Friday, March 1, 2013

a whale of a…whale (free pattern)

it has not escaped my notice that, as an avowed hater of stuffed and plush things, i have made and blogged quite a few.
the irony.
but i guess when it comes down to it, i don’t necessarily hate all plushies, just the stupid, pointless, waste of space, free/hand-me-down/non-emotional-connection type. yeah, those.
anyway, after making the quanket for the Unnamed Baby my friend is expecting, i still had a good sized piece of minky fabric left.
obviously, it needed to be a stuffed animal. because misery loves company and all that jazz. (sidenote meg: you’re welcome, kiss kiss)
and then after i did one, clearly i needed to do a second. brother and sister whale.
matching whale-ies.
soft and huggable whales, with contrast fabric bellies—his to match the quanket, hers a piece pulled from the stash (you may recognize it from the owls)
obviously i’d like to think that the future loving sibling relationship between Mr. No Name and his sister is/will be due—in large part—to the common bond forged by matching sibling whales.
and if you can get that from a pair of stuffed animals/dust collectors, then maybe i need to rethink my stance.
want to make a whale stuffie for yourself? you got it.
+ 1/4 yard of minky or other soft fabric with a bit of stretch
+ 1/4 yard (or fat quarter, or scrap fabric) contrast fabric for belly
+ embroidery floss/needle for eyes
+ stuffing
+ for the “girl” a small piece of felt for the bow
cutting notes + i included only a 1/4” seam allowance on this pattern. that’s all i generally use, and if i went any bigger the main piece wouldn’t fit on one sheet of paper. keep this in mind while you’re sewing. you can always trace the pattern onto your fabric 1/4” larger, giving you a standard 1/2” seam allowance if you’re more comfortable with that.

the minky fabric i used had a lot of stretch. i cut my whale body pieces so the direction it stretched most was around the top of the whale. (in other words the stretch went from his belly on bottom up to the top of his head)

***IMPORTANT NOTE: ignore where i marked the “whale tail” as contrast or main fabric. cut it out of your MAIN FABRIC, not the contrast. sorry ;)

(right click pictures to save and print full size)
sew fins, right sides together along rounded edge.
clip curve, turn right side out & press
pin one fin on each whale body piece and stitch down.
place whale body pieces right sides together and sew along the top edge.
set that aside and grab your tail pieces.
place a pin in the center of the main tail piece (the one cut on the fold).
pin the other tail pieces on top, right sides together, matching the outer corners and working towards the center.
PIN ONLY UNTIL YOU REACH THE CENTER PIN YOU MARKED FIRST. you’ll have excess fabric on the 2 top pieces.
sew together, going from the center pin at the top around to the outer point and down to the intersecting corner at the bottom.
this gives you a 1/4 seam allowance on both top halves of the tail for you to attach it to the belly of the whale.
now grab your whale body, and match up the point at the back of the whale with the center pin of your tail piece. pin the seam allowance you left in the center of the tail piece to the two sides of the whale body.
whale pin
sew that “u” shape up from end to end. trim up the center where it gets a little bulky.
now you have the main body of the whale complete. (looks like a manatee to me, right?)
time to attach the belly.
center and pin the belly, right sides together, onto your whale body.
stop where the tail piece meets up with the body. you’ll have an extra flap of both belly fabric and tail fabric past that, which we’ll use to close up the whale at the end.
sew that up and turn what has now become a somewhat creepy whale skin right side out.
now stuff! and stuff! and stuff!! seriously—the key to getting all the puckers and ripples out and making a nice looking animal is to really, really pack the stuffing in.
(i actually should have put a little more in this whale before taking these pics!)
now all that remains is to close up the bottom. tuck in the belly fabric and fold the tail fabric over the top creating a nice edge, and slip stitch together.
if you have a tag this is a nice spot to stitch it in.
i used blue embroidery floss to embroider on simple eyes. for the “boy”, i went in at the top, did each eye and came back out the top. then i created small loops by tying knots and leaving excess floss.
for the “girl” i just did the two eyes and then stitched a felt bow on the side of her head.
and there you have it! whale plushies, to add to your collection! enjoy!
p.s. i turned word verification back on. SORRY!!! i know, it’s a huge pain in the tuckus. but the spam comments were getting IN.SANE. i’d still love you forever if you fought your way through to leave me a comment. ;) xoxo
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  1. Those are ADORABLE. My baby brother had a stuffed whale when he was little, and I always stole it.... Maybe I should make one of these 'for my daughters' ;-)

  2. they are the cutest ... ever, thanks for sharing your pattern, I know two girls who will absolutely love them!

  3. These are awesome! I'm definitely making one for the little bean I'm currently incubating! Thanks for the pattern and tute!

  4. I love these! I often have some scraps of minky from the back of quilts & this would be SO cute to use them for, thanks!

  5. I can't stand having stuffed animals! But I LOVE to make them:)
    What is it about making and giving these fluffy things that is so irresistible?
    I love this whale pattern.
    Thanks so much for sharing it!

  6. that's LOVELY
    I'd like to give this a try for my nephew, or my kids too ;)


  7. This little whale is just too cute! I think my two younger daughter ( 12 and 9 ) will be making some for charity gifts :) thanks so much for sharing the pattern and the tutorial!

  8. this is adorable Shannon! Love it!

  9. I love these, I have to make one for my daughter. Thank you so much for sharing it!!!

  10. Thank you so much for your wonderful pattern and instructions. I made a brother and sister whale too (soon to make an appearance on - mine are slightly different from yours but they wouldn't have been possible without your great details and photos. Thanks again for the inspiration.

  11. Just made two today for my very first niece and nephew, born 3 weeks apart! The little cousin whales turned out just darling. Thanks for the pattern and tutorial.

  12. Ok, too danged cute! So glad the fab flamingotoes showed off your sweet little whales... really an adorable blog! Pinned your cute project here to my "I think I can pull that off!' board... Really looking forward to future posts, and hunting thru all your yum old goodies I missed!

    Hugs & Hope,
    rachel of OddModicum

  13. These are soooo adorable and cute! I just made some up over night. I found my way here via pinterest. I was a bit scared about the tail part but it was actually really easy..! Is it ok to use your pattern to make these up to sell?

  14. Charity: I think you should make 1 for your brother & give it to him for Christmas.

  15. I've made 2 whales from your pattern so far, and have a third cut out, and possibly a 4th and maybe 5 planned for my friend's kids and my nephew and soon to new nephew/niece! (And a replacement whale for one eaten by a dog....) I was wondering if it is ok to sell the whales made with this pattern? I don't have any plans to do so at the moment, but maybe in the future. Thanks!

    1. I'm so glad you like the pattern and you've been able to use it! i have no problem with you selling the finished product, as long as my blog and this post are referenced, and you mention it's a free pattern. Thanks!

  16. I've been thinking about making a whale from this pattern, but I was wondering if it would be okay to add some details to it, like a dorsal fin and killer whale markings? Either way it's super cute! Thanks lots for the pattern!

    1. of course!!! that sounds awesome! i put this out as a free pattern hoping people would be able to take it and tweak it and make it their own ;) enjoy!

  17. I found your blog via pinterest and I really like it... :-)

    Thank you for this great whale pattern and clear instructions. I sewed one for my nephews 3rd birthday and he loved it.

    Here is my version:


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