I saw this tutorial yesterday on Cut-Out-And-Keep, and I just had to try it. The original instructions produce an adoreable sushi-fish transformer, but I don’t like it when seams show . . . so I made a few modifications in technique. The detailed pattern for the dorsal fin is also difficult to cut. I ended up cutting out just the basic shape and detailing it freehand.
What You Need:
- Fish and Sushi Pattern
Download the pattern from Cut-Out-And-Keep or draw your own on paper.
Green and White for sushi
Yellow for fish
Pink for fins
- Two Small Buttons for Eyes
Or, you can use google eyes, felt scraps, beads, etc.
- Embroidery Thread
White for sewing sushi
Yellow for sewing fish
- Sewing Needle
Use a needle with a wide eye for easier threading.
- Pen or Fabric Pencil
Note: Pen marks will show. Cut pattern pieces just inside the line.
How-To Make a Sushi-Fish
This is a fun project for clubs and youth groups, and a great way to learn simple sewing techniques. I hand-sew pretty well, but this is a moderately complex pattern. If you’re new to sewing projects, you could end up frustrated, but I’ve provided pictures and links that may help. Give it a shot!
Prepare the Pattern
- Print the pattern from Cut-Out-And-Keep (or draw your own on paper).
- Glue paper pattern on a piece of thin cardboard.
I use cereal boxes for this. It makes pattern pieces last a whole lot longer.
- When the glue is dry, cut out the shapes.
- Store pattern pieces in an envelope.
Cut Out the Fish Pattern
- Trace fish body on Yellow felt. Flip it over and trace again. (2 Fish Body)
- Do the same for the fins and tail on the Pink felt. (2 each tail, dorsal, side fins)
- Cut out all the Fish pieces.
Cut Out the Sushi Pattern
- Cut out one Seaweed Rectangle from Green felt.
- Cut out one Large Circle and one Doughnut from white felt.
To make the Doughnut, trace a large circle then trace one small circle in the center of it. Cut out and discard the small circle (or save it for another project).
Prepare the Thread
Separate the Yellow embroidery thread into two strands (one with 2 threads, one with 4 threads). Use a Yellow 2-thread strand to sew the Fish Body. Use the 4-thread strand to attach the Side Fins.
- Separate the White embroidery thread into two strands (one with 2 threads, one with 4 threads). Use the 2-thread strand to sew the sushi pieces. Use the 4-thread strand to sew on the button eyes.
Sew the Fish Body
- Place the two sides of the Fish Body together, wrong sides out (that’s the part you drew on), and start sewing (backstitch) from the top of the mouth.
- Place the two Dorsal Fins together and sandwich them between the fish body. The fins should be inside the body. Adjust the felt pieces as you sew to keep the edges even. When you turn it right side out, you’ll have a nice neat seam.
- Sew toward the tail end, then place the two Tail Fins together and sandwich them between the fish body (tail inside). Stitch edges securely.
- Sew all the way back to the mouth. Do not sew the mouth shut.
Attach Sushi Top to Fish Body
- Turn the Fish Body right side out carefully.
- Hold the White felt Doughnut around the fish’s mouth so the inside edge of the doughnut and the edges of the fish’s mouth line up.
- Stitch the inside of the Doughnut to the Fish Body.
Attach Side Fins and Eyes
- Check for even placement of parts and correct direction of fins before sewing.
- Sew the Side Fins to the Fish Body with Yellow thread.
- Attach button eyes securely with White thread.
Sew the Sushi Bottom
- Hold the White felt Large Circle against the edge of the Green Seaweed Rectangle.
- Sew the Large Circle to the Seaweed Rectangle. As you sew, the two pieces will form a little cup.
- Sew up the side of your Sushi Bottom and cut away excess Seaweed.
Attach Sushi Bottom to Fish Body
- Turn the Sushi Bottom right side out (so the seams don’t show).
- Turn the Fish Body sewn to Sushi Top wrong side out (just enough to make sewing manageable).
- Line up the edge of the Sushi Top with the edge of the Seaweed as shown. The seam edge will be hidden on the inside of the Sushi later.
- Sew the Sushi Top almost all the way around the Sushi Bottom. Be sure to leave an opening!
- Carefully pull the Fish Body right side out through the opening.
- Stitch the hole closed. I used a ladder stitch.
Have fun transforming your Sushi-Fish!
Tips for Hand Sewing:
- If you don’t know how to sew by hand, learn a few stitches online.
- I used a backstitch to sew everything. It’s quite strong and simple to do.
- Keep stitches small and even for best results.
- Messed up? Remove the needle, then carefully pull out the stitches and re-sew.
- Could you use a glue gun or sewing machine? Probably. Good luck.
Add Your Own Flair:
- Green and white felt will look the most like sushi, but fish colors are entirely up to you.
- You can use fabric other than felt. Try clean old socks or T-shirts!
- Glamourize your fishy with decorations! Beads, sequins, paint, embroidery, etc. Just keep in mind decorations must be flat (you still need to be able to transform the fish into sushi).