Thanks! Glad you all like it... and very flattered by the tutorial request.
The original was foundation pieced on muslin, because I was using rather small scraps. It's more efficient to strip piece, especially if you're making multiples. I don't have the patience right now, but I think it would be fun to do a whole group of crazy-quilted animals and hang them as a mobile! The only caveat is to choose an animal without too many irregular, pointy, or narrow bits. Fish are a nice simple outline, as are turtles, pigs, elephants...
Step 1: Pattern. Draw a nice fat fish! Try to keep the fins and tail relatively wide, as they're a pain to turn. This fish is 7" high at the fins and 10" long. Decide how many stripes you want and measure width. (4) 2.5" stripes for ease of calculation, here.
Step 2: Iron and cut strips 1/2" wider than width on pattern and 2x taller than pattern. Cut one EXTRA strip from muslin or other white fabric. This goes on the wrong side of whichever strip will be the fish's head.
Step 3. Sew strips together with 1/4" seam allowance, making sure to sew the muslin along with the head strip.
Step 4. Press seams open, fold, and cut out the two sides of the fish.
Step 5. This is the only weird part. Cut a diagonal slash into ONLY the colored fabric of the head, on both pieces. Fold under so that a wedge of white is showing, and press. Make sure the two sides match.
Step 6. Zigzag over edges of colored fabric, securing the mouth to the underlying muslin. The stitching looks like teeth, if you don't want to embroider them later.
Step 7. Add eyes (for a baby toy, as here, either safety eyes or embroidered eyes)
Step 8. Put wrong sides together, matching smile wedges, and sew with a 1/4 inch seam allowance, leaving the space between the bottom fin and the tail open for stuffing. You'll see that on this one, I added a ribbon loop into the tail, so I can attach the fish to a binky clip later.
Step 9. Turn, press if needed, and stuff. I stuffed the fins and tail first, very lightly, and then topstitched them for durability and to prevent the stuffing from shifting back into the body. You can add cellophane, bells, or rattly bits to the body when stuffing, but a toy will be washed frequently, so any extras should be waterproof. Blindstitch the opening.
Step 10. If desired, add more embroidery or other details.