So, by way of celebration, here is one of the Tutorials I have been promising (or is that threatening) for some time... and also, in honour of the occasion, I will set up a Giveaway of the little Mini Sock Rabbit that I made for this Tutorial post!
Leave me a comment at the end of the post. I'll select a winner at random... next Wednesday (24th), about 8pm or so....
Here we go then:
Sock Rabbit Tutorial
How to make a cute little sock pet
Cute, isn't it?
This little rabbit is made from one little pink baby sock with a long, fold-over cuff. You could make one with smaller ears and paws, using a shorter-legged sock and obviously a larger rabbit can be made with a larger sock!
You will need:
One Sock - clean, preferably new. A patterned sock can be used, as well as a plain one. Any pattern will appear right-way up on this sock pet, as the toe of the sock forms the rabbit's bottom!
Sewing kit, including matching cotton, embroidery threads, sewing and embroidery needles, fabric scissors, pins, tailor's chalk or a soft pencil.
Toy stuffing - the polyester stuffing is easily available at most haberdashery shops and many other craft shops. This is fire retardant and safe for children.
Ribbon or other material for rabbit's collar. Possibly a button or two - for collar, eyes or nose.
Just before we continue to the instructions; a quick note about toy safety. Remember that you shouldn't give a small child any toy that has sharp bits, pieces that can be chewed or pulled off and swallowed, fluffy bits that could cause choking or irritate eyes and noses.
Any ribbons or strings should either be very firmly stitched on all round, or else (the preferable option) removed before giving to a small child, as should bells, buttons etc.
"Safety eyes" can be bought from craft shops, but you should be careful to follow the instructions when attaching them.
Stuffing and other materials should be fire retardent.
Children should be supervised when playing with hand-made toys and you should check regularly, to make sure nothing is coming apart, which could cause injury or choking.
Most of this is a matter of common sense, but it still needs saying!
Step One - Ears
Lay the sock flat and cut off the top inch or so (you will need to adjust this depending on the size of your sock, length of ears required etc.). The cut-off part will be used for the paws, so keep it safe.
Turn the sock so that the toe and heel are flat and the heel is facing you (as in picture). The heel of the sock will form the rabbit's face, with the leg-part forming the top of the head and the ears.
Cut down the middle of the leg-part for the ears, making sure you leave enough uncut sock to form the head.
Turn the sock inside-out.
Lay it flat and mark the shape of the ears with a soft pencil or tailor's chalk.
Stitch from one outside edge, around the ear-shape, using small, neat stitches. The sock is stretchy, so if your stitches are too big, they may split.
Continue round the bottom of the two ears, where the cut finishes. Stitch just a little way up, then remove the needle from the thread, leaving the end for later (to close the hole after stuffing).
Check that the gap between the ears, at the top of the head, is well stitched. If there are not enough stitches, you may end up with a ladder from where the sock was cut - try to make sure the loop at the end of the cut has been picked up by your stitching.
Stitch the second ear, from the outside edge and round the top, leaving a gap to turn the sock right-way out and for stuffing the rabbit (see the pictures above).
Trim the corners off, so you will have a rounded end to each ear.
If you want your rabbit to have those glass toys' eyes that you buy from craft shops - you know, "real eyes", like toy-shop teddies and stuffed toys have - now is the time to attach them. You may need to stuff the head temporarily, to work out where to put them, then mark the place for the eyes and remove the stuffing, before attaching them to the head (remember your sock is inside out!).
Step Two - Stuffing
Turn the sock right-way out, carefully pushing the fabric through the gap in the ear. You can use the end of a pencil to carefully push the ears into shape.
Make two balls of stuffing, one big for the body and a smaller one for the head. As you can see from the picture, one small sock can take a surprising amount of stuffing - you'll probably need twice as much as you think!
Carefully push the stuffing into the rabbit's body, poking it gently down and trying to form a smooth shape. Once the body is filled, knead it a bit, to smooth out any bumps - you're aiming for a rounded shape, with a flattened base.
Add the stuffing to the head - this is the heel and the part below the ears. Again, knead it to achieve a smooth shape.
You should end up with something like this:
A nice smooth body and head can be achieved by gently rolling the rabbit between your hands and kneading any lumpy bits. The rabbit should have a little kneck, as shown in the picture.
You may wish to add a little stuffing to the ears. I chose not to stuff the ears of this rabbit, but that was because the sock was small and the ears were quite stiff already. Larger ears or a softer sock may require stuffing to support them - unless you want the floppy look!
Roll the seams of the ears gently with your finger tips, to encourage them to smooth out. The ears need to be nice and even too.
Step Three - Close up the Gap
Thread the needle with the length of thread you left when stitching the ears, or if you finished off this thread end, use a new piece and make a couple of over-stitches to start off.
Use a ladder stitch to close the gap in the ear - Take a stitch on the seam-line at one side, then another opposite this stitch, moving up the seam like a ladder - so that you get a succession of straight-across stitches, like rungs.
Gently pull the ladder closed. The seam should form inside the ear, with almost no stitches (and definitely no raw edges) showing at the front.
You can pull the stitches as you go along, or leave it till you have made several "rungs".
Double-check that the area between the ears has been well stitched, to avoid problems later.
You may need to pin the other ear out of the way, to allow you to stitch up the seam.
Step Four - Add a Collar
If you wish your rabbit to have a collar or kneck-ribbon, now is the time to add it. If you add the arms, you may need to stitch them above the kneck, at the side of the head. It would be tricky to add a collar or ribbon if there was stitching in the way. By adding it now, you can avoid stitching the area where the collar is.
I cut a ribbon for my rabbit, crossed it at the front and secured with stitches, which attached to the sock as well.
I then added a little button, for decoration.
Step Five - Make the Arms
Cut a strip of left-over sock-top, on the fold. You will need to judge the width, based on the size of your sock pet and the size of paws/arms that you want. Mine were around one third of the width of the sock-top.
Mark the shape of the paw with a soft pencil, or tailor's chalk.
Stitch the arm seam, trim and turn right-way out. Stuff with a small ball of filling.
Repeat for the other arm, to make a lovely matching pair of paws!
To close up each arm, make small running stitches a little way from the top edge, all the way round the top.
Push the raw edges inside, then gently pull up the running stitch, to close the edges.
Make some stitches across the top, to flatten the arm and completely close the seam.
Step Six - Attach the Arms
Stitch the arm to the "shoulder" of the rabbit. It's up to you how you position the rabbit's arms. I made mine face upwards and outwards, in a "hug me" attitude, but you may want yours to face downward, or across the rabbit's tummy.. whatever you prefer.
Stitch each side of the arm to the body, starting with the outside edge and then the "underarm/armpit" edge.
Then bring the needle through the body and out a bit further up - around the collar edge. Stitch the inside of the arm to the body, to stop it flopping about. You may want to stitch it above the collar, or even to the side of the rabbit's face. Or, if the arm is to face downwards, you will need to decide where it should be attached to the body.
Arms open in a hug!
Step Seven - The Face and Tail
Use a soft pencil or tailor's chalk, to mark the features on your rabbit's face.
You may wish to make the face with felt shapes, buttons or even glass toys' eyes (which you would have attached before stuffing the doll!)
Alternatively, make the features with embroidery, as I did.
You may like to give your rabbit a tail. Mine has a crochet tail, made from fluffy blue and mauve yarn. I have also given rabbits a tail made with a button - large and white or little flower-shaped buttons look lovely - or a pom-pom (shop-bought or hand made). Cotton wool is possible, but you shouldn't let a small child play with the rabbit, as this would be a choking hazard!
The finished Bunny!
I hope you've enjoyed this little tutorial and feel inspired to have a try yourself.
Making Sock Pets is a lovely way to relax. They are quite simple to make, especially these one-sock designs, and are fun to give as presents.
This rabbit design could easily be adapted to create other animals.
Cut the sock top much lower down, leaving enough room to make small pointy corners, for ears - you can make a cat.
Make the ears long and droopy, stitch rounder eyes and nose, a muzzle with whiskers - you could make a dog.
Try adding a loopy wool mane to a yellow cat - you'll have a great little lion.
Stitch the sock-top long-ways, add some loops of red wool or a red felt fringe, sew some loops of wool or feathers to the back and make wings instead of arms - you'll have a cute chicken.
Make wings and big round eyes, give your pet a pointy beak and maybe some tummy-feathers - you can make the cutest toy owl you ever saw (Jo!).
You are only limited by the basic shape and your own imagination. Why not have a go - I'd love to see what others can create!
Remember that, if you would like a chance to win the little bunny from this tutorial, you need to leave me a comment. I will use a random number generator to select a winner and will publish the winning person's name next Wednesday evening, some time after 8pm.
Good night all!