Sew to make a pufferfish doll or stuffed toy and home decor out of a microfiber chenille mitten…. from square to sphere…. and turning a household’s cleaning glove to a kid’s loving soft toy.
With a short elastic cord attached to it and hang it in your car, stroller, or even playpen for your kids to play with, let the pufferfish bounce and bungee jump all over the place. Toss it around, play “monkey catch” with it, or nap with it. It’s going to be your kid’s favorite buddy!!!
My siblings and I used to go fishing at a deserted beach during the old days of childhood. One day we caught “a lot” of pufferfish than usual. In fact, there weren’t a lot of pufferfish in the sea just that, there was 1 particular hungry pufferfish that kept eating our bait and angled by us repeatedly.
Knowing that pufferfish is poisonous and can’t be eaten, we released it back to the sea (it ain’t so lucky if we are Japanese, LOL)…. but it kept on coming back with hook scars all over its lip. In order not to disturb our fishing fun, we decided to keep it on the land and let it bloat, but we will put it back to the sea before it explodes (will it?) or out of breath 😉
Looking at how it was inflating was darn so cute (sorry, I don’t mean to be cruel to animals or fish). It was like blowing a balloon. With its funny facial expression, it was telling us that it was gulping its favorite air. Watching the fish getting bigger and bigger, rounder and rounder… wow, that piece of memory embedded into me so deeply that I have to make this pufferfish. This idea struck me immediately when I saw the chenille mitten at the store, and it inspired me.
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Puffer Fish Stuffed Animal
Sew From A Microfiber Chenille Mitt
Difficulty Level: Intermediate
Finished Dimension: 6″ (W) x 7″ (L) x 5″ (H)
1. Microfiber Chenille Mitt
2. Fabric, about 14″ (W) x 7″ (H)
3. Felt (Black & White)
4. Polyester Cord, 1/4″ Ø, 5 1/2″
5. Elastic Cord
8. Strong thread
9. Long sewing needle, prefer at least 2″ long
Cut fabric to 4″ square for the tail, 2 pcs. of 3″ square for fins, 5 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ 45° diagonal for the mouth.
Cut black felt 2 pcs. of 3″Ø, 2 pcs.of 7/8″Ø.
Cut white felt 2 pcs. of 1 1/8″Ø and 6 small circles ( I used a leather hole puncher to punch the small circles).
Place white circle felt onto the center of the 3″ black felt, zigzag sew the circumference with a sewing machine. If you hand sew, use blanket stitches.
Then, place the 7/8″ black felt onto them, sew as previously.
Patch and stitch the small white circles onto them.
Run stitch at the circumference of the black felt. Tug and pull to gather.
Stuff poly-fill into it and tighten up.
Darn a few more stitches across the opening to close it better.
This is the eyeball of the pufferfish. Repeat the same for another eyeball.
Trim off some chenilles from the corner of the mitten. Remove the residue. This is the socket of the eyeball.
Check the amount needed to trim off by placing the eyeball into it.
Repeat the same to the other side.
Push the corner of the mitten inward to create a socket and place the eyeball into it. Pin it to dock the placement.
Slip stitch the eyeball to the socket. Sew near to the white edge of the eyeball. Remove pin.
Repeat the same to the other side.
FINS & TAILS
Fold the fin fabric into halve with the right side facing each other.
Sew with 1/4″ seam allowance and leave 1″ opening for turning right-side out.
Turn the fin right-side out and press. Stitch to mend the opening.
Repeat the same for the other fin and tail.
Run stitch near the edge, tug to gather the fabric to about 1″ wide.
Align the slant edge of the mouth fabric, in a right angle to each other, and sew with 1/4″ seam allowance.
Turn and press the seam flat. Press one of the raw edges 1/4″ inward.
Baste the polyester cord at the non-press raw edge. Trim off the excess cord.
Fold the fabric to wrap around the cord and slip stitch along.
Trim off a column or 2 of chenilles at the center between the 2 eyes. Slip stitch the mouth to the face.
Stuff poly-fill from the wrist of the mitten, not too full but full enough to inflate the mitten. You will find that your fish is not round… yet! Don’t freak out!!! The following steps are the secret to make it round without any trimming.
To make the fish rounder, you need to shorten the length of the sides.
Use double strong thread and make a big knot. Make a stitch at the side, about 1 1/4″ from the edge of the eye, stitch again at 1 1/2″ from the first stitch, then back to the first stitch. Squeeze the stuffed mitten a little to bring the 2 points closer to each other before pulling the thread to bring them together. The reason I squeeze the mitten before pulling the thread is that the mitten fabric is a loose woven type, pulling without squeezing might rip off the mitten’s fabric.
Make a few more stitches around it to further secure the tug. Knot and hide the thread end.
Sew to attach the fin at the tug site. Repeat the same to the other side.
Stuff the mitten more to make it fuller. Trim off the elastic wrist band and leave only about 1″ behind.
Run stitch around and pull to gather to close the opening. Darn a few stitches to fasten it further.
Sew the tail to the back to cover all the stitches.
Your pufferfish is done.
Lastly, find the center point of the pufferfish and sew the elastic cord to it, then decorate it with a ribbon.
Tip: Pinch the top of the pufferfish to find the balancing point of the pufferfish to sew the hanging cord.