Whether you’re an artist, a crafter, or just looking for some new ideas, this blog post has something to offer. We’ll be discussing materials and tools, techniques, and the best ways to get creative with your stuffed animals.
This is not meant to be an exhaustive list of all the things that can be done as there are far too many options these days! In this article, I will cover my favorite methods – from sewing patterns to stuffing methods. Let’s start by talking about the materials needed for making a stuffed animal.
What is an Amigurumi and How to Make One?
Amigurumi is the Japanese term for knitted or crocheted stuffed dolls. The word means “knitted (crochet) toy”. These are cute stuffed dolls that you might recognize from any of your favorite anime or video games. This art form originated in Japan and has become very popular with fans around the world, so much so that even mass-produced Amigurumis can be found on dedicated websites like Etsy!
Different Ways to Shape Amigurumis:
It’s not uncommon these days to find many yarn stores selling their own brand of Amigurumi patterns, ready-made doll bodies or parts (eyes, hairpieces), stuffing, and more; making it easier than ever before to make your own!
There are many ways to go about making amigurumi, but I will just cover a couple of the most common ones here.
In the round: Typically, Amigurumis are made in rounds. You will typically use either a ‘continuous circle’ crochet stitch or a ‘magic ring’ crochet technique to start your work and increase/decrease accordingly as you crochet around. Depending on your method this is also where you’ll attach all the parts together by sewing them on later with a needle and thread or a yarn needle.
Flat Shaping: This is how my patterns are written mostly for simplicity’s sake :). After crocheting all the required pieces in another color (or using different colors for each piece) you will assemble the parts and sew them together with a needle and thread or yarn needle. You can also crochet flat and then join each part as you go – after the first row/round of course!
Tools & Materials Needed to Make Stuffed Animals
This is where it gets fun – all those cute little materials available these days just waiting for their chance to become your new favorite plushie! Here are some of my personal favorites:
Yarn: This is pretty obvious, isn’t it? Although there are many different types of yarn, usually 100% acrylic or cotton works best. I prefer using acrylic because it’s thicker; making the stuffing easier and it’s easier to clean and maintain. Plus, it doesn’t really matter if the yarn messes up since there is no skin underneath!
Plastic Safety Eyes: These can be found just about anywhere these days, from your local craft store to Amazon. When using plastic eyes always make sure you get the appropriate size – 25mm for most amigurumi projects will work best. If you aren’t very good at attaching eyes yet or need some more practice, I recommend painting them on instead of using buttons instead!
Buttons are great little detail pieces when used in the right situation. They are much easier to attach than safety eyes so they are perfect for beginners. They also have a great vintage look, especially if you are making something that is supposed to resemble an older stuffed doll!
The best part about buttons though is that they are reusable – just pop them off with a little help from pliers the next time you need to give your plushie a bath!
Yarn Needle: Just in case you don’t already have one of these in your sewing kit, I recommend getting one. This will be used for both seaming and closing up parts. If you don’t have one or can’t find one where you live, using a bent paperclip will suffice too – it just won’t look quite as nice.
Safety Pins: Safety pins are another great tool when working on amigurumi projects. They help to hold together the separate pieces while you sew them on and they also make great stitch markers.
Scissors: This is pretty much a given – do I really need to explain that?
Sewing Pins: You can find these in your local sewing store, most craft stores, or anywhere that sells fabrics and other sewing supplies. Using these will help with making your parts stick better, especially if you are using fabric for joinings instead of yarn!
How To Seam Amigurumi Together
Sewing amigurumi together is by far my favorite part :). Usually, when I’m working on an ami project, everything else takes a back seat until I get the seams finished. This is usually the first step, but I like to save it for last because once everything else gets completed, there is an instant gratification factor when seeing your ami sewn together.
You can use whatever type of yarn you prefer (though I recommend 100% acrylic) and a size G6/4.25mm crochet hook for this part. You will also need a needle to sew with – if you don’t have one already, check out the Tools & Materials section above for details on how to make one yourself!
- Insert your crochet hook into the front loop (side closest to you), through both loops of the next stitch. Pull up a loop so you have two loops on your hook again.
- With the yarn you are using, insert your crochet hook into the front loop (side closest to you), through both loops of the next stitch. Pull up a loop so you have two loops on your hook again.
- Pull this loop through both actual loops of the first stitch and pull tight to close it. This will be the beginning of your seam – keep doing this for each individual stitch all along your piece!
Be sure not to forget that last step, or else your aim is going to come undone… You don’t want that.
Now for joining together pieces using fabric instead of yarn:
- Fold pieces in opposite directions (e.g., if one part is left side out, fold the other part right side out and vice versa), and lay them together so that they match up perfectly.
- Pin seams together to hold them in place while you attach them using a needle and thread.
Be sure to leave a small opening to stuff your ami through – this is especially important if you are using fabric instead of felting!
If you’re looking for ideas and inspiration to make stuffed animals, we hope these tutorials have given you some great new ideas! We know that sometimes it can be difficult to get started on something new. To help with the process of DIY-ing your own plushie, check out our blog post on how to sew a bear toy from scratch here.