Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Stingray Plushie Pattern

Even though I'm teaching my two favorite classes, both of which are not new preps for me by any means, and my students are pretty great for the most part, this school year has still been one of the hardest I've ever had, and we're not even two months in! I think it's the struggle to balance time with SHB, time with Mr. Cation, time to grade papers (oh, how I sometimes wish I had a job that didn't require bringing work home!), and time to pursue my own interests. Poor Walnut often gets the short end of the stick, as do the papers, to be perfectly honest. SHB is so active now (and going through separation anxiety) that there's really no getting things done while he's awake. As a result, all my plans for a grand Pinterest-worthy theme party (Sandra Boynton! LOTR! Cats!) for his first birthday went out the window. Still, even if we were ordering cake and using mismatched disposable plates, the maker in me couldn't let go of at least making something, anything, just to personalize it a little. 

Since SHB's baby shower and nursery were marine-themed, I decided that making sea animal plushies/beanbags for his little baby friends was a doable undertaking that would be kind of on theme. Because Back to School Night was two days before his party (seriously, whose bright idea was it to have a birthday at such a busy time of year?!), I ended up staying up late the night before to make six of the simplest animal I could come up with: stingrays! No fiddly little flippers or fins or snouts, no appliques or weird pieces to insert. For a last minute project, it went fairly quickly and smoothly for once!

Except for this guy: his eyes make him look especially derpy, and his mouth ended up too large and off-center...ah, the perils of being the experimental prototype!

I didn't stop to take pictures while I was churning these guys out, so no tutorial here, but it's a fairly simple plushie to make. If you'd like to take a stab at your own stingrays, I've made the pattern (and brief instructions) available for download here

Pattern: My own
Fabric: 1/4 yard of gray anti-pill fleece (enough for six rays)
Notions: Are polyfil fiber stuffing and beads notions?
Hours: Four, from drawing the pattern to cutting to sewing and then stuffing. Not bad at all! Assembly line stitching works really well for mass production.
Total cost: All the materials were from my stash, but they probably average out to about $1.50 each.
Will you make it again? After reading the comments on my IG posts, I'd love to make an enormous one big enough to wrap yourself in like some kind of weird sleeping bag/bed-type thing. You could sleep on the stuffed body and use the fins like blankets! Maybe one day when SHB is older he'll want such a thing. 
Final thoughts: Even though I didn't "hardcore" DIY SHB's party, I'm really glad I at least personalized this one little aspect. Plus, it was an immensely satisfying race-to-beat-the-deadline project, which is unusual. I secretly love the intense motivation I get when I'm mildly stressed and racing against the clock, but that situation usually sets me up for stupid mistakes when I'm sewing. I guess it's a testament to how easy these guys were to make that they came together so smoothly!

I don't know what it is about a whole bunch of more or less identical tiny derpy animals all gathered in one spot, but I was seriously in love with my little rays and ever so briefly considered keeping them all. Instead, I settled with posing them with my manatee made from the same gray fleece:

Speaking of the manatee, this is probably the coolest thing that's happened to one of my plushie patterns:

No, Dr. Frankenstein didn't get ahold of it. 

I don't understand most of what the article is about, but if you scroll halfway down she talks about using the manatee pattern to house a device to help stay in touch with their elderly loved ones. So neat! Also, w00t w00t female engineers!


  1. That is a fun use of the manatee! I'm glad you explained it, since my middle of the night feeding brain was thinking that it was some kind of Ghostbusters reference that I wasn't getting. And don't feel bad about not having an elaborate party, it's not like he's going to remember. (My mother in law was asking me this past weekend what theme I was planning for Hobbit's birthday, even though he just hit 3 months! I suspect she's going to be disappointed that my only plan at this point is keep it simple.)

    1. I totally remember what it was like to have MOTN feeding brain...I do not miss those days! Congratulations on making it to 3 months though! Look at it this way, you've got a whole pregnancy's worth of time to plan for Hobbit's first birthday!

  2. Seriously love those stingrays. Never wanted to make a stingray before but I think it's a must now.

    1. Just what I always wanted: to make people crave stingrays in their lives!

  3. The stingrays look cute as pie and make great presents for children! You increase my love for maritime creatures with every post...

  4. Until.....I dunno, five? the kids have no idea what the party is. The greatest party we ever threw was Blondini's 3rd, a pirate theme. Everyone we invited came, and they brought presents, food and their friends. We had eyepatches for the first twenty, we regifted presents as they left, but we kept all the food which lasted over a week. It was a riot (I'd never had a hundred guests at a party, not even my wedding), the kids all ran around the block in costume, my dad and my stepmother came in costume (my favorite photo of him for all time), the neighbors still talk about it in awe and fear. Blondini has Absolutely No Memory of it at all.

    I promised not to talk about Thing One's self-thrown 18th birthday party until ten years have elapsed. We Are Not Discussing It Further until then, except to say no one was injured.

    1. Wow, that sounds like some kind of party! I would love a huge pirate party as an attendee, but as a planner, not so much. Come to think of it, your other party sounds like some kind of party too...


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