Today Stephanie shares her brightly colored baby seal softie (with snacks!), check it out! – Betz
Hello, Stephanie here! We have a membership to the local zoo and watching the seal training demonstration is one of my son’s favorite things to do. He was so excited to have his own seal, he cried when I took this little guy away for a few more pictures! The zookeepers always throw the seals and sea lions fish as a reward, so I knew I wanted to make a few little fish to go along with my softie – I think the set came out so cute. You can see more about how I made the seal’s fish on my blog.
My seal is sewn up from the Slippy and Slide Seals pattern, which is a part of the Wildlife with Love collection.
Softie patterns can be so versatile; the baby seal is 10” long while the adult seal is 15” long and in addition to being fun toys and cuddle objects, these would make great pincushions, book-ends, or doorstops! I think this pattern would also be fun to add a rattle insert into as well, or maybe some crinkle paper inside the fins.
If you’ve never sewn with wool felt, it is truly a delight. I’d gotten into the habit of working with fleece for many of the toys and softies I’ve made recently, but sewing up this seal reminded me what a treat wool felt is. The seams always look so smooth and professional, and it doesn’t stretch out when you flip a softie right side out for stuffing. My son could not keep his hands off this seal – it is the perfect size for clutching and the soft felt is such a pleasure to the touch.
I think Slippy or Slide would be a great first softie project for any sewist; the head gusset and fin details look professional but are not difficult at all. Seeing a 1/8″ seam allowance listed can be daunting, but using wool felt and going slow around the curves makes it a total non-issue. I especially liked the tip about shifting your needle so more of the fabric is pulled along by the feed dogs while using the smaller seam allowance. The way the body and fins are assembled is genius, making it so you don’t have to turn any bulky, small curves right side out.
The whiskers, mouth, and eyes add such character – I especially liked that it was easy to keep the features symmetrical with how the seams form the face. I love the little white eyeball accent stitch in the pattern, but unfortunately my son would not stop picking at it and I was worried he would pull the whole eye off in his quest to remove what he thought was “dust”. I might have to sneak it back on there though, because it’s such a sweet detail! When adding the face details, there is an embroidery stitch glossary included in the pattern so you don’t have to go Googling and Youtubing all around to refresh your memory on how to do different stitches.
Another thing I like about this pattern is the suggestion to use freezer paper. I’ve used freezer paper frequently for stenciling and applique, but never thought about using it to cut out pattern pieces. The pattern suggests using it for all of the pieces and it made accurate cutting and marking so easy, I’m definitely going to remember to use it on other softies.
I have some wool felt leftover so an adult seal might be joining our zoo soon – there’s also something very satisfying about being able to start and finish a project in the same day!
This post is part of the Betz White Sewing Collective series. Content is written by compensated contributors expressing their own views and opinions.