Is 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:
The new Rosemary and Redcurrant Plush Lamb Pattern by Genniewren Designs is perfect for spring!
Check 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:
Tips 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.
The 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.
On 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
You 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.
I 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.
You will see that there is some of the fur pile trapped in the stitching.
Lift 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 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.
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!