The Ultimate Guide to the Best Fabric for Stuffed Animals

  • By: Mohammed Zeliche
  • Date: December 8, 2021
  • Time to read: 8 min.

The fabric you choose for your stuffed animals can make or break the final product. If you are thinking about making stuffed animals, it is important to know what kind of fabric to use. There are many different fabrics that work well with stuffed animals; some are more popular than others. The ultimate guide will help you figure out which material is best for this specific project and how to go about sewing it together!

What Is the Best Fabric for Stuffed Animals

There isn’t a specific answer to this question. The best fabric for stuffed animals is the type that you feel most comfortable using and the type that you think will be most enjoyable for your customer. With that being said, it is important to note which fabric types are commonly used when making stuffed animals so that you can get an idea of what might work best.

How Can I Figure Out What Kind of Fabric People Want Me to Use? 

Brown teddy bear leaning on a person

It’s simple! Just take a look at other stuffed animals on Etsy and see what they’re made out of. However, don’t just copy them exactly; do some experimenting and figure out what works best with your style and techniques. You should also consider how many other sellers there are in your area. If you are the only one selling plush toys, people are going to be looking to you for suggestions on what fabrics would best suit their needs.

Vinyl, fleece, felt, fur, Minky, cotton/polyester blend, plush/plush faux, flannel, polyester stuffing, polar fleece

Vinyl is used for stuffed animals because it’s lightweight, easy to clean (and doesn’t attract lint), and it doesn’t fray at the ends. Some people may complain that vinyl sticks together when cutting multiple pieces out of the same fabric; this can be remedied by lightly misting the vinyl with some water before you cut.

If you are using vinyl for an animal that has large ears, like a bunny or bear, make sure they are big enough to prevent tearing through the material. Vinyl is great because it can take any color really well! You do not need to use acrylic paint on top of your design if you’re using vivid colors.

Fleece comes in many different textures and thicknesses. It is very easy to work with, lightweight (although depending on the type of fleece it might be a little stretchy), and can take any color you want!

You may need to use acrylic paint if you’re using lighter colors since they probably won’t show up well on the fabric. Fleece also does not fray at the ends and will keep its shape after washing (but don’t put it in the dryer or else it will shrink).

It’s important to note that lighting plays a big role in how your project will look; if you are working by lamplight, everything might turn out darker than expected. This doesn’t mean that your project is ruined, you can add a second layer of paint over it if needed. 

Unfortunately, fleece does attract lint and fuzz from other fabrics, so make sure to regularly clean your sewing machine after working with different materials!

Felt is a wonderful material for beginners because it doesn’t fray at the edges and can be easily cut into a smooth shape. It is important to note that felt has no stretch, which means that if you sew two pieces together they will end up being two separate parts. 

You can purchase felt in many colors depending on how thick it is. The thicker the felt is, the more opaque it will look. Felt can be hand-washed and may need to be ironed if you aren’t using a pressing cloth. Acrylic paint works well on top of the felt because there is no surface finish which could cause problems when painting.

Fur is an adorable material for stuffed animals! It’s great for creating soft fur textures and adding some pizzazz to your plushie designs. Fur does not fray at the edges because it has been manufactured in a specific way, but if you cut into the length of the fur then you might end up with fraying ends. You can use a piece of sandpaper or an emery board to get rid of any loose that is sticking out from your project.

Fur can be hand-washed or spot-cleaned. You may need to use a flat iron if your pieces are coming out wrinkled after washing – just make sure you don’t burn the fabric! Acrylic paint does work on top of fur, but it’s best to use markers (watercolor markers work great!) instead of acrylic paints because the marker will not clog up the fibers.

Minky has become more popular in recent years and is used for many different projects like bags, bedding, and plush toys. Minky is incredibly soft, which makes it perfect for cuddly animals! However, Minky is very expensive compared to other fabrics; this means that you should only use Minky if you plan on making a stuffed animal which will be more complex.

Minky comes in various colors, and the color doesn’t fade or bleed after washing; it can also be spot-cleaned. It is best to use fabric markers (like Sharpies) with Minky because acrylic paint can clog up the fibers of the plushie. Minky does not fray at all and you should never need to worry about cutting your fingers on any sharp edges!

Cuddle fabrics are commonly used for larger projects like full-body pillows and rugs. Cuddle fabrics come in many different textures and thicknesses: microfiber is very thin while faux fur tends towards medium weight.

How Do I Choose Which Fabric Is Right for Me?

There are several things that you should consider when choosing your preferred type of fabric. Stuffed animals made out of specialty fabrics can often be very difficult or time-consuming to sew together. You should pick a fabric that matches your skill level and sewing speed; don’t try doing something more advanced if you know it will take longer than thirty minutes. 

Choosing the right fabric for your project is a very important step. If you pick the wrong one, it can make or break your stuffed animal. You need to consider what you will be using your project for and what type of feel you’re going for.

If you’re making this as a gift, I recommend going with a high-quality branded fabric such as Minky or Fleece by the yard. 

They come in a wide variety of colors and patterns that stand out quite nicely. Another good choice would be Microfiber from Fabric.com. Microfiber is extremely soft and plushy, which makes it worth paying an extra dollar over Minky or fleece if you plan on giving your finished product as a gift to someone.

You need to consider what type of animal you are making when choosing your fabric. If you are doing something simple like a plush dog, then go with whatever feels soft in your hands. However, if you are making an extremely detailed project such as a dragon then obviously it should be made out of more sturdy material. Also, if you are making something for a young child that will be carried around, then I recommend buying fleece or Minky because it’s very difficult to tear up.

How do I choose my pattern?

It all depends on what type of stuffed animal you want to make and what your skill level is. You can either get one of these pre-made patterns, make your own pattern using this easy guide, or even sew the pieces together by hand (although this is not recommended). If you decide to use one of these patterns make sure you download the “Print at Actual Size” function when printing so everything ends up being accurate.

Tips and Tricks on How to Sew With Different Fabrics

Here are some general tips on how to get the best results when sewing with different types of fabrics.

Chenille/Woven: This fabric is really easy to sew with, especially for beginners. It has a nice sturdy feel while staying soft and plushy at the same time. The only downside is that this type of fabric does not stretch well so it’s better if you have some experience before using this material.

Fleece: Fleece is one of my favorite types of fabrics to use because it’s very comfortable against your hands while being relatively easy to sew with. I recommend buying fleece yardage rather than pre-cut rolls because they are almost always cut incorrectly on the fold line which can mess up your pattern.

Minky: This is one of the softest fabrics you can get which makes it great for kids. It has a very nice sleek feel to it, but I don’t recommend sewing Minky with your standard all-purpose sewing machine needle because they aren’t strong enough and will break easily. 

You should always use ballpoint needles when sewing Minky. I also recommend getting clear vinyl/plastic presser feet so you don’t rip through the fabric while applying pressure down on your project (which happens quite often).

Microfiber: Microfiber is very similar to fleece in that both are extremely comfortable against your hands and fairly easy to sew with. They’re not as easy as cille or woven though simply because they’re a bit more difficult to cut and line up because of their smaller size.

Cotton: Cotton is extremely easy to sew with, although it can be a bit stiff. You should always use cotton thread because polyester or any other type of thread will cause your needle to break very easily. If you want soft cotton, then you should buy fabric that’s been preshrunk by the manufacturer, but if not this doesn’t really matter as much since no one really touches the inside of your plush toy anyway (except for you).

Felt: Felt is great if you don’t want something that looks too puffy or plushy. It’s best used when trying to achieve a flat look, such as for eyes and mouths.

Acrylic: Acrylic is very stiff and difficult to sew with. It’s best if you iron it into shape before sewing, but just be careful not to melt the fabric with your hot iron both because it will cause a large bump and because it can ruin your machine by clogging up the vents. One other thing I really hate about this material is that oftentimes it doesn’t line up correctly on one side so you’ll have to pin everything perfectly straight before you begin sewing.

Conclusion

We hope you’ve found this guide helpful. By using the information we’ve shared, you can choose a fabric that will work best for your project! Whatever fabrics you decide to use, be sure to have fun making your own stuffed animal and share it with us on social media so we can see all of the great creations made by our readers. Thanks again for reading!

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