Hi, my name is Gratia, and I love to sew. I am self taught, but I would love to show y'all how to make your own patterns. This is, of course, my way of doing things, but feel free to do it however you want. I'd love to see what you guys make, and I'm sorry for all the photos. I wanted to have a clear photo to document each step, but don't worry, it's not complicated, just time consuming. Thanks!
I will be making a capybara, and the finished project looks like this:
1) Find a photo on the internet. Find several. The main one should be a clear side profile, and you should also have at least one view of it's head.
http://www.cryptomundo.com/wp-content/uploads/the-capybara.jpg Side Profile
2) Print out the side profile and cut it out. You may need to draw the rest of it's legs/feet if they are obscured by grass or whatever. Again, the interwebs is your friend and use lots of reference pictures. This is your side body pattern.
3) Mark on the white side where you want the stomach/head gusset to start and end.
4) Now this is the tricky bit. Take the long edge of a plain piece of paper, and your side body pattern. Starting at the mark for the end of the gusset (butt), line it up to the edge of the paper. Then, with your pencil, mark both the pattern and the paper. You will mark where the pattern stops touching the paper. Rotate the pattern a little bit until it touches the paper again, and make another mark on both pieces. Continue in this way, scooching and marking the flattish spots.
5) When you get to the leg, fold it up out of the way, mark the base of it, and continue.
6) Stop marking when you get to your final mark on the side body pattern. This is what you should have at the moment.
7) Measure the entirety of the marks on the piece of paper.
Draw a line on the piece of paper the same length as your marks.
9) Figure out where you want your gusset to increase/decrease, and darken the marks that correspond on both the side body pattern and the marks on the edge of the paper.
10) Measure to the first mark, then draw a dash on the long line in the middle of the paper to the same length.
11) Figure out how wide you want it to be at that point, then cut that measurement in half. Draw a line from the dash perpendicular to the long line that correspons to that measurement.
12) Connect that line to the top of the long line. I don't like a perfect point, as it's harder to cut/sew, so I make it a blunt point.
13) Continue this way for each of the marks, increasing or decreasing as needed. Remember to half your measurements, and connect the lines. This is what you'll end up with.
14) Notice anything missing? That's right, he needs legs! Firstly, find the marks that correspond to the back leg. Measure down to the first mark, and then make a dash on the long line corresponding to that. Measure how far down the 2nd mark is, then make a dash on the line corresponding to that.
15) Draw parallel lines from both dashes, and line up the leg with that. Make sure it's facing the right direction, and trace.
16) Repeat for the front leg. This is what you should have so far. Fold it in half and cut it out.
17) Make the ear pattern if you need one.
YAY! Your pattern is done! Now on to actually cutting him and sewing him together.
I use felt. I organize my felt in a briefcase. I dropped my briefcase upside down. This is what happened:
Don't drop your fabric briefcase, kids.
So, on to the rest of the project.
Cutting your fabric:
1) Tape your pattern to the felt (I found at this scale that the pins were cumbersome and that the tape was easier) Cut out. You will need 2 side bodies, 1 gusset, and 2 ears.
Sewing it together:
I use blanket stitch to sew my creatures together, and because my pictures didn't turn out so hot, here's a link:
1) Pin and sew the side body to the gusset. The gusset might be a little bigger in some places, but that's an easy fix. The side body might not look like it will fit in someplaces, but trust me, it almost always does.
2) When you run out of thread, take your new thread and insert the needle to the front of the last stitch. Pull the thread through, but not all the way so the knot stays on the inside. This gives a cleaner transition.
4) When you get to the end of the gusset on the side body, pin on the second piece and sew until right above where the eye would be. It's now time to sew on the eye! (you can do this whenever you want but this is just the way I do it) Insert the needle where the eye would go, and add one sequin (or not, preference) and a bead. Pull the thread back through the sequin and down into the fabric right next to where it went it.
5) Time to sew the ear! Figure out where it goes, and whipstich (http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-XuMNBAc0pnc/T_7uSQUmQbI/AAAAAAAAF74/ImjWVmlrX88/s1600/whipstitch2.jpg) it on.
6) Sew to right above the back legs.
Now it's time to insert the wire.
1) Measure the front legs (or the back. it doesn't matter. pick a pair, either pair) with the wire. I use silver because it doesn't show through almost all colours. Cut the wire a little longer, curl the ends, and fold in half.
2) Insert into legs and repeat.
1) Stuff the legs. Do this gently, and don't be too rough. You won't be able to get all the way down.
2) At this point, I like to make the hole a little bit smaller so it's easier to stuff.
3) Finish stuffing your animal. Be gentle, and use small bits of fluff. Go slowly so that you can keep it even. I love to stuff mine firmly. Sew closed the hole and tie off. Congratulations, you're done! It wasn't that hard, was it? Sometimes your pattern doesn't come out exactly as you want. Don't despair, figure out what went wrong, and go back, fix it, and try again.
Thanks for looking, I hope everything is clear, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask!