So, this past week I was “invited” to make a giant 8-foot squid pillow. My cousin’s 14th birthday was fast approaching (two days away to be exact) and her father posted this tutorial to her Facebook wall. Since I was probably going to be phoning in her present, because, let’s face it, who knows what a 14-year-old girl wants, I decided bring this thing to life before she or her mother could get around to sewing it themselves. They have mad skills.
I would like to point out that this pillow earned a “best gift EVER!” from said teen. Internet for the win!
To make this pillow you’ll need:
- 2 yards of solid color fleece
- 1 yard of printed fleece for the “suction cup portion of the tentacles”
- A yard stick for drafting the pattern
- A large sheet of paper (at least 4 feet long) for patterning
- 5 pounds of poly-fil
- A sewing machine
- Matching thread
- Something to wiggle stuffing down into the tentacle ends (I used a 15 mm knitting needle)
The original blog post is from build-a-diy and it provided great measurements and instructions for assembly. (See the full post below!)
You’ll notice, however, that the crazy woman who made that 8-foot squid hand-stitched the ENTIRE thing! What the what?! I am soooooo anti-hand-stitching that I actually managed to machine stitch the WHOLE pillow.
Also, (probably because it was easier for hand-stitching) she used felt and printed cotton. Who wants to cuddle up with that??? Sounds itchy to me. So I used blizzard fleece to make mine. At first I was worried the fleece would warp, but I had no such problems. I did decide to cut the patterned fleece on the bias, just because it seemed stretch-ier than the solid fleece, but, all in all, it was quite easy to work with! Please note I did use some scrap felt for the eyes.
This pillow cost me about $20 to make in May (the same amount it would cost to produce with felt). I spent $14 on poly-fil (I bought 5 pounds and used about 4.5) and $8 on three yards of fleece. In December, it could easily cost twice as much. Fleece is seasonal, so if you have to make this in the winter, try to use a coupon.
Because the pattern pieces are too large to print out, you do need to draft them yourself. This will probably take a good hour. I used a roll of heavy brown kraft paper I bought from Home Depot in the paint department… you never know when old project supplies will come in handy! If you’re making more than one squid, this stuff will stand up to lots of tracing, so at least you reuse the pattern and shave some time off the second squid.
The pattern uses 8 total pattern pieces. Please see the illustration in the original post for complete measurements to the pattern pieces.
I would also like to note that instead of cutting one 9”x30” rectangle for piece #6, I cut two 9”x 15” rectangles. Why? To help with eye placement. The original post has you hand stitch the eyes on AFTER the pillow is completed. But as promised, my version requires zero hand-stitching. Therefore, I sewed piece #8 to piece #7 with black thread (my #8 is different that the original), then sewed one eye to each of the rectangles, precisely centered, with white thread. I then sewed one side seam to form a long rectangle, to which I attached the legs as described in the original post.
I took one extra step after attaching all the legs. I added a “topstitch” along the tentacle edge. Just fold the raw edges of the rectangle and tentacles over 1/4″ or so, and sew it down. Now we have a nice finished edge for when we close this baby up!
To orient the eyes with the sides of the body, I pinned and stitched the rectangle seams to align with the center of the body pieces (piece #3), and likewise the body seams to the center of head rectangles (piece #6). Man that seemed confusing, but you know what I mean, right?
So, anyhow, after you attach the fins to the body, and the legs to the head rectangle, and the rectangle to the body, you stuff the main cavity and…
If you’re like me, you don’t hand stitch.
First off, don’t overfill the head if you want to shove this thing through the machine, try to stop about an inch or two shy of the opening. Pin the oval in place (piece #5), raw edge of the oval together with your topstitched rectangle/tentacle edge. Yes the raw edge of the oval is on the outside of your work. This is where fleece is very forgiving. I set my machine to a blanket stitch and sewed through both layers (oval facing you, so that the straight edge of the blanket stitch hits right along the oval’s raw edge and the nice clean edge of the head/tentacle piece). You can always trim any excess fleece that pokes outside of the nice finished edge of tentacles. I think it looks pretty good this way, and it only takes a few minutes of blood, sweat and tentacle wrangling, compared to an hour of ladder stitching!!!
And done! That only took FOREVER!