March 30, 2020

435 Comments




 

 


How To Make A Stuffed Animal For Your Doll

How to make a stuffed animal for your 18-inch dollIs your 18-inch doll in need of a new furry friend? We have put together the ultimate resource guide to making your own one-of-a-kind plush toy animal. First you will need to choose your pattern, then this post will guide you through mastering the process of creating your perfect plush pet. 

Be sure to read to the end and enter our giveaway for a chance to win the a Pixie Faire Gift Card!

This tutorial was created by Genine Allan of Genniewren Designs. The tips included in this post will be helpful for any of the soft toy pet patterns by Genniewren Designs. 

The perfect pattern to start your plush pet adventures: 

Genniewren Lamb Sewing Pattern For 18-Inch Dolls

The new Rosemary and Redcurrant Plush Lamb Pattern by Genniewren Designs is perfect for spring!

Patterns For Plush Pet Stuffed animalsCheck Out Our Pattern Collection For Plush Toys and 18-inch Doll Pets

From horses to puppies to farm friends like bunnies and lambs, our pattern collection for 18-inch doll pets will surely inspire you to make your own plush toy.

Here are a few pet patterns perfect for your first plush project:

           Genniewren Soft Toy Kitten Pattern        How to Make a bunny for 18-inch dolls        How to make a puppy for 18-inch dolls

Socks & Smokey Kitten Pattern by Genniewren Designs

Benjy & Blossom Bunny Pattern by Genniwren Designs

Lucky Labrador Puppy Pattern by Genniewren Designs

How to sew with pile fabrics for making stuffed animalsTips for Working With Plush Fabrics

New to working with plush pile fabrics? There are a few basic tips you need to know in order to use them like a pro.

Plush fabrics have a nap or pile. The pile will stroke smoothly in one direction, but roughly in the other directions. The smoothest stroke of the fabric is known as the pile direction.   

When making soft toys you need to take care with the pile direction, otherwise your toy will not feel smooth when you stroke the furry fabric. 

Pile Fabric Direction How To Make Stuffed animalsThe photo shows the difference on the 3mm short pile plush fabric used for some parts of the lambs in the Rosemary & Redcurrant pattern

On the left side of the photograph, the pile of the fabric has been stroked along the nap and looks smooth, light in color and shiny. 

 

Sherpa-pile direction how to make a stuffed animalOn the right side of the photograph, the pile has been stroked against the nap and looks rough and dark.

Sherpa-style fleece fabric has the pile clumped into small bunches to look like real sheepskin. 

Although the pile direction is less obvious than with a smoother fabric, it is still there. 

If you look at the little clumps of fur you will see that there is a slight direction to them.  

You can also stroke the fabric to feel which way the pile goes. It will feel slightly rougher in the wrong direction.

It helps to mark the back of your fabric with an arrow to indicate the pile direction. Use tailor’s chalk on darker fabrics and an ordinary graphite pencil or a colored chalk marker on light fabrics.

The pile direction may not always be exactly the same as the straight grain of the fabric.  If that is the case with your chosen fabric, then work with the pile direction.

Tips For Pinning and Cutting

Pile Direction for working with fleece to make a stuffed animalYou should place all your pattern pieces so that the arrows on them face in the direction of the pile. 

This means your toy animal's fur will run in the right direction, and he or she will be soft to stroke.

 

I recommend that you paste the pattern sheets to thin cardstock (e.g. breakfast cereal boxes) before cutting them out.

This will allow you to trace the pattern onto the back of the fabric with tailor's chalk or a pencil. 

When working with fleecy or fur fabrics, this is more accurate than cutting out from pinned paper pattern pieces.

Make sure that you copy the pile direction arrows and any symbol markers on the back of the card pattern pieces too.

Cut out the pattern pieces by cutting on the inner edge of your traced line to prevent size distortion. 

Snip only at the backing of the fabric, do not cut the fur pile.

This will give a more natural look to your toy animal and prevent bald seams.

Use glass-headed pins when working with fleecy or fur fabrics. The large, brightly-colored pinheads help you to spot the pins more easily.

Safety Tip: I was taught to count the pins as you use them and count them again as you put them back in your pin box or pincushion. A pin left inside a toy could harm a child. Safety first!

Tips For Sewing Stuffed Animals

When sewing fleece or pile fabrics, tuck the pile inside the seam allowance as you pin or baste the raw edges together.

It is a good idea to baste the seams before sewing as the pile can cause the layers of fabric to shift as you machine sew. 

How to make a stuffed animal baste seamsI often baste by hand with an overcast stitch. The stitches don’t have to be tiny or neat, just enough to hold the layers together.

If you prefer, you can machine baste with a wide zigzag stitch, removing the pins as you sew. Remember to take care to ensure that the fabric raw edges stay in position.

When you turn the toy animal right sides out, check every seam. 

How to make a stuffed animal seamsYou will see that there is some of the fur pile trapped in the stitching. 

How to make a stuffed animal teazel brushLift the trapped pile from the seams by brushing very gently with a teazel brush, or using a blunt ended tapestry needle to pick out the trapped fur pile, so that the seams are less visible. 

A blunt-ended tapestry needle works best for the sheepskin/Sherpa-style fleecy fabric as it doesn't unclump the sheepskin pile pattern too much. 

You can do this before or after you stuff the toy.

Sometimes it is easier to get to things before you add the toy filling, other times it's easier afterwards. 

Use your own judgment, but please don't forget to check the seams for trapped fur pile before you finish your toy. 

Lifting the trapped pile from the seams is particularly important for the ears and any head or face seams, as it will affect the character and personality of your lamb.

Tips for making your own stuffed animal pet for 18-inch dollsTips For Stuffing Plush Toys and Animals

No matter how neatly and precisely you sew the seams of a toy, it is still possible to spoil the final result by poor filling technique.  

  • Always use new polyester fiber filling for filling toys. Don’t reuse the filling from another toy as the fibers of used filling are crushed and will inevitably make the toy feel lumpy.  
  • There are different qualities of polyester toy filling available. Try to buy the best quality you can afford.  If you cannot find toy filling in your area, then the polyester filling inside a new inexpensive bed pillow will work as it has been safety checked and is suitable for filling toys. 
  • Take your time and work carefully.  
  • Use small pieces of filling and pull the fibers apart gently before stuffing the toy. This helps to reduce any lumps.  It makes the job simpler if you have lots of small pieces of filling ready before starting to stuff your toy. 
  • Shaping the toy as you work is extremely important. If you push in large amounts of filling without shaping not only do you get a lumpy result, but you will also affect the overall finished shape of your toy, and you may affect the strength and integrity of the seams.  
  • When stuffing the body, start by filling the smaller areas like the legs first. Use a chopstick or the rounded bobble end of a knitting needle to push the filling into the smaller sections.  Then fill the rest of the body starting at the point furthest from the opening, and working forward, smoothing the fabric as you fill the toy. 
  • Constantly check the feel of the body and limbs to make sure that there are no unfilled areas or lumps.  Gently squeeze the toy occasionally to work the filling fibers together. 
  • Sometimes the filling will shift slightly as you work. Check the limbs often, to make sure that this has not happened.  It is easier and quicker to remove a small amount of filling to get to an understuffed area now, than it is to fix the problem at the end of the job. 
  • Ensure that you do not overstuff or understuff the body. You want the toy to be soft and huggable but firm enough to keep its shape. 
  • Hold or tie the filled front legs together as you stuff the tummy and chest area. This will help to prevent the front legs from splaying too much.  A small amount of splay is inevitable without using an armature inside the body but too much splay looks wrong and can be avoided when using correct filling techniques. 
  • When stuffing the head, start with the nose and shape the face with the hand holding the head while you add more filling with the other hand. Smooth the fabric around as you fill the head as this will help you to shape it well.
  • Some additional face shaping can be achieved with needle sculpting if necessary once the toy has been stuffed and finished. More tips on needle sculpting can be found in the Socks & Smokey Plush Kitten Pattern.

How to make an 18-inch doll pet

Enter to Win a $50 Pixie Faire Gift Card!

To enter this week's contest, simply click the link below and then enter through the giveaway widget at the bottom of the blog post, there are many things you can do to earn multiple entry points!

Contest Details: You enter through the entry form that is embedded on this page and appears just below this paragraph, if you don't see it, be sure to visit the page from your desktop or an alternate browser such as Google Chrome. It may not appear on all mobile devices. The complete rules and entry details appear on the entry form. This is not a comment contest - in other words, leaving a comment on the bottom of this page is not an official entry method. The only required entry method is to leave a comment under this post and then confirm that you did it in the contest widget. One person will receive the gift card. You can enter once, or gain multiple entries by completing the other entry methods and increase your chances of winning. Please review all Terms and Conditions on the giveaway page before entering. While we wish we could run this contest everywhere, for legal reasons it is only open to eligible residents of the U.S. and Canada, not including Rhode Island. This contest is exclusively endorsed by Liberty Jane Clothing and Pixie Faire.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We'd love to hear from you. Leave a comment and tell us - what kind of plush pet would you like to make? Commenting below and confirming your entry in the widget above gives you one entry method, the other methods are listed in the widget above, be sure to enter in as many ways as you can to receive the maximum amount of entries to win one Pixie Faire Gift Card!

 

 

 


100 Comments

Mae Lynn Beck
Mae Lynn Beck

June 20, 2020

I would like to make a puppy for Logan.

Bobbie
Bobbie

June 17, 2020

I would love to make a cute puppy because that is my favorite animal in the world! I have a 14 and 9 year old dogs and they are like family. It is always hard to lose one but you have great memories.

Sharon S.
Sharon S.

May 06, 2020

I have 7 pet chickens and would like to make a stuffed chicken to look like one of my pets.

Ali McKessar
Ali McKessar

April 06, 2020

I’m a cat person so it would have to be the kitties. Although the bunnies are also adorable!

Mary
Mary

April 06, 2020

I need to make myself and my daughters some bunnies! I think I’ll try to figure out how to make some little hutches for them, too.

Bonny
Bonny

April 05, 2020

I will be making two pets, one for each grand-daughter. One bunny and one kitten for now. Eventually, I’ll make a second one of each, a couple puppies and some chickens.

Frances
Frances

April 05, 2020

I would like to make a turtle, perhaps with hexagons for the shells.

Teresa
Teresa

April 05, 2020

I would love to make the rabbit as we used to have a pet bunny.
And I would also like to make the lamb and puppy just because thye are SOO cute.

Patricia
Patricia

April 04, 2020

A pomeranian but I don’t know what kind of fabric would work to make it so full and fluffy like real poms.

Joanne
Joanne

April 04, 2020

Bear, cat or dog

rosemary
rosemary

April 04, 2020

i would love to make the lamb.it is so cute

Linda
Linda

April 04, 2020

I would like to make a kitten in memory of my favorite cat when I was eight years old. I would also like to make a bunny in memory of a baby bunny my late fiancé and I raised from birth. We released “Scotty” when he let us know he was ready to go out on his own.

Abi
Abi

April 04, 2020

I like the kitty!!

Mary
Mary

April 04, 2020

I love the lads!! They are so cute. Thank you for the giveaway!

Marlene
Marlene

April 04, 2020

I’ve never tried a stuffed animal- always thought it would be so hard to do, but your helpful tips have changed my mind. Trying a sheep for Easter!

Melinda  Solomon
Melinda Solomon

April 04, 2020

I would make a rabbit , longhorn steer, lamb My grandchildren r in 4-h and they love their animals

Lykke
Lykke

April 03, 2020

I would love to make the cute bunnies for my grandchildren.

LizT
LizT

April 03, 2020

I would make cats and tiny kittens! Thanks.

LA The Gold unicorn
LA The Gold unicorn

April 03, 2020

Ooo I love lambs! I’m so getting this pattern. Also I would like to make cats for my dolls. 😀

Julia
Julia

April 03, 2020

I would like to make a bunny for Easter.

Julia
Julia

April 03, 2020

I would like to make a bunny for Easter.

Julia
Julia

April 03, 2020

I would like to make a bunny for Easter.

Kathy
Kathy

April 03, 2020

I think the little chick is adorable.

Anne
Anne

April 03, 2020

Beautiful animals!

Sharon
Sharon

April 03, 2020

I would like to make a Great Dane for my boy doll. I recently saw an adorable movie that had one in it (The Ugly Dachshund). Not a puppy, but a full grown, doll size one.

Patricia T
Patricia T

April 03, 2020

I love little lambs and think they would be fun to make

Marcy Mahle
Marcy Mahle

April 03, 2020

Baby lambs are my favorite. My mother was a WWII war bride from North Wales and all my family are still there. The best time to visit is in the spring when the baby lambs dot the valley and the Snowdon.

Soozee
Soozee

April 03, 2020

I love the little bunnies for Easter.

Candace
Candace

April 03, 2020

I love the little lambs!

BonnieGayle
BonnieGayle

April 03, 2020

I love the little Chihuahua!

Patricia S
Patricia S

April 03, 2020

I love the bunnies first then the lambs.

Laura T.
Laura T.

April 03, 2020

My daughter would love a panda or tiger pet for her doll!

Debbie W
Debbie W

April 03, 2020

We would make the lamb. Thanks for the opportunity! Stay safe!

Sandy
Sandy

April 03, 2020

My granddaughter’s favorite would be a dinosaur or a unicorn. But she would love the lamb, especially if I made it in purple.

Ana Godinez
Ana Godinez

April 03, 2020

A chihuahua, lamb

Joyce M. Carr
Joyce M. Carr

April 03, 2020

Our Great Grand Daughter calls every animal at the Zoo in our County a GOAT could we have a GOAT to give the 2 year old girl. Thank you

Monique Venne
Monique Venne

April 03, 2020

I want to make a kitten.

Estelle
Estelle

April 03, 2020

I want to make a pony for my girls. Then they can have kittens.

Patricia
Patricia

April 03, 2020

Oh, I’d definitely make the lamb. Sheep are one of my favorite items to decorate with.

Connie
Connie

April 03, 2020

I love the sheep. My granddaughters would love them.

Debra Luecke
Debra Luecke

April 03, 2020

! would make a kitten .

Sherrie P
Sherrie P

April 03, 2020

I would make the black sheep! Like twins we are.

Sue
Sue

April 03, 2020

I would love to make an accurately doll sized donkey to keep the horses company.

Beth P
Beth P

April 03, 2020

I would make the adorable sheep!

Judy Bellot
Judy Bellot

April 03, 2020

A bunny is my pick but I love the cat, lamb & puppy too!

Carmelita
Carmelita

April 03, 2020

I would make a kitty as mine is always in my lap!

fay
fay

April 03, 2020

while the lamb is absolutely adorable, i’m a kitten people, so a long haired kitten would be in order…..

Sharon B.
Sharon B.

April 03, 2020

I would love to make a kitty – my granddaughters are crazy about them!

Ann
Ann

April 03, 2020

I need to finish the goat that I started.

Georgeann
Georgeann

April 03, 2020

It would be fun to have a variety of animals! Lambs, cats, dogs and others.

Grandma Freckles
Grandma Freckles

April 03, 2020

I like the little lamb. I think it would be fun to make for a farm scene with my dolls. I already have a couple of dogs & a couple of cats & a little pig, so a little lamb or two or three would be fun. I have made stuffed animals in the past but not tiny ones.

Carole
Carole

April 03, 2020

I like the giraffe.

Ann
Ann

April 03, 2020

I would like to make a cat, puppy and lamb.

Candy
Candy

April 03, 2020

My doll wants a bunny.

Kristi Mormann
Kristi Mormann

April 03, 2020

I would love to make a lamb.

Wendy
Wendy

April 03, 2020

The cat will be my first one, followed closely by the sheep, dog, and bunny. I also have a horse pattern.

JUDITH
JUDITH

April 03, 2020

I would love to make a little lamb for my doll to play with she loves little lambs

Joanne
Joanne

April 03, 2020

I’ve made several laborer puppies!

Suzi
Suzi

April 03, 2020

I would like to make a cat.

Char
Char

April 03, 2020

All are adorable! I would like to make a gray kitten to remind my granddaughter of her Russian Blue cat.

Sparkle
Sparkle

April 03, 2020

Seeing I am a zoo docent, I would need to make a snow leopard.

SARAH K
SARAH K

April 03, 2020

I would like to make several lambs for her to have to love on

Karen
Karen

April 03, 2020

I have been wanting to try out the little stuffed animals! My girl gets lonely. She would love a pet lamb!

susan
susan

April 03, 2020

An Easter lamb would be divine.

Colleen
Colleen

April 03, 2020

I’d like to make the lambs for Easter.

Janet
Janet

April 03, 2020

I love the lamb. As a little girl I always thought Mary (of Mary Had a Little Lamb) was so lucky.

Jeanette
Jeanette

April 03, 2020

I would love to make the lamb. It is adorable.

Amy G
Amy G

April 03, 2020

I have already made several of the bunny rabbits and they are adorable. I would love to make some lambs, and maybe eventually some exotic animal patterns will get release so I can make those too!

Anthea
Anthea

April 03, 2020

I love the lamb! Perfect for spring :)

Jude
Jude

April 03, 2020

I would love to make the lamb. So cute!!

mariablecha
mariablecha

April 03, 2020

The Lamb, it is sew cute, after that the doggie would be perfect!!

Alan Klamo
Alan Klamo

April 03, 2020

I would like to make the bunny

Elizabeth Smith
Elizabeth Smith

April 03, 2020

I’ve never made animals so I may try the cute sheep. I would love, once I figure out how to make them, to find a kangaroo pattern. In the meantime I’ll try making some basic animals to put in shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes!

Bettie
Bettie

April 03, 2020

I would make the sheep. They are all so cute!

Peggy
Peggy

April 03, 2020

My granddaughter would love any of them. They are al cute!!

Patty
Patty

April 03, 2020

I would make a sheep, or a dog, or a cat. I don’t know I think all kinds of animals would be fun to make.

Charissa Deuser
Charissa Deuser

April 03, 2020

Love them all but especially the bunny! Maybe I could make a gerbil🤔😊

Tracy
Tracy

April 03, 2020

I think it would be fun to make a rabbit.

Roben Rice
Roben Rice

April 03, 2020

I would love to make them give away to children hospital and Grandsons and the little girls I take care of .

Barbara
Barbara

April 03, 2020

I would love to make the bunny & the lamb for my granddaughters.

Alice Denny
Alice Denny

April 03, 2020

I am looking forward to making the tiny giraffe. Its really adorable.

Cynthia C
Cynthia C

April 03, 2020

I’d like to make bunnies and lambs for spring.

Kay
Kay

April 03, 2020

The lambs the are so cute.

Sandra
Sandra

April 03, 2020

I love the little lambs, they are perfect for Bo Peep.

Kristen
Kristen

April 03, 2020

I think the puppies are adorable!

Sarah
Sarah

April 03, 2020

To be honest i think that i would make one of each of tje plush animals, one for each of the dolls that my mum has been collecting over the years and for my neice too. Along with the clothes that I have been making too. 🙂

Tamara
Tamara

April 03, 2020

I would like to make a pair of bunnies because my doll already has a cat I made.

Dorothy
Dorothy

April 03, 2020

I would make the lambs and puppies.

Michele
Michele

April 03, 2020

A little black and white cow. Love the sheep!!

Donna
Donna

April 03, 2020

I love the little lamb. He is so cute.

Ann M
Ann M

April 03, 2020

Bunnies!!!!

Christine
Christine

April 02, 2020

O would love to make a baby chick stuffed animal for the 18" dolls. Grandaughters woild love that! Thanks for great patterns

Kristina
Kristina

April 02, 2020

I’d like to make a cat

Diana Geiger
Diana Geiger

April 02, 2020

All the animals are adorable. I think I will make the bunnies first.

Melissa Thorne
Melissa Thorne

April 02, 2020

I would make the lambs to go along with a nice scenario drop background or outfit theme or ensemble.

Jane Parks
Jane Parks

April 02, 2020

I would like to start with a kitten and a puppy. Those little lambs are the cutest so will have to sew them some day. I would like to see a chicken and a rooster pattern. Also a calf and goat for the 18" dolls. That’s a good start.

Nanette
Nanette

April 02, 2020

I would love to make lab puppy for starters.

Judy McP
Judy McP

April 02, 2020

I love the pair of rabbits!

Deborah Fields
Deborah Fields

April 02, 2020

I’d love to make the lamb. It’s so cute!!

Ruth
Ruth

April 02, 2020

I would love to make a bunny like my daughter’s bunny.

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