How to Make a Softie with a Pocket Mouth

Kids love secret hiding places. When we were looking for a new house, our older daughters would always fall in love with the  homes we toured that had rooms under the stairs or back halls with mysterious doors. I think all kids (and maybe adults, too) wish for a secret room to inhabit where they can hide all their special treasures and get away from the world.

While a softie can’t provide a secret room, it can give you a secret compartment. One of the most delightful sort of interactive softie is the kind that has a big pocket mouth for gobbling special treasures. I love interactive toys like this!

My shark softie has a big open mouth. I’ll show you how that part is made so that you can design a pocket mouth for your next softie.

Shark Softie

First, sew up your toy.

Leave an Opening
Leave an opening where you want to mouth to be.

Pocket Mouth

Now cut out pieces for a pocket. The upper jaw on my shark sticks out further than the lower jaw so the lips side of my pocket is uneven. Stitch the back of the mouth together.

Attach the Pocket MouthOpen up the mouth and pin it to the opening in the softie, right sides together. Use lots of pins for all those curvy parts. Sew the mouth to the opening, all the way around.

Tack the Mouth to the Body

To prevent the pocket from pulling out of the mouth during play, tack it down by taking a small stitch on each side of the end of the mouth, within the seam allowance of the mouth and the seam allowance of the softie’s body. Now the mouth won’t move!

Turn your softie right side out. Push the mouth inside and stuff your softie.

Shark Gobbling Fish
That fish doesn’t look too happy.

Shark by Abby Glassenberg

Girl and Shark

Josephine thinks this is really cool. I do, too.

If you’d like to try it out, you can download the pattern for my shark here. Happy sewing!


  1. says

    I have done a similar thing to make a fish puppet before but didn’t think to tack down the inside of the mouth. Very smart! That would have kept it from wanting to come out while making the mouth move. Thanks for sharing this!

  2. says

    I’ve never thought of that, Lew! You’re totally right that sometimes the mouth will bulge, especially at the gumline. I’m intrigued by this idea. Could you tell us how you attach the felt to the mouth? Do you use fusible web?

  3. Lew says

    Yep, that’s exactly what I do! I did a monster with a really wide mouth one time, and I took some darts at the front corner of the mouth so it sort of hollowed out the inside, too.

  4. Ann Pierce says

    Help! My grandson wants a stuffy with a mouth that comes out when you push on the belly. It should stoot out about 2 1/2 inches and then retaract.

    • says

      Hi Ann,
      That sure does sound like a cool toy! I think for it to retract it might need to be made from something other than fabric and stuffing. I’ve seen a toy like this that was made from rubber. If you do end up making it and it works, please send me a picture!

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