Myrtle the Purl Turtle

At first glance it may not seem that a hard-shelled, scaly-skinned reptile would be all that likable, but there’s just something about turtles that sparks the imagination. Maybe it’s their uniquely shaped shells, like tiny traveling houses. Or perhaps it’s because of their wise-looking countenance and unhurried manner. Whatever the reason, these ectotherms have captured our fancy!

Our Myrtle the Purl Turtle is just as appealing as her real life counterpart, only much more huggable. Her big, cuddly size and soft Liberty of London shell make her a fun pillow-like companion, perfect for sleepovers and keeping the bed warm. And despite a real turtle’s sluggish reputation, this pattern is super quick to sew!

Myrtle’s shell is made with Liberty of London’s bright, beautiful Tana Lawn; her body is rustic Essex linen; and her underside is vibrant 100% wool felt. These lovely, sturdy materials ensure that your turtle will be around for just as long as a real one! Everything you need to make your own is available in our Materials for Myrtle the Purl Turtle kit right here! --Molly


A Materials for Myrtle the Purl Turtle Kit, in Vintage or Green, containing…

You will also need a Myrtle the Purl Turtle Template available to download for free here, printed, cut out, and taped together.



From the Tana Lawn, use the template to cut:

  • Two Shell pieces: Cut one with the right side of the Tana Lawn facing up, and cut the second with the wrong side facing up so that the two pieces are mirror images of each other.

From the Essex, use the template to cut:

  • 2 Hand pieces
  • 2 Foot pieces
  • 2 Tail pieces
  • 2 Head pieces 

Note: If you are substituting the Essex for a fabric with a right and wrong side, cut the preceding pieces in the same manner as the Shell pieces: one with the right side of the fabric facing up, and one with the wrong side facing up. The cut pieces will be mirror images of each other.

From the Felt, use the template to cut:

  • 1 Underside piece.


With the right side of a Shell piece facing up, pin a Tail, Foot, Hand, and Head piece onto the Shell piece at the appropriate spots (this info is on the Shell Template). The Essex pieces should lie on top of the Shell piece, as shown above, and make sure the Essex pieces are oriented correctly, with their fronts facing the neck area of the Shell and their backs facing the tail area of the Shell.

Sew these pieces onto the Shell with a 1/4-inch allowance. Press the Essex pieces away from the Shell with the seam allowances ironed towards the Shell.

Repeat this for the second Shell piece and the second set of Essex pieces. You will have two turtle-shaped pieces facing opposite directions as shown above.

With right sides together, pin together the two pieces. Start at the bottom base of the Tail, pin around the tail, along the top of the Shell, and around the Head. Leave the Hands, Feet, and bottom of the Shell un-pinned.

Sew the pinned area together with a ¼-inch seam allowance. Do not sew into the bottom area of the Shell at all. This whole piece is now the Turtle Top.

Open up the Turtle Top along the unsewn bottom section and lay it flat with its hands and feet pointed outward. Pin it to the Underside piece around the entire outer edge as shown above.

When you get to the chin section of the Underside, pull the chin upwards and pin it to the two Shell pieces until the tip of the chin meets the base of the Head piece. The seam allowance of the Head piece should be open. 

When you get to the tail section of the Underside, pull the seam allowance of the Tail piece open so that both sides lie flat on top of the tail section of the Underside.

Sew the Underside to the Turtle Top with a ¼-inch seam allowance, leaving a 3-inch unsewn gap on one side of the Shell.

The tail section should look like this after it’s sewn, with the seam allowances open and sewn to opposite sides.

Stuffing and Finishing

Turn the Turtle right sides out through the unsewn gap.

Beginning with its extremities, stuff the Turtle tightly with the Poly-fil.

Pin the gap closed with the raw edges of the Felt and Tana Lawn tucked ¼-inch inside. Using a blindstitch, hand sew the gap closed.

Stitch the buttons onto the head. To secure, tie a knot at the back of the button and then push your needle out an inch or so away from the button. Snip the thread at its exit point and the thread end will disappear. 

17 Responses to Myrtle the Purl Turtle

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  1. Josie says:

    Love this.

  2. Amanda says:

    Hi Girls! I just did a post on our visit to your wonderful shop. Lots of love, Amanda x

  3. Beverlyjane says:

    Oh my how beautiful and huggable are your turtles. I know my great-grandbabies would love them too. Thank you for such loving softies. Beverlyjane

  4. purl bee says:

    Hi Amanda-

    Thank you so much for sharing your post! It looks like you guys had a great time! So glad we could be a part of it.



  5. Becky PS says:

    So cute. I have one almost identical to yours that is from the 70's! And is a smaller version.
    Thanks for sharing this with us!

  6. Jess Abbott says:

    Very very cute, I adore the fabrics and the turtle is adorable!

  7. MaryJo says:

    There is a beloved sea turtle named Myrtle, who lives at the New England Aquarium in Boston. She is Queen of the giant ocean tank. My children, and now my grandchildren love going to the Aquarium. I think these Myrtles will find good homes with the 3 grandchildren.

  8. Becca says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I'd love to have a go one day, hope you don't mind I've pinned this in Pinterest

  9. Hannah says:

    You make that look so simple! I might just have to resurrect my sewing machine from the back of the attic!!

    I'm thinking Christmas presents… Thank you xxx

  10. megan says:

    Just wanted to let you know this project was featured on the At Play blog today.


  11. Amy says:

    Thanks for this fun pattern! I had two friends over for a crafting party and we made 3 of these in a couple of hours. Tip: Skip the tail – it doesn't come out right, and it looks like it was even omitted from the example on this web site. No worries, however. These are terrific and pretty foolproof!

  12. purl bee says:

    Hi Amy-

    Thank you so much for the kind words about the pattern! But just to be clear the example turtles do have tails! We would love to hear what your issue was with the tail because we want to make this pattern as clear as possible!

    Thank you!


  13. Julie.C says:

    I wanted to thank you for this lovely pattern, it will be perfect for my grand daughter.

  14. maszkownia says:

    great job.

  15. Anna says:

    Thanks so much for the awesome pattern and tutorial! I'm going to make it with green and tan felt. :)

  16. Tine says:

    love your turtle. Just a quick question. Is seam allowance included in your pattern or should I add this before cutting ?

    • Molly from the Purl Bee says:

      Hi Tine-

      The seam allowance is included on all of our patterns, including this one, unless otherwise noted.

      Thanks so much for your question,


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