SLICED Tutorial: Sleepy Fish Toy

I made my fish with leftover layer cake pieces but it is a great project for any scraps .The scales in the pattern only require about an inch square so don’t throw away anything! What’s more, because this is for little people, the more variety of scraps you can incorporate, the more interesting it will be.

Fabric leftovers
Toy stuffing
Rattle ball
Needle and thread
Fabric pen
Turning tool
Assorted ribbon 

Step 1 – Cut out your templates
  • The two sets of templates in this project are to be used in different ways. The fin, eye and scale templates are given without a seam allowance and will provide you with a line to stitch on.
  • The body templates are given with an added seam allowance and will provide you with a line on which to cut. 

Step 2 – Make the fins, eyes and scales .
  •         Lets start with the tail fin. Select a scrap that fits the template with an extra ¼” around the outside.
  •          Draw around the template directly on the wrong side of the fabric and mark the turning gap.
  •      -  Layer this on top of a second scrap with right sides together.
  •      Lastly add a third layer of cellophane on the bottom.

  • Sew together following the line, starting and stopping at the turning gap. Backstitch a few stitches either side of the gap to hold the seam securely when you are turning.
  • Cut the fin out ¼” from the stitch line.
  • Clip the curves all the way around the outside to remove the bulk.

  • Turn the fin right sides out through the turning gap. Don’t be afraid of creasing the cellophane! Just pretend it’s not there!
  • Use a blunt pointed tool like a knitting needle or a wooden BBQ skewer to help you push into the corners.
  • Press the finished fin flat.
  • *** Do not have your iron on the highest setting for this and do not hold the iron on the pieces for more than about 2 seconds.  Otherwise you might distort the cellophane. ***

  • Repeat this process to make the top and bottom fins, 2 eyes and 14 scales. You will not need to mark the turning gap on the other pieces as they all have an obvious open edge. 

Step 3 – cut out the body pieces
  • Use the templates to cut your body pieces from your fabric left overs. You get to be creative here. You may want to choose a wide variety of prints and colours or decided to keep it more uniformed in colour. I picked a variety for the front and selected greens and blues for the back.
  • To make the front of the fish, cut pieces by drawing round the templates onto the right side of the fabric. Cut one tailpiece, one strip 1, one strip 2, one strip 3, one top of headpiece and one bottom of headpiece.
  • To make the back of the fish cut pieces by drawing round the template onto the wrong side of the fabric. Cut one top of headpiece, one bottom of headpiece and one back body piece.

Step 4 – sew the parts together
  • Take the tailpiece and place it right side up on a flat surface.
  • Arrange 3 fins along the left edge. As the scales are double sided, have a look at both sides and decide which you like best and arrange you colours as you go. Allow enough space either side so the scales are at least ¼” away from the edge at all points. This will mean that you will not sew through a scale when you are sewing the 2 sides of the body together later.
  • Cut 2 lengths of ribbon 2 ½.”
  • Fold them in half and place between the scales.
  • Clip these in place. You can use pins if you prefer but I find clips a lot easier.  

  • Sew these pieces in place with an approximate 1/8” seam to secure.
  • Place strip 1 on top right sides together and clip in place.
  • Sew together using ¼” seam.
  • Fold strip 1 back and press in place.

  • Continue to add strips and fins in this way.
  • After strip 1 has been pressed add 4 scales.

  • After strip 2 has been pressed add 3 scales and 2 pieces of ribbon or ric rac either side.
  • When adding the strips, secure on one side first. As the edges are slightly curved it will be at an angle so manipulate the edges in to place as you go. 
  • After strip 3 has been pressed add 4 scales.

  • Take one of the eyes and place it on the top edge of the bottom of headpiece, just slightly left of the centre.
  • Secure with 1/8" seam. 

  • Place the top of headpiece on top and sew together using ¼” seam.

  • Fold back and press the seam so the eye faces down.

  •        Clip the head to the body and sew together using ¼” seam.

  • Fold back and press in place. 

  •  Sew the back body pieces together in the same way.

Step 5 – add the fins
  • Place the fins, in their correct places, on the right side of the back of the fish.
  • Place with the fins pointing inwards and line up the raw edges.
  • Place the top fin at the top in the centre.  Add the bottom fin to the bottom in the centre and add the tail fin in the middle of the tail. 
  • Secure with 1/8” seams.

Step 6 – add the ribbon tags
  •        Cut six 2 ½” lengths of ribbon.
  •        Fold them in half and press.
  •        Add the ribbons to the front side of the fish on the tailpiece. Place 3 at the top and 3 at the bottom.
  •        Secure with 1/8” seam.

Step 7 – add the hanging loop
  • Cut a strip of fabric 20” x 1 ½” or if you are using a layer cake cut two 1 ½” strips from one square and          sew them together.
  • Fold the edges ¼" into the middle along the length.

  •       Fold the whole strip in half so the folds meet and secure with a line of stitching close to the edge.

  •           Cut a piece of velcro ¼” x 1 ½”. 
  •           At one end of the prepared hanging loop strip, fold the raw edge over ¼”. 
  •          Place one side of the Velcro on top and sew around the outside to secure in place.

  •             At the other end of the hanging loop strip, add the other half of the Velcro 1” from the edge. This will be the end that is sewn to the fish.

  •  Take the back of the fish and add the hanging loop in the middle of the top fin. Secure with 1/8” seam.
Step 8 – complete the fish
  • Take the back of the fish and place it right side up on a flat surface.
  • Fold all the pieces into the middle and pin them to hold them out of the way when sewing the two sides of the fish together.

  •        Place the front of the fish on top right sides together and clip in place.
  •        Leave a turning gap in the headpiece.

  •         Sew around the outside with a ¼” seam starting and stopping at the turning gap.
  •           Backstitch a few stitches either side of the gap to strengthen when turning.
  •         Turn the fish right sides out being careful of the pins as you do so.
  •        Ensure none of the scales have been caught in the stitching and all the parts are sitting neatly.
  •         Press well.
  •         Stuff the fish with toy stuffing.
  •        Add the rattle half way through so it is in the middle of the fish’s body. 
  • Close the gap with a slipstitch.
  • Now give your fish a name and a new little owner...

One lovely sleepy fishy toy.

      Be sure to drop by my blog for more information about my experience with the Sliced Competition and a behind the scene look!

      Beth Studley


Amy said...

It is so cute. Great idea with the binder clips. I might have to whip one up by the weekend.

pasjonatka said...

thanks, maybe i'll try ;)

Ele said...

What a fab tutorial!!

Brilliant way to use up little scraps of material too.

Anna said...

I love, I'll try to make one.
Thank you very much.

Suzanne said...

I never thought of using those kinds of clips before!

krislovesfabric said...

Such a sweet design, thanks for the tut!

Janelle said...

oooh, we just found out we're getting a new little person at our house just in time for Christmas. I think this will be his/her first present.

Maryjean said...

I love this and have been waiting for the tutorial. Looking forward to sewing this, love your ideas!

AJ said...

This is so cute! I saw this picture before and on flickr and was realyl hoping for a tutorial! Love it!

simplysarh said...

Maybe I'm missing something, but I can't find the templates for cutting. Is there a link or something I'm missing?

Kimber Leszczuk. said...

This is really beautiful!! I love crafts and things like this. My ten year old daughter does too. I will share this one with her!

Stitchinkat said...

To SimplySarh: The templates are available when you click on the "printer friendly version."

To Beth: I love this fish! I know a baby who will also love it! Thank you for sharing the pattern.

Cheryl said...

oh, oh oh I really wanted to make this from the moment I saw it. And today I found out that I'll have a new grandson in Sept so now to pick some fabric. thanks for great directions!!!

lovefrombeth x said...

Thanks for the comments. I am sorry it has tken a while to write the pattern up. The printer friendly version has the templates. If anyone has any questions about the pattern please contact me through my website
Love from Beth x

Charo Murciano said...

Muchas gracias por el tutorial. Lo voy a guardar como el regalo ideal para un bebé.
Thank you very much for the tutorial. I'm going to save as the ideal gift for a baby.

Greenville Coupon Clippers said...

How do you sew around these clips?

lovefrombeth x said...

Greenville CC - You just remove the clips as you go as you would pins. You will find they are too bulky to go through the machine x

Katie said...

Beth, super cute, I am already whipping one up. Next time though, black and white outlines for templates would be better-the blue takes a ton of ink, and for..ever to print!

Judy said...

Where can I fine cellophane?

Unknown said...

Your designs are amazing! So very cute and creative. You did an excellent job in the competition.

Caroline said...

Hi! May I have permission to feature tutorials from the Moda Bake Shop Blog on I will only take one or two photos and then link back to your site for the actual tutorial.


ladyljp said...

Where do we get the templet from? I couldn't find it anywhere in the recipe. thanks linda

Travellers Craft said...

yes also looking for the template? thanks great fish!