Applying the Seahorse Principle to making a toy seahorse!

James has enjoyed sewing with me (mostly watching).  After we made a turtle for Baby Luke, James continued to request that we work on the turtle.  I reminded him that we had already finished the turtle and suggested we start a new project.  Here it is! I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out, especially since it was a bit quick-and-dirty so as not to lose the toddler along the way.

I sketched out the original pattern pieces on scrap paper.  Just for you, I will scan in those pieces and clean them up in case you’d like to make your own.  It seems only fitting that we should have our own little mascot here on The Seahorse Principle.

Tip: if you want to make other creatures using a similar technique, apply the Seahorse Principle and make animals that will look good flat!  A four-legged animal made in this way would be a stylized silhouette, which is fine if that’s what you’re going for but it would be a different look.  Fish would work great using this method; in fact that is next on my list if James gets the urge to sew again.

General procedure:

All seam allowances are 1/4″.  I used scraps of quilting cotton in two patterns and a bit of embroidery floss.

Cut a pair of main body pieces.  Embroider or otherwise make eyes on each.  Stitch just the front edge of the seahorse including the whole tummy part of the seam, from the “neck” to the beginning of the tail.  Trim curve with pinking shears.

Cut two pairs of pouch pieces (optional!).  Sew each pair, right sides facing, along the long curved edge.  Trim seams with pinking shears to reduce bulk.  Open them up–now you have a lining and an outside.    Stack right sides together, seams aligned (no longer flat; one will be cupped inside the other).  Stitch all the way around, leaving a small opening for turning along one of the long edges.  Clip corners, turn, (finger-) press (tucking the raw edges in line with the seam at the turning opening).  Align the the pouch with the curve of the tummy on the main body of the seahorse.  Stitch the pouch to the body from the corner, down the long edge, and up the other side (this will close the turning opening).  Don’t forget to reinforce the corners with backstitching.  The top of the pouch remains open.

Cut a pair of fins.  Sew together on three curvy sides, right sides facing.  Trim with pinking shears, turn right side out, and press flat (finger pressing is fine).  Stitch radially in & out on the fin to make it flat and give it some detail; use a color that blends or contrasts as you wish.

Turn the body inside-out again.  Pin the fin sandwiched between the body pieces in the middle of the back.  (The raw edge of the fin and the body align, with the finished fin tucked inside).  Stitch from the neck, up around the head, and down just past the fin.  Pink/clip corners & curves (especially under the chin).  Turn.  Carefully stuff tiny bits of stuffing tightly in to each bit of the head and then the body.  Stuff firmly for best results.  Flip the tail so that right sides are together again, and stitch from the bottom of the tummy, around the tail, and back up toward the fin, leaving an opening for turning.  Pink/clip corners & curves.  Turn the tail all the way out to the end.  Stuff firmly with very tiny bits of stuffing all the way into the tail.  Stuff remaining gap and hand-stitch the opening closed.  Done!

The pattern pieces:

Seahorse Pattern Pieces (PDF)

Please let me know if you make one, and share a picture if you’d like!