You have probably seen Lexi, the sock lion made from a single sock. You may have even made it a few times and loved it. If not, you can see it here. Love it? Well, now you can sew a different kind of sock lion, called “Shimba”. In contrast to Lexi, Shimba is made out of a pair of socks and not just one single sock. This new sock lion is also bigger in size (average 20” tall) and has longer arms, feet and body.
I was inspired to recreate the sock lion in a bigger size because my Marcho sock monkey tutorial got so popular and received so many lovely comments from all over the world.
Thank you to everyone who sewed it. It warms my heart to hear of how your children love to hug the sock monkey and your comments on how easy it was to make, which is so wonderful to hear. To those who showed me your photos of the sock monkeys you made, you are awesome! Since you loved it so much, I request that you give that same amount of affection to Shimba the sock lion as well. Give it a try if you think it is just as adorable!
Sock Lion – Free Sewing Pattern & Tutorial
scroll to get the free pattern & tutorial
Shimba the sock lion’s story began one day, after a rain shower. It had been a while since the last rain, and the lakes were beginning to dry up. He woke up and stretched his legs. It was late morning, and the sun was shining brighter than usual. Somehow, the heat from the sun’s rays seemed to beat down more today as Shimba stood up, planning to go for a walk.
Feeling thirsty, Shimba walked to the lake, hoping there would be enough water to suppress his thirst, at least for a little while. Alas, when he got there, the other animals were standing around too, mournfully looking at the dried-up lake. Shimba decided that they couldn’t stay there any longer, and told everyone to get ready to move.
All the animals listen to the words of their wise lion king, and before long everyone was moving in a large group, following Shimba to a new place where they hoped the water was available. The baby animals walked in front of their parents and played with each other, making light of a serious situation. Their parents walked behind more sombrely.
Shimba, The Sock Lion King
Suddenly, everyone heard a sound, unheard for several weeks. Crash…boom! It was the sound of thunder! Shimba stopped in his tracks, making everyone behind him stop as well. They looked up to the sky, eagerly waiting for the clouds to unleash long-awaited precious droplets of rain. First came a few small ones. Then slightly bigger ones, a drizzle, and then it turned into a full-blown shower. The animals cheered and bellowed in happiness and excitement. The rains had finally come!
Shimba watched with pride as the animals celebrated together in the rain. He had served his kingdom well as their lion king.
Are you ready to sew your lion king with a pair of socks?
- Sewing machine. You can also hand-sew, if you prefer
- Long Sewing Needle (about 2") and pins
- Tapestry needle
- Cardboard, 2″ wide (to make lion fur)
- Erasable fabric marker
- Pen & ruler
- Prepare all materials above. Always pre-washed your socks before sewing them. Turn the sock inside out and iron.
- Draw pattern on the sock. Sew then cut. Turn sock pieces right side out.
- Stuff parts with poly-fill stuffing materials and sew as instructed below.
- Sew to close the opening. Massage the parts to even out the lumps of the stuffing.
- Sew eyes, mouth, ears, arms, and followed by adding mane to complete the sock lion.
Seam Allowance: give yourself approximately 1/8” or 1/4” (you need bigger seam allowance for loose-knit and thinner sock materials because they can be ripped off easily)
Note: Not all socks are the same size, so I can’t provide a standard drawn pattern for this sock lion. The best way to proceed is to sketch out the sewing line by referring to the pictures.
MORE DETAILS ON HOW TO SEW
SHIMBA SOCK LION
Gather all the materials and tools needed to sew a sock lion.
Cut 2 ellipse from white felt for the white of the eyes, about 7/8″ x 1 1/4″.
Cut 1 trapezoid from brown felt for the nose, about 1/2″ x 1 1/4″ x 1 1/4″.
Turn your sock with the wrong side out. Align sock as shown in the picture.
Press them flat with a warm iron.
Mark the pattern with a pen:
Solid yellow line – sewing lines.
Dash yellow line – running stitch line.
Blue line – cutting line for the snout of the lion.
The cutting lines for overall are not shown but you can see them on the 3rd step by step pictures.
Sew and Cut
Align the stripes of the sock on both layers, pin.
Sew with sewing machine or hand sew if you don’t prefer machine sewn.
Cut near the sewing lines, about 1/8″ to 1/4″ away.
Left sock: body.
Right sock: arms (top), snout (center), tail (left) and ears (right).
After cutting the body, there will be a small opening between the legs, this is the stuffing opening.
Turn all parts right side out except the tail.
Please refer to sock monkey’s tutorial for more detail, especially the body side.
STUFF & ASSEMBLY
a.) Roll a big ball of poly-stuffing material and stuff into the toe area of the sock. Sew running stitch around the neck, pull to tighten, knot and cut sewing thread. This is the head of the sock lion. Roll the head with your hand to make it rounder.
b.) Stuff the legs and body until the firmness you like. Adjust the poly-fill so that the body can sit properly.
c.) Close up the opening by sewing the stuffing hole between the legs.
d.) Stuff the arms and close the openings.
e.) Attach the arms to the body.
a.) Roll some yarns about 1″ – 2″ longer than stretched sock tail. Tie one side with yarn.
b.) Insert 1″ of yarn into the sock tail (with wrong side facing out).
c.) Stitch up to close the opening while securing the yarn in place.
d.) Turn the sock right side out. Remove the tying yarn, you can cut the yarn to have a straight tail tassel or leave it in the loop shape.
Fold the raw edges of the tail inwards and sew it to the body by slip stitching around.
a.) Mark snout shape on the face with an erasable fabric marker
b.) Turn the raw end inside the snout and sew it on the face with a slip stitch.
c.) Leave an adequate opening for stuffing
d.) Stuffed and shaped the snout, sew to close the opening.
a.) Pin the brown felt (nose) on the snout.
b.) Sew it on with matching color thread or embroidery floss (2 or 3-strand).
c.) Stuff in a small amount of poly-fill to make the nose to boost the shape. Continue to sew to close the opening.
d.) To make the philtrum of the mouth, knot your embroidery floss (6-strand) at the bottom center of the snout securely, insert your needle at the center of the bottom edge of the nose felt, into the snout and come out from the same place where you knot your floss.
e.) Pull to make a dent that resembles the philtrum. Repeat again if necessary to add another secure stitch.
f.) Make a french knot to resemble the vibrissa or whisker of the lion. The needle should cross the snout and come out to the other side, pull lightly so that the french knot is indented a little into the snout. Make another french knot on the other side of the snout.
Repeat to make 3 vibrissae at each side of the snout.
Eyes, Ears & Mane
Position the 2 white ellipses felt on the face as the whites of the eyes. Sew around with white thread.
Sew to attach the safety eyes at the position you like.
a.) Stuff the ears and stitch up the openings. Fold the ear in half vertically, stitch the bottom together to make a cup ear.
b.) Sew them on the head of the sock lion. Without the mane, it looks like a lioness.
c.) Roll the red and yellow yarns around the 2″ cardboard. Gather and stitch every 10 of them. Catch yarn into needle as you pass through them, loop 2 to 3 times, pull tight, and make a knot before proceed to the next 10 of yarn.
d.) Measure the length needed to wrap the head of the sock lion. Make extra length if you want to have a dense mane. Stitch the mane to the sock lion. For an even mane distribution, divide the mane into 2 parts, pin it at the neck and top of the head. Sub-divide the mane again and pin in the middle of the side head.
I hope you can find the perfect socks to sew Shimba the sock lion - he’s every bit as cute as the much-loved sock monkey. Make a whole family for Shimba for your children, grandchildren, or even your neighbor's children. They are all sure to love this cuddly lion plush.
Don’t forget to let me know your experience in sewing this child-friendly sock lion toy.
Socks will be stretched after they are stuffed so thick socks that are close-knit make better quality sock lion toys.
In order to make different sizes of sock lions, you may use different sizes of socks, ie, baby socks, toddler sock, ladies sock, etc…
Tip: always massage the stuffing to loosen out lumps. Long tubular parts should be rolled with both hands so any lumps will be smooth, and help to make the parts longer and firmer.
Purchase similar material and tool used in this pattern from Craft Passion Shop.