I wasn’t given this kit, my sister was. She is big fan of Monkey, the cuddly, knitted, tea drinking kind, but not such a big fan of sewing. So, excited by the prospect of owning a Sock Monkey but with no intention of actually making one, she handed the box over to me (cue me trying to look pained and despairing but not convincing anyone).
A tried and tested design, straight forward to make but with enough different tasks to keep you interested and with plenty of opportunity to customize your finished monkey and give it your own spin, what’s not to like? It is also one of those brilliant ideas where once you have learnt how make one monkey the possibilities for making a whole sock based society are only limited by your imagination and the contents of your sock drawer.
This kit proudly proclaims that is contains absolutely everything you need and indeed it does. (Well, everything except a pair of scissors, but it’s close enough right?!) Obviously there is a pair of socks in the box, there is nothing on, or in, the box to say what the socks are made from, but they have a soft cotton-like feel. Along with the pair of socks there is:
- an instruction booklet
- a bag of polyester filling
- a needle
- 2 buttons
- red and white embroidery floss
- a piece of red ribbon
( I’m sorry that I don’t have more pictures to show you for this one but I selfishly started this project without a second thought for you guys, I just had to start cutting and sewing immediately)
The instruction booklet has 16 pictures explaining each step but there are no written instructions. The steps are easy enough to follow but there are no tips on what stitches to use, or how best to attach the limbs or other extremities to your toy. I have started a pinterest board with a few toy making tips since making Miss. Monkey. You don’t need any special expertise but knowing how to do some blind hemming is a handy skill to have up your sleeve.
Once the body was made it was time to pick her accessories. Rather than use the blue buttons in the kit my sister choose different buttons for eyes and decided that she would like a girl chimp with a bow in her hair rather than a boy monkey with a bow tie. She also wanted her monkey to have one ear up and one ear down. I chose to hand stitch this little lady, all in all I guess she took about about 3 hours to make, but you could sew the body, arms, tail, and ears on a sewing machine and then attach them by hand to save time.
As a final flourish I stitched the bow onto a tiny safety pin so that she can move the bow to suit her mood and made a very quick, no sew golden tutu and this summery yellow skirt from some scraps I had. (Somehow managed to miss that her skirt was lifting up in this one, maybe she is an aspiring Miss Munroe?)
It just so happens that it was my birthday while I was making this monkey and my son bought me this book of sock monkeys as a gift*. The perfect source of inspiration! There are some fantastic photos and some clearly well loved friends in Sock Monkeys and what I didn’t know was that they a history all of their own. The Etsy blog has a good brief history, click here to find out more.
Make Your Own Sock Monkey, imported by Funtime Gifts Ltd, is available from various online retailers.
Overall score: 4 / 5. One mark lost for lack of sewing tips.
Difficulty: Easy. The box says 5+, I think this would be good first make for a child learninglearning how to sew. I’d say personal taste and not age would be the deciding factor on this one.
Trickiest part: Sewing the mouth on. This is where blind hemming would come in useful!
* Sock Monkeys (200 out of 1,863) by Arne Svenson and Ron Warren is published by Ideal World Books. ISBN 0-9722111-2-8.