I sewed a lil' whale buddy! :D
(How, Sarah? Why?) When I wear jeans, they tend to always wear out in the exact same spot, every time. The rest of the pair can be totally fine, but the worn out spot is worn out, so I get new jeans. For the last few years, I've been saving my old jeans, thinking there MUST be something I can do with a perfectly good pile of denim... enter the whale!
I googled around a bit for sewing projects using old denim, and when I saw this whale, I knew I definitely wanted to make it (at least twice - once for my sister, who went whale watching with me years ago, and once for my best friend's one-year-old, because kids are the best excuse to make things, right? Plus also his name evokes water so I feel like a water animal is a good toy choice :) If you're reading this and you think it's your kid IT IS!)
My main inspiration came from the blog Valaan Villapaita, which is full of a variety of lovely things. This post is where I started: it's a super helpful tutorial, with lots of photos and step by step tips. The post doesn't offer a pattern, just a method, which I was first intimidated and then excited by. Something about the author's writing style made me feel totally empowered to try drafting my own little pattern! After all, what could be more forgiving than a toy made out of cast-off materials?
With everything cut out, I got started sewing! The Valaan Villapaita tutorial gives a super clear explanation of the order to do things in - sew the fins and tail (then turn right sides out), sew the two top pieces together,
sew the decorative belly seams,
attach the fins and sew the back pieces to each of the top pieces,
attach the tail to the top piece,
add decorative details (like topstitching on the fins and embroidered (or button!) eyes, sew the belly and leave a gap for filling, turn right side out, fill with stuffing, and seam up the gap!
WHALE BUDDY! I used button eyes for this one, since it's for an adult. When I make the next one (for the baby!), it will have embroidered eyes to make it super safe.
Noble whale! I love him (but I'm still going to give him away.) All from one leg of an old pair of jeans! :D