Friday, March 14, 2008

Friday Tutorial: Sock Monkeys

Oh my gosh! I cannot believe I didn't do this earlier today. I feel so bad! I'd like to have a guest spot every Friday, or as often as I have people willing to BE the guest spot. This will include a tutorial from them.

First up, we have Liz Rhamat. She makes the CUTEST sock monkeys ever! I found her on Flickr and she helped me make MY first sock monkey. I hope to make many more now that she's shown me how. She has taken the time to write a tutorial JUST for this blog, so I hope you all enjoy!

REMEMBER: Any of the photos can be enlarged by clicking on them!!

Tutorial: Making Your Very Own
Sock Monkey

What you need:

  • Pair of socks

  • Thread

  • Sewing Needle

  • Pins

  • Scissors

  • Poly-fill Stuffing

  • Tailor’s Chalk (Optional)

  • Chopsticks (Optional)

  • Sewing Machine (or
      you can choose to sew by hand)

Steps for Body
and Legs:

1. Turn the socks
inside out and lay out the socks as shown in Picture 1 below, with the
heels facing up.


2.  If you’re
a new to sewing, you may want to use running stitches or use pins to
guide where your final stitches should be. If you’re comfortable sewing,
you can skip this part and start sewing two rows through the centre
with some space in between. Stop before you reach the heel (refer to
Picture 2). Both sides should be of equal width and these will form
the legs and the top half will be the monkey’s body.


Please take note
that you should use matching coloured threads, or as close as possible
to the socks otherwise the stitching will show when you turn the socks
over. For this tutorial, I am using contrasting colour threads so that
you can follow easily from looking at the pictures.

3.  Once you have
securely tied the ends of the stitches, cut in between the two rows
of stitches (refer to Picture 3 below).


You should stop
cutting before you reach the heel but slightly above the end of the
stitches (refer to Picture 4). This will come in very handy when you
need to turn the sock the right side up as well as to stuff the sock


4.  The next step
would be to sew the “feet” on the monkeys.
straight down all the way, to almost at the end of the sock and then
sew across (slightly
curved for a nicer effect)
 for both legs as shown in Picture 5. You an also be creative and try
different “feet” design if you like. 


There is no hard
and fast rule as to when you should sew the feet. Some prefer to do
all the sewing before cutting but thanks to my short concentration span,
I like taking breaks in between and switch from sewing, cutting and
go back to sewing.

Once you have
done both feet, you are ready to turn the sock inside out
through the gap in between
the legs
and have the sock
right side up (refer to Picture 6).


Steps for the
Hands, Ears, Tail and Mouth

5.  Congratulations.
You’re half way through creating your sock monkey. The next part would
be to repeat steps 1 – 4 again for the
. These will be your monkey’s
hands. Remember you need to stop a little before you reach the heel.

6. Once you have
finished sewing the two rows of stitches, cut across as shown in Picture
7 below. Then cut between the two rows of stitches and you have your
monkey’s hands!


7.  With the top
half of the sock, you will need to mark out where the ears, tail and
mouth will be. Study Picture 8 and use a tailor’s chalk to draw the
outline. You can then use some running stitches or pins to help hold
the sock together.


8.  The mouth is
where heel of the sock is. Sew a ‘V’-shaped pattern where the heel
is (refer to Picture 9 below). Remember to leave a gap or an opening
as you will need to turn the sock inside out LATER.



9. Next would be
the tail. Go wild here as you have options. You can make the tail straight,
curved etc. If you’re not too sure, go ahead and start with a straight
tail. I’ve made mine with a little hook at the end (refer to Picture


10. Next would
be the ears. You can make them squarish, roundish, one big and the other
small, go ahead and be creative. Stitch up anyway you want but just
remember to leave one side open so that you can stuff the ears.


For me, I usually
stitch al
l three sides as seen above in Picture 11. Then what I do is
just cut a small opening (see Picture 12 below). That’s the lovely
thing about sewing sock monkeys, there is no right or wrong. You just
keep at it until you find THE way that fits you best!



11.  Next, cut
the different parts of the monkey (refer to Picture 13). Do remember
that when you are cutting, do not cut too close to the stitches but
leave a little space.


12. What you need
to do next is tu
rn the socks to the right side and get ready to do some
major stuffing. And this would be where the chopstick will come in very
handy. Use chopstick that tapers at one end as this will help you stuff
any toy with tight corners.

Let’s start
with the body. Stuff the b
ody until it feels firm. Don’t rush through
the stuffing stage as it’s not as easy as it seems. I have had bad
stuffing days where I had to remove the poly-fill stuffing and do it
several times before I was happy with the result. So do not be discouraged
if you don’t get it right the first time. When you’re stuffing the
legs, you might want to use smaller portion of the poly-fill instead
of huge chunks at a time.


When you are done,
you will have to stitch the body. Pinch and tuck the raw edges together
and slip stitch the opening (Picture 14 below). Sometimes, I make a
point to stitch the opening twice to ensure that it doesn’t split




13.  Next, stuff
the hands and leave the openings as they are. Do not stitch them up
just yet. Move on and do the ears next. For the ears, after you have
stuffed them, use simple stitches to seal up the opening for the ears
(Picture 15 below).



The mouth is a
little tricky so do this slowly. Stuff the mouth and stitch up the opening
(see picture 16 below).



Hold the mouth
in the same posi
tion as shown in Picture 17 below. Stretch it a little
and adjust it so that it looks like that in the picture.



Attach the mouth
to the body of the monkey. You will need to pull and shape the mouth
until you’re happy with how it looks. Picture 18 below shows how I
like my monkey’s mouth to look. When I first did
this, my two hands
were just not enough and nowadays, I find using pins to hold the mouth
in position while I tug a little or push the stuffing around to get
that full look. Once the mouth is in place, use simple slip-stitch or
any stitch that you prefer to firmly attach the mouth to the face of
the monkey.




14.  Hope you’re
feeling totally excited now that you can see your monkey taking shape.
Next would be to sew on the ears (Picture 19). Again, I find it useful
to use pins to position the ears before I sew them to the head.




15.  Let’s attach
the hands next. Use pins to hold the hands in position, tuck the raw
edges in and stitch the hands to the body (refer to Picture 20). Where
should you position the hands is totally up to you.



16. And next would
be the tail. Yes, like the hands, position and secure safely with some
pins and stitch the tail to the back of the sock monkey as shown in
Picture 21.



17.  Well done,
you have just made you
r very first sock monkey. Well, just need to add
a few more things and then we’re done. So take a few minutes to sit
back and admire your handy work. I usually get very excited at this
stage and spend a few minutes just grinning real silly looking at my
monkey. And many monkeys later, I still do this and love this part best.
Picture 22 below is how my monkey looks like.



18. Next stage
is heaps of fun as
you get to be real creative. Let’s start with the
lips of the monkey (or some say the mouth). I find using back-stitch
handy (Picture 23) for this but once again, use what you find most comfortable.
Any kind of stitch will work. I prefer to use red thread for this but
it’s pretty much up to you.



19.  Let’s give
our monkey


some eyes. And here you can use buttons (refer to Picture
24) if you want to. But if you’re making this monkey for any child
below the age of three, you should avoid buttons or anything that the
child can choke on.



20. For me, I prefer
to use bits of felt for my sock
monkey. And here’s how handsome he
looks with his new pair of eyes (Picture 25).





I hope you have
found this tutorial useful. It
takes a lot of patience to complete a
sock monkey but it’s really a lot of fun so if you get stuck along
the way, put it aside for some time and come back to it later. More
importantly, always remember there is no such thing as badly made sock
monkeys because they have always end up looking darn cute despite their
“imperfections”, that’s h


ow forgiving they are! I was asked if
we need to use matching socks to make the sock monkey.
You have the artistic freedom to use mismatch socks
if you wish to. Remember, it’s going to be YOUR monkey, so you can
use any kind of socks. So go forth and experiment!

These pictures
were taken when I made the sock
 monkey for the tutorial. I would appreciate
if you drop me an email or link to my blog at if you would like to use them.

About myself:


My name is Liz
and I am a crafter living in Singapore, a small little island in South-East
Asia. I taught myself how to sew these sock monkeys a couple years ago
by searching online for ideas and (many socks later) through trial and


error, combined different methods to one that I find suits me best.
Other than sewing sock monkeys, I also make other plush toys as well
as switch between other crafts such as jewellery-making, mosaic and
currently, am getting my hands all dirty with ceramic pottery

Thank you SO much Liz for the tut!! And if you can, please support Liz in her etsy shop!

Liz's Blog:

Liz's Etsy Shop:

Also, here's my FIRST sock monkey, thanks to Liz!

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