On my last trip to Australia, I encountered several little penguins. They were so lovable, waddling around, swaying from side to side and I thought to myself, “I have to have one of those in my craft room.” That’s how I got my inspiration to create a sock penguin, which I named Pixie.
Pixie the sock penguin measures about 7 ½” tall and is stable enough to stand firmly on a flat surface by itself. This is a great gift to sew and useable in different ways – a stuffed animal toy, hanging sock toy ornament or merely a stuffed penguin plush toy for display. Get the free sewing pattern and tutorial below to make one soon. For more sock toys similar to this one, click here.
Sock Penguin – Free Sewing Pattern & Tutorial
scroll to get the free pattern & tutorial
So, when I was in Australia, I stopped over at Philip Island, which has a penguin conservation center with a viewing area of penguins parading back to their burrows after sunset. I was told that they could walk up to a few miles from their burrows to reach the coastline right before sunrise, and I was really impressed by the amazing willpower these creatures had. My eyes caught this one little penguin I saw. It was truly inspiring how it was so little and could only make tiny steps, but was able to keep up with the rest.
After sunset, the penguins would walk back again to go for a long fishing trip in the sea. As many of the burrows were built on a slope, I marveled at how they were able to walk up the steep slope with their very short legs, stomachs full with fish and no way to grab hold of something. Just imagine walking with your legs in a gunny sack, it is almost impossible to walk fast without a few tumbles and falls along the way. It isn’t easy at all, and for that reason, the little penguin I had my eye on, has my respect. Just so you know how little he was, adult penguins aren’t that large, measuring just about 13” or merely over a foot tall. So that little penguin was really a little one, waddling twice as fast just to keep up with the adults.
One day, Pixie the sock penguin was sitting by the sea, gazing longingly at the fish swimming beneath the surface of the water. Just one of those fishes would make a delicious meal for the little penguin plush, but with her small body and lack of swimming speed, she knew she wouldn’t be able to catch a single one. The fish here were all fast swimmers, and always alert for hungry penguins.
One by one the adult penguins emerged from the sea, carrying big fish in their beaks. They sat down on the ice to feast, and didn’t share any of their catch with Pixie. The little penguin’s stomach began to growl louder, and she knew that she had to find a way to find food soon.
Pixie wasn’t a strong swimmer, but she had strong legs that would walk long distances without getting tired easily. So she decided to get up and start walking along the shore, hoping to find a fish that another penguin had dropped by accident, or maybe even leftovers of another penguin’s meal. Pixie was so hungry by now that she was sure to eat anything she could come by.
The little sock penguin continued walking, straying further and further from the group. Eventually, she found a small river that led to the sea, and followed it. She soon realised that the further she went, the shallower it got, and her excitement began to grow. If the water was shallow enough, it would mean that she wouldn’t have to swim, and the fish would be near enough to the surface of the water for her to catch more easily.
Finally, she reached the shallowest part of the river, and stared intently into the crystal clear waters for fish. There they were, swimming unsuspectingly, not knowing that there was a hungry penguin eyeing them from above. The fish in the river were rarely hunted by the penguins, and so they were not used to swimming fast and being on a lookout for the large predators. This made them easy targets for Pixie.
She lay down on the river bank, and fixed her eyes on a big fish that was swimming alone. Splash! As fast as lightning, she shot her head into the water and successfully caught it in her beak. Pleased with herself, she sat down to enjoy her long-awaited meal. Not only had she been able to find food, but she had also found a convenient and secret place to hunt for fish, a secret place that only she knew about. How satisfying!
Cheers to you, little penguin. I missed you badly once I returned home. Now, to help me not miss you so much, I sewed these little sock penguins as an inspired sock craft toy. I included the free sewing pattern of the sock penguin below and hope it makes your sewing a little easier. Happy sewing!
- Sock (crew length), colored, 1; or, socks (ankle length), 1 pair
- Sock, White, 1 (for bean pack and tummy)
- White felt (for the face)
- Orange felt or orange sock scrap (for the bill)
- Face and Tummy template, download here, print and cut.
- Safety eye 7/16″ 11.5mm, black, 2; or button; or felt
- Poly-fill stuffing material
- Stuffing beans or silica beads (for bean pack)
- Sewing threads (matching colors)
- Sewing machine. You can also hand-sew if you prefer
- Long Sewing Needle (about 2") and pins
- Erasable fabric marker
- Blunt point tweezers
HOW TO SEW PIXIE SOCK PENGUIN
- PREPARATION & TRACE:
Gather the materials and tools needed to sew the sock penguin. Always pre-wash the socks before sewing them out.
Download and print out the template for the penguin’s face and tummy. Cut face piece from felt and tummy from the sock. If you prefer, you may use felt for the tummy instead of a sock, however, due to the texture of the felt it won’t look bulging after stuffing.
At times, you may need to resize the face-piece and tummy-piece to suit the size of your penguin since socks come in different sizes, and stuffing density affects the size too.
Cut 4″ from the white sock for the bean pack making (optional, only if you want to weigh down the sock penguin).
The orange piece for the bill is about 1 1/2″ x 1″ if you are using sock material, cut a little bigger if you are using felt to sew.
- SEW & STUFF:
Bean Pack For Weight (Optional):
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 to tightly close the opening.
a.) Cut 1″ above the heel part on the colored sock. The foot 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.
a.) 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 a 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 the 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 in 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.) 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.
Bills & Eyes:
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.
The face of the sock penguin after sewing on the bill and eyes.
Side view of the completed basic sock penguin.
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.
- FINISHING TOUCH:
Put on some blusher on the cheek. You can use the real blusher in the cosmetic or use pink fabric ink from the stamping pad.
For female Pixie, I sewed a small wooden flower button on the head and put on a scarf made from socks too.
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).
BEAN PACK: The bean pack is for the sitting/standing sock owl. Omit the bean pack if yours is a hanging ornament, or as a softie for a baby.
HOW TO SECURE THE KNOT: Secure the knot by inserting the needle between the 2 threads.
The knot is locked with the sock and it won’t slip away through the knits when you pull the thread during sewing.
WHY DO WE HAVE TO HAND DRAWN PATTERN? Not all socks are the same size, so I can’t provide a standard printable template for this sock animal. The best way to proceed is to sketch out the sewing line by referring to the pictures.
DOLL SIZES: For different sizes of sock animals, use different sizes of socks.
SOCK CHOICE: Socks will be stretched after they are stuffed so thick socks that are close-knit make better quality sock sheep toys.
SEAM ALLOWANCE: 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
STUFFING: 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 the exact same material and tool used in this pattern from Craft Passion Shop.