Friday, June 4, 2010

Sock Animal Rattle




It's soft ... it's squishy ... it has chomp-able ears and a nice, soft jingle. It is sure to be your infant's favorite first toy. This Sock Animal Rattle is from Homemade by Jill...

Materials:

• One sock per rattle
• Polyfill stuffing
• Embroidery thread and needle
• One jingle bell
• Optional: sewing machine, thread, etc. If you use a machine, a ball point needle is very helpful when working with knits (I also like to use my walking foot). This project can be entirely sewn by hand, but I use a sewing machine for the larger pieces to speed the work along.

Also, I'll be showing you two versions of this project. The first version is a straight handled rattle with a small animal head. The second version is a loop handled rattle with a larger animal head. Feel free to mix them up as you choose - the beauty of sock animals are how customizable they are! You can also easily change the ear shape and facial embroidery to make a wide range of animals. I'll only be showing you a bunny in this tutorial.



Straight-Handle Rattle (Version 1)

Step 1: Cut your sock, following the photo below






Step 2: make the handle




Fold piece A in half lengthwise, with right sides facing together. Pin in place.
Sew down the open side and bottom, curving the bottom edge. Leave the original sock cuff open for stuffing. I sewed a straight stitch on my sewing machine and also serged the edges (optional). You can also zigzag stitch the edge, or double stitch for durability.
Turn the handle right side out and stuff with polyfill. 

Step 3: make the head



Turn piece B inside out and stitch the top closed in a curved edge. Fold flat in the other direction and sew another curved seam overlapping the first perpendicularly (not pictured - sorry!). Basically, it will make a small "x" on the top of the head and give it a nice curved shape.
Turn right side out and stuff the head. Insert the jingle bell into the center of the head and cover with more stuffing.
Using a long piece of embroidery floss, start cinching the bottom of the head closed (hide the thread knot on the inside of the head). I cinched the head by sewing stitches alternating on opposite sides of the head. Continue stitching and cinching until the bottom of the head is all gathered in.
Tie a knot to close off the head, but do not cut your embroidery floss. You will continue to use it in the next step (fewer knots to hide!).

Step 4: attach the head to the handle




Continuing to use the embroidery floss from step 3, attach the bottom (cinched) side of the head to the opening of the handle using a ladder stitch. If you are not familiar with the ladder stitch, I would recommend watching this short how-to video. It is a very simple stitch that is great for sock animals because it is strong and nearly invisible.

Step 5: make and attach ears




Cut piece C in half horizontally so you have two equal pieces. Do exactly as you did with piece A for the handle: fold in half lengthwise with right sides together, pin, sew down one side and curve around one end, leaving the other end open. Serge or zig zag the edges if desired. Repeat with the other ear.
Turn both ears right side out.
Attach ears to the top of the head. I placed them along one of my seam lines. Turn the raw edges under slightly and attach to the head using a ladder stitch, exactly as you did in step 4.

Step 6: embroider the face



I didn't take step by step of the process, but I used a backstitch for the eyes, whiskers and mouth, and a satin stitch for the nose. The Stitch A Day section on the Hand Embroidery Network blog is a great resource for learning how to do just about every embroidery stitch there is.

That is it for the straight handled rattle! Pretty easy, right? 

Visit Homemade by Jill for the Round Handle Version

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