Welcome to the Party! Fairfield World is celebrating it's 80th Birthday with a special online party... 80 Days of Poly-Fil®! I have been so excited to share my project! My new little friend is tooting his horn to keep this party going!
Fairfield World has gone all out for this event and generously provided two 32 oz bags of Poly-fil® to create with... that is a LOT of stuffing! It's been a while since I've made something fun and whimsical. The last thing I made was my very own "Elf on the Shelf" sitter. Since quarantine life, I have been tackling the honey-do list which includes clearing out the drawers and closets.
I admit I'm a sock-baller. It's just practical. But I have found that I have an endless supply of socks. Mostly ankle socks and a bunch of cute fun patterned ones that never ever have been worn since being banished to the drawer (it's just way too hot for boots here in SoFL).
In my sock menagerie is a pair of "Original Rockford Red Heel Socks" with a pattern to make the world famous "Sock Monkey" and a super cute elephant. I received these as a Christmas gift with a Sock Monkey t-shirt (which has been artfully altered) many moons ago. The universe has spoken! With this pattern and an abundance of Poly-Fil®, I have everything on hand to bring some JOY to my collection of misfit socks.
In today's project I have used: 1 pair of long socks; scissors, Fairfield World's Poly-fil®; the Original Poly-fil® Stuffing Tool; colored hair elastics; repurposed ribbon; quilters pins; sewing needle; embroidery floss, buttons, yarn & thread in coordinating colors; thimble; sewing machine; felt; parchment paper; permanent marker; and Red Heel instructions.
First thing you want to do is make sure you wash and dry the socks. They will most likely shrink a bit and the final project will be clean and ready for gifting when complete. Turn socks inside out to prepare for pattern cutting.
I am bringing out my sewing machine to help take care of some of the stitching. This project can be done entirely by hand and is a great project for kids. I'm having fun figuring out what critter a pair of socks wants to be.
Flatten out each sock following instructions
and mark measurements with quilting pins.
First I mark out the legs on each sock.
These will be sewn on the sewing machine.
Each sock size may vary from pattern. I am prepared to alter things with a piece of parchment and a permanent marker. I trace the shape of the sock and sketch out the placement of ears, mouth and trunk.
The first sock will be head, body & legs in one piece. I sew 1/4" to one side of center down to bottom (elastic open edge) of sock.
Here is the first stitched line. I learned to have patience in sewing an inside out sock. The fuzzies like to jam in the feeder.
I turn around and sew back up 1/4"
from on the center pinned line.
Next I stitch along bottom of open end of sock
to close it up forming bottoms of feet.
Legs are sewn, leaving approximately
a 1/2" gap in the center.
Now I can just cut up the center to divide the legs. I cut about an inch up past my stitching to allow for turning rightside out.
Head, body and legs are ready for stuffing with Poly-Fil®.
Now for the second sock! I pin my pattern to the sock and repeat the steps to sew the arms.
After stitching, I cut the arms away from the other patterned pieces.
Two arms ready for stuffing!
In modifying pattern to work with size and shape of my sock, I have also simplified my sewing. I use the same process to sew around and create a matching pair of ears.
I sew a straight line to form one edge, then turn
and follow along to form a wide "U" shape.
I repeat from the other side resulting in
two rounded rectangle shapes for ears.
I cut down the middle between the stitched lines to separate both ears. I gently cut unsewn edge to open ear for stuffing and around the edges removing bulk and excess when turned right side out.
For the trunk, I sew this freeform rather than cutting and sewing a small piece. I mark shape with quilting pins for a line to follow on sewing machine.
After stitching, I cut trunk piece away. I have a section of sock left that I can use for accents at the end if needed.
With all the pieces sewn and ready.
Turn everything right side out.
I gently turn head/body/leg shape right side out because I purposely left a smaller hole to be hand-sewn closed. I was not sure how much the sock knitting would fray also. The sock is pretty forgiving as it is stretchy and durable.
I start with just turning the legs and feet to prepare for stuffing.
I have all my pieces ready to stuff with Poly-Fil® using the handy Poly-Fil® Stuffing Tool that comes nestled inside the the middle of the package roll.
**A TIP** take out small amounts of Poly-Fil® at a time. It will get everywhere and you will never be able to get it all back into the bag – IT GROWS!
The simple pattern instructions call for circles of cardboard to be placed inside the ends of feet. I'm using felt rounds the same size as my spool of thread. The socks I'm using are thin and the felt will help keep the flat size at the end of feet.
I cut 2 circles for each leg. I will layer two for per leg and secure in place when I stitch on button accents at the bottom of each sole.
I stack two felt rounds and press flat into the bottom of each foot, making the stitched line fall at about the center, then stitch a button onto the outside. When stitching button, I thread up and through the felt circles to tack in place and this will also help secure the button.
Now it's time for the FUN part... STUFFING! First the trunk comes to life. I use the handy Poly-Fil® Stuffing Tool to coax the stuffing down into the tapered point. I found using a swirling motion helped prevent clumping and keeping a smooth surface.
Next the ears.
When stuffing the head/body, I used a light blue
fabric wrapped hair elastic to mark the neck.
Everything is fully stuffed and ready to assemble.
I start by sewing closed the base of body and legs with a whipstitch. I'm not the best at hand-stitching, so I did my best turning edges inward as I stitched to conceal the thread. The imperfect stitching adds to the quirkiness.
One ear on. I went around twice with stitching
to get things good and secure.
Look at the personality with just ears and legs! So CUTE!
I sewed the top of the trunk closed a bit before attaching to head. I also stitch the top of the arms closed. I also added a fun detail by stitching the tip of trunk into a closed curl to give it a bit of whimsy.
I stitch the trunk onto the head, followed with the mouth. I mark the placement for eyes with quilting pins. He's ALIVE!
I find that finishing touches are the best and my most favorite part. This is where you add all the personality... and you can go on and on adding fun, quirky details. I kept it simple to let the pops of color in the pattern shine. I sew on mismatched shape buttons where I marked the eye placement with pins.
I'm all about the little details. So after stitching to head to secure buttons, I then ran some additional thread between the two eyes to pinch the shape of the head, adding more character. Have fun and add the details as you like.
My handmade sock elephant is complete!
I don't know what to name him but he certainly is FLOPPY in front of the camera! I really enjoyed making this cutie and have a whole menagerie in the works. I hope you enjoy this project and are inspired to create your own sock critters. There are loads of patterns for all kinds in webland.
What animal would you make with Poly-Fil®?
For project ideas visit: fairfieldworld.com/project
Follow the #Fairfield80 on Instagram to see all the creative makes for Fairfield World's 80th Birthday Celebration.
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Thanks so much for visiting! Stay tuned... I have a few more sock critters in the works for holiday gifts. Sb :)