Cuddly Shark

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“That’s the cuddliest shark I’ve ever seen,” was the first comment my daughter received upon taking her short-finned mako shark to school . . . the day after Mother’s Day.  Guess what I got to do all Mother’s Day night?  Never again shall we wait till the day before to make sure a project is complete, and I plan to stand behind that.  Feel free to hold me to it.

You, too, can make your own shark, so long as you can sew a seam and have the following.

Materials

  • fabric — how much and what color depends on how big you want your shark to be and what kind of shark it is, of course
  • pencil/chalk
  • scissors
  • thread
  • fill — I used both Poly-Fil (because it’s cheaper, for the bulk) and the more expensive variety that doesn’t clump for the fins
  • buttons — for the eyes
  • textile marker
  • fabric paint
  • glitter glue — because ours has metallic coloration

As with all my crafts, you get the fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants, make-them-up-as-I-go steps.  Read them to get a feel of it for yourself, then go make up your own process.  đŸ™‚

  • Decide which shark you’re going to model after, determine characteristics, size, color, etc.  We made ours larger because I wanted to use most of the fabric I had.  (Can you believe I had a fish-patterned fabric on hand?!?)  Also, ours is two-toned, so the bottom is the white — for camoflauge, naturally.

  • My daughter’s teacher said all sharks start as an oval.  Good advice, but I think whales also start with an oval.  So, maybe start with a skinny oval, an ellipse, maybe.  Ours ended as a rather overweight mako, I think.

  • Sketch outlines of parts and cut, which is great for the kiddo to do.

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  • Since we were transporting pieces back to our house, we pinned labeled fins in place so as not to lose anything or mix up pieces.  This was a great refresher shark physiology lesson for me.

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  • Once home, I had daughter help sew the fins.  She’s not sewn before, but relatively straight seams are a great place to start.  This is her project, after all, and she stayed up with me as late as she possibly could!

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  • I continued with the sewing while she started stuffing fins, using the good fill.

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  • I started sewing the small fins first.  Initially, I sewed around the edges to make a continuous seam along the edges of the fin.  However, this make the fin look like a breast . . . seriously.  So, much to my delight it was actually easier to take the stuffed fin, pin it and sew it straight across, making sure it was in the right direction and right sides to right sides.  Much better than the boob, though my daughter did get a late night delirious giggle out of it.

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  • Deflated shark with all but the tail fin attached.  Time to stuff.  (Daughter snoring now.)

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  • Maybe I was getting delirious, too, but this just looked hilarious to me.  I was too lazy to hand stitch, so I put my machine to the test.  Wouldn’t you know that the first go I forgot to put the presser foot down?  I made two more passes just to make sure he wouldn’t lose his tail.  (Before pinning I just folded the body side in to make it straight and fit the tail just inside.)

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  • I sewed on the button eyes and used the marker for the nostrils (can’t remember the fancy name my daughter kept repeating) and the mouth.  Then I used the slick paint for the teeth.  Nice effect.

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  • Next morning I had daughter draw his gill slits . . .

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  • And help me add the glitter for the metallic effect.  We just squirted it on and spread it with our hands.

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  • She was quite proud of our creation and plans to keep him around as a pillow.

shark13.jpgBesides the fact we waited way too late to start the project, it was fun.  Regardless, there should be no school projects due the Monday after Mother’s Day!

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