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Sock Skeleton

This skeleton from Robert Mahar of is a wonderfully lighthearted Halloween decoration.

Source: The Martha Stewart Show, October 2009


  • One pair of white crew or athletic socks

  • Ruler and fabric marker

  • Sewing machine

  • White thread

  • Scissors

  • Stuffing (poly, wool, or bamboo fiber)

  • Sewing needle and embroidery needle

  • Black embroidery floss

  • Straight pins

  • Pencil for stuffing arms and legs

  • 2 black four-hole coat buttons approximately 3/4 and 5/8 inch

  • 2 white four-hole shirt buttons approximately 7/16 and 1/2 inch


  1. Turn both socks inside out. Lay one sock flat, so that the toe runs across the top and the heel is on the underside. Following the Sock 1 diagram on the template, mark the sew (dashed) and cut (red solid) lines using a ruler and fabric marker. Machine-sew along the sew lines, then cut along the cut lines to form the upper legs of the skeleton.

  2. Turn Sock 1 right side out through the opening between the upper legs and fill with stuffing. With a needle and white thread, hand-sew the opening closed. Roll the torso and legs between your hands to even out the stuffing and smooth any lumps.

  3. Use the Sock 1 diagram to determine the size of the skeleton's head. Wrap a length of black embroidery floss tightly two or three times around the neckline and tie with a double knot, trimming the excess. Set aside.

  4. Lay the second sock flat on its side so that it resembles a wide L-shape. Mark and cut on the cut (red) lines as indicated on the Sock 2 diagram. The cut pieces marked 1 through 4 on the Sock 2 diagram form the upper and lower arms, and the pieces marked C and D will form the lower legs. Fold each of the cut pieces in half, right sides facing, carefully aligning and pinning the edges together. Machine sew, as indicated by the dashed lines on the Sock 2 diagram, with a seam allowance of 1/8 to 1/4 inch.

  5. Fill the arms and lower legs with stuffing until firm. Tuck in the cut edges of the open end and hand-sew closed. Roll the arms and legs between your hands to even out the stuffing and smooth any lumps. Set aside.

  6. Return to Sock 1. Mark the inside point of each rib on the front of the torso by inserting a straight pin. Separate a 2-foot length of black embroidery floss into two 3-strand pieces. Thread one 3-strand piece through an embroidery needle and double knot the ends. Insert the needle though the back of the torso and draw it out the front at the inside point of the first rib. Form the rib by wrapping the floss around the skeleton's side, reinserting the needle, and drawing it through the front at the same points, pulling gently to create a tight cinch. Wrap around three times total, tie off with double knot and trim excess. Repeat this step to create each of the six ribs.

  7. Create the skeleton's mouth in a manner similar to the ribs, inserting the needle in the side of the head at a point aligned with the end of the Sock 1 toe line, and drawing it out of the opposite side. Wrap the floss around the face, reinserting the needle and drawing it through at the same points, two to three times total, pulling tightly enough to form a wrinkled smile. Tie off with double knot and trim excess.

  8. To make a skeleton eye, stack a small four-hole white button on top of a large four-hole black button. Align the four holes, and use a needle threaded with one 3-strand piece of black embroidery floss to sew the buttons to the desired position on the face. Repeat for the other eye.

  9. Lay out the torso and limbs according to the diagram of the completed skeleton. Using a needle and white thread, hand-sew the pieces together to form the skeleton's joints (shoulders, elbows, and knees). Tip: In order for the arms to hang correctly, align an end seam of an upper arm horizontally against the side of the torso where the shoulder should be, and attach.

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