Just One Tribble

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Dan Efran

Active Member
I always kind of wanted a tribble. They're so cute!

These days, craft-store faux fur is very soft and very cheap, so yesterday I decided it was time to finally go ahead and sew one up.

A tribble is a project barely worthy of a build log. It's basically just a teddy bear with no head, limbs, or features.

But for those who are interested, here's how I did it.

I grabbed the usual 40%-off-one-item coupon code from Michaels.com - they have that almost all the time! - and ran over to Michael's to pick up one 9x12" sheet of craft fur.
That's enough for approximately one large adult tribble, two midsized tribbles (teen tribbles?), or four baby tribbles. Maybe a bit more or less than that. You'd probably need two sheets for the very largest ones, like that huge throw-pillow Kirk is holding.

ST_TroubleWithTribbles.jpg

I wanted a medium-small alien pet so I used a bit under half the sheet. I'll use the rest later, for something or other.

fur cut.JPG

I cut off a yucky edge so I was working with nothing but good soft fur. Then I cut little, like, darts, to help it curl into a ball. It's kind of like that style of map projection with the wedges.

curvy.JPG
Then I sewed it up. You can use a sewing machine on this stuff but it's a bit of a pain. Since I'm only making one, I decided to just hand-sew the whole thing. That way I could get tiny little seams right at the edge, and deal carefully with the curves.

stiched.JPG

The backing is sort of a knit fabric, which is great for hand-stitching. It's almost like embroidery cloth. I sewed about 2 or 3 "holes" from the edge, over and around the edge, stiches pretty close together - maybe every fourth hole along the edge. Every so often I'd tie a little knot, too, by putting the needle back through a stitch once or twice while tightening it. That strenthens the whole structure a bit.

I had to start and stop sewing multiple times due the the complicated pattern of seams, but that also kept the thread length manageable. As is usual for a stuffed animal, I sewed up about 90% of the seams before turning the piece right-side-out. Here it is at about 60% sewed-up.

clamshellish.JPG

Once the last opening was under 2" long, I turned it inside out and stuffed it with some doll stuffing I already had on hand.

ready to stuff.JPG

The last inch or two of seam is the hardest, because now you have to hide the hem without being able to sew from the wrong side. I just sewed right over a tiny bit of fur with each stitch, so that I could keep the edges tucked in beneath the seam.

After tying off the end, I ran the needle entirely through the piece, to the far side. I pulled the thread semi-tight and cut it off close to the far side. That way, puffing up the piece pulls the thread end back inside, hiding it. But it's still too long to pull out or unravel. It's just buried inside somewhere.

And that's it. Total cost, about one dollar.

finished.JPG

What do you think?

troubbled.jpg star-trek-tribble.jpg
 

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CaptainDave1701

Active Member
Cut two ovals out of fake fur into a basic figure eight roughly the size of your Tribble. Fold with fur on the inside then sew the Tribble up leaving an opening at the end. Turn the fur onto the outside so that you have a furry bag then stuff with bits of foam rubber and since this is no longer the 60's use craft stuffing. You can even use beads or beans so that the Tribble sags in your hand like a real creature would.
Sew the Tribble up, comb the fur over the seams and you have a Tribble just like they made back in the 60's. The original pattern and instructions similar to these once could be found on David Gerrolds Web page.They still may be.
Yes.....I am a Tribble head and own several.
 

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Dan Efran

Active Member
There's no such thing as "just one tribble"..

deeply tribbled.JPG

So it seems.

Cut two ovals out of fake fur into a basic figure eight....

Yeah, I switched to this standard method. I had originally tried a more complex pattern because I was afraid the basic "figure eight" wouldn't look as good...but in fact it looks much better! I was really surprised at how much of a difference it makes.

Looks like David Gerrold no longer has instructions posted online. Instead, it seems he has a Tribble shop: http://tribbletoys.com
So if you want the real deal, you can buy from the real guy. Cool.
 

NakedMoleRat

Master Member
Don't be surprised when JJ calls looking for some props when he begins the 4th movie, Star Trek: Beneath (the pile)

Well done, indeed!
 

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