(The tortoise in the above photo can be found for sale here.)
I couldn't help myself, this is something I've thought of for a bit so when I decided to buckle down and have a go at it I decided to create a tutorial while I went.
16 squares of fabric that are 2" x 2"
A base color for the tortoise body and under the shell
needle and thread
batting and stuffing
printed pattern for tortoise shell and body (found at the end of this post)
The first step is to quilt your squares into a 4 x 4 square. Sort of like this:
Make sure you sew between 1/4" and 1/2" from the edge. I just used the edge of my pressure foot for a guide.
Now that you have a quilted square, lay your printed shell pattern (found below) on the square diagonally and trace around the pattern. It is okay if the pattern does not fit perfectly on your quilted square. If the pattern is too large, just cut the oval down a bit until it fits. Hopefully you will get the oval right up to the edges of your square.
Once it is traced, cut out the oval. Do the same with the material for the shell bottom.
Lay the shell bottom on the quilted oval with right sides together. Sew around the edge. Leave a few inches out of one side open so that you can turn it right side out.
Turn your shell right side out. Cut a layer of batting the the same size as your shell and lay it inside between the layers. Then sew up the opening using a ladder or hidden stitch. If you need help with that you can find a tutorial here.
Once your shell is sewn up you can sew around the edge about 1" from the edge. Your quilted shell is now finished :)
Trace the body pattern twice onto the body material. Cut them out and lay them right sides together. Sew around the edge using the edge of your pressure foot as a guide. Leave one side of the tummy open so that you can turn it right side out. Before that though, you will want to clip the tips off of corners and make tiny snips between the neck and leg turns. This step will help the body not to pucker or twist when turned right side out. Be careful not to cut your thread.
Turn the body right side out and stuff lightly. Sew up the side using the ladder stitch.
This is what you should have so far.
To attach the shell use a needle and thread to hand stitch it on. Simply make tiny (but strong) tacks above the shoulders and legs. Yes, this means that you can slip a finger or a tiny hand between the shell and the body. I actually made the tacks closer to the edge than the above photo shows. I found that the tack I made in this photo was to far away from the edge and the edge tended to curl up a bit.
Once the body is complete you may finish it by drawing sleepy eyes on his face. You can then embroider, paint, or sharpie the eyes on.
And there you have it. One sleepy tortoise.
I like the idea that this could be made either for a boy or a girl, just switch the colors up a bit to fit their personality :)
Please share photos if you decide to try out this tutorial. I would truly love to see!