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Friendly Stuffed Crocodile
“Tick Tock, Cap’n… Tick, Tock… someone is coming!” I spent a good chunk of my childhood hoping, wishing, dreaming I could fly like Peter Pan. I never actually jumped off the roof of the garden shed (and I in no way recommend this!), but… I climbed up there and thought about it! We’ve created a wonderfully sneaky stuffed crocodile, our homage to the creepy croc in Peter Pan who was forever stalking Captain Hook. Shannon Cuddle fleece in a fun dot and low nap solid are the perfect pair for the top and bottom of Mr. Croc. Two widths of rick rack form his teeth and spine.
Although he might look complex, our crocodile takes just a little while. He’s playful rather than predatory, so there’s no need to be afraid to give him a try. You’ll find him extremely huggable with a great sense of humor… except when it comes to jokes involving pirates and lost boys.
Scroll down to find our full pattern download.
We used black buttons for the eyes, which is not the best option for younger children who like to chew on everything. You could substitute black felt circles.
He finishes at approximately 29” nose to tail.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
Fabric and Other Supplies
- ½ yard of 60″+ fleece with a texture dot pattern for the top of the croc (body and feet); we originally used Shannon Cuddle Dimple Dot in Dark Lime
- ½ yard of 60″ solid fleece for the bottom of the croc (body and feet); we originally used Shannon Solid Cuddle 3 in Dark Lime
- One 8 – 12oz bag of Polyester Fiberfill; we used one complete 8oz bag to get the stuffing firmness we wanted; if you want a firmer crocodile, use a 12oz bag
- 1 yard of extra-large rick rack in white for the teeth
- ½ yard of jumbo rick rack in green for the spine
NOTE: Rick rack is measured in different ways by different manufacturers. We used by-the-yard products as opposed to packaged rick rack. For the the teeth, you need a rick rack that is ½” in the width of the trim itself, which means the total height of the “wave” is a full 1″. This way, when you stitch down the center of the rick rack with a ½ seam, the bottom of the wave will be revealed to form the teeth. For the spine, you need an even wider trim: 1″ in trim width for 2″ in total wave height.
- Two ⅜ – ½” black buttons for eyes; we used ½” black buttons in a shiny black – we found some locally that had a faint inner circle that looked like an iris.
- Small scrap of heavy white felt for the eyes, a 4″ x 4″ square would be plenty
- All purpose thread to match fabrics
- All purpose thread in white to stitch eyes
- All purpose thread in black to stitch nose
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- Hand sewing needle
Getting Started and Pattern Download
- Download and print out our five Crocodile Pattern sheets, which have been bundled into ONE PDF to make the download easier.
IMPORTANT: You must print this PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide rule on each page to insure your print out is to size.
- Cut out all the pattern pieces along the solid lines. Tape together the Head pattern pieces and the Body pattern pieces as indicated by the arrows on the printouts. Butt the pieces together; do not overlap.
- Fold the Fleece Dot in half lengthwise.
- Place the pattern pieces on the Fleece Dot as shown below, following the indications on the patterns themselves, and pin in place. As shown, the head pattern is cut on the fold.
- Cut out the all the pieces from the Fleece Dot.
NOTE: Don’t worry about the solid fleece pieces yet. You will be cutting those later, using the completed textured dot pieces as your patterns.
- Cut out the eyes from the Croc Head paper pattern piece. Using one as a mini pattern, cut two eyes from the white felt.
NOTE: As mentioned above, if you opt for felt eyes rather than button eyes, you will also need to cut two ½” circles from a black felt.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
The crocodile head
- Place the white rick rack around the the entire curved outer edge of the textured dot head. There is no rick rick along its straight back edge.
- Pin in place all around.
- Machine baste in place, being extremely careful to keep your stitching at an exact ½” seam allowance. You want a full “wave” of the rick rack to show from the seam to create the croc’s teeth. You don’t want him to look like he needs braces.
- Overlay the original paper pattern on the head. Using the empty eye sockets as a guide (remember… you cut out the eyes for a pattern), mark the position of the eyes and pin the white felt ovals in place.
- Hand stitch the felt ovals in place with tiny, careful stitches. You could machine stitch in place if you prefer, using a tight satin stitch.
NOTE: If you are using felt circles instead of buttons, they can be stitched in place now or at the end as we’ve done with the buttons.
- Using the head pattern piece as a guide again, mark the position of the nostrils and use a fabric pen or pencil to draw guide lines.
- Set up your machine for a tight satin stitch. Re-thread with black thread in the top and bobbin, and stitch along both guide lines.
- For extra support, and to help keep your stitches smooth on the stretchy fleece, you can place a small strip of felt behind each nostril prior to stitching.
- Here’s a look at the head with all the elements in place.
The crocodile body
- Place the jumbo rick rack un-evenly along the back seam of one body piece. It should be placed so it is just visible at each end with the maximum amount showing in the middle. This allows it to curve up, out, and back down again from the finished seam… just like a real spine.
- We taped a length of thread in place in our photo below so you could see how the rick rack curved below and then above the center line of the seam.
- Pin in place and then machine baste the rick rack spine in place, as you did above with the rick rack teeth.
- Place the two back pieces right sides together, sandwiching the rick rack between the layers. Pin in place. Check the rick rack from the right side prior to stitching to be triple-sure you have the curve correct.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch along the spine (the photo above shows the stitched seam as well as the rick rack position).
Attach the head to the body and cut the solid fleece
- Place the finished head and body pieces right sides together, aligning them along the crocodile’s “neck” – the straight edge of each piece. Pin in place.
- Stitch in place with a ½” seam allowance.
- Place the finished crocodile top on the solid fleece. Use the top as a pattern to cut out the solid fleece (the crocodile belly) as one piece.
- Similarly, use the textured dot feet tops to cut four feet bottoms from the solid fleece.
Create and attach the feet
- Place one textured dot foot right sides together with one solid fleece foot. Repeat to assemble four pairs.
- Stitch the pairs together, following the curves with a ¼” seam allowance.
- Stitch all the way around, leaving the straight end (the top of the foot) open for turning.
- Clip the inner curves, ie. the Vs of the toes.
- Turn right side out.
- Stitch a short seam, approximately ¾ – 1″ from the end of the foot up, to create three toe “divisions.”
- Stuff lightly, using a chopstick (or similar stuffing tool) to help you get the stuffing down into the toes. Below you see the three steps that allow the croc’s feet to take shape.
- Using the marks on the original pattern piece as your guide, pin the four feet to the solid fleece belly. The solid fleece bottoms of the feet should be against the solid fleece of the belly. The feet should be slightly angled: the front feet angling towards the head, the back feet angling in the opposite direction toward the tail.
- Machine baste each foot in place, staying approximately ¼” from the raw edge within the standard ½” seam allowance.
Assemble top to bottom, stuff, and add eyes
- Place the croc top and the croc bottom right sides together aligning all the raw edges all the way around. Pin in place, leaving an approximate 5″ opening for turning and stuffing along one side.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch all the way around. Go slowly so you can keep your seam allowance nice and straight as you follow the crocodile’s curves. Remember to lock your seam at either side of the 5″ opening.
- Turn the crocodile right side out through the opening. Gently tug on the rick rack to make sure all his teeth and his spine are in place and even.
- Stuff with fiberfill so he is soft and squeezable, but still stays sleek and stealthy, like a good crocodile should. He shouldn’t be rock hard. As we mentioned above in our supply list, we used one full 8oz bag of polyester fiberfill.
NOTE: For a super smooth and professional finish, check out our tutorial on Pillow Stuffing Tips & Tricks.
- Fold in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam. Slip stitch the opening closed, using tiny stitches.
- Hand stitch the button eyes in place. Check the pattern piece for placement. The eyes should be centered at the top back of each felt oval. This position is what gives the crocodile his particularly “sneaky” look!
NOTE: If you are using felt circles instead of buttons, they can be stitched in place now or above just after the white ovals are stitched in place.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Kathy Andrews, What Sew Ever
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I have made many of these croc pillows for kids, including some toddlers who have had a hard home life and were placed in foster care. The croc pillows helped them nap and sleep better at night, having something of their own to hold. I wanted you to know that your generosity in sharing this pattern has made a difference in kids’ lives. I will continue to make these adorable croc pillows. Thank you so much.
Hi Laura – what a wonderful story! Thank you so much for letting us know our friendly crocs are helping some very needy kids!
Where did you get your rick rack or what brand? I’m having a hard time finding the right size
Hi Samantha – we originally purchased ours locally. Your best bet is to search online using Jumbo or Extra Large in your key words. Etsy is often a good option. Here are two links we found today with a quick search.:
If you’d prefer not to buy online, simply get the largest you can find and adjust the reveal from the seam to show as much as possible.
This little crocodile turned out great! Thanks for one of the cutest soft toy patterns around!
Hi Donna! You are so welcome. I love this little guy … such a sneaky smile and eyes. Enjoy!!
Thank you so much for this pattern. It’s really quite easy and I hope my granddaughter is going to love it: she and I have a crocodile thing going on! I made it out of green fleece but also the crocodile material I used for the wigwam I’ve made her! I too couldn’t source large ricrac but the small worked well and the spine was the trim from the wigwam!
You’re so welcome, Janet! It sounds like you did a fabulous job. If you follow us on any of our social media channels, we’d love to have you post a picture or two so we can all be inspired. You can find our social links at the top right of every page.
I can’t wait to make this! I use your patterns all the time. Thank you for all your super cute patterns and great directions. I’m off to the fabric store before it snows!
Hi Deborah – You are so welcome. We can’t wait to hear how your friendly croc turns out. Please keep us posted… and good luck with the snow!
This was a first sewing project with my 10yo grandson. He wanted to make an alligator and this made a fantastic one! Thank you for such an easy fun pattern!
Hi Betty – we LOVE getting comments like this one. We’re so happy to hear about your project success, and ten gold stars for getting your grandson excited about sewing.
Nice tutorial. I used an old green dress to make my own. Didn’t have large ric rac, small ric rac worked but is less noticeable
Hi Emm – What a great way to re-use what you have!