Supplies: Shark pattern, felt, embroidery floss, general sewing supplies. Obviously, I used black embroidery floss and blue felt, but you should make your shark whatever color you’d like. As for the fabric, anything would work (I’m guessing, since I have not tested anything other than felt), but I would not recommend something stretchy (this includes fleece) since it might get all wonky after it has been stuffed.
1. Cut out the patterns. I traced the patterns onto the felt and cut about ¼ inch away from the lines so that I could just sew the traced lines. If you don’t want to do that, you will either have a smaller shark, or will have to cut outside the pattern just a bit. I didn’t cut out the eyes and pupils until I was ready to sew them on because I knew I would lose them.
2. Here’s another decision to make – which order to sew the parts together and where to leave the opening for stuffing. For Mason’s shark, I sewed the two tops together, then the two bottoms, then attached the top to the bottom, leaving the opening under the tail fin. This worked out, even though the shark looks like it has hemorrhoids where I hand stitched it closed. For Toby’s shark, I also put the two top pieces together, then the two bottom pieces, but I left the opening on the bottom in front of the little bottom fin. I think it looks better, from a finishing standpoint, but it gave me a brain cramp when I was trying to sew it all together. The problem is that the tail fin is only on the top piece of the shark, so when you sew the top and bottom together, you really have to fiddle around with it. Regardless of where you leave the opening, it’s going to be a pain to turn the tail fin – just warning you now.*
3. Assuming you’ve decided to sew it just like I sewed Toby’s: Place top pieces right sides together and sew from the tip on the nose, across the top, and all the way around the tail. Stop here! Or you won’t be able to sew the bottom on.
4. Next, place the two bottom pieces right sides together and sew from the tip of the nose to about an inch and a half in front of the small fin. Make sure you backstitch! This is the opening for stuffing, and it’s going to have to take some abuse. Next, sew from just in front of the small fin to the tip of the back. Backstitch at the beginning of this seam, also. (Really, you should backstitch at the beginning and end of just about everything you ever sew.)
5. ATTENTION! Here’s where I messed up on both sharks and had to rip out some seams – cut out the teeth, and have them ready to pin in between the top and bottom pieces. Unless you want a toothless shark, which is perfectly fine. I cut the felt with pinking shears, which was much easier than cutting all of the little jagged teeth. Now, pin the top and bottom, right sides together, matching seams as much as possible. When you get to the front seam, be careful that you don’t catch any extra felt. Same goes for the tail, which is especially tricky.
6. Once you have the top and bottom sewn together, clip the curves, and trim the points.
7. Turn your shark right side out!! I used a chopstick to help push out the small bits, like the fins. Good luck with the tail. It’s gonna be a stinker.
8. Now it’s time to add some personality to your shark! I used all six strands of black embroidery floss to make the gills and eyebrows. You’ll have to sew through the opening for the stuffing, but if you use a backstitch, it’s not too difficult since you can sew on the outside for the majority of the stitching.
9. This is also the time to attach the eyes. I actually glued the eyes on because I didn’t want to rethread my needle, but use whatever attaching method you’d like. In fact, you could change the shark’s expression altogether, since my shark is friendly, and maybe you’d rather have a mean shark. That’s what’s so great about making your own!
10. Now it’s time to stuff the shark. I just used regular polyester stuffing because that’s what I had on hand, but any stuffing material would work. I used the chopstick again to push the stuffing into the tail and the fins. Once your shark is as plump as you want him, sew the opening shut. I recommend using a ladder stitch to sew him up, but since I can’t describe how to do it, check youtube for a tutorial, or use another stitch that you are familiar with.
11. Done! Give your shark a name and display him proudly! If you use this pattern, I’d love to see what you made!
p.s. I shouldn’t have to say this, but this pattern is for personal use only. Please do not attempt to pass it off as your own, or sell it, or sell any sharks that you made from it. Thanks. J
*The easiest way is probably to sew the right bottom and top together, then the left top and bottom, then right to left, leaving an opening at the bottom for stuffing. Of course, I didn’t think of this until I’d already cursed my way through the second one, so I don’t have any pictures. I didn’t want to make the directions even more confusing by using pictures that didn’t relate to the words.