MY SOCK MONKEY PICKS AT:  Sock Monkey Paintings and More!
Also available Sock Bunny Instructions!

Sock dolls were popular around the 1900's. The Nelson Knitting Mills in Rockford Illinois first made the original rockford red heeled sock in 1890. In 1920 the mill soon began packaging the directions for the sock monkeys with each pair of socks after a customer fashioned a doll and sent it to the company. The Nelson Knitting Mills was purchased by Fox River Mills in the 1992 and now Fox River makes the Red Heel Monkey Sock.

Sock Logo bibliography:
  • America's stuffed toy: the sock monkey Fox River [ pgMonkeys.html] 02/19/2001
  • Socking the Monkey People Weekly 5/8/1995 v43 n18 p225(1) Time Inc.

  • When you purchase a pair of Red Heel Monkey Socks, it comes with instructions to make a Sock Monkey. The following instructions are NOT the same instructions that come with the sock. These instructions are much more detailed.

    and sewing machine (optional)

    Stuff used:
    Pair of Red Heel Monkey Socks
    off white thread
    polyester fiberfill stuffing
    black embroidery thread
    2 1/2" googly eyes
    10" piece of red yarn or ribbon


    The head, body and legs:
    1. Turn the sock inside out.

    2. Lay the sock so the heel is facing toward you. The toes are the top of the sock, and the opening is the bottom of the sock (see picture).

    3. Use a ruler to find the center of the sock and, with a pen, mark the center line of the sock from 1 1/2" below the white heel to the bottom opening.

    4. Starting 3" below the white heal, sew a seam 1/2" away from the center line, down toward the bottom opening, to form a leg. Curve the seam down at the bottom opening to form rounded feet.

    5. Repeat previous step on opposite side of center line to form other leg.

    6. Cut along the center line until 1 1/2" below the white heal. This should leave a hole in the "crotch" of the monkey for turning.

    7. Turn sock right side out.

    8. Through the "crotch" hole fill firmly with stuffing.

    9. Whip stitch "crotch" close with off white thread.

    The hat tail, mouth, arms, ears, and eyes:
    Cutting the pieces:
    1. Fold the sock flat in a side profile position (see picture).

    2. For the hat, cut out the white toe area of the sock, leaving about 3/4" area of brown around the cut out.

    3. For the tail, measure 1" in from the top fold and mark line with pen. Cut along the mark to form one long, 2" wide rectangle.

    4. For the mouth, cut out the white and red heal area, leaving a 1/2" area of brown around the cut out, to turn under.

    5. For the arms, cut the remaining area above the heel into two rectangular pieces.

    6. For the ears, use the remaining piece of sock below the heel. With the sock doubled, cut out 2 identical half circles - because the sock is double you should end up with 4 pieces.

    Preparing and attaching the pieces:

    1. For the tail, fold the rectangle in half the long way, with right sides together. From the brown end stitch a 1/4" seam down the long side of the rectangle, curving the seam at the bottom to form a rounded tail end. Turn right side out, then fill firmly with stuffing. The tail should be positioned in the center of the red heel or "butt" on the body of the monkey. Turn under 1/4" around the opening and whip stitch tail to monkey body.

    2. For the mouth, turn under brown edges. At the head of the monkey on the body, there is a distinct division between the white toe area, and the brown below. The mouth should be positioned so that the top white part of the mouth, above the red lips, are above in the white area of the head, and the bottom white part of the mouth, below the red lips are in the brown area. Center, position, and fasten lower area of mouth with pins to the body. Whip stitch the bottom of the mouth onto the body, then fill with stuffing. Continue to whip stitch around the top of the mouth until completely attached to body. Optionally a black line can be embroidered through the red mouth.

    3. Embroider on eyes, with black embroidery thread, just above the mouth OR glue on 1/2" diameter googly eyes. (pictured monkey has googly eyes)

    4. Tie a piece of red yarn or ribbon just below the mouth to form a neck (optional - not done on pictured monkey).

    5. For the arms, fold the rectangles in half the long way, with right sides together. From the brown ends stitch a 1/4" seams down the long sides of the rectangle, curving the seam at the bottom to form rounded hands. Turn right side out, then fill firmly with stuffing (see picture for attaching tail, the arm pieces are just wider and shorter). The arms should be positioned just under the neck. Turn your monkey to the sides and center the arms. Turn under 1/4" around the opening and whip stitch arms to monkey body.

    6. For the ears, with right sides together, sew a 1/4" seam around rounded sides of ears. Turn right side out, then fill lightly with stuffing. Turn under 1/4" at opening. Top stitch 1/4" inch in from rounded sides (see picture). The ears should be positioned with the top half of the ear in the white area of the head, and with the bottom half of the ear in the brown area. Turn your monkey to the sides and center the ears. Whip stitch ears to monkey body. (pictured monkey does not have ears.)

    7. For the hat, roll brown area up to form brim. Lightly fill with stuffing. Position hat on top of head, then whip stitch inside edge of brim to monkey body.

    Different sock monkey doll makers cut the body parts from different areas of the sock, have different size and shaped pieces, and attach the body parts in different places. Various placements of the eyes, ears, mouth, arms, tail, and hat give each handmade monkey a distinctive and unique personality. Before attaching the pieces, don't be afraid to move them around to determine where YOU like them best. To further personalize your monkey, dress him or her up!

    copyright © 2001 B. Young All rights reserved.

    CONSERVATION LINKS: Orangutan Conservatory * Wildlife Direct Gorilla Protection

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