lucky fish : slow stitch project

slow stitch scrap fish diy

Who doesn’t need some luck? Plus these very simple fish are pulling me out of slushy, stubborn stuckness.

One thing leads to another, if you let it, but first you need to start. Where I really started was ironing, ironing scraps. It went on my to do list because it was an easy win (I felt like doing it). And I had saved a couple bundles of scraps, each sent by a friend, to sort and iron pre-move.

slow stitch fabric fish diy

As I ironed and sorted by color the wheels started to turn and I felt a strong and persistent spiritual directive to slow stitch some fish.

Maybe you feel like stitching some fish too. Let it be a meandering process, try stuff. Let one thing lead to another.


You will also need:

  • fabric scraps – light cotton or linen
  • little scraps, buttons lace for embellishing
  • stuffing
  • a basic sewing kit
  • pencil

cutting out fabric fish shape

1. Pin the pattern to 2 layers of light cotton fabric – right sides of the fabric together – and cut out. Be sure to clip out the little triangle notches.

2. Mark the seam line lightly in pencil.

3. Stitch the seam by hand or machine, leaving open between the notches. Find hand sewing tips here. 

4.  Clip notches around the curves and clip off the points at the nose and tail. Be careful not to clip the seam.

5. Use a chopstick to turn the fish right side out.

6.  Pro tip: use a plastic mechanical pencil to push out the corners – retract the lead first.

7. Stuff your fish.

closing after stuffing

8. Fold in the edges of the opening and stitch it closed. I used a whip stitch to close –  you can find another method here – scroll to the end of the post.

adding details to stitched fish

The fun part! – adding details and features:

I’ve got little buttons and lots of scraps of fabric and lace and embroidery thread. You might find this tip on hiding your knots and thread tails helpful.

I think it’s good to embrace the idea that these little fish are not concerned with perfection, they are a place to experiment and meander.  Each one surprises me.  Sometimes I borrow details from real fish and some are abstract.

adding fins to stitched fish


adding stitch details to fish

Use buttons for eyes or just a couple stitches. Experiment with stitches and mark making.  Make a bunch, be playful and try stuff.

I’m still making fish because I’m still having fun and getting ideas.  I plan to give most of them away – I love something extra added to wrapping.  I’ll add strings to some for ornaments and  I’m making a necklace for a small friend.  You could also stuff them with lavender or lemon verbena –  I sure do love nice smell.

If you make fish I’d love to see! Use #annwoodpattern on instagram or send photos to me at : info at ann wood handmade dot com.



PS – Regarding scraps: I’m considering an emergency supplemental scrap festival and swap in October. Things being the way they are in the world we might need it. What do you think? Let me know in the comments – if there is interest I’ll figure it out.

*update: OK – the scrap swap is on for October! Look for signups the first week in October.


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slow stitch scrap fish diy


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