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Plush Toys Handmade Just For You Need Help?

by Jen Bennett Gubicza, Zooguu LLC

Stuffed Toys:
Think about your favorite stuffed toy. Why is it your favorite? Was it your first one? Is it really soft and cuddly? Is it your favorite color? There are many reasons that we all love stuffed toys. Make your own stuffed toys to add to your collection or to give to a friend or family member. You can customize your creations by choosing fabric, colors, patterns and more!

NOTE: Younger children can participate in this activity by creating characters, helping to choose colors and fabrics and giving input along the way. Creating a stuffed toy is a great way for older and younger siblings to spend time together.

Choose A Character:
You can make a stuffed toy of your own design. Create a character from simple shapes using the skills you learned in the Character Design section of this book. Draw your character on a large sheet of paper. When creating stuffed toys, start out with a character that is about 10-12 inches on the longest side. Any smaller or larger will be more difficult.

Choose Fabric:
Beginner Fabrics: Choose fabric that does not fray (come apart on the edges). Fleece, faux suede and felt are excellent fabrics for stuffed toys. Start with fleece because it is easy to cut and sew and makes for very soft and durable toys.

Advanced fabrics: In most fabric stores there will be remnant bins. Remnants are small, left over pieces of fabric that cannot be sold by the yard. Usually, these are less expensive and a great way to experiment with unique fabrics. Is your favorite shirt too small for you to wear anymore? Recycle it by using the fabric to make a stuffed toy.



Use these hand stitches to make your stuffed toy. A sewing machine can be used on larger pieces, but these hand stitches are useful to know.

1. This is also called basting. It is a loose stitch that will secure two pieces of fabric together. For a strong seam, use a running stitch from one end to the other. Then, use a running stitch back over each stitch to fill in the blanks.

2. Make a stitch. After the second stitch, work backwards starting in the middle of the previous stitch. This will reinforce the stitches, providing a strong steam.

SLIP STITCH (for closing a seam):
3. Roll the edges of the fabric in and stitch on just the rolled edge. Stitch one edge, bring the needle up through the middle, and stitch through the other rolled edge. Always work from edge to middle and back again. As you pull the thread tighter, the fabric will close, leaving a seam that is very well disguised.


Create A Pattern:
Trace each piece of your character onto tracing paper and cut out the pieces.

1. Computers are a great tool for creating patterns. It is easy to create perfect circles and straight lines. Also, you can increase or decrease the size to use your design over and over.

Household objects are also handy to create fun shapes. Trace around a plate to make a circle. Trace around a bread pan to make a rectangle.

2. Label each piece of your pattern and how many pieces you need to cut out. For example, Ears (2), Nose (1).


Pin Your Pattern:
Pin each piece of tracing paper onto the fabric so that it stays in place while you cut.

1. If you need two ears, you can pin the pattern piece to two pieces of fabric, or just use one pattern piece twice.

2. In this example, the dog's ears are blue on the outside and green on the inside. This requires 4 pieces total.


Cut Out Pieces :
Cut around each piece. Make sure to leave 1/4" seam allowance around pieces that will be sewn together.

1. A seam allowance is the distance from where the stitches lie to the edge of your fabric. A seam allowance protects against frays and gives more flexibility when sewing. Take a look at one of your t-shirts. Examine the seams and note how you can see stitches on the inside, not the outside.

2. The nose and the eyes do not need a seam allowance because they will be added on top later.


Start Sewing :
Pin the pieces together so that the "wrong" sides are facing out. Sew around the piece, leaving an opening at one end.

1. The shape on the left is sewn. The shape on the right has been sewn and turned inside-out. Notice how you can not see the seam once it is inverted.

2. Sew extra pieces like ears before you sew the main body shape.

3. Most fabric has a "right" side and a "wrong" side. The right side is the front, or patterned/textured side. This is the side that you want facing out in the end. The "wrong" side is the back side of the fabric. Sew with the wrong sides facing out, so that when you invert the piece, the right sides are shown.


Sew The Main Section:
Pin extra pieces like ears to the main section. Tuck everything in and sew around the edge. Make sure to leave an opening at the bottom to turn it inside out.



1. This section has been sewn and the opening has been left at the bottom.


Turn It Inside Out:
After the sewing is complete, turn the fabric inside out.

1. The ears have been pinned and then sewn in with the main body. Now the ears are firmly attached.


Stuff Your Creature:
Gently fill your creation with stuffing. Seal the end with a slip stitch.

1. Be careful when stuffing your creature. Do not ball up the stuffing. Gently push the material in and move it around until the creature is firmly filled.


Add The Features:
Pin each piece in place before you attach them with thread. This will help things stay in place while you stitch.

1. Use a similar color thread to hide your stitches. Choose a different color thread to show off your stitches.

2. Sewing one piece of fabric on top of another piece of fabric is called applique (app-lee-kay).


Finish The Details:
Use embroidery floss, a thicker thread, to add details. You can also add smaller details and designs with fabric markers.

© 2008 Zooguu LLC
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