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Topic: Plushie makers, where did you start?  (Read 9179 times)
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« on: September 19, 2008 10:00:23 PM »

I have been obsessing over all the plushie monsters, animals, random items turned into cute characters, and all the other handmade oddly cute stuffed creatures.  I want to make some but don't know where or how I should start so I thought I would take to the forums and see if I could get some guidance.  Where did you start? How did you come up with ideas? And what advice could you toss my way? Thanks for the help Cheesy

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« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2008 11:01:40 AM »

I'm not in any way an expert softie maker at all, but a few weeks ago I was in the exact same spot you are.  I needed to make a stuffed whale to go along with a baby quilt I'm making for my sister's baby shower, and I had no clue where to start.

After reading through lots of tutorials (most of which I found here) I realized the basic idea I wanted to make was pretty simple, just two whale shapes sewn together and stuffed.  So I drew the shape I wanted on paper, then traced it on my fabric and cut two of the shapes out and sewed it all together, with a hole in the tummy to turn it right side out through.  But I'd made the whale a bit too small and it was impossible to get the tail turned out, so I had to redo the pattern until it was big enough.  In the end it worked out well anyway, it's the perfect size for my six month old niece to hold on to, and she loves chewing on the tail.

Anyway, to make a long answer short, I got my idea from the blanket I'd already made, and I got a basic idea of how to make it from other craftsters.  Then I just jumped in with the sewing machine and got busy.  Even though it was wrong at first, it was a great learning experience, and now I'm going to make a bunch of the whales to give away to the kids at the shower, it was so easy.  Hope something I said helps ya!

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« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2008 09:22:10 PM »

It depends how new you are to sewing.

If you're a beginner, start with two pieces the same shape and sew them together (as in the post above). Use felt so it doesn't fray and you can hand sew if you like. If you hand sew felt there is no need to do it inside out, just use a pretty colour thread.

Once you're happy with this process try following a picture tutorial that makes sense to you. Allow yourself to make mistakes and you will work up to harder projects.

The best advice I could offer is to start with felt! My mum gave me cotton to use as a kid but once I started on felt it became easier. Now I use all sorts of fabrics because I started slowly and used easy fabrics. You will get a base of skills you can then transfer to whatever you decide to do.

Good luck!
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« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2008 05:52:13 PM »

Something fun to do to practice making stuffed animals is to try making toys out of socks! The first toy I ever made was a sock monkey, and I haven't stopped since. I find it works great for teaching new people because the forum of the toy is already there and makes it easier to work with.

« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2008 06:03:59 PM »

in addition to felt, fleece is good too, for the same reason. (but cushier!)

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« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2008 06:48:59 PM »

I've only just started too - and it can be overwelming =).  So much out there to try and do.  My first toy was a lamb pattern - I'm afraid I didn't know about gussets though and ended up stuffing it up =(.

The second (third, forth, fifth and sixth) pattern I did was 'Silly Girl.' http://missyballance.typepad.com/crafty_carnival/2007/02/free_doll_patte.html

I wish I had a camera to show you how these turned out.  Really cool.  I found some great wools on special (half price) at my local craft store which I used for hair.  Mine has purple (with khaki and brown) dreds with light green eyes, and my flatmate's has blue and green dreds with purple eyes.

They end up looking great!  Make sure you do as they say and sew the pattern before cutting out - the fabric moves and can be tricky to sew otherwise.

Good-luck and have fun =)!


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« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2010 12:33:07 PM »

Actually, I'm no expert either, in fact. so far I've only made one thing  that I posted on here! But if you don't mind I'd like to share the thing I've made. I made a Star Stuffie! His name is Poco, he's made out of a sock that had a star pattern on it, but he's not a sock monkey either. Well, good  luck, I'm looking for inspiration too, so maybe I'll find something too.
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« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2010 04:01:30 PM »

I second using only a 2 piece pattern and fleece.  Fleece is soft, forgiving, and easy to work with.  I LOVE fleece!  Do not start out w/patterns that have gussets, or needle sculpting.  You'll have to work your way up to that.  Otherwise, you'll get frustrated and quit.  I use patterns w/gussets all the time now.  I'm not afraid of them.  I understand them.  Well, as much as one can understand gussets Wink  I've been making stuffed animals for years now.  I mainly use commercial patterns.  I've drafted a few of my own patterns, but, they really aren't that great.  At least I don't think so.  Drafting is still a mystery to me.  Sometimes I get other crafty people to draft patterns for me.  Sometimes I beg the artist to let me have a copy of their pattern.  Sometimes I sit there and study their design, until I think I have it figured out.  I don't have a lot of patience though.  Lately I've been trying to push myself to try more complicated patterns.  Like I said, I don't have a lot of patience, so sometimes I'll start a project, put it aside, complete other projects that have less pieces, then come back to previous project and finish it.  You'll find w/the more sewing you do, you'll be able to figure stuff out on your own, if the directions aren't clear, if directions aren't given, or if you're trying to draft your own pattern.  There is a list of free patterns and tutorials on this site that you might want to give a try.  Good luck!
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« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2010 07:13:24 PM »

I started out guided by my nana in making dolls from stockings. After that I made my own things by doing the pancake 2-piece method several people have mentioned. Once I started trying out other people's commercial patterns I got the idea of how to shape things and joint the limbs, etc. Moved on to needle sculpting somewhere in the middle of all that.

The important thing, I think, is not to get discouraged when things do turn out quite right. Even now it happens to me still and I just either find a way to alter it and fix it, or else try again until I get what I wanted. Personally, I think it's fun to just try things and see what happens. Eventually you should be able to visualize how things fit together once you've had more experience.

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« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2010 05:17:23 AM »

I'm 100% self-taught, and I didn't start out like most people, it seems. Tongue

The first toy I ever made (when I was about eight years old) was sewn together from multiple pieces - it had a separate head, body, and limbs - although each part was made from only two pieces.

I moved to making three-dimensional parts (such as making spherical things, and using gussets) straight after that. Being able to visualise things simply always seemed to be there.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2010 05:21:27 AM by Mega Crafter » THIS ROCKS   Logged
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