Book Review: Stupid Sock Creatures 9781579906108 - Stupid Sock Creatures: Making Quirky, Lovable Features from Cast-off Socks, by John Murphy Full view

Book Review: Stupid Sock Creatures

Stupid Sock Creatures: Making Quirky, Lovable Features from Cast-off Socks, by John Murphy
Stupid Sock Creatures: Making Quirky, Lovable Features from Cast-off Socks, by John Murphy

As it says in the sub-title, Stupid Sock Creatures is all about how to make soft toy creatures from socks. (Or even one sock–very useful if you are waiting in vain for the other one to turn up.)

I like this book. The instructions are very clear. No matter what (small) soft toy you may want to make, the techniques described are useful and clear. Making something for nothing always appeals to me–so socks, and some buttons for eyes, some stuffing–that’s all you need.

The book has a basic overview of techniques, followed by some clearly explained examples for you to make, then a gallery of example photographs, and some other bits and pieces that are basically promoting the author’s work.

Creatures can be hand sewn or machine sewn. Not for small people I think. The sewing isn’t complex, but since some items are small, it can be fiddly. So I’d recommend it for reasonably competent sewers if you plan to use a machine–or good hand-sewers (your stitching will need to be small).

A few recommendations:

  • Read the whole book first–it explains the various techniques clearly so you are able to follow the provided patterns or make your own easily
  • The author stipulates a 5 cm. seam allowance for all seams. I found this too big for some small items. I’d say use the seam allowance you feel is right.
  • Some fiddly bits I found difficult to sew on my machine if I only pinned them. In the end I roughly basted pieces together and then machine-sewed them. (E.g. anything requiring the circumference method for things like tails.)
  • Make sure you understand before you cut everything out how things are going to fit together. (The explanations provided are clear–make sure you read themthough! I had cut out legs at 3.5cm, but the holes into which they were to fit at 4cm – as it happens in that case not particularly crucial, as I could just cut off the excess.)

I was surprised at the amount of stuffing I used. If you pack it in as you should, a lot becomes a little. I used some stuffing I had from an old cushion. See what you have around if you don’t want to buy anything.

I wasn’t entirely taken by the mad creatures in the book–I think this a failure of imagination on my part. Anyway, I decided to adapt things to make a rather crazy poodle, since I know someone who is poodle mad.

Nutsy the Poodle
Nutsy the Poodle

I based the body/legs loosely on ‘Claude’. I used the heel of the sock at the front for the poodle’s nose shape and hand sewed a wool nose. I cut a rectangular section for a tail and use the circumference method to fit it. I cut 2 rectangles from the second sock for the ears and only stuffed these loosely.

I made the collar from stiffened fabric, used an old buckle I had that once belonged to a broken watch strap, and cut the name tag with pinking shears out of stiff cambric.

I made pom-poms from wool using circular cards–I’m sure you know how that works. If not, check out this tutorial.

Margaret is a volunteer at Significant Seams, helping us with our IT needs. She's been sewing since she was a child. Her parents gave her a Singer machine when she was 16, and she's still using it 42 years later! Margaret hates sewing by hand, and is extremely proud of getting her gold handicap down to 18.


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