Company: DIY Fluffies
I found this little cutie pie on Etsy when searching for a potential baby toy for a friend’s shower. Their nursery theme was nautical with adorable little whales and sea creatures. This not only fit the theme, but looks an awful lot like the whale motifs seen on cute baby things these days. Perfect!
This softie can be made with polar fleece or a woven like quilting cotton, denim, etc. The eyes are felt, but you could certainly embroider some on or use plastic safety eyes. I blanket stitched my eyes in place before sewing the sides to the top. Finished, the whale is roughly 12 inches long.
I had found the perfect piece of blue baby wale corduroy, which I had planned to use on a whale toy at some point, at an estate sale. The piece was big enough that I cut out two whale bodies and might just weasel out a third from the leftovers later. It is so soft! I also had some minky like fabrics from my mojo dolls which I used for the bellies—I love the different textures of the fabrics for baby toys.
For the baby shower, I made one with a yellow belly to go with their blue and gold colors.
And for the other, I used a soft mint green belly. This one was immediately claimed by my younger sister (I know, right, how am I supposed to get stuff listed on Etsy if everyone locally keeps buying it all!? LOL!)
I like how the green fabric has ribbing lines kind of like what you see on real whales.
As far as the instructions for this pattern, there were places things could have been much clearer. For instance, when you are sewing the sides to the top piece, it doesn’t really give a specifics on where to stop at the tail. Also, sewing the shaping darts could have been better illustrated and explained. There are actually two patterns included, one with seam allowances and one without. I think someone brand new to sewing toys might struggle a bit due to lack of better specifics in both illustrations and instructions. While it is a simple toy, one page only is really not helpful for a beginner. I’ve sewn plenty of softies and dolls, and still had to stop and reread and fiddle with pinning to get what it was supposed to be, so take your time and don’t let yourself get frustrated. It does all fit together.
Sewing got a little tricky with the tail when sewing the belly piece on. The area where the top and two side pieces meet at the back isn’t well explained and I kind of had to guess on where to stop (maybe it would be more obvious to someone else). The tail curves upward when finished, so there is some “extra” fabric in the way when sewing this—just keep an eye on it so you don’t accidently stitch it in the seam. Also, the matching marks didn’t line up on mine very well, so what I did was pin the front, pin the tail and then adjust along the sides until the bottoms of the side pieces matched the belly piece. It does match up, its the marks that don’t necessarily always get there. I then trimmed my seams with my pinking shears which helped the curves turn smoothly.
Also, keep track of the fronts of the flippers, I got one in backwards on the green belly whale. (He’s all sewn up, so its too late now…and not super obvious except when looking straight at the bottom.) Incidentally, stiff fabrics like corduroy are not the easiest to turn so be prepared on those little flippers!
I think it took a bit more than half a bag of poly-fil stuffing. I like to pack it in there so the toy stays firm over time, and this one takes awhile to finish stuffing!
Even though I would put this one at an intermediate level due to the instructions, or lack thereof, I think if an advanced beginner took it slow they’d do just fine. If a child wanted to make this, I would definitely recommend some parental help with the tail piecing. After making two, I would still make this one again, and plan to—wouldn’t a plaid whale be so adorable? Maybe this time with big black safety eyes.