With aching muscles, as I get closer to my due date, I’ve been using a sock full of rice, warmed in the microwave, to soothe the tension. But lately, I couldn’t help but want to improve on it. Make it bigger and flatter, and maybe cute?
Then it hit me: make it a turtle.
Cute, right? And the process is really simple. After all, we’re not looking for a perfect stuffed animal, just something that’ll soothe the aches.
As you can see on my pieces, you want 2 circles (the piece is a semicircle, but I cut them on the fold) 3 small semicircles, 8 little rectangles, and 7 hexagons.
- When you’ve cut out your pieces– pin. Leave the hexagons alone for now. Pin together TWO of the semicircles, and pin the rectangles together in pairs, making sure that any irregularities in cutting line up. (After all, if they’re going to be uneven, you might as well line up the unevenness to make it even again. Or something like that…) Take the remaining semicircle (this will be your tail) and lay it down with the round side facing you. Fold the corners down, along the middle of the shape, like your basic paper airplane. Fold them down again, and pin it like that. This should give you a nice, fat little tail, which you won’t have to stuff or sew two itty bitty triangles together to make it look right.
- Start sewing your turtle together, beginning with the legs and head. What you want to do for these is just sew all the sides, except for the one where it’ll connect to the body. You’ll want to leave one of the short ends of each pair of rectangles open, as well as the flat side of the pair of semicircles. When you’ve sewn the rest of the sides shut, turn them right side out, and fill loosely with dry rice. (You can also use dry popcorn kernels, dry beans, dry peas, dry wheat– whatever you have that you won’t miss a turtleful of.) Hand-sew closed. (You can try machine sewing little sacks of rice, but I wouldn’t advise it. I’m picturing a messy, possibly broken sewing machine.) Make sure to leave a seam allowance wide enough for your machine’s presser foot for when you attach it to the main body.
- Take one of your circles, and arrange the head, tail, and legs where you think they should go. Keep a hexagon shape in mind: the head across from the tail, the legs diagonally across from each other. You’ll want to place the seam allowance on the outer edge of the circle, with the round edge of the head and the tip of the tail pointing to the middle of the circle, so that they’ll sew in place correctly. Take the other circle, and, without disturbing the way you’ve arranged the turtle bits, pin the second circle to both the turtle bits AND the bottom circle.
- Carefully Sew all pieces together, leaving an opening big enough for the head to fit through.
- Turn the beast right-side out! Check the seams for any gaps, make sure all limbs are present and correct, and then fill the circular part with rice, using your handy opening.
- Once you have a loosely-filled turtle shell, hand-sew the opening closed, leaving no gaps big enough to let rice escape.
- What about the hexagons? Take those little things, and hand-sew them on its back in a lovely turtleshell pattern. To do this, place one of them in the center of the circle, on whichever side you deem “up”. (You might want check which side of the tail has folds, and make that the bottom.) Pin it in place, and then arrange the other 6 hexagons around it, so that the sides are parallel to the center hexagon. What I did was point one of the corners toward the head, and one toward the tail, and then put the other hexagons’ shapes parallel to its sides. I pulled the opposite edge of the surrounding shapes as close to the circle’s seam as I could, pinned them all in place, and hand-sewed around the edges.