back of the animal, and be the most visible part of your toy.

This tutorial will initially show how to make a cat, variations will be shown at the end. To start, turn the socks inside out, and lay them flat, as in the picture below.




With the first sock, pin and sew the front and back legs as shown, remembering to leave a gap between the back legs so that you can turn your toy right way out and stuff it.





Do not cut the sock until after you have sewn the seams. 



Turn right-side out, ready to stuff



Take the second sock and pin/sew the ears and the top of the head. Then cut straight across the sock, underneath the heel, and turn right side out.





Stuff both parts with the hollowfibre filling. Do a small amount at a time, and make sure to push it right into the ends of the legs, ears etc, using the blunt end of a pencil or knitting needle if necessary. The sock will hold a lot more filling than you think, and will stretch as you stuff it. 





When the body and head are nice and full, neatly sew up the hole between the back legs and sew a running stitch around the 'neck' at the bottom of the head. Draw the running stitch tight, adding any extra filling that may be appear to be needed before finally sewing the neck closed. Roll the body and head between the palms of your hands to help the stuffing settle evenly.





Position the head just above the point where the front legs meet, and begin to sew it to the body. I usually do about four or five circuits of the neck and head, sewing each successive circuit slightly further out, anchoring it more securely, and stopping it from wobbling about too much.



Using one of the leftover parts of the sock, sew a long, narrow section to form a tail, cut out and stuff. 



Attach to the cat's bottom in the same way as you attached the head, again, sewing around it several times to ensure it is firmly anchored (Especially important if the toy is for a young child) 



Finally, using felt, embroidery, or buttons if you prefer, add the facial features. Then all you have to do is think of a name for your new pet!



Variations.

To make a dog instead of a cat, follow exactly the same instructions for the body. For the head, you will need to make the ears longer, and almost 'rabbit shaped'. 



When you come to stuff the head, make sure no stuffing goes into the ears. Once the head is stuffed and sewn closed, fold the ears over, and pin. 



Then sew a few tiny stitches down the outside edges of the ears, to hold the folds in place.



You can try experimenting with the length and shapes of the dog-ears, to make different types of dogs, shorter, pointed ears will give it a terrier-like appearance (above right), while wider, spatulate shapes will make it look more like a labrador. (above centre) I also make the dog's tails slightly shorter and fatter than the cat's.

Rabbits. To make a rabbit (a good idea with Easter not far off) make the head and ears as for the dog, but this time, when stuffing, fill the ears as well to make them stand up. Then, instead of making a long, narrow tail, simple cut a circle of fabric from one of the leftover parts of the second sock, sew a running-stitch around the outside, then pull the thread tight, stuffing the tail as you do so. This will form a small 'bobble' bunny-tail which you can then sew on, as for the cat and dog.

You can even use the leftover parts of the socks to make things, I quickly stitched and stuffed one of the sock-tops to make a pin-cushion (or you could even add some dried catnip to the stuffing and make a toy for your real cat!)






19 comments:

  1. These are the sweetest little things. I don't sew, but I think I could manage this. I'll try. Thanks

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  2. These are just adorable. Thank you so much for sharing this idea with us. I will definitely do some of them! Love them!!
    Anna

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  3. Thank you! I have tons of socks roaming around my house, and didn't know what to do with them. This is the best idea I have seen. I think my puppy and kitty would love to have their own stuffed pet. LOL

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  4. This is so far the cutest idea for sock toys I have ever seen! The kittens are adorable! Thank you for you very detailed tutorial!

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  5. Like JLL24 I have tons of socks. They've lost their mates and each washday produces more.

    These are clever and adorable.

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  6. Hi. Those cats and dogs are so supercute! What a great and new idea. I just posted it on my german blog: http://schoenstricken.de/2013/02/sockentiere-katzen-und-hunde-aus-socken-basteln/
    Best from Berlin, Jessica

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    Replies
    1. Thankyou Jessica, soon there will be sock-cats and dogs all over the world! :)

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  7. Super original,
    Merci pour le partage, j'espère le réaliser un jour car c'est vraiment joli à regarder et fera un nouveau compagnon pour ma petite fille.
    Bises Corinne

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  8. excellent j' adore merci du pas à pas c' est très sympa et bien expliqué
    félicitations biz

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  9. This tutorial is more detailed than some I've seen. I just have a question? Wouldn't it be easier to embroider the face before stuffing and sewing onto the body? Have you ever tried this way?

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    Replies
    1. No. It's virtually impossible to do it that way, because the sock will stretch as you stuff it, so it's difficult to gauge where the features will need to go, and even harder to embroider them loosely enough to allow for the stretching

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  10. Wow! I love this!! I was just about to give up on searching and then I found your perfect tutorial!! You're amazing!! Thank you so much!!!

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  11. Oh and I just discovered a mistake, I guess! Shoulnd't it be the back legs in the second picture of the tutorial? :)

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    Replies
    1. No, that's the toe of the sock, and the toe part forms the front legs :)

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  12. Bonjour j en ai fais deux très facile a faire et un rendu super merci pour les explications

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  13. Thank you for this tutorial, it's very handy. Today I've made a kitten, tomorrow it will be published on my blog.
    Greetings from Holland

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  14. Can I ask where you purchased your socks? I have been looking on the internet and haven't seen any that cute.

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    Replies
    1. I think they came from Primark - they weren't expensive

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