Do you have your Rockford Red Heel Socks ready?
Be sure to save the cardboard label since the directions for the sock monkeys are printed on the inside. If you forgot to save the tag, you can download instructions here, just scroll down a bit – they’re available in English or Spanish.
The first thing you do is turn both socks inside out. Fold the first sock flat, front-to-back, so the red heel is all on one side (this sock will be the body so the heel becomes the monkey’s rear end). Then fold the other sock so you see the profile of the foot. The heels might not align perfectly, so just do your best. The trick I use for the second sock is aligning the red corners on each side, like this, before folding:
Next you need to measure, stitch and cut the legs. This is where the written pattern is a bit tricky. It says to start sewing 3″ from the white heel (but which part of the white heel?), and cut between the seams to within 1-1/2″ of the heel. After making a couple monkeys, I realized precision doesn’t matter here as long as you stop cutting at least 1″ before the outer edge of the white heel. If you stop cutting 2″ or so before the heel, your monkey will just have slightly shorter legs. Not a big deal.
I used a special water-soluble pen to mark approximate sewing lines, but any water-soluble pen or pencil will work.
Actually, you’re marking the inside, so you could probably even use a pencil. (I’ve been known to mark fabric with colored pencils, chalk, anything that won’t bleed through the fabric.)
Leave a gap of 1/4″ or more between the lines, since you’ll need to cut between the seams after sewing. I use a sewing machine, but you can sew these by hand if you don’t have a machine.
I like to start sewing the legs (and arms) from the middle of the sock. That’s just me. You can start at the cuff ends (aka Monkey paws) in you prefer.
I want you to notice that the curved ends are not perfect. One leg is a bit shorter and slightly squared off, the other is a bit rounder. It doesn’t matter. Once you turn the pieces right-side out and fill them you won’t even notice.
Onto the second sock. Use the diagram in the directions as a guide. The arms are sewn much like the legs, only they are shorter. The tail continues down the topside of the sock, curving down the white toe a bit. Again, sew before you cut.
The ears are fairly free form. The thing to remember with the ears is to leave about 3/4″ unsewn so you can turn the pieces right-side out and fill them. That’s something I forgot when I sewed the first ear for this monkey (I had to pull out a few stitches but it worked). So I marked the second ear with a pin so I would see where to stop or start sewing.
Before you start cutting the tail, ears, arms and mouth remember you’ll need to leave a little fabric between the pieces to help hold the stitches. The mouth doesn’t have any stitches around it, so make sure you leave at least 1/4″ of pink all the way around. This is when you’ll understand why you had to align the sock before folding – it makes cutting the mouth easier.
As carefully as I tried to align the heel, you can see I had less pink on the right side than the left. The good news is, because I didn’t cut too close to the heel, I still have plenty of fabric to turn under for a clean edge when I attach the mouth.
Notice how I positioned the folded (straight) edges of the ears down? That’s to remind me that the flat edge is what attaches to the head, not the open areas (which face the center, above).
These are the pieces you’ll have once you’re done cutting:
Just turn them right side out (chopsticks are great tools for turning the legs, arms and tail), and you’ve got the makings of your new sock monkey.
Next time: Filling and forming your monkey!