My Bertoia Totoro

A few months back I stumbled upon this Apartment Therapy post where the writer had covered a Bertoia chair with stuffed pandas. Apparently it was an April Fool’s joke, but to me? It. Was. BRILLIANT!

I found a decent-priced knockoff of the diamond-shaped version, like this:And then I had the difficult job of finding a not-too-expensive stuffed animal that would make both Bruce and I happy. Relatively quickly, I found our perfect critter: Totoro! And if you haven’t seen My Neighbor Totoro, you really should – it’s gorgeously animated, and is a very sweet story. But at one point, the little girl named Mei falls asleep on Totoro’s belly. I’m like “if I can’t snuggle up to a giant Totoro, then dozens of smaller Totoros will have to do.” Obviously.

My mom had given me a set of specialty needles years ago, and I had never used them, but I got them out and chose to use the smaller curved mattress needle for this project. The only other thing I needed was some dark grey embroidery thread. Oh yes! And the Totoros! I had to order them from two different ebay sellers – both used the same picture/description, but one shop sent slightly smaller versions, which I wasn’t bothered by since everything went together really well and added a wee bit of variety.Yes – the Totoros look a little alarmed at their fate: getting their cute ‘tocks sewn down. It was sort of a game of Where’s the Needle Going to Come Out? which I generally lost. But the many random finger stabs were worth it since the process went very fast.

I went ahead and arranged the stuffed Totoros before I started sewing. Their cute little tails made the perfect “anchors” by pulling them through the wires. I only had time to get the peripheral stuffed animals sewn down on the first evening, but the chair looked complete, and so it was easy to let this project slide a few days while I did other projects.

I wrapped it up this morning, and am beyond thrilled with the results. The chair is super-comfy, and the best part? When you get up from the chair it’s like the Totoros have seen things…terrible things that cannot be unseen. It amuses me to no end.

Okay, enough of my yammering – I know y’all want to see the finished product.

Ta-Da!!!!!! Wookit deir widdle tocks! SQUEEEEE!!!!!


And what the chair looks like when you’re standing above it:Like a nest of cuddles.

Please let me know if you have any questions about this project, and I’ll happily answer. It really was easy, and the results so incredibly satisfying.

3 thoughts on “My Bertoia Totoro

  1. I love the chair, but what I wanted to ask you about are the dino bones you gave as prizes for Dinovember in 2014. can’t find them to purchase for a copycat program. Can you tell me where you got them? thanks

    • Hi, Jane! I wish that I had good news for you. I believe that they were offered through the Collaborative Summer Learning Program’s catalog for the “Dig Into Reading” theme. We just ended up with an overabundance. I’ll check with my Children’s Librarian tomorrow to see if we still have them because if we do have a good amount, I’ll see if she’s fine with us sending them your way.

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