craft Hello Make-This softies for mirabel

Weekend Project: Sew A Monkey For Mirabel!

This project is from my book : Make Hey! While The Sun Shines!

I wanted to make a complete how-to, but I am so pushed for time it’s un-funny! Here are the project instructions so you can make a start. I will try to find time to do a photo tutorial but I might not get to it. Don’t let THAT stop you. You can make this EASILY and tweak the bits you don’t like/want/get as you prefer! If you are a bit creative, just look at the picture and make your monkey YOUR way. If you need some help, use the instructions instead!  There are lots of photos over here too!

Let’s get sewing for Mirabel! Join Softies For Mirabel! Or for a friend or cute wee person you know! That’s a good idea too!

Softies For Mirabel

Piggy-Back Pocket Monkey….

This monkey is an excellent best buddy to a child you know. His long arms are ready to wrap around someone’s middle and tie in a bow. He will peep over theirshoulder as they run through the park, and he has a pocket to stow secret stuff they might find. You can’t get a better buddy than that, can you?

For ages 5 and up*

Finished Size : The torso will measure around 40cm x 20cm when sewn up
Seam Allowance : Seam allowance is 1cm (3/8 inch) unless otherwise stated
Before You Sew :: Fabric should be washed, dried and press nicely before cutting and sewing. This will prevent fabric shrinkage and dyes running.



Unbleached calico or quilter’s muslin for the monkey face and body 30cm x 110 cm
1m x 1m of Brown Medium Weight 100% cotton for the arms and legs and tail
{Legs : 60 cm x 40 cm : Arms : 60cm x 20cm : Face : 20cm x 20cm : Ears : 20cm x 20cm}
60cm x 10cm of 100% cotton chambray or printed fabric for the tail
30cm x 30cm of fusible adhesive : we used Thermoweb Heat and Bond for ironing on the triangles and face patches
Toy stuffing : polyester is fineSmall scraps of colourful fabric for the triangles (optional)
Two buttons for the eyes, one button for the nose
Embroidery floss for the mouth (we used dark brown)


Sewing Machine and thread to match your fabric
Straight Pins
Optional: Cutting Mat, Rotary Cutter
Measuring Tape
Iron and Ironing Board
Needle and Thread To Match The Calico
Knitting needle or chopstick to help turn the monkey out the right way


Let’s Make It!

Cutting It Out

Monkey Face, Monkey Tummy, Monkey Back of Head, Monkey Body : Cut four squares 22cm x 22cm
If making the pocket cut an extra 22cm x 22cm square from the calico
Legs : Cut four rectangles 60cm x 10cm
Arms : Cut two rectangles 60cm x 10cm
Tail : Cut one rectangle 60cm x 10cm
Ears : Cut two matching pairs (four pieces in total)
Face : Cut two eye patches and one nose (just hand draw these shapes – see photo as a guide- or use the template if you have my book!)

Make A Monkey for Softies For Mirabel

Make the Monkey Face :
Prepare the shapes for the monkey face first. Trace them onto the papery smooth side of your Heat and Bond. Cut the shapes out roughly (not right on the line, yet). Place your chosen fabric wrong side up on the ironing board. Put the rough-cut, traced shapes on top of the fabric, with their papery smooth side facing up. Press them onto the fabric with a medium hot iron. Use firm presses (not backwards and forwards motions) so that the shapes don’t move. Be sure the edges are well stuck down.

Now you need to cut around the shapes, this time right on the line. You’ll have a shape with lovely fabric on the front (right side out) and paper on the back. Peel the paper off carefully and then place the fabric right side up on your right side up monkey face piece, being sure they are correctly positioned. Press one final time to makethem adhere to the face piece. Well done!

Sew around each shape ½ cm from the raw edge to secure. Now sew your buttons in to position firmly, too. Finally you need to stitch a mouth on your lovely monkey. Use a bold backstitch to make a cute mouth. (You can draw this on first with a fading maker, if you don’t want to stitch free-hand.)

Triangles for the Tummy (optional):
Next make the colourful triangles for the monkey’s tummy, if desired. You need to draw the triangles on to the paper side of the fabric. Then cut around them roughly. Then put them rough side down on the wrong side up chosen fabric. Now press as before. Cut them out, neatly this time. Peel the paper off and iron them right side up on the the right side up monkey tummy.

Make the ears:
Take two matching ear pieces and with right sides together sew a 1/2cm seam around the curved edge only. Sew the seam a second time for strength. You don’t need to sew the straight edge at all. Repeat for the other two matching ear pieces. Clip the curved edges so that they will be neat and curvy when finished. Turn them out the right way and press them well.

Sew the monkey tummy to the monkey face:
Using a 1cm seam allowance. Sew once more for extra monkey strength. Trim your loose threads. Next, press this seam nice and flat. Stitch a line 1/2cm above and below the seam for a nice neat finish.

Attach the ears:
Pin and sew the ears to the monkey face as shown. The ears are well away from the top edge (so they don’t get caught in the top seam!) Sewwith a 1/2cm seam allowance. They should sit nice and flat facing INWARDS. Don’t let them poke outwards (yet!)

make a monkey for Softies For Mirabel

Sew the Monkey Back to the Back of the Monkey Head:
Put the square for the monkey back and the square for the monkey back of head right sides facing. Sew along the bottom raw edge with a 1cm seam. Press the seam flat and trim any loose threads. Now stitch a line 1/2cm above and below the seam for a nice neat finish.

Make the Pocket for the Monkey Back (optional):
Take a square of fabric 22cm x 22cm and with the right side facing up fold the top edge down 1cm. Press. With the right side still facing you, fold the top edge down again, this time5cm. Press. Stitch along the top and bottom folded edges.

Make the tail:
Fold your long tail rectangle in half and stitch down the long side and across the bottom raw edge. Stitch again for extra strength. Turn out and press. Tuck the end of the tail under 1cm to conceal the raw edge. Pin it to the bottom folded edge of the pocket and stitch into place firmly. You need to stitch a rectangle, as illustrated, and then a diagonal line from corner to corner of this stitched square as shown.

Attach the Pocket (optional):
Pin the pocket piece, right side up, to the monkey back piece (which is also right side up) with the bottom raw edges aligned. Pin the tail, folded over a couple of times, to the middle of the pocket, well away from the side and bottom seams. Stitch down each side of the pocket (but not along the bottom) to keep it in place for now. Leave the pinned tail in position for now.

make a monkey for Softies For Mirabel

make a monkey for Softies For Mirabelmake a monkey for Softies For Mirabelmake a monkey for Softies For Mirabel

Make the arms:
Fold each long arm rectangle in half widthways, so they form an even skinnier long triangle. Sew a 1/2cm seam down the long raw edge. Now sew that same seam again for extra strength. Press the seam flat and sew a little triangle at one end, as shown. Sew those ‘triangular’ lines once more for strength. Trim. Turn the arm out the right way, this can take a while, so be patient. You can use the wrong end of a knitting needle or a chopstick to help you turn the arm out more easily (and neatly!) Press the arm well and repeat for the other arm.

Make the legs:
The legs are easier, because we stitch on the outside and we don’t need to turn them. Stitch down each long edge and around the bottom curve and back up the other long edge. Repeat again two or three more times. Your stitching doesn’t need to be perfect… it’s meant to be sketchy and decorative. Now stitch two lines to form the feet, as shown.

Put it all together:
Lay your monkey face and body piece right side up. Pin thearms and legs into position as shown, layering and folding the limbs well away from the edges. The arms should have their seam facing UP. Pin everything into place so they don’t move near the seams when you sew it all up. The straight raw edge of the arms and legs should match the straight raw edge of the monkey tummy sides and lower edge. Make sure they are evenly spaced too, placing the top edge of the arms level with the seam that joins the tummy and face piece. Now place the monkey back piece right side down on top, sandwiching the ears, legs, tail and arms inside. It will be a real squish in there, but not to worry, you can do it! Pin well around all four sides and stitch a 1cm seam around only three sides, leaving the top open (the top of the head!). Stitch around all three sides once more for strength, leaving the top seam open again. Trim your loose threads neatly, remove your pins and turn your monkey right way out.

Make A Monkey for Softies For Mirabel

Stuff the guy! Beware of pins inside! Go carefully!
Remove any remaining pins and press monkey nicely, avoiding the buttons (they might melt!)Stuff your monkey: Poor monkey. It’s okay, he WANTS to be stuffed. He’s feeling a bit floppy. Take small amounts of stuffing and pop them inside, down into the bottom corners first and slowly stuff your monkey. Make sure you stuff him well, as he will relax a bit once he is sewn up. When you get monkey all full up, fold your top edges inward and begin to hand sew, with lovely small stitches and matching thread, from one corner to the other. As you sew, you can pop in teensy bits of stuffing to make sure he’s totally filled up. Keep your stitches small and tight so no stuffing can escape. Sew all the way along the top, taking your time, stitching and stuffing until… voila! He’s all done! Well done! Go you!!


Take him to hang out with someone cute you really love.

Variations: You could make his arms from fuzzier fabric for a cuddlier monkey! You could make some felt bananas to put in his pocket! You could put different shapes on his tummy!

*This monkey is designed for kids aged 5 and up, as it has long limbs. If you would like to make it for a smaller child, keep it safe : you should embroider the eyes and nose (don’t use buttons) and make the limbs much shorter so they can’t get tangled around your chosen small child in any way


Softies For Mirabel! Yay!


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