Fishin’ for fabric fishies

This blog post is my first of the YES sew variety rather than the NO sew variety I’ve done in the past .  In no way is this a sewing tutorial post because I really don’t know what I’m doing when it comes to using my nifty new sewing machine.  I’m just kind of “going for it” so to speak.  I’ve made some errors along the way as you will probably see in this post.   But I’m finding little “aha” moments here and there thru my mishaps.  I do plan to get some pointers from family and friends, but I just couldn’t help myself on this one.

Recently we took our “newly two” daughter to a place nearby called Lake Cachuma.  It was pouring rain so we ended up spending most of our time in the visitor center admiring all of the nature displays.  There was one in particular that completely intrigued and entertained our little one for quite a while.  It was a real fish tank (without the water) filled with wooden fish that you could fish out with a pole that had a magnet attached to it.  “I caught big one mama!”  Over and over.  So cute, I must say.  So I decided to try to recreate this exciting little activity for her at home but instead of wooden fish, I decided to sew some fish.


This project was a really great sewing exercise for me.  It wasn’t like I was sewing a serious piece of clothing or anything so I wasn’t too stressed about making things perfect.  I used fabric scraps that I had on hand from my various no-sew projects like the no-sew valance, and the cute cowgirl tutu.


Here is what I used:

  • scrap fabric
  • buttons for eyes (I had some left over from my stocking project and my little girl’s photo wall)
  • stuffing or filler
  • magnet
  • metal key rings or washers
  • stick for fishing pole (I used a dowel)
  • yarn or string for fishing line
  • needle and thread or sewing machine
  • scissors

Here were my basic steps:

  • cut out two squares of fabric a little bigger than the size of fish you want
  • trace a simple fish shape with a pen onto the “bad” side of one of the squares of fabric
  • sew a button on for the fish eye (on the good side) before pinning the two squares of fabric together
  • pin fabric squares together with the good sides facing each-other
  • sew along pen outline of fish making sure to leave opening for stuffing
  • Cut excess fabric around the edge of the seam
  • turn right side out, sew metal piece inside the fish,  then stuff with filler (see photo below)
  • finish seam with slip stitch or sewing machine

Before I stuffed the fish I sewed a metal key ring inside the fish into the seam at the “fish mouth” area.  I just reached in and pulled out that little area and hand sewed the key ring into place then tucked it back inside.   You can use a washer too like in this post from From an Igloo Blog, or anything else that you think would work better (I’m new at this.)


I stuffed the fish but made sure to keep the key ring flush with the fabric so that the magnet could catch it easier.


Now for finishing the seam.  Not sure what I’m doing here.  But I didn’t feel like hand sewing the opening closed.   I mean, I have this great new sewing machine and all.  So I used a pin to hold back some of the stuffing and chose a fancy stitch setting on my machine to finish up the seam . . .


Eh.  Not sure if that is fancy really, more whimsical perhaps.  And I did another fish the same way . . .


Then with another fish I decided to try to hand sew what they call a “slip stitch.”  It’s that thing to where you sew so that you can’t see the thread from the seam .  I did an okay job.  I learned all about the slip stitch from this video.


Now onto the worm.  I didn’t want to leave a big ol’ magnet exposed so I decided to enclose it inside a funny worm.  I didn’t give the fishies a mouth, but I decided to give the worm a little smile.  (I suppose he has no idea he’s dinner.)  I used a sharpie to trace his shape (so it’s coming thru on the good side of the fabric).  For the smile I used another fancy stitch setting on my machine and sewed it on the good side of the fabric.  The button is in place for sewing too . . .


I sewed the worm the same as I did the fish but made sure to leave a big enough opening for this big ol’ magnet to fit.  I cushioned  the magnet a bit with filler and stuffed it inside the worm…


I cut a little slit in the worm tail so that I could attach the “fishing line” (yarn).  It looks like a buttonhole.  I sloppily hand sewed the raw edges of the buttonhole and secured the yarn.


Here are the fish waiting patiently for their worm.  I picked up the tank for 3.99 at the local thrift store.    It’s see-thru, light weight and made of plastic. . .


And strangely (or appropriately) it had little frogs in the base? . . . this is meant to be.


“Look mama!  I caught big one!”   Big worm equals big fish, right?


Until next Monday!


linking with Skip to my lou, Today’s Creative blog


3 thoughts on “Fishin’ for fabric fishies

  1. Pingback: Pretty simple gift of flowers | Jennifer's Mentionables

  2. Pingback: My first sewing projects « Jennifer's Mentionables

  3. Pingback: a handmade doll « Jennifer's Mentionables

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