Swim in a sea of gentle, luminescent jellyfish… or at least hang them in your window.
After you have learned The Parts of a Jellyfish using The Montessori Company‘s nomenclature cards, then drew and painted a jellyfish like a pro from How to Draw a Jellyfish, now you’re ready to sew a jellyfish.
The child will need to at least have a good idea how to do a running stitch, but this is also a good lesson in practicing this, gathering fabric, and measuring ribbon. I have done this lesson with young first graders, and even talented kindergarteners so this is worth a shot for these ages up to infinite.
Ready to make these enchanting, flowy creatures?
Materials:(click on the highlighted links below to take you to a recommended example)
- white fabric HERE
- thin, smooth ribbon (any color you want for the tentacles) HERE
- “bumpy” texturized yarn or ribbon (any color you want for the oral arm) HERE
- white thread HERE
- sewing needle HERE
- stuffing (PolyFil or I used some from an old pillow) HERE
(A note on the oral arm yarn: I’ve used different varieties of yarn and ribbon for this part of the jellyfish. The idea is to have it look bumpy and thicker than the tentacles, which are wispier and more flowing. I’ve made oral arms with crinkly ribbon, bumpy yarn, thick sparkly string, and even ribbon embedded with beads or sequins. You can get really creative with this, either making the jellyfish more realistic or more fantastical.)
Draw the outline of the circle that you will use for the jellyfish bell. I used the ribbon spool I had on hand the measured a little over 3″. You can make your jellyfish any size, but this is a good place to start.
Trace lightly with a pencil. Don’t use anything too dark to trace since you may be able to see the markings once your jellyfish is sewn together.
If you want to make a bunch at once or have some circles on hand, go ahead and make a few extra…
then cut each one out.
No you will measure the ribbon or yarn you’ll be using for the oral arm. For this size jellyfish I cut a length a little over a foot…
then cut that into thirds so that I have three dangly oral arm pieces. They can be slightly uneven in length if you’d like.
Do the same with the ribbon you’ll be using for the tentacles. For these pieces, I did a “messy measurement.” The tentacles are allowed to be as uneven as possible since this adds to the layered flowy effect. Cut about six pieces and put them with the oral arm.
Separate the tentacles from each other so that they are evenly placed around the oral arm yarn, then tie a knot at the very top of the bunch.
Now we will work on sewing and gathering the bell/hood together. Double-up the white thread into the sewing needle, and knot at the end. I used approximately 12″ of the thread but used 6″ of it after doubling it up. This will be plenty of thread since you’ll be gathering the material together. The remaining thread after gathering will be used to hang the jellyfish. Until then, let’s make the bell.
Push the needle in through one side of the fabric, leaving about 1/2″ margin.
Then do a running stitch along the edge of the circle, like this.
As you do the running stitch, your fabric may want to start gathering. This is perfectly fine since you’ll be doing this in the end anyway.
If the child has a tough time doing running stitches, you can always put light points along the edge of the fabric where the child can poke the needle.
If it’s a more experienced child, you can show her how to run the stitch without having to constantly pull it in and out.
In the end, you will have a small bowl of gathered fabric. Make sure the needle and thread are on the outside of the bowl.
Now you are ready to stuff the bell with the stuffing, then the ribbon bunch.
Grab a small amount of stuffing – smaller than the picture….
And make sure it fits snuggly inside of the bell.
Next, take the ribbon/tentacle/oral arm bunch and place the knot snug inside of the fabric. I like to explain to the student that this can be considered the stomach pouch of the jellyfish. This will give a vocabulary connection that we used in the Parts of a Jellyfish tutorial HERE.
Once everything is inside of the bell, start to pull the needle and thread so that the fabric tightens and gathers around the ribbon and stuffing.
Until it’s pulled completely closed.
Now you are going to sew the bell on tightly to the ribbon bunch. Take the needle and push it through the gathered area, aiming where you think the knot/stomach pouch may be.
Push the needle all the way through, then turn the needle around and go through again. Do this several times until you’re positive that the bell is sewn shut through the ribbon bunch.
Awesome! Take a look at your cute little jellyfish… but you’re not completely finished quite yet…
Bring your needle to the underside of the bell where the tentacles and oral arm are going inside. Poke through the inside of the jellyfish…
Until the needle comes straight through the center of the top of the jellyfish.
Keep pulling until the thread is all the way through…
Then cut off the needle and tie a knot. This is what you will use to hang your jellyfish. You can always play around with the length here at the very beginning when you’re cutting your thread for the project. I used about 12″ of white thread here, but obviously, you can use more if you want it to have a longer hanger.
Now seriously, how adorbs is that??
Be sure to make a few of them and hang the gang up!