Jeans for Genes Denim Whale

Hello lovely crafters!

This week's Chloe Makes is to raise awareness of the amazing work by the charity Genetic Disorders UK. Every year GDUK hold their annual fundraising campaign Jeans for Genes day throughout schools and workplaces across the country with the aim of raising money to support individuals and families effected by genetic disorders.

To find out more or donate visit their webpage: 

So in honour of Jeans for Genes day I've decided not to make a pair of jeans or denim clothing, but a whale, made from denim! I found this amazing pattern and tutorial by Lacey from All My Friends Are Flowers, she's lovely enough to provide it all free of charge (but you can purchase a ready made whale from her site as well!). If you make this week's project, why not make a donation to GDUK?!

Like I said, Lacey does provide an easy to follow tutorial, and this is my experience following her instructions. To make this adorable whale, you'll need a pair of jeans, a couple of buttons, some toy stuffing and the pattern from Lacey's blog. 

Begin by laying out the pattern pieces on the jeans. If you want the whale to be all the same, leave the jeans as they are and cut them out, I went for half outside of the jeans and half inside. Should you want the belly of the whale to be different to the top, cut them out as if you were doing it all the same and you'll be able to flip the pieces the other way around making the "wrong side" the "right side".

Take the belly pieces and mark on the fabric the pleat lines, there will be two on each piece. When assembling you can either have the folds on the outside, or the inside, I decided to have them on the outside because I like the texture. Just make sure whichever side you want to be showing, it's on the side of the denim you also want to be showing (e.g. I had one dark and one light so half pleats on dark and half light).

Once you've sewn your pleats, it should look like the image below.

Then join the two belly pieces together, the seam that needs to be joined is marked on the pattern piece. Aim for the pleats to join at the same place. 

Put the belly piece aside and take all four fin pieces and the tail pieces. Sew two of each, wrong sides together, then turn right way out and top stitch all the way around. 


With the fins, you can choose to stuff them or leave them unstuffed like I did. I think they look better unstuffed, but that's up to you! Take the fins and place them where you previously marked for them to go, sew them pointing towards the belly seam, raw edges aligned on the right side of the fabric. 

Move on to the top of the whale, seam all the way along from nose to tail on the top edge. Then take the belly piece and turn it so the joining seam is on the outside and fold the fins inside, like a bowl. With the right side of the top section touching the right side of the belly section, pin them together and sew from nose to tail end on one side and then the other, leaving an opening at the tail end to allow for turning and stuffing. 

Turn the whale out and topstitch along the seam you just made. It should now be starting to look like a whale!

At this point, I decided to use a hot glue gun to stick buttons on as eyes, but you can obviously sew them on if you choose. 

This is now the time to stuff your whale, I ended up using a whole bag from the shop! Now take the tail end of the whale and fold the ends in about an inch, then slip the also stuffed tail into the end, as below.

Hand stitch the tail to the body and you're finished!

I think this is such a lovely way to support Jeans for Genes instead of the obvious and it's a great gift for a child or adult fan of this large sea mammal! Mine will be sitting in the shop window for a while, see if you can see it on your next visit!

Send us a picture if you give this make a go and I really hope you do as it's such a great idea! Donate to GDUK if you can and I'll be seeing you next week for another Chloe Makes!

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