Sunday’s Child: Ahoy matey!

Sunday’s Child focuses on happy children. The easy way out for a Sunday article is therefore a toy pattern. I’ve gone a step further and taken the exceptionally lazy way out by providing you with a scan of the pattern, but not even trying to enlarge it to useful proportions. The graphic is set at about 1 square = 1/2″ and should just fit on an 8.5″ x 11″ sheet. It will then need to be enlarged by 400% for the sit-able size. However, the toy itself is sweet and whimsical, and is both stuffed animal and nursery furniture, and one can adjust the size to anything desired, from tiny to towering. My own child is outside the appropriate age group for this toy, or I’d make it myself. Added note: I love that it has a tattooed fin. So, without further ado, I present the Sit-on Whale from the Woman’s Day gift issue, November 1963.


1 1/4 yards of 36″-width sailcloth or other heavy material
1/4 yard of 36″-width striped material for hat
Scraps of felt and ribbon for facial features, etc.
1 ounce white yarn for beard
2 brass buttons for hat
Heavy cardboard, 15″ x 21″ for base
Plain cotton quilt batt, 81″ x 108″

Enlarge pattern pieces and use photograph to match materials to pattern shapes.

For whale: Seam side pieces to top from A to B, continue seam along tail from B to C. Seam body to bottom, matching A’s and C’s and leaving 16″ opening at side for cardboard. Clip seams; turn; insert cardboard.

For core of stuffing, tear unrolled quilt batt in half; place one half over the other and insert. Add stuffing for outer areas and rest of filling, stuffing until shape is hard and smooth. Sew opening. Seam pairs of fins, leaving straight edge open; turn and sew. Stitch fins for quilted effect; sew to sides.

Glue on felt eyes and mouth. To make strip of 2″ loops, wind yarn around cardboard; sew a few loops together and slip off. Repeat for strip of desired length; sew in place.

For cap: cut top, underpiece and visor; also cut strips 3″ x 14 1/2″ for headband and 1″ x 27″ for welting.

Fold welting lengthwise; seam underpiece of cap to top with welting between. Fold headband; stitch to inner edge; turn cap. Glue visor to headband; add ribbon, buttons and glue on felt anchor. Stuff cap lightly, tack to whale.

My notes:

I love the adorable shape of this whale, but I have never been a huge fan of gluing on felt facial features. For an updated look, I would applique features of contrasting cottons onto the body pieces before stuffing. Using loopy yarn for the beard is cute, but I might instead use upholstery fringe. Also, for a nursery toy, I would omit the brass buttons, replacing them with embroidery. Speaking of embroidery, there’s no reason a cool mom couldn’t give the little guy more than just a little felt heart tattoo… Also worth noting, I have searched thoroughly and can find no renewal records for Woman’s Day magazines from early 1962 on, but automatic renewals didn’t take effect until works published in 1964 or later. From my research, I believe this pattern is in the public domain. If you have information to the contrary, please contact me.

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