Out of all the toys and fun things that I want to make for the baby a sock monkey is one of these! Finding a good and suitable pair of socks was a little tricky, it seems that there are plenty of ankle socks around in stores but not many with a long enough cuff. I eventually found an affordable pack of 2 pairs of socks that were perfect for my first attempt at making a sock monkey.
First you need to take one of your socks, turn it inside out and lay it flat as shown in “Image 1″ (click the image to enlarge) above. What you need to do is measure to the centre of your sock and draw a line from the cuff of the sock to just under the heel of the sock. You will now sew either side of this line from just below the heel down to the cuff of the sock creating a nice curve at the bottom (this will be one of the monkey’s feet/leg), repeat this step for the other side to create his other leg. (You can see where I have marked on the diagram to sew the legs). Use your sewing machine’s foot to guide the distance between the line and where you are sewing for both the legs, keeping them the same size. We now cut up the line that you measured, stopping a couple cms from the heel of the sock (the crotch of the monkey).
Carefully use this hole you have left to turn your monkeys legs and body the right way, then stuff the monkey with toy filling using this same hole. I used a chop stick to get to the hard to reach areas for both turning him the right way and stuffing. (Craft shops such as Spotlight sell toy filling that will do the job perfectly). Be very careful to not make the hole any bigger than necessary as once you have stuffed your monkey you will need to carefully hand sew this shut. Do this as discreatly as you can, using small, tight stitches – ensuring you tie your thread off properly so he doesn’t start sprouting his stuffing .
“ Image 2″ (click the image to enlarge) shows you how we are going to cut the rest of the sock up to make the tail, arms, mouth and ears for the sock monkey. We will get all of the sewing machine work out of the way first, once again with the sock turned inside out, start by cutting out the tail from the cuff of the sock to the toe of the sock, making sure you do not cut too close to the heel as this is used for the monkey’s mouth. Sew the tail right along the edge and finish by making a curve at the tip of the tail (small area of toe section of the sock). Leave the cuff end of the tail open so you can now stuff with filling again.
Now cut out the arm area, this piece of sock has to make two arms so try to use as much of the sock you possibly have otherwise your monkey might look a touch lanky. Cut this piece in to two pieces (using the natural crease of the back of the sock as a guide), you should now have two pieces of material to use for both of the arms. One at a time, pin each piece of material right sides in down the length of the material. Like we did with the tail and the legs, we will sew along the edge and make a curve at the bottom (on the cuff) to make the monkey hands. Remember to leave the other end open so that the arms can be stuffed with filling. Do this step for both the arms and fill them.
Using the section allocated for the ears, you will need to cut out two ears from this piece of material. Keeping the piece doubled up and right sides in, cut in half and sew a semicircle (U shape) as best you can on both pieces of fabric. Again, make sure you have left one end open to stuff both the ears. The only piece of sock you should have remaining is the heel to be used for the mouth (we will come to this soon enough).
Now that you have all your monkey parts stuffed and ready to go, it is time to sew them onto your monkey’s body. We do this by hand, using needle and tread. Do this as neatly as possible positioning your tail, arms and monkey ears in the logical places. Remembering you can tell the rear of your monkey by the heel of your sock (being its bottom). The toe of the sock is his head – think of it as his hair if you like to help you position his ears correctly. Before attaching the monkey’s ears, you can do as I have and sew an indent into the inside of the monkey’s ears just to add a little more of a feature.
One of the last steps is to sew the monkey’s mouth onto your monkey. You will start by positioning it in the correct spot. Sew the heel of the sock to the monkey, folding the edge in as you hand sew making it as neat as you can. Only sew half of the monkey’s mouth, as you need to begin to stuff the mouth. Gradually stuff and sew as you go, ensuring you have stuffed it as much as you require before you finalise the stitching. Now you can add features to your monkey such as eyes and a mouth by using cross stitch thread or even thin wool. Buttons also make great eyes if you are not so confident embroidering them.
I used a second pair of socks to make a scarf and beanie for my monkey. Using the entire length of one sock and sewing a piece length ways made a great little scarf. And the cuff area of a sock was used as the rim of the beanie, cut at the appropriate point and sewn across the top. I then made some matching wool pom poms and attached them to the beanie. (I might go through making pom poms another day ).