Make a Classic Red-Heel Sock Monkey

Welcome to Sock Mondays—PieceWork’s new series on the joys of knitting socks. Whether a stitch-by-stitch re-creation from a vintage pattern or a modern interpretation of a classic style, we adore pampering our feet with a pair of handknitted socks! Socks captivate our needles and imaginations. With this in mind, let’s begin with a timeless classic—the sock monkey.

sock monkey

These familiar soft toys, created from the careful placement of pattern pieces on cotton work socks, continue to delight children. Photo by Joe Coca.

This delightful project originally appeared in the May/June 1996 issue of PieceWork:

“The sock toys that both children and adults know and love so well use common materials likely to be found in any household. You need one pair of red-heel socks for each monkey, white sewing thread for stitching the pieces together, buttons or felt and matching thread for the eyes, black embroidery floss for stitching the features, and stuffing. Worn-out stockings and socks formed the stuffing for many of the older toys; these days, you may prefer to use polyester fiber stuffing. . . . You can create an individual identity for your toy by adding embroidered facial features, clothes, and a hat.”

sock monkey

How to create a sock monkey from a pair of red-healed socks.

Just grab a pair of original Rockford Red-Heel socks and make this classic toy for your favorite child. These cotton socks now come in a wide assortment of colors in addition to the traditional brown. Add a few skeins of embroidery floss to add a bit of character, and voilà—you’ll have an iconic toy whose historical beginnings harken back to the Depression era!

Sock monkeys seem to be everywhere today–on sheets, mugs, note cards, T-shirts, and more–but having an actual handmade one is still the best. Sock monkeys rule!

Check back in with us next week for more about vintage socks. Until then, show us your handcrafted sock monkeys. We’d love to see them! Send your photos to


Knit more vintage inspired socks from PieceWork!

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