Quite a few people have asked for instructions on how to make a denim whale, which was both flattering and terrifying – I’m pretty much hopeless at following (let alone making) patterns. But since Little Brother needed his own whale (some toys just cannot be shared), I decided to document the process. I never plan much beforehand, and the toy shapes up as I go. I’m afraid the following might be more confusing than helpful, but here goes. If you love tidy and neat sewing, please monitor your blood pressure:)
For a whale you need a leg from a pair of old jeans, a tiny bit of blue fabric for the eye, filling, sewing thread, a sewing machine and a little bit of patience.
Start by cutting the pieces: 2 for the back, 2 for the belly, 2 for the tail, and 4 for the fins. Note that for the belly pieces the right side of fabric is the reverse side of the denim.
The shape of the belly piece is copied from the back piece. As you can see, I draw straight onto the fabric with a red ballpoint pen.
Sew the tail pieces together, turn inside out and add some decorative seams (I like to use a contrasting colour thread). Do the same with the fins.
Sew the back seam.
Sew the decorative seams on the belly pieces on the reverse side of the fabric. The seams have to curve a bit, following the shape of the piece.
Join the back and belly pieces together. Remember to insert the fins in between the seams.
Turn the pieces to check the position of the fins. Don’t pay attention to apple pieces left on the table by Big Brother.
At this point I noticed that the back is too chubby, so I added a new slimming seam.
Attach the tail to the back pieces. As you a see, it turned out slightly askew, but I chose to think of it as a piquant detail.
Sew the eyes. You’ll need a small piece of light blue fabric, which is handsewn with many tiny stitches. You could of course embroider the eyes, or buy them from a store, or use buttons, but I prefer this method. Also sew a seam which marks the mouth.
Add a dot of black, and a tiny dot of white. Sewing thread is perfectly good for this.
Sew the belly seam, leave a gap for the filling. One notices the belly too is too chubby. A couple of decorative seams and the new belly seam help.
Turn inside out, fill snuggly and hand sew the gap.
Tadah! The whale is finished!
Here are the whale brothers, top one belongs to Big Brother, one below to Little Brother. Similar, yet different, just like my boys.
This picture probably says it all about our household.
I’m not sure if this was helpful or not, but if you decide to make a whale, please let me know, I would love to see them!