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Stuffed Fabric Turtles (with pattern pieces)


We were shopping around, down in Florida, after we went to the zoo several weeks ago

(yes, in Jacksonville…..some of you asked)……..and we stopped by a Pottery Barn Kids store.

I’m a window shopper.  Well, and an inspiration-seeker shopper.

I love walking around and daring myself to find something I want to make.  Ha.


Want to go shopping with me?

I might drive you crazy.

Then you and my husband will have something in common.


While we were there…..we saw some cute little stuffed turtles.

So I snapped a picture with my phone, and I decided to try and figure it out at home.


So, here’s my version…..a bit different, but just as sweet.



They are soft and plump and are perfect for little hands.



…..and the tail may be my favorite part.




After making one, you better let your turtle explore outside.



Would you like to make your own?


Turtle pattern pieces found here. (print off and cut out)


Cut out all of your turtle pieces, in whatever fabric and color choices you want.  Be sure to read the notes on each pattern piece and watch for when it says, “cut on the fold”.

(Also, you don’t want to use a stretchy fabric, or the turtle won’t hold its shape very well.)

If you want to make your turtle all one color or all different colors, it’s up to you.



Now, place 2 of the leg pieces together, with right sides together, and sew up around the outer edges, leaving the top straight edge open.  Do the same with the other legs pieces, making 4 legs.  Now, do the same thing with your head and tail pieces.



Next, turn all of these pieces right side out, using a pencil or a paintbrush end to help you poke them right side out.



Now, fill each piece with some stuffing (I used polyester fiberfill)……..using something like the end of a paintbrush helps to shove that batting into those small pieces.



Then sew each piece closed, about a 1/4 inch from the end.



Now, sew 2 of your shell pieces together along one side (with right sides together) and then sew the other 2 together.  (Make sure that the shell pieces are right side up while sewing together, or the sides won’t match.  The black dot on the shell pattern piece is the top of the shell.)


When sewing the 2 shell pieces together, start at the top of the shell (where the big circle is on the pattern piece) and go down along the one side.  Be sure to start right at the center of the top of the triangle piece….don’t cross that imaginary line down the center.



Then, open up the shell pieces.  These are going to be on the sides of your turtle.

Now grab one of the side sections and pin your head to the front end with the raw edges matching up.  Place it about a 1/2 inch from the bottom of the shell.  Then place the tail at the other end, about a 1/2 inch from the bottom as well.  Sew the head and tail in place, about a 1/4 inch from the edge.



Then place the other side of the shell right on top, with right sides together.  Sew from the center top, down one side……then start at the top again and sew down the other end.

Turn the shell right side out and it should look like this.



Flatten the shell down flat, then start pinning the feet to the shell.  Center each foot at the center edge of each shell section.  Sew each foot in place, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  (Add a little sewing tag at this point too, if you have one.)



Then turn your shell inside out and place right on top of the circle turtle bottom (that’s right side up).  Pin all the way around the turtle, attaching the shell to the bottom.



Then sew all the way around the base of the turtle, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance…..and leaving about a 3 inch opening along one side, between two of the side legs.



Next, turn the turtle right side out and begin shoving it full of your stuffing (I used polyester fiberfill)…

**When shoving your stuffing in, you’ll need to shove in enough to really expand the shell.

If you don’t have enough, it won’t round out……….but if you shove in too much, it will be too lumpy.

Really move the stuffing around and smooth it out as you’re filling it up.**


Then tuck your raw ends towards the inside, and use a blind stitch to sew your turtle closed.  (Need help with the blind stitch?  Click here.)


Now, that’s it.

You’re turtle is complete.


Now make several more and create a turtle family……or give each and every one away.

Because what child wouldn’t love a new little turtle friend?!!




Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with my craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
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  1. Shirley Hayton says:

    Need pattern on the back of Poly-Fil bag " Tiny Turtle.

  2. Shirley says:

    I have A bag of Poly-Fil and on the back of the bag was A pattern of what you called " Tiny Turtle, I did not keep the bag so I lost the picture of the completed Tint Turtle. Can you post the picture of the completed Tiny Turtle?

  3. Crystal says:

    I made one of these cute turtles with scraps I had left over from making masks. My son love it!

  4. Tori says:

    These are really cute! I have an old pair of jeans my mum gave me that have recently become beyond repair, so I'm turning them into two matching turtles before I go to uni :)
    Quick question, what stitch would you say is the best to use to sew together the pieces if you're completely hand stitching? Thank you!

  5. Alexander Scutt says:

    There is waaay too much frill and furbelow on this website – the advertising overwhelms it and slows its download times.
    To get a basic readable tutorial I had to do a whole lot of copying and pasting. A pity because the pattern is gorgeous. It is astounding how often frippery can utterly ruin an otherwise good site.

  6. jess says:

    this is one of my very favorite patterns – i've used it countless times since you first posted it back in 2011! turtles are the best :)

  7. Monica & Grace says:

    Super cute, thank you so much for sharing your creations with us! My daughter is very excited to make this. For those who have had trouble with the size of the image, we inserted the image into a Word doc and enlarged it to the size we wanted and printed it out and it worked perfectly. Thank you, again!

  8. Pingback: 50+ free printable stuffed animal patterns - Swoodson Says
  9. Kay says:

    Just need to know what size is bottom of turtle so i know i printed it out right. Can
    ‘you please let me know. i think these turtle are so cute and can’t wait to start one.

  10. Becky Jorgensen says:

    You’re a genius! I love these little turles! So cute & adorable!!! I featured them in my blog: Thank you so much for sharing!

  11. Jess says:

    Hi does anyone know where you can get fabric like this in Sydney Australia?

  12. caitlin says:

    Thank you for providing this free pattern and tutorial! I love finding free patterns :) I posted a link back to your blog in this post:

  13. Rebecca says:

    How would I make the turtle body using one fabric? Would I still need to cut it into pieces like this?

  14. Sue says:

    Super pattern, great idea! Thanks a lot for sharing. Just finished my first without any problems – and my son loved it. Have to make lots more in different sizes and colours The tutorial is great and works perfectly.

  15. Ann Cue says:

    I have made over 25 of these and find the pattern and instructions totally perfect. Thank you so much for sharing.

  16. Kathy Davis says:

    I can’t get the pattern to open. Any suggestions?

  17. Mary Ann says:

    awesome!! thanks for making this so easy to do
    perfect gift for an expectant friend

  18. Amanda @RusticRemnants says:

    Love these turtles! They were so fun to make and were easy to put together. Thanks for a great project!

  19. nadia says:

    hey! anybody have tha patterns? i d’nt found it :(

  20. Kelsey says:

    Hey! Just found this and want to start using it but i was wondering, what measurements did you use for the pieces?

  21. Anonymous says:

    I made one and I’m 10! It was very explained.Thanks!

  22. Cammie says:

    I am in my 60’s and my mother made the five of us similar turtles when we were little. I also made them for my four children. They certainly were loved by all.

  23. Jumasto says:

    I just found your turtle pattern when searching for stuffed animals to make for the Purple Stitch Project for epileptic children. I plan on making several from purple fleece to send to the children. Thank you for a unique pattern.

  24. Valerie says:

    Added this to a blog post I wrote and cited you: Thank you for blogging some great crafts!

  25. person says:

    can someone at least link me a pic of a usable base for the turtle, what is that half circle it doesn’t fit, it does not fit at all, how come your pattern isn’t working

    i can’t sew stuff to the bottom, and it’s not me its your pattern, i have been making plushies for a few months now and i know how to do it, your pattern isn’t good it needs a base that fits the rest of the turtle i mean really come on. how do you expect people to be happy about this. what you did is probably bought turtles and undid them and made it look like you made them in the photos. make a video tutorial and prove that these were made by you because either you’re a wizard or your pattern is fake and you’re messing around with people who just want to make cute turtles and not waste $5 and 4 hours on materials

    1. Ashley says:

      I’m sorry you’re so frustrated, but from reading your 3 comments, it sounds like you didn’t cut the pattern pieces on the fold as instructed. The pattern pieces are marked (and the pictures are there as a reference), showing where to place the pattern piece on the fold of your fabric… that when you cut it and open it up, the shell pieces and base piece will turn out twice as big as the actual pattern piece.

      The pictures are all there to reference your work, and compare what you’ve done with the steps shown here.

      And I assure you, I made these turtles after a lot of trial and error. This tutorial is several years old…..but my kiddos still play with these stuffed turtles that I made them. I must say that I would never pick apart a product and pretend that I made it. I understand you’re frustrated… just take another look at each of the pattern pieces and read through the instructions again. You’ll see that your fabric pieces probably aren’t matching the pictures. I suggest giving it another try because many, many people have used this pattern with success! So don’t give up…..and best of luck! :)


  26. person says:

    well I sewed the shell together, but there’s no way to sew the head or tail, spent 3 and a half hours only to waste time and expensive materials, heres to the dumbest pattern i ever saw

  27. person says:

    um hey so how long did it take you to make this, because it’s been about three hours and I haven’t even got to the shell part yet, and also you should add a tutorial for those little knot eyes i see people make all the time

  28. Megan says:

    Wonderful pattern!! I was able to complete the turtle within about 3 hours and it looks exactly like the pictures!

  29. dg says:

    I made over 20 of these out of sweater material while goint thru chemo for cancer. It was my therapy.
    The sewing machine is upstairs, so, it was my exercise. I gave them for birthdays, get well. and just to friends.
    So fun.

  30. Anna says:

    I just love these turtles! Thank you so much for sharing the pattern! I’m linking to your site from my blog (in Swedish though) :)
    Greetings, Anna

  31. Stephanie says:

    the pattern pieces are no longer available…. can you email them to me???

    1. Kim says:

      The link is right below the sentence, “Would you like to make your own?”, beneath the 4th photo above.


  32. Janice says:

    I think these are adorable; I especially liked the “must take them outside” comment and photo. As a non-tech person I’m having a bit of trouble downloading the pattern. I already have Adobe reader on my computer, but it seems to be asking me to install another reader. Is this correct? I tried to copy the pattern to Windows, but couldn’t get the sizing right. Is there anyway you can help? Thanks.

  33. Paccana says:

    These are too cute!!! Thank you so much!!! My god I can’t wait to try this!!

  34. amelia says:

    it’s really cute i guess

  35. Anonymous says:

    I love the way you did this! I am just about to make one!

  36. Gigi and Evynn says:

    What a pleasant afternoon we spent making this turtle as a sewing/teaching project!

  37. Anonymous says:

    i cant sew along the edges properly uing my sewing machine, did you do your stiching by hand?

  38. Mel says:

    I am right in the middle of making this cutie! I was just wondering though… the pattern pieces already include a seam allowance? and is the seam allowance a 1/4in? I cut all my fabric the size of the pattern pieces. I think I may add on a seam allowance on the next one I make just so see the difference. Thanks again for such cute patterns!!
    I do the same thing….when I see something cute, and think that I could sew it myself, I take a pic with my cellphone! :D hehe…

  39. Shirley in Idaho says:

    Seems like good ideas never run out of style! I recently came across a very old pattern my mother had traced off & cut out of a 1936 newspaper…..probably from a friend’s pattern who shared with her because times were very hard in the 1930’s and everyone shared patterns & ideas. My neighbor girl, age 10, has been coming over for me to help her learn to sew (she loves sewing on our antique 1906 treadle machine ). This old pattern is one she is going to make to enter into the local state fair this summer. This turtle is about 18 inches long and looks quite similar to your pattern. (Don’t think we will find the “exact” same pattern anywhere else since 77 years have gone by since this one was in circulation!) Used 1935 cars were selling for $545 at that time!

  40. Sara says:

    I love this turtle pattern it’s so cute thanks for the pattern

  41. alka says:

    Long time ago i have seen your tutorial and liked them so well, i have even taken the print but totally forgotten. I came across your site again and this time i am definitly going to try. Thank you for such easy and wonderful piece of art.

  42. Nickie says:

    Wow! Your ideas are AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don’t know which to do first—the fish purse, the dolls or the turtle!! AHHHH!! I do not have time for all of this!! :-)

  43. Alicia says:

    This is such a great idea … i have made a few now and just can’t stop! making one for mothers day too!!

  44. Kim says:

    Ashley, thank you for sharing your pattern and instructions. I just made the cutest Valentine’s Day turtle for my doctor. He collects turtles and my next appointment is on V Day. I used 2 thrift store blouses for the fabric – the shell fabric has a little stretch and it worked great. The bottom and limbs are a faux suede.

  45. JulieCC says:

    Nevermind…It’s Monday, I haven’t had any caffeine on three hours sleep, and school was cancelled because the pipes broke. Sigh. I totally see the fine print at the top of the patterns page now! Good thing, as I want to make the fishy purse, too! :-)

    Off to find some tea…

  46. JulieCC says:

    Okay, so how do I print the pattern pieces correctly? When I try to print them, I only get one page which is the upper left of what shows on the pc screen – part of the shell. Even in a print preview I can’t get it to come up. Is there a PDF somewhere?!??! HELP! We need these in our herp-loving family!!! ;-)

  47. Tara says:

    Could this pattern be used to make donations for a children’s hospital? I’m unsure because of the ‘personal use only’ request.

    1. Alicia says:

      i’m sure it could … as it would be for there personal use i think it is there to stop people trying to sell the pattern pieces :)

  48. Anonymous says:

    i loved making them

  49. Anonymous says:

    loved do them

  50. ashlyn says:

    You can buy something like this from American Girl at a craft store.

  51. Vickie says:

    Should I add a seam allowance before cutting out the pieces, or is a seam allowance included? If it’s included, how wide is the seam allowance? These look darling; I can’t wait to begin making them!

  52. Cassie says:

    I’m a teenager with a lot of time on my hands, and I enjoy sewing stuffed animals. Usually they take 10+ hours, but this was super easy. And it turned out adorable!!! It’s so cute and cuddly. :) Here’s a suggestion to make it even cuter: (I did this to mine) add buttons for eyes and a smile, made with thick thread. Once again…pattern works perfectly and I love this idea!!

  53. sarid dina says:


  54. Dispack says:

    Ashley: These are very cute. I really want to make one right now, but it’s almost midnight! :) Thank You. I pinned this for future ref., I hope that is ok with you.

  55. Becci says:

    i had a sewing machine for my birthday a few days ago and this was the first thing i made with it – so CUTE!

  56. Lisa says:

    I made a few of these and they turned out so cute! I think I love them as much as the girls I made them for. :D

  57. Jac says:

    I just made one of these as a birthday present for a one-year-old, and I loved it so much that it’s my new regular baby gift!

  58. Kathleen Blout says:

    I d need the turtle pattern please…

    1. Ashley says:

      Above, there is a link to a page that includes some of the free patterns that are needed with some of my tutorials. I’ll include it below too. Just copy and paste the following link, and the turtle pattern is the 2nd one down. Best of luck!


  59. Rachel says:

    Made 2 of those for my 3 yrs old girl, she loves them. Don’t have a sewing machine but still did a great job. Thank you for the patterns, now I have to get more fabric.. I can’t stop making them… ahhhhhh!!!!

  60. Cynthia says:

    I love this! I am a turtle freak and I am always looking for new and different turtles to add to my huge collection!I love this idea! Thanks so much! Also a great gift idea for kids!!

  61. Peg says:

    the first time I saw these turtles I saw the pattern pieces but didnt print them

    1. Peg says:

      now Ive returned to the sight several times but only have the directions – I can’t find the pattern pieces – what am I doing wrong? where can I get the pattern pieces??? The turtles are soooo adorable!!

    2. Ashley says:

      Hi Peg,

      Above, there is a link to a page that includes some of the free patterns that are needed with some of my tutorials. I’ll include it below too. Just copy and paste the following link, and the turtle pattern is the 2nd one down. Best of luck!


  62. Tammy D says:

    I have a 3 month old that loves her crinkly toys. I am going to be a bit thrifty and use your tutorial but stuff the feet and tail with (cleaned) crinkly poptart wrappers for her. Thanks for the tutorial.

  63. Helen says:

    Thank you for sharing this pattern! I made it into a taggy turtle, you can see him here:

  64. Elisabé (France) says:

    These turtles are awesome ! I’ve just made one, it was so easy ! Thank you so much for sharing with us !!

  65. Lisa says:

    So sweet! Thanks so much for sharing!!

  66. Rainey says:

    Thanks for a great pattern. I actually took it and altered it and made jelly fish for my kids, they love them! I’m working on turtles next for Easter baskets. I sew all the time, but have always been intimidated by stuffed animals, thanks for making it so easy!

  67. Aude says:

    Thanks for this tutorial, I’ve make one yesterday and I fall in love with it..

  68. Silvia says:

    Thanks Ashley for this gorgeous pattern. I have a turtle patterned crib flat sheet that has hardly been used and wanted to make something of it as a way of keeping a bit of my daughter’s baby stuff but in a more playful/useful way. This pattern is ideal and will be able to make a couple of them to pass on to other kids.

  69. Amy says:

    I just made a turtle for my cousins new little baby! It turned out great! Now my 7 year old wants me to make him one too. Great tutorial too!! Thanks so much xoxo

  70. Milla says:

    I’m from Italy and I found your fantastic website by chance! I’m very happy for this because I can follow all your wonderful works! I’m sure you are a fairy: your creations are too much beautiful! :) Congratulations!!!

  71. Kelly says:

    Just made one of these last night. It was my very first foray into sewing! (Helped to have a mother to guide me that has sewn almost her entire life!) It is absolutely adorable!! Thank you so much for the tutorial and the free pattern. I made it for a baby shower gift! She’s going to love it!! Going to attempt a burp cloth & bib to match. :)

  72. Katy says:

    These are so adorable. Thank you so much for the pattern. I am a fairly new sewer. I have 2 changes or clarifications you might want to add to the pattern. First, I didn’t see a specified seam allowance. Maybe I missed it but I looked a few times. Also, on the pattern it could help if you wrote on the tail and head piece to cut 1 and 1 in reverse. I should have known better but I cut them the same and then had to redo it. Other than that everything came together awesome and I am sending this to my cousin who just had a baby girl. Thanks again!

  73. Candy says:

    Super cute and have to try it! Thanks for the tutorial.

  74. Karen says:

    I loved these turtles. My granddaughter’s sorority “mascot” is the turtle. I cut and paste to document but can’t seem to get right size according to 2′ square. I changed margins but tells me it is outside of printable document. Can anyone help?

    1. Anonymous says:

      I had the same problem, but after some thinking i just sized them to the right size on my laptop and CAREFULLY traced the shapes on paper. Also it does not actually matter how big they, just make sure the pieces can be turned in-side out after using a 5/8 of an inch seam. i have made 5 of these so far and in different sizes too. they all turned out adorable!

  75. Farhana says:

    Very cute! Love how you used different fabric colors.

  76. ee walton says:

    hi, can you tell me where you purchased you nifty personalized “m” labels??? thanks!
    Loved your creativity!

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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