Monday, 28 December 2009

Monkey Madness!

Good Evening, all Friends!

Well, Abi of Creating Paper Dreams asked how I made a Sock Monkey, as she has a bit of a fondness for Monkeys (a Monkey Mania perhaps).  She received a Knit-A-Monkey kit for Christmas, but, as if that's not enough, she fancies making a sock version too! 

So, this post is specially for Abi, but anyone else is welcome!

These are our Sock Monkeys

One is made from a pair of ordinary, Adult-sized Socks.  His name is "Mon" (as in Mon-key - very original!).
The other was created from a pair of over-the-knee-stockings, hence the looong body and legs! He is called "Bro", because he's brother to Mon.
These pets live on J's bed. I have to say goodnight to them every night. J. has lent them to me for one day only, so please consider yourselves honoured!

As you can see, Sock animals can be friendly and fun pets. I've made several in the last few months, a number of which have ended up in my shop.  They sell amazingly well.  My very favourite was the Punk Zebra (see earlier posts!), which I made in October, while on holiday. 

So, for those who can see the appeal, here is a little tutorial about Sock Monkeys.


Please excuse the hand-drawn diagrams. I hope they are clear. I didn't have time today, to make and photograph a monkey step-by-step:

You will need:

1 Pair of Socks.  For the tutorial, I am showing normal Adult-sized short socks, which would produce a pet like our friend Mon (above).

Polyester Toy Stuffing - available from sewing and craft shops, Dunelm Mills and some toy shops. Use this if you can, as it's specially made to be safe for toys.

A Sharp pair of Fabric Scissors

A Needle and Sewing Thread in a matching colour and also contrasting thread or pins, for tacking/basting.

A Marking Pen or chalk pencil.

Embroidery Thread/Floss and/or Buttons for decoration.


Turn Sock 1 inside out.
Cut through the centre of the sock, from the ankle, to just above the heel, to make the Legs. 
Stitch each Foot and Leg, as shown (red dots).
Leave a space in the middle, to allow you to turn the sock right-way out.


Stuff the main part of the sock, as far as the heel, to form the Head and Body.  The sock heel will be the monkey's bottom.
Use a nicely formed sausage of stuffing, if possible, that fills the body nicely and is smooth and firm.  The stuffing will settle as the monkey is handled - you don't want him to go all squashy!


Stuff the Legs with smaller pieces of filling, using a rounded stick, or spoon handle to push it in well. Make sure it's smooth and firm.
Stitch the gap to close - use a slip-stitch for invisibility.

4)  Roll the body and legs between the palms of your hands, to make the stuffing smooth and even.


Cut the Toe end from Sock 2.
Stuff with a smooth ball of filling and stitch closed, to make the monkey's Face.
Use a gathering stitch to pull it closed at the back.


Cut the Top off Sock 2,  just above the Heel.
Cut into 2 Arms and stitch Hands and arms, as shown.
Turn right-way out and fill with small pieces of stuffing, pushing them in well.
Roll between your palms, to smooth and firm the arms. Add more filling if necessary.


Cut two curved pieces on a fold, as shown. 
Stitch to make the Ears.
Turn right-side out and add stuffing to give shape.
The ears don't need to be too firm.
If you want, you can stitch the middles, or round the rims, to make the ears more shaped and realistic. (This is why each sock pet is so individual!)


Assemble the Monkey.

Attach the Face/Nose with neat, small stitching all round, so it sits nicely.
Attach the ears with slip-stitching. Make sure they are level.

Decide where the shoulders should be and attach each arm, again making sure they are level.
Pay attention to placing of seams - both arm seams should be on the inside.
If necessary, work the stuffing around a little, to give the arms a more natural shape. You may want them to curve a little, to make the monkey look more huggable.

Check that the monkey can sit up on his bottom.  If not, work the stuffing a little until he can.  If necessary, undo the stitching and add or remove a little stuffing, to make the monkey sit up correctly - he won't sit if he's too fat!  Some people give their monkey a little round tummy - others like him to be lean & mean! But he does need a rounded bottom.

Finally, stitch his face with embroidery thread/floss.

Use Chain Stitch, Back Stitch, or Stem Stitch, to give him a smiley, curved mouth (ignore the evil leer on my diagram, it didn't quite turn out as I'd hoped!)

Use French or Bullion Knots, or else buttons, to give him monkey-style eyes (Mon and Bro' have Bullion-knot eyes).  You could also use circles of felt, with buttons or more felt on top, or special glass toy-eyes from the craft shop (which you may need to attach at Step 2, before you add stuffing to his body).  You could even give your monkey eyebrows and/or lashes.  This helps to add character and can also make it clearer if you are making a girl-monkey (think mascara).

Make a collar, bow, tie or scarf for your monkey.  You can use a circle cut from left-over sock, a ribbon, or else crochet or knit him something special.  Mon has a sock-circle collar.  Bro' thinks these are un-cool and won't wear his! 

You could even make clothes for your new friend - a waistcoat always looks very smart and can be made easily from 1 large and 2 small rectangles, stitched at the sides and shoulders, with arm-holes.  But you can be as simple, or as fancy as you wish - it's your monkey!

Give him a good hug, to try him out.  Remember to take his photo and post it on your blog (or a link on mine) for me to see!

If you can bear to part with him, give him to your favourite Monkey-Fan!

A Larger Monkey

Bro' is a large Monkey.  He was made from very long socks. 

The blue bit behind his arms is where the Heel was stitched together, to make a longer body.  His head is still made from the toe-part of the sock and his legs are cut in the leg-part of the socks, with the cuffs as feet, making them very long indeed. 

Bro' therefore doesn't have a bottom, like Mon. He just has one long body and sits at the tops of his legs. 
His arms were cut from Sock 2, as was his face, just as in the instructions above.  The only real difference is the sewing up of the heel on Sock 1 (and the need for a very long stick to push in the stuffing!).

On holiday in the Summer, we stayed in a Youth Hostel.  The assistant warden saw Mon and brought her Sock Monkey to meet him.  He was HUGE! She had made him from a pair of long woollen Ski Socks.  He was a very beautiful monkey, as the socks were grey wool, with a Fair-Isle/ Norwegian type of design, giving him a ready-made sweater.  His head wore a red cap, from the red toes (and guess where else was also red!). He had red hands and feet too.  She had made him a red scarf and he was lovely.  We were inspired to create Bro' from this pair of long socks that we found in a shop one day.

So, I hope you've enjoyed my little Tutorial, complete with sketches.  Maybe you will make your own Monkey.  The techniques used for the monkey can be adapted to create other creatures too.  A Teddy Bear is super-easy to adapt from these instructions. Make his limbs a bit shorter and fatter, give him a round tummy and round ears, then stitch a classic upside-down-"Y" for his mouth and a nice triangle nose - voila! One Teddy.  I also used a similar design to make a leopard (see my Sock Pet posts from October/ November, or the Sold section of my Etsy shop!).  I gave the leopard thinner arms, so I could also make him a nice long tail.  You could make a cat, a bear, even a rabbit if you think it through (short arms and legs, long ears...).

Happy Sock-Pet Making!


  1. those monkeys are just the cutest little things!

  2. Your sock monkeys are cute! You explained how to create one in an easy to understand format.

  3. What a great tutorial, Lizzie! I love how you drew the pictures, and the red ink for stitching is easy to follow. Thanks so much for posting this...I may have to do one of these for my niece...

  4. Great tutorial Lizzie - the diagrams made it easy for me - non sewer - to understand. I think Abi will like how you have explained things.

  5. I LOVE THEM! thanks so so much lizzie! I now love u forever! he he! The tutorial is so well done and very easy to follow, u really should do more of them! Now...just need to find a pair of old socks! mwah ha ha, monkey here I come! Will post a picture soon of a very old but loved monkey who started off my mania! xxx

  6. Fabulous tutorial! I love your should think about making up little instruction booklets to sell on Etsy if you can draw like that. Seriously. Fantastic!

  7. Thanks everyone, for the positive and kind comments! I'm so glad my Monkeys have had such a reception.

    Thank you Abi, for your enthusiasm - I hope you can make your monkey now, to keep the knitted one company.

    And Sian, I just might do what you suggest - Thank you.

  8. Doing a little blog catching up today, and, Lizzie, your tutorial is fantastic!!!
    Great job.


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