Making a plushie is not as easy as it looks. You can’t just take some fabric, sew a face on it and say “there you go!” There are a lot of steps that go into making an excellent plushie. In this blog post, we’re going to talk about everything from how to choose the right materials at the store to sewing tips that will help you make your very own stuffed animal!
What Is a Plushie and Why Would You Want to Make One?
Plushies (also known as stuffed animals) are soft toys that come in all shapes and sizes. You can find plushies of almost anything you can imagine, from your favorite characters to your very own pet! Many people enjoy making their own plushies because they feel it is more special than buying them at a store. Also, when you make your own plushie, you will learn the skills you need to become an excellent sewer.
Why Buy Materials at the Fabric Store?
There are many options for materials available at craft stores like Michael’s or Jo-Ann’s Fabric & Craft Store. When choosing which kind of fabric to use, keep in mind the type of animal that will be made out of this material, and the type of material that is best suited for this type of plushie. For example, it wouldn’t make much sense to make a stuffed animal out of vinyl, since it would be difficult to sew and uncomfortable to hug!
What kind of fabric should you use?
When choosing your fabrics, there are several things to consider:
Fuzziness (aka “fur”)
Fuzzy fabrics like fleece or faux fur make great plushies, but they can get expensive if you only need a little bit. If you buy a whole fleece blanket at the store, don’t throw away any scraps; You can tear off small pieces from the edges and use them in your projects! You might also want to try knitting fabric from yarn. It’s easy and fun!
If you’ll be cleaning your plushie frequently, make sure the fabric doesn’t pill too easily. Pilling happens when fuzz balls gather on clothing or other fuzzy surfaces. You can avoid pilling by choosing a more durable material like cotton or fleece. Since these fabrics don’t shed much, they’re also suitable for children under 3 years old since small children often put toys in their mouths!
Make sure to choose bright colors that will look good after being sewn into a stuffed animal!
How Many Pieces of Fur Do You Want?
No piece of fabric has a perfectly straight edge. Since you’ll be cutting your fabric on the bias (at an angle), you might see some fraying after your plushie is finished. If you don’t want any of the edges to fray, try to cut as close to the design or pattern of the fur as possible!
You can do this by looking at how the fabric was designed and following that “grain.” For example, if there are thin tan patches in his tail but thick tan patches in his legs, try to cut around the small patches instead of right through them when making your pattern pieces.
Materials for making a Plushie:
- Plushie Pattern (Printed or handwritten)
- Fabric scissors
- Sewing Machine (with all the accessories!)
- Doll needle (This is smaller than a regular sewing needle and helps avoid breaking the needle inside your plushie’s fabric.) You can also use a regular sewing needle, but you might have to start over because this will break easily!
- Thread in appropriate colors for your project. For example, if you are embroidering eyes onto your plushie, choose thread that closely matches the color of his fur so it looks like part of his design!
- Sharp Scissors for cutting out felt designs/patterns. Safety pins for holding pieces together while you sew.
- Fabric Glue (Optional; you can also use pins or sewing machines for this step.)
How to Make Your Pattern:
Patterns are very simple and don’t require any special knowledge or skill! You can draw your own pattern on paper, or find one online that fits your plushie design. When using a premade pattern, make sure it is not too small!
Plushies are bigger than they seem at first glance, so start by making the body part of the pattern twice as wide as you think it should be (for example: if you want a stuffed animal that is 5″ tall, make the body portion of the pattern 10″ tall!) If you want to get really technical with your pattern, use graph paper and measure how many squares high and wide your plushie should be.
Sewing Your Plushie:
Pin the pattern pieces together so they stay in place while you sew! If you don’t have a sewing machine, you can still make a great plushie by hand sewing your seams! To do this, just use a simple running stitch back and forth to connect all of your pieces together. You can also attach felt pieces using fabric glue or even hot glue if you’d like!
Sew your plushie together using small stitches!
Remember that if you’re embroidering eyes onto his face, try to add them before doing any major sewing since it’s difficult to embroider on thick fur fabric. If you want to use a furry fabric for your plushie, make sure the fur doesn’t get matted after being sewn! If you see any spots where the fur is looking flat or not fluffy enough, carefully cut through the center of the mat with your sewing machine so it opens up again and fluffs up nicely!
Stuffing Your Plushie:
When stuffing your plushies, there are several materials to consider:
Fiberfill -This is a great choice because it’s soft and lightweight. You can find this in nearly every craft store since it is used for making all sorts of stuffed animals, dolls, and other crafts! This comes in small plastic bags that usually have a picture on them explaining how much to use for different size dolls.
Poly-fill -This stuff is pricier than fiberfill, but it makes your plushie look super fluffy! It comes in large bags that are more expensive per pound, but the quality of this stuffing makes up for the price difference. This also can be found at craft stores.
Or you can just use regular old cotton balls if you have them lying around! You can sew or glue these on so they don’t come out during playtime with your plushies! Just make sure they don’t get wet because cotton will begin to disintegrate when it gets damp.
Tying up Loose Ends…literally:
When making a plushie, there are usually several loose ends of thread and fabric that need to be cut off. To maximize the amount of fur you have left, these parts can either be hidden with other pieces of felt or just simply cut off as close to the main piece as possible.
After sewing your project together, it’s time for some final tidying up! Cut any extra strings that might cause a hazard for whoever is playing with your plushie, then snip excess threads from areas like where sections were sewn together (“backstitched”) or hand-sewn pieces were glued on. Your plushie will last longer if you keep these loose ends trimmed because otherwise, they could unravel over time! Don’t forget to check inside his body before using him, there might be some loose threads hiding in the stuffing!
Enjoy Your Adorable New Plushie!
Now that your plushie is complete, you can enjoy his company for years to come! Take him with you everywhere or have a slumber party just so everyone can fight over who gets to hold him next! It’s up to you how much time and effort you put into making your project, but remember it will last longer if you take care of it properly…just like all of your other toys (-:
How to Care for your New Creations after they’re Made:
Caring for your plushie is very easy; just make sure he doesn’t get wet. Since you used felt, never let water (or any other liquid) touch your plush! Felt will melt when it gets wet, sometimes leaving terrible-looking stains on the fur fabric that can never be fixed.
You can try putting him in a plastic baggie between playtimes to save on some of the fuzzies that come off of felt, but if you accidentally spill something on him don’t try to use anything else like tissues or paper towels to clean the area because they could also cause damage since most have chemicals for extra cleaning power…and these chemicals are not always safe around toys (-: Lastly, watch out for slobber!
The more you practice, the better your plushies will be! Remember to use all of these tips and tricks when making a new batch. And if you’re not sure what materials to buy or don’t know how to get started with handmade crafts, check out our guide on How To Make Plushies for some helpful advice. Happy crafting!