DIY Denim Whale

Thomas' whale

Hi there! I finally managed to translate the whale tutorial, thank you for your patience. I hope it is helpful for those who don't speak Finnish, or don't trust the Google translator. I'm sorry I also have to put up this disclaimer: It's OK to link back to this post, but it is not OK to copy all the photos and the tutorial, or translate it to another another language. Posting this as your own creation is even worse. Making whales for yourself or as gifts is ok, selling them or producing them commercially is so not OK. Would you be happy if you had this happen to something you made and shared on your blog? Didn't think so. Stealing just isn't nice.

Quite a few people have asked for instructions on how to make a denim whale, which was both flattering and terrifying – I'm pretty much hopeless at following (let alone making) patterns. But since Little Brother needed his own whale (some toys just cannot be shared), I decided to document the process. I never plan much beforehand, and the toy shapes up as I go. I'm afraid the following might be more confusing than helpful, but here goes. If you love tidy and neat sewing, please monitor your blood pressure:)

For a whale you need a leg from a pair of old jeans, a tiny bit of blue fabric for the eye, filling, sewing thread, a sewing machine and a little bit of patience.

1: Cut out the pieces

Start by cutting the pieces: 2 for the back, 2 for the belly, 2 for the tail, and 4 for the fins. Note that for the belly pieces the right side of fabric is the reverse side of the denim.

2: Shaping the side seam

The shape of the belly piece is copied from the back piece. As you can see, I draw straight onto the fabric with a red ballpoint pen.

3: Tail and fins

Sew the tail pieces together, turn inside out and add some decorative seams (I like to use a contrasting colour thread). Do the same with the fins.

4: Back seam

Sew the back seam.

5: Belly seams

Sew the decorative seams on the belly pieces on the reverse side of the fabric. The seams have to curve a bit, following the shape of the piece.

6: Side seams

Join the back and belly pieces together. Remember to insert the fins in between the seams.

7: Fin position

Turn the pieces to check the position of the fins. Don't pay attention to apple pieces left on the table by Big Brother.

8: Oops, fixing the shape of the back

At this point I noticed that the back is too chubby, so I added a new slimming seam.

9: Attaching the tail

Attach the tail to the back pieces. As you a see, it turned out slightly askew, but I chose to think of it as a piquant detail.

10: Eyes, step 1

Sew the eyes. You'll need a small piece of light blue fabric, which is handsewn with many tiny stitches. You could of course embroider the eyes, or buy them from a store, or use buttons, but I prefer this method. Also sew a seam which marks the mouth.

11: Eyes, step 2

Add a dot of black, and a tiny dot of white. Sewing thread is perfectly good for this.

12: Oops, reshaping the belly

Sew the belly seam, leave a gap for the filling. One notices the belly too is too chubby. A couple of decorative seams and the new belly seam help.

13: Ready for filling

Turn inside out, fill snuggly and hand sew the gap.

Thomas' whale

Tadah! The whale is finished!

Thomas' whale

Here are the whale brothers, top one belongs to Big Brother, one below to Little Brother. Similar, yet different, just like my boys.

Whale brothers

This picture probably says it all about our household.

Whale brothers

I'm not sure if this was helpful or not, but if you decide to make a whale, please let me know, I would love to see them!

85 kommenttia:

  1. Thank you so very much for this tutorial.
    The pictures make it very clear to follow.
    It is the most realistic whale pattern I have found.
    I am trying to make a Southern Right Whale.

    VastaaPoista
    Vastaukset
    1. Thank you, Helen! I'd love to see how your whales turn out.

      Poista
  2. Thank you for posting this! These are utterly adorable.

    VastaaPoista
  3. This is STUNNIG! I had to pin it on pinterest :) I had some trouble in doing that, this page doesn't want to be pinned! Will try to sew this sweetie soon, thanks again!

    VastaaPoista
    Vastaukset
    1. Thanks! I've no idea why the images don't want to be pinned, sorry!

      Poista
  4. Love love love this! So adorable.
    I found it on pinterest but it was not linked to you so I passed the correct link on to the people who I got it from. Hopefully they will do the same since you obviously deserve all the credit.

    If you ever make another it would be amazing if you could make a template for this. I'm hopelessly bad at getting the right proportions for things. I'm still going to attempt this either way! I just tossed two pair of old jeans last night but there is still time to save them!

    Thanks so much for sharing!
    Nicole
    Canada

    VastaaPoista
  5. Thank you for the pinning credits, Nikita! I'm planning to make a few whales for sale, but templates... I'm pretty much hopeless when it comes to patterns, so I'm afraid my templates might be more confusing than helpful. Sorry!

    VastaaPoista
  6. Hello! Thanks for posting this great design and tutorial, I made one and posted photos on my blog http://diytime5.blogspot.com/ (and I linked it to you of course!). I'm not a creative person, but I'm good at following directions, so thanks for sharing your creative talent with others. It's inspirational!

    VastaaPoista
    Vastaukset
    1. Hi Elizabeth, thank you for your kind words:) Your whale turned out very cute!

      Poista
  7. Hi, I'm dying to make this for a friend who lives in Hawaii...how did you make the pieces? Did you just free hand them or did you trace them from a picture??

    VastaaPoista
    Vastaukset
    1. Hi Kerry! I drew them straight onto the fabric. This is my original design, so there is no picture to trace from:)

      Poista
  8. i really liked your whale. so, here is my version of it: http://strawberri.es/blog/?p=812 thanks a lot!

    VastaaPoista
  9. Thank you so much for the tutorial in english! You are such a talented person! You children are so lucky to have such a creative mom. Kiitos paljon!

    VastaaPoista
  10. Hi! I found the picture of your beautiful Blue Whales on Pinterest. I went to your blog and just knew I had to make this for my 5 year old son!!! His favorite animal in the whole world is a Blue Whale and he LOVES ocean stuff! I pretty disapointed at the time that you didn't have directions in English at the time (Jan.) however, you had such great step-by-step pictures that I was able to make him one. I think he turned out pretty well for being the first stuffed animal I have ever sewn and no English instructions! Please check out my blog Hoosier Girl to see the picture. (I couldn't figure out how to upload a pic, lol.) Thanks again for all your great ideas! He loved it! And now my other two boys want one too!

    VastaaPoista
  11. Beautiful! Actually I found this a few months ago on a Chinese page. I shared it on Vingle ( http://www.vingle.net/posts/139401 ) but today I realized that it was yours. :( I changed the link to this page. :) Glad to see the original ! It's adorable!!

    VastaaPoista
  12. love this! So adorable... do you up load the templates/molds??

    VastaaPoista
    Vastaukset
    1. Thanks! There is no template, I draw straight onto the fabric, that way every whale I make is truly unique.

      Poista
  13. I'm reaaaaaaly bad at drawing, but I'm dying to sew this one myself.. Oh how much I wish your whale had a pattern...

    VastaaPoista
  14. Thank you for this idea and the photo instructions. I made this for my nephew and I know he will love his new whale at Christmas time. I will also tell him that it is a Finnish whale! :)
    Thank you again for sharing your creative project!

    VastaaPoista
  15. Hi!
    Thank you so much for sharing this! My (almost 2 yrs old) son is obsessed with whales and I made him one, I love the real look like the one you presented. Check my blog to see how it turned out. Thanks again xx
    http://www.jessicarebelo.com/lorenzo-the-whale/

    VastaaPoista
    Vastaukset
    1. Hi Jessica, your whale looks great, thanks for sharing the link:)

      Poista
  16. Hi! I love your whale. I read in one of the above comments that you might start making them. I'm so interested in buying! let me know if you'd like to sell me one. My email is shawnabnb@me.com
    Thanks

    VastaaPoista
    Vastaukset
    1. Yes, I'm making them - I hope to set up a little shop before Christmas:)

      Poista
  17. Also it looks like this American has copied and is selling them on etsy :(

    VastaaPoista
    Vastaukset
    1. http://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/86795398/whale-gift-set-humpback-whale-mama-and?ref=sr_gallery_10&ga_search_query=stuffed+whale+denim&ga_order=most_relevant&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_ship_to=CA&ga_search_type=all&ga_facet=stuffed+whale+denim

      Poista
  18. sooo pretty! You should sell these!

    VastaaPoista
  19. sooo pretty! You should sell these!

    VastaaPoista
    Vastaukset
    1. Thanks! I will, hopefully in the near future:)

      Poista
  20. look what i have found today: http://de.dawanda.com/product/31322726-Kuscheltier-WAL-aus-Jeansstoff and http://de.dawanda.com/product/49073074-Kuscheltier-Wal-Albert ...

    VastaaPoista
    Vastaukset
    1. Oh dear, the nerve some people have. This just makes me sad.

      Poista
  21. I used your idea and adapted it to make a whale with a mouth that opens and is held closed with magnets. It has a pouch at the back of the throat so that it can "eat" little toys (my son loves the Jonah and the whale story!) I have to admit it doesn't look quite as good, but I'm sure it will be appreciated by my son who is about to turn 4. Thank you so much for the inspiration!

    VastaaPoista
  22. Chloedesgarrigues1. lokakuuta 2013 6.51

    I did it ! thanks you fo this great tuto !

    VastaaPoista
  23. Tahnk you, Rachel and Chloedesgarrigues! Glad you liked the tuto:)

    VastaaPoista
  24. HI Vastaa,
    The denim whale is awesome! i love it so much and i shall like to try making it one day! Thank you so much for sharing it and you are so talented, i love going through your blog( unfortunately dont understand the non-english language) enjoyed your art pieces. Good luck with your shop and happy living everyday!
    love, gale

    VastaaPoista
  25. Thank you for your kind words, Gale:)

    VastaaPoista
  26. thank you for your sharing, i've done the whale for my niece ;-) your blog is absolutely wonderfull

    VastaaPoista
  27. Thank you for the pattern, I enjoyed a lovely Sunday making this http://www.flickr.com/photos/heathers-stuff/10622790614/ : )

    VastaaPoista
    Vastaukset
    1. I'm glad you liked it, the whale looks great!

      Poista
  28. I just made a whale! Thank you so much for the tutorial. He's a bit portly- but, as they say, all's well that ends whale! ;)

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BYR4y9uCUAA-Ko5.jpg:large

    VastaaPoista
  29. I found your post months ago and made a whale before the post was translated so I did a few things differently. I have since made all my friends children one! They are a big hit at birthday parties! Thank you so much for the tutorial! https://scontent-b-atl.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-frc3/407997_4085205056210_2084436087_n.jpg

    VastaaPoista
  30. Hard to see whether you've been credited here... http://www.pinterest.com/pin/566046246886794041/

    VastaaPoista
  31. This is amazing, thank you so much!!! I have been looking at ways to make gifts for my kids with no money this year and this whale is a winner for sure!!!

    VastaaPoista
  32. Bonjour, pour une vente au profil de l'association "Je-ted-aller à l'école" j'aurais souhaité réaliser votre baleine. Cependant comme il s'agit d'une vente, je souhaiterai savoir si vous m'autorisez à vendre cette réalisation.
    lien de la vente : http://vente-creation-autisme.blogspot.fr/p/creabull-et-lassociation-je-ted-aller.html
    Votre site sera mis en lien dans la description de la peluche.
    Merci de votre réponse,
    Mokkona,
    PS : excusez mon anglais (google translate)

    Hello, for sale to the profile of the association "-ted-I go to school" I wish make your whale. However, as it is a sale, I would like to know if you allow me to sell this achievement.
    link sale: http://vente-creation-autisme.blogspot.fr/p/creabull-et-lassociation-je-ted-aller.html
    Your site will be linked in the description of the plush.
    Thank you for your reply,
    Mokkona,
    PS: excuse my english (google translate)

    VastaaPoista
    Vastaukset
    1. Hi Mokkona, please contact me via email (address is on the sidebar).

      Poista
  33. I made one today for a friend of mine who is a marine biologist. I hope she'll love it in her classroom! Thanks for a great tutorial.

    VastaaPoista
  34. Thank you very much, my wife and I made a whale for my niece. It looks pretty cool. We used another kind of fabric and attached the tail in a different way. Regards and thanks a lot again.

    https://plus.google.com/photos/104123430263839637879/albums/5959581246660720673?authkey=CMz2xqHm9dTcaw

    VastaaPoista
    Vastaukset
    1. Such a sweet little whale, I'm sure your niece will love it:)

      Poista
  35. I'ts very original!! I like a lot this whale ;). I post you in our blog with links to your blog and saying that you are the author of this creation. So some spanish people will know about you and your whale... I hope every think is ok with this ;)

    VastaaPoista
  36. Ah! You can visit the post here: http://nanukbarcelona.com/blog/
    Thanks!

    VastaaPoista
  37. Thank you for this tutorial, I had great fun making my Mum a whale and I wrote about it on my blog at

    http://60degreesofinspiration.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/having-whale-of-time.html

    VastaaPoista
  38. Thank you, Jordi, Cloudy Stitches and Joanne!

    VastaaPoista
  39. Thank you for this! I am making two for my grandchildren

    VastaaPoista
  40. I made one! And I love it. You can check out some pics on my blog: http://bowlsfullofyummy.wordpress.com/2014/05/03/upcycled-clothes-projects/. It was fun to sew! I did the belly a little different, I sewed the decorative seams on the right side of the fabric so they would stand out more, I love the effect. These are beautiful and realistic whales. I JUST LOVE WHALES. Sorry, they are my favorite animal! Thanks so much for the tutorial.

    VastaaPoista
    Vastaukset
    1. No worries, I love whales too! Glad you liked the tutorial.

      Poista
  41. Hello ! Since about 30 minutes I'm trying to find the Pattern, for this amazing Wale. In Juli my Son hast got his 3. birthday and he wants to have a big big Wale…So can you help me to find the Pattern? Or is it without a Pattern?
    Giusi from Cologne/ Germany

    VastaaPoista
    Vastaukset
    1. Hi Giusi, there is no pattern, I always draw straight onto the fabric, make it up as I go.

      Poista
  42. Thank you so much for sharing the pattern. I learned to sew just so I could make one for my (now) girlfriend. She loved it!

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/noradio/sets/72157644660684345/

    VastaaPoista
    Vastaukset
    1. Your whale looks great, lucky girlfriend:)

      Poista
  43. Hi, your tutorial is great! I'm a teacher and want to do a recycling project with some students, would you mind if finished whales were auctioned/ raffled to raise money for charity by the children?

    VastaaPoista
  44. Hi! I found your tutorial and with a little help from mama who's better at sewing that I am, I made a whale!! I made it a bit more chubby than yours, and also way bigger, it's 63cm long :) thanks for this amazing idea and tutorial!
    here it is, if you want to take a look: http://www.picmonkey.com/p/4hDe4wwTqGg

    VastaaPoista
  45. Your whale is so inspiring and beautiful! I'm about to start my own attempt this weekend for my baby boy. ��

    VastaaPoista
  46. Thank you for this great pattern! I made a whale two years ago, and just now I made two new whales for my little cousins, it's a success! Here they are: http://ettmolnikalasbyxor.blogspot.se/2014/06/tva-finska-valar.html

    Thanks again! /Madeleine

    VastaaPoista
  47. You're welcome! I really liked your whales, they had loads of personality:)

    VastaaPoista
  48. Hello! I made a whale following your tutorial (you can see it here: http://lady-natsuki.deviantart.com/art/Pequod-the-denim-whale-471608322). It doesn't look quite the same as yours but I like it!
    Thank you very much for sharing the tutorial. It was very helpful, and I admire how you imagined such a complicated and beautiful plushie!

    VastaaPoista
  49. Thank you so much for posting this, I loved it. I am going to try and make my whale, haha I have tons of ragged jeans!
    when I am done I will post a picture back I promise.

    VastaaPoista