Otters are among the best-loved marine mammals, and they make particularly cute stuffed animals. This simple version uses inexpensive nonraveling felt, and you can sew it by hand or with a machine. The finished otter measures about 22 inches tall, but you can adjust the size of the pieces to make the otter larger or smaller. You can either cut the pieces directly from the felt or draw them on paper first to make patterns, which can be especially useful if you plan to make more than one stuffed otter.
Cut two circles of dark brown felt, each about 6 inches in diameter, for the otter head.
Sew two black buttons to one of the felt circles to make the eyes. Cut a nose from black felt and sew it to the centre of the face. Add whiskers using long, straight stitches of embroidery floss (optional).
Cut two ovals of dark brown felt for the body, each about 5 inches wide and 10 inches long.
Cut one oval of light brown felt, about 4 inches wide and 9 inches long, for the tummy contrast. Place the tummy contrast in the centre of one of the dark brown body pieces, and stitch the light brown felt to the dark brown felt around the edges.
Cut two triangles of dark brown felt to make the tail. The lower edge of each triangle should be the same width as the lower edge of the body so the tail will match up with the body, and each tail piece should be about 7 inches long.
Cut one triangle of light brown felt slightly smaller than the tail. Place the light brown felt on top of one of the tail pieces and stitch the light brown felt to the dark brown felt around the edges.
Overlap the lower edge of the face and the upper edge of the body piece that has the tummy contrast, and sew them together. Overlap the lower edge of the body with the tail piece that has the contrast, and sew them together.
Sew the back of the head, body and tail together the same way as the front.
Cut four squares of dark brown felt, each about 4 inches across, to make the legs. Fold each square in half and stitch along the edge opposite the fold. Turn each piece right side out and fill it with stuffing.
Cut eight paws from light brown felt. Each paw should be about 2 inches wide.
Sew two of the paw pieces together, leaving the lower edge open. Fill the paw with stuffing, then insert the lower edge into the top of one of the legs. Hand stitch the paw to the leg using a whip stitch. Sew the other paws and legs together the same way.
Position the legs on the sides of the body that has the tummy contrast. Sew the open ends of the legs to the sides of the body.
Place the front and back of the otter right sides together. Pin them together, making sure the legs are facing inward, so they're tucked inside the body.
Sew the front and back of the otter together, leaving one side of the tail open. Turn the otter right side out and fill it with stuffing. Hand sew the opening in the tail closed using a whip stitch.
Instead of using buttons and felt, you can use an eyes-and-nose kit designed for making stuffed animals. You can find these in the button section of many fabric stores.
Use caution when working with scissors, pins and sewing needles.