With two handmade markets coming up, I wanted some new faces to display at my booth. Otters have always been on my list of favorite animals, so I took advantage of some free time over the past two weekends to work on a pattern for a stuffed otter.
When I’m coming up with a new animal character, I like to read facts about that type of animal to get ideas for its story line. Reading about otters was pretty entertaining.
Sea otters had the most fun facts. They can weigh up to 100 pounds, and they hold hands when sleeping to prevent drifting apart in the water. They also store their favorite rocks that they use as tools in a pocket they have under their arm. I initially thought about making a pocket on the otter’s body underneath the arm, but I really wanted to make a river otter. So I ended up only putting pockets on the sweater. Otters are also members of the weasel family, so that gave me a lot of inspiration for the personality of my otter character.
I often don’t sketch my ideas, but I felt inclined to make one this time around. I came up with Smuggles the otter:
While normally well-mannered, Smuggles the otter finds it hard to resist his weasel instincts to sneak treats when he’s out shopping. Otters often use their pockets for storing their favorite rocks, but Smuggles uses his for hiding snacks.
I struggled with whether to have the legs cut out from the side of the body. I went through a few prototypes before deciding the webbed feet emerging from beneath the otter’s belly looked the best.
I dyed organic cotton sherpa and hemp/organic cotton knit fabric for the body.
Smuggles is the first animal I’ve given whiskers. At first I didn’t think he needed them, but they really helped transform him from an odd looking weasel-bear into an otter.
For his pocketed sweater for hiding weasel snacks, I dyed hemp/organic cotton stretch knit fabric.
Smuggles is ready to waddle his way to a new home! You can find him here in my Etsy shop!