Inspired by the little penguins I encountered in Australia, here is my version of sock penguin. Pixie, the sock penguin measures about 7 1/2″ tall and it can stand firmly on a flat surface by itself. It is a great gift to sew, be it as softie toy, hanging ornament, or merely for display. Get the pattern and tutorial to sew one soon. More sock toy, click here.
During my recent visit to Australia, I stopover at Philip Island, a penguin conservation center with a viewing area to watch the penguin parading back to their burrows after the sunset. I was really impressed by this little penguin’s amazing willpower after I was told that they could walk up to a few miles from their burrows to reach the coastline right before sunrise, the walk back again after they come back for a long haul fishing trip in the sea after sunset. Many of the burrows are built on the slope, I wonder how could they walk up the steep slope with their pair of the very short leg, a stomach full of fish and with no hand to grab on? Imagine yourself walking in the gunny sack, not easy to walk fast without a few tumbles and falls. My salute to the little penguin. By the way, the adult little penguins measure just about 13″ tall, only merely over a foot tall.
Cheers to the little penguin, I missed you badly after I returned home. Now, I have sewed these little sock penguins to accompany, hope to see the real one again soon.
Difficulty: Intermediate / Avid Beginner
Finished size: approximately 6″ (W) x 7 1/2″ (H)
1. Sock (crew length), colored, 1; or, socks (ankle length), 1 pair
2. Sock, White, 1 (for bean pack and tummy)
3. White felt (for the face)
4. Orange felt or orange sock scrap (for the bill)
5. Face and Tummy template, download here, print and cut.
6. Safety eye 7/16″ [11.5mm], black, 2; or button; or felt
7. Poly-fill stuffing material
8. Stuffing beans or silica beads (for bean pack)
9. Sewing threads (matching colors)
1. Sewing machine (optional, you can hand-sew without a machine)
2. Sewing needle (prefer long, about 2″) and pins
3. Erasable fabric marker
5. Blunt point tweezers
Seam Allowance: approx. 1/8 – 1/4″ (thinner sock material need to have bigger seam allowance as the loose-knit can be ripped off easily.)
Note: You may omit the bean pack if you are making the sock penguin as hanging ornaments or as a softie for baby.
In order to make different sizes of sock penguins, you may use different sizes of socks, ie, baby socks, toddler sock, ladies sock, etc….
Since the sock is stretched after stuffed, thick sock yields better quality than a thin sock.
Gather the materials and tools as listed above to sew the sock penguin.
Download and print out the template for penguin’s face and tummy. Cut face piece from felt and tummy from the sock. You may use felt for the tummy too but it won’t look bulging after stuffing. You may need to resize them to suit the size of your penguin.
The orange piece for the bill is about 1 1/2″ x 1″ if using sock material, cut a little bigger if you are using felt to sew.
Cut 4″ from white sock for the bean pack making.
a.) Sew a running stitch around the raw edge of the silica beads bean pack sock.
b.) Pull the thread to close the opening, knot.
c.) Fill 2/3 bag with silica beads or beans or other similar materials.
d.) Pull the thread to close the opening, knot. Make a few stitches between the centers (top and bottom) of the bean pack.
a.) Cut 1″ above the heel part on the colored sock. The feet part is for the body. The calf part is for the flippers. If you are using ankle socks, then 1 sock is for the body and the other sock is for the flippers.
b.) Stuff the toe part round.
c.) Stuff the body.
d.) Insert the bean pack to the heel part. Stuff more poly-fill to set the bean pack in place.
Ladder stitch or slip stitch at the opening. Don’t pull the thread to close on every stitch you made so that you can see where to insert your needle in order to get a straighter line.
b.) Pull the thread after stitching about 1″. If you want to slip stitch loosely for the entire opening, make sure you pull the thread in section to avoid thread breaking.
c.) Stuff more poly-fill to make a fuller foot for the sock penguin.
d.) Continue to stitch to close-up the opening. Knot the thread and hide it inside the body. Massage the body to release any lumps of the poly-fill, shape accordingly.
a.) Lock your thread at the heel part’s border and center across the width.
b.) Insert the needle in front of the penguin, middle of the width and at the same distance from the seam line as the back.
c.) Pinch the feet to let the needle go through in straight line, to come out at the same place where you did the thread locking.
d.) Pull thread to make the cleave to divide the section into 2 feet. Knot.
e.) Repeat a) to d) to make the toes for the penguin, but this time the cleave is swallower by half.
f.) The feet of the sock penguin.
a.) Place tummy piece on the penguin body, position, and pin.
b.) Slip stitch 1/4″ from the raw edge.
c.) Push the raw edge in with tweezers. Pull the thread to stretch the sock to sewing line which is bigger than the tummy piece. Continue to sew until about 2″ from the starting stitch.
d.) Stuff poly-fill to the tummy and sew to close the opening.
a.)The finished tummy waiting for the face to be completed.
b.) Place facepiece on the head section, position, and pin.
c.) Whipstitch or blanket stitch around until about 1″ away from the starting stitch. Stuff some poly-fill.
d.) Continue sewing to close the opening gap.
a.) Turn the sock with the wrong side facing out. Align the stripes of the sock on both layers, pin. Sketch the flipper pattern on the sock (as shown on picture b). Fold the orange sock into half, with the right side facing each other. Draw a straight line diagonally.
b.) Sew along the sketched lines.
c.) Cut the pieces out.
d.) Turn the pieces right side out and stuff. Use tweezers to stuff the bill since it is too small for your finger to go it.
a.) Pin the bill onto the face, slip stitch loosely around.
b.) Push the raw edge in with tweezers. Pull the thread to set the bill in place. Knot.
c.) Lock your thread on the place where you want to sew the eyes.
d.) Sew the button eye on. Insert the needle into the head and come out at the back of the head.
e.) Insert the needle into the same hole where it came out and go straight back to the front.
f.) Pass the needle through the button eye and pull. The eye will sink into the face. How much to pull will depend on how deep you want the eye to be sunken in. Knot. Repeat the same to the other eye.
a.) Slip stitch to close the opening of the flipper.
b.) Position the flipper to the body with the tip pointing to the back slightly. Pin.
c.) Slip stitch around.
d.) Not forgetting to stitch under the flipper too. Repeat the same to the other flipper.
Front view. The body posture of the sock penguin is easy to manipulate if you want it to bend to the side (like I did and shown in some photos) just bend the body a few times to shape the fiber of the poly-fill.
Since penguin lives in a colony, sew more penguins with different socks to make a huge family. Use a baby sock to sew baby penguins. I also used chenille sock for a feathery penguin (the one standing on the highest rock at the back).