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Playful Stuffed Crocodile

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"Tick Tock, Cap'n... Tick, Tock... someone is coming!" I spent a good chunk of my childhood hoping, wishing, dreaming I could fly like Peter Pan. I never actually jumped off the roof of the garden shed, but... I climbed up there and thought about it! We've created a wonderfully sneaky stuffed crocodile, our homage to the creepy croc in Peter Pan who was forever stalking Captain Hook. Minky Dot and low nap fleece are the perfect pair for the top and bottom of Mr. Croc. Two widths of rick rack form his teeth and spine. And, we chose Fairfield's luxuriously silky Poly-Fil® Supreme Fiberfill as our stuffing. The texture of this fiber filling is wonderful for toys, plus it's washable and non-allergenic. Although it might look complex, our crocodile takes just a little while. He's playful rather than predatory, so there's no need to be afraid to give him a try. You'll find him extremely huggable with a great sense of humor... except when it comes to jokes involving pirates and lost boys. 

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

  • ½ yard of 60" Minky Dot fleece for the top of the croc (body and feet); we used an olive green Minky Dot available at Fabric.com 
  • ½ yard of 60" solid fleece for the bottom of the croc (body and feet); we used a yellow green solid low nap fleece available at Fabric.com
  • One 8 - 12oz bag of Poly-Fil® 100% Polyester Supreme Fiberfill; we used one complete 8oz bag to get the stuffing firmness we wanted; if you want a firmer crocodile, use a 12oz bag
  • 1 yard of extra-large rick rack in white for the teeth
  • ½ yard of jumbo rick rack in green for the spine
    NOTE: Rick rack is measured in different ways by different manufacturers. We used by-the-yard projects as opposed to packaged rick rack. For the the teeth, you need a rick rack that is ½" in the width of the trim itself, which means the total height of the "wave" is a full 1". This way, when you stitch down the center of the rick rack with a ½ seam, the bottom of the wave will be revealed to form the teeth. For the spine, you need an even wider trim: 1" in trim width for 2" in total wave height. 
  • Two ⅜ - ½" black buttons for eyes; we used ½" black buttons in a shiny black - we even found some locally that had a faint inner circle that looked like an iris. We also found some buttons at Fabric.com that would work well.
  • Small scrap of heavy white felt for the eyes, a 4" x 4" square would be plenty
  • All purpose thread to match fabrics
  • All purpose thread in white to stitch eyes
  • All purpose thread in black to stitch nose
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pencil
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Straight pins
  • Hand sewing needle

Getting Started

  1. Download and print out our five pattern sheets: Croc Head Part 1, Croc Head Part 2, Croc Body Part 1, Croc Body Part 2, Croc Feet.
    IMPORTANT: You must print these PDF files at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
  2. Cut out all the pattern pieces along the solid lines. Tape together the Head pattern pieces and the Body pattern pieces as indicated by the arrows on the printouts. Butt the pieces together; do not overlap.  
  3. Fold the Minky Dot in half lengthwise. 
  4. Place the pattern pieces on the Minky Dot as shown below, following the indications on the patterns themselves, and pin in place. 
  5. Cut out the all the pieces from the Minky Dot. 
    NOTE: Don't worry about the solid fleece pieces yet. You will be cutting those later, using the completed Dot pieces as your patterns. 
  6. Cut out the eye from the Croc Head pattern piece. Using this as a mini pattern, cut two eyes from the white felt. 

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

The crocodile head

  1. Place the white rick rack around the the entire curved outer edge of the Minky Dot head. There is no rick rick along the straight back edge. 
  2. Pin in place all around. Machine baste in place, being extremely careful to keep your stitching at an exact ½" seam allowance. You want a full "wave" of the rick rack to show from the seam to create the croc's teeth. You don't want him to look like he needs braces. 
  3. Using the empty eye socket as a guide (remember... you cut out the eye for a pattern), mark the position of the eyes and pin the white felt ovals in place.
  4. Hand stitch the felt ovals in place with tiny, careful stitches. 
    NOTE: You could machine stitch in place if you prefer, using a tight Satin stitch. 
  5. Using the head pattern piece as a guide again, mark the position of the nostrils and use a fabric pen or pencil to draw guide lines. 
  6. Set up your machine for a tight Satin stitch and stitch along both guide lines. 
  7. For extra support, and to help keep your stitches smooth on the stretchy Minky, you can place a small strip of felt behind each nostril prior to stitching. 
  8. Here's a look at the head with all the elements in place.

The crocodile body

  1. Place the jumbo rick rack un-evenly along the back seam of one body piece. It should be placed so it is just visible at each end with the maximum amount showing in the middle. This allows it to curve up, out and back down again from the finished seam... just like a real spine.
  2. We taped a length of thread in place in our photo below so you could see how the rick rack curved below and then above the center line of the seam. 
  3. Pin in place and then machine baste the rick rack spine in place, as you did above with the rick rack teeth.
  4. Place the two back pieces right sides together, sandwiching the rick rack between the layers. Pin in place. Check the rick rack from the right side prior to stitching to be triple-sure you have the curve correct.
  5. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch along the spine (the photo above shows the stitched seam as well as the rick rack position).

Attach the head to the body and cut the solid fleece

  1. Place the finished head and body pieces right sides together, aligning them along the crocodile's "neck." Pin in place.
  2. Stitch in place with a ½" seam allowance.
  3. Place the finished crocodile top on the solid fleece, using it as a pattern to cut out the solid fleece (the crocodile belly) as one piece.
  4. Use the Minky Dot feet tops to cut four feet bottoms from the solid fleece.

Create and attach the feet

  1. Place one Minky Dot foot right sides together with one Solid Fleece foot. Repeat to assemble four pairs.
  2. Stitch the pairs together, following the curves with a ¼" seam allowance.
  3. Stitch all the way around leaving the straight end (the top of the foot) open for turning.
  4. Clip the inner curves, ie. the Vs of the toes.
  5. Turn right side out.
  6. Stitch a short seam, approximately ¾ - 1" from the end of the foot up, to create three toe "divisions." 
  7. Stuff lightly with Poly-Fil®, using a chopstick (or similar stuffing tool) to help you get the stuffing into the toes. Below you see the three steps that allow the croc's feet to take shape.
  8. Using the marks on the original pattern piece as your guide, pin the four feet to the solid fleece belly. The solid fleece bottoms of the feet should be against the solid fleece of the belly. The feet should be slightly angled: the front feet angling towards the head, the back feet angling in the opposite direction toward the tail. 
  9. Machine baste each foot in place, staying approximately ¼" from the raw edge within the standard seam allowance.

Assemble top to bottom, stuff and add eyes

  1. Place the croc top and the croc bottom right sides together aligning all the raw edges all the way around. Pin in place, leaving an approximate 5" opening for turning and stuffing along one side. 
  2. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch all the way around. Go slowly so you can keep your seam allowance nice and straight as you follow the crocodile's curves. Remember to lock your seam at either side of the 5" opening.
  3. Turn the crocodile right side out through the opening. Gently tug on the rick rack to make sure all his teeth and his spine are in place and even.
  4. Stuff with Poly-Fil® Supreme Fiberfill so he is soft and squeezable, but still stays sleek and steathly, like a good crocodile should. He shouldn't be rock hard. As we mentioned above in our supply list, we used one full 8oz bag of Poly-Fil®.

    NOTE: For a super smooth and professional finish, check out our recent tutorial: Stuffing Tips & Tricks.
  5. Fold in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam. Slip stitch the opening closed, using tiny stitches.
  6. Hand stitch the button eyes in place. Check the pattern piece for placement. The eyes should be centered at the top back of each felt oval. This position is what gives the crocodile his particularly "sneaky" look!

Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Kathy Andrews, What Sew Ever

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Comments (15)

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

Kerstin - thanks for sharing your photo - you made your own rick rick! So inventive 

sradoll01 said:
sradoll01's picture

Thank you so much, especially for the link to Fabric.com to purchase the needed supplies. For busy mom's, it makes crafting so much easier!!

Brandi P. said:
Brandi P.'s picture

I've purchased patterns that were way less descriptive.  This is really detailed and makes it seem easy to follow, even just reading through it.  I will be making this for my son as soon as I'm "allowed" to buy more fabric.

Mandi Budvarson said:
Mandi Budvarson's picture

My son is super intersted in Disney Cars, specifically Mater. Could a tutorial be made for one of the Cars characters or is there already one in place somewhere? Awesome tutorial by the way, Ours turned out gorgeous!!!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Mandi Budvarson - Disney is very strict out their licensed images, so we would be unable to do a project involving any of their characters without permission. You could try an internet search, using terms like, "Disney, Mater the Car, DIY, project, etc." - there may be something out there on a commercial basis. And, you might also locate a fabric you could use to create something for him. Glad you had fun with our project.

Denise Savage said:
Denise Savage's picture

This is ADORABLE!  My great nephew loves pirates and I'm going to make this for him.  What he really really wants though is a stuffed "Polly" parrot to go in his pirate room.  Could you please create a parrot?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Denise Savage - We don't have any "parrot plans" in the near future, but I'll put your suggestion onto our You Asked 4 It list.

Jane Coombs said:
Jane Coombs's picture

My children's favorite book was The Enormous Crocodile by Roald Dahl. This would be the perfect companion to the story book. Has anyone else read it? They used to squeal when they heard it.

Cristina Maria said:
Cristina Maria's picture

Lindo, gostei!!

Parabéns pela ideia, muito original.

Cristina Maria said:
Cristina Maria's picture

Lindo, gostei!!

Parabéns pela ideia, muito original.

Cristina Maria said:
Cristina Maria's picture

Lindo, gostei!!

Parabéns pela ideia, muito original.

Hiltrud said:
Hiltrud's picture

I really fell in love with this "dangerous" crocodile.

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