Hugh Manatee: One-Yard Wonders

I’m excited to share a project that I’ve been keeping a secret for quite some time. It hasn’t been a total secret, since I used to have it as one of my rotating banner images. But, since I’ve never blogged about this little guy, let me introduce you to Hugh Manatee.


Over a year ago, I was thinking about a plush toy I could design to submit to the sequel to one of my most beloved sewing books, One Yard Wonders. The call for submissions asked for project ideas designed using a variety of fabrics. I set out to design a project with fleece, and started to think about animal designs that were not currently out there.

After searching and searching the Internet, I did not find any sort of manatee sewing pattern that was larger than a desk toy. I was searching for a big, cuddly friend, like a snuggle pillow.

So I set out to design a manatee sewing pattern, with my trusty roll of teal-striped wrapping paper that I use for most of my pattern designs. My first manatee was in light gray, and I also made one in blue, which photographs better.
The most difficult part of designing this pattern was getting the mouth and face to look wrinkled and adorable. I knew I wanted a comical, cute face rather than a true-to-life frowny manatee. I spent a lot of time arranging felt faces on the manatee, then snapping photos. Then I’d go back later and rearrange the eyes and nostrils until I loved it!

Then it was time to ship him off, to be photographed for the book. I’ve heard he went to the book release party with the other 100 projects.


Here he is in the book, Fabric-by-Fabric: One-Yard Wonders.

Hugh Manatee

And my original, with top hat!

My Project, Hugh Manatee

Next week, I’ll tell you how you can win a copy of this new book. And if you don’t win, please put this immediately on your holiday wish list! It’s such a great value, with some really classy patterns for clothing, bags, home decor, toys, accessories, and lots more! You are going to LOVE it.


I’m Lindsay Conner, and welcome to my sewing home! I am a modern quilter, author, editor, pattern designer, wife, and mom. I use this space to share my latest projects, tutorials, and patterns!