Monday, 19 September 2011

Fish Cushion Pattern

Ooops. Sorry about the lack of a post on Saturday. It turned into 'One of those days!!!' Anyway back again today. Finally the fish cushion is finished and looks a lot better this length(about 32 inches(81cm) long). Paul has got the pdf thing working which took a while. So fish mark 2 is finished and if you want to try it the pattern is here.

Fish Cushion Pattern

Cotton or similar fabric
Scrap fabric for front fins (to protect machine from wadding)
lycra or similar Stretchy material ( 20inches(50cm) x 5inches(12.5cm) and two pieces 12 inches(30cm) x 2 inches(5cm))
100gm(4oz)thickness wadding
Small amount of pelmet vilene or similar stiffener for eyes
Toy filling

Download the pdf here (8 pages)

Tape the pattern pieces together where shown

Use the templates to cut the pattern pieces body, underbody, face and front fins from folded fabric so that you get a pair of each. These pieces have a seam allowance included (shown on pattern), You also need to cut a pair of front fins in doubled wadding, contrast fabric and scrap fabric (explained later) and a pair of face pieces cut from doubled wadding.

Do Not cut out the fabric pieces for the tail fins and frill.

Tail fins and frill
These are made by layering the chosen fabrics, drawing on the pieces, sewing round them and then cutting them out.

You need a layer of contrast fabric wrong side up, a layer of wadding, a layer of top fabric right side up
Pin layers together
Draw template shapes onto top layer
You need to draw -

  • One pair of frill shapes(turn template over to draw second frill)
  • One pair of tail fin shapes with the template folded (upper tail fins)
  • One tail fin with the template unfolded ( lower tail fin)

Sew round the edges of the shapes using a close zigzag stitch.
Cut the shapes out as close as you can to the sewing without cutting the stitches
Topstitch through all layers where shown on template

Top fin and eye frills
First a warning. Lycra other slippery, shiny, stretchy fabrics are seriously horrible to sew. You may prefer to make another frill and sew that in place as the top fin. Because I loved this fabric I used it despite the fact that my machine takes one look at it and tries to eat it. If your machine is similarly vicious then I suggest the following method. Start half way along the edge so that you can keep the tension on it right from the start. Do not reverse ever. Go right to the end of the strip, cut thread and start again in the middle. Treat the two tiny curves at the end of the top fin in the same way. If you don't keep up the tension the machine will eat it!

Fold lycra pieces in half lengthways
Machine along folded edge using a close zigzag stitch and stretching the material behind and ahead as you sew. (This will give a wavy finish to the edge).
On top fin only, draw in and machine stitch curve at each end and trim excess fabric.
Tack along unsewn edge and gather it to about 2/3 its original length

Front fins and face
Layer fin and face shapes as follows -
Scrap fabric,wadding,contrast fabric right side up, top fabric wrong side up
Machine round sewing line
Turn right way out(treat wadding, scrap fabric and contrast fabric as one layer)
Topstitch through all layers where shown on template


Sew open edges of face onto side body, stay inside seam allowance.
Slide frill into place under face and pin to side body
Fold back face and topstitch frill into place on side body
Unpin face
Slip stitch underside of face to frill about 3/4 inch(2cm) from edge of face
Pin sides of frill together to keep them out of the way as you join the sides and underbody

Join underbody seam leaving the filling gap open

Pin top fin onto right side of one body piece along top edge, about 1 inch(2.5 cm) back from face and machine in place inside the seam allowance

With right sides together pin body pieces together along back (smooth edge) and join top edge on seam line
Open out body pieces and pin to underbody (right sides together)
Join along seam line leaving openings where shown for front fins and tail
Turn body right side out
Fill body lightly so that eventual shape can be seen

Front fins
Keeping seam allowance turned in on body slide front fins into the openings, pleating the fin to fit if necessary.
Pin in place at desired angle
Slip stitch body pieces onto fin

Tail fins
Keeping seam allowance turned in on body 
Slide lower tail fin into the opening, pleating the fin to fit if necessary.
Pin in place on underbody, matching seam lines
Slip stitch underbody to fin
Slide one upper tail fin into the opening, pleating the fin to fit if necessary, longer side to centre back seam on fish
Pin in place on body side, matching seam lines as shown on template
Slip stitch side body to fin
Repeat with the other upper tail fin

There will be a gap between the tail fins
hold up fish by centre back seam near tail so that upper tail fins are together
Join upper tail fins  for about 1inch (2.5cm) from top edge along fin/body seam
Spread upper tail fins out so that the rest of the upper tail fin lies flat on the lower tail fin
Sew upper tail fins to lower tail fins along the tail/underbody seam line ( think upside down 'T' shape)

Complete filling the fish and slip stitch filling gap closed

Cut two outer eye and two inner eye pieces from fabric using outer ring on template
Cut four outer eye and four inner eye pieces from pelmet vilene using inner ring on template
Cut two outer eye and two inner eye pieces from wadding using inner ring on template
All eye pieces are assembled in the same way.

  • Run a gathering stitch around the fabric piece
  • Lay the wadding in the centre of the fabric piece (wrong side up) 
  • Place two layers of pelmet vilene over the wadding
  • Draw up the gathering thread, keeping the vilene flat and fasten it securely
Slip stitch the inner eye to the outer eye
Sew the eye frill around the edge of the eye gathering it slightly as you do so
Sew completed eye to head

Congratulate yourself. Collapse in a small heap and swear you will never make another one.

Like I did!


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