Sometime around July I stumbled across something that got me interested in the idea of making my own plush animals (also called stuffed animals, softies, and plushies). So I started doing research and finding patterns on Etsy and by the middle of August I had bought a sewing machine and started making things. Above is my (finished) output after month.
Peas in a Pod
I hadn’t used a sewing machine in about 20 years but after a few test pieces to get used to moving the fabric I dove in with the Peas in a Pod pattern from Tie Dye Diva which had fantastic instructions. The long straight sections and gentle curves were easy to sew and proved to be good practice. The zipper was an interesting challenge, but the instructions were easy enough. I only made one mistake while sewing it, which is how I found out my sewing machine auto-stops when it detects a jam (very handy, probably saved the needle). I decided to go a little overboard and embroider some solid color areas for two of the mouths, which I’ve never done before. In the end I actually like the pea on the left the best even though he’s the simplest.
Next up was the Stuffed Whale from DIYFluffies. I didn’t check the size before I started making it so it ended up being bigger than I expected (and using up the last of my polyester stuffing) but it’s very cute. This contained much smaller curves and tighter intersections than the peas so it was a good ramp up in challenge. Not every seem joined exactly where it was supposed to, but it worked out great.
California Uramaki Roll
While this little California Uramaki Roll from ShoriAmeshiko was one of the first patterns I found, I waited a bit to start on it. While the basic shape is very easy the pattern (also well written) requires appliqué and I wanted to get some sewing under my belt first with the other patterns. Getting a good looking satin stitch was a bit of a challenge, especially on the thin black lines, but it came out well. Assembling was made easier by using a 1/4″ piecing foot I bought.
I’ve wanted to make some kind of Luma for quite a while, but I always figured I’d end up crocheting or knitting one. As it turns out sewing stuffed animals is way faster, so I’m glad I ended up making this one. At some point I found the Luma Plush Tutorial from ClearKid and decided to try something new. While the basic shape is easy, I made an embroidery file (PES file) to embroider the eyes. My original plan was to embroider both eyes at once but it turned out they needed to me just a little too far apart for my machine.
I was pretty annoyed with the process, the software I used wasn’t very good and required a Windows VM but at least it had a demo version I could use so I didn’t have to spend all the money to buy it yet. I think I’ve learned my lesson: given my art skills I stick to pre-made files or pay someone to digitize them for me.
I’d like to make more of these guys in all the other colors of fleece I have but we’ll see if I have the time.
The last item in the picture at the start of this post is a little elephant. The pattern is extremely sparse, and I ended up assembling the base incorrectly. It wasn’t until after I was looking at the finished object I was able to figure out just what I did wrong. While the head is cute the body (which is supposed to be sitting) looks more like a pyramid with a triangular base.
I bought some fabric called Minky that’s amazingly soft, but it’s a real pain to work with. Every time you cut it the edges shed like crazy. I ended up using a lint roller on it every time I cut it but I still got little fuzz bits all over. Because the fabric is so slippery I also bought a walking foot for my sewing machine, and it’s my new favorite. It makes it so much easier to get fabric through the machine that I’ve been using it more than anything else.
I don’t know if I’ll try this again. I think I’d have to remake the pattern to fix the issues I have and customize the base more to my liking.
My latest project is quite a bit bigger, it requires quilting lots of colored squares together (which I’ve got done), cutting them up (also done), then sewing everything together to make something really cute (just started). The walking foot has made it very easy, but some bits are too small to reasonably do on the sewing machine and so I’ve been getting some hand sewing practice. It also requires two narrow fabric tubes which turned into quite an ordeal. I also got the itch to try making a video game quilt by piecing bits together to copy a sprite. We’ll see if that happens.