March 30, 2020

452 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

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.

Laura
Laura

April 02, 2020

I would love to make either a pomeranian or husky. The only dog pattern is the lab puppies.

Rebecca Flint
Rebecca Flint

April 02, 2020

I’ve made large stuffed animals. Looking forward to trying some doll sized animals.

Laura
Laura

April 02, 2020

I’d love to make either a husky or pomeranian. The only dog pattern is the lab puppies.

Suzanne
Suzanne

April 02, 2020

I would make a soft cuddly bunny for Molly, she would love it for Easter!

Linda
Linda

April 02, 2020

I would like to make either a dog (Pom) or a sock monkey like the one my grandmother made me & which got lost in a move.

Maxine
Maxine

April 02, 2020

I would love to make a kitty for my girls to cuddle. They own two AG dogs and a rabbit.

Julie
Julie

April 02, 2020

I would love to make some spring lambs.

Sandy
Sandy

April 02, 2020

I Love them all, I have the dog, the bunny and just ordered the lamb, now I just need to find the time to make them…Since we are on stay home safe now, maybe I will find the time, and keep me from stressing out

Jael
Jael

April 02, 2020

I like all the pet patterns, but the lamb and puppy are my favourites. Thanks for the wonderful free tutorial!

S.
S.

April 02, 2020

I would like to make a dog but the lambs are super cute too!

sharon
sharon

April 02, 2020

dog

Christie
Christie

April 02, 2020

I’m a cat person so of course a cat, but I would also love to make a python or boa constrictor with wire in it that could be posed around my doll’s neck and arms.

Jeanine
Jeanine

April 02, 2020

I’m a dog groomer by trade so I would most likely like to start with a dog or puppy 🐾🥰

DianeKae
DianeKae

April 02, 2020

I would like to try my hand at creating a plush pet! Maybe begin with the cat. No, the bunny. Uhm, so many great patterns! Thank you.

Line
Line

April 02, 2020

Love to make the puppy. I lost mine 2 months ago she was 14 years old, she had a big part in our familly so the puppy make me laught and remember how clumsy she was. Yours are so cute and loveble. :)

Kathie
Kathie

April 02, 2020

I would love to make a pair of lambs.

Kelli
Kelli

April 02, 2020

I think the first I would attempt to make would be the puppies! They would be for my nieces’ doll! Then I would try to make the lambs, as I used to raise sheep for 4-H!

Mary Ann Barrett
Mary Ann Barrett

April 02, 2020

This one is easy! My name is Mary so of course she had a little lamb. :)

Glenda
Glenda

April 01, 2020

I would love to make the little lamb, as my niece raised sheep and entered lambs in our county fair. The patterns are adorable!

Fran Renton
Fran Renton

April 01, 2020

I would love each of the stuffed animals but I think I will start with the lambs because I have some left-over Sherpa from a collar for a bathrobe that I made last Christmas.

Candy
Candy

April 01, 2020

I have both the lab and kitten patterns. I would love to make the lab first, then the lamb, that I don’t have the pattern for.
The animal patterns are so cute.

Cristy
Cristy

April 01, 2020

I would like to make a sheep or a chicken!

Lockie
Lockie

April 01, 2020

I like the bunny or a sheep! Adorable

Lori
Lori

April 01, 2020

I would love to make a kittle lamb!

Marietta Jackson
Marietta Jackson

April 01, 2020

I would love to make a lamb and a bunny. All patterns were adorable.

Cath
Cath

April 01, 2020

The little dog was the first small plush toy that I tried. It was fun but a bit harder than I thought it would be. I think the fabric I chose was just too stiff and hard to work with. I’d like to give it another try. But first, the sheep. All of the knitters in my knitting group love sheep and I think they would love these as they are so cute. It would also be timely for Easter.
Happy stitching!

Debra
Debra

April 01, 2020

The lambs are adorable. Would be fun to see some smaller ones, a bird or guinea pig or hamster.

Patti
Patti

April 01, 2020

i would like to make a dog for m doll.

Sue Jackson
Sue Jackson

April 01, 2020

I think they are all very cute. I wanted to make a puppy, but now I think it will have to be a farm with all the animals!

Hannah
Hannah

April 01, 2020

I would love to make a lamb!

Kim C
Kim C

April 01, 2020

I would love to make a bunny!

Nancy
Nancy

April 01, 2020

I would love to make 3 kitties! Three of my kitties have crossed the rainbow bridge in the past year (ages. 16, 12 and. 14) and it would be wonderful to be able to make sure the doll family has all of the benefits of a pet!

Sandra L
Sandra L

April 01, 2020

I want to make a cat, rabbit, lamb and puppy.

Pam
Pam

April 01, 2020

I’d make the lab puppies since my granddaughter has a lab

Conny
Conny

April 01, 2020

I love the lamb such a cute pattern.
leticia
leticia

April 01, 2020

A lamb?

Darlene O
Darlene O

April 01, 2020

I would make a tiger! then an elephant! great fun!

Dianne Mann
Dianne Mann

April 01, 2020

A teddy bear for my granddaughters 18"doll.

Carolyn
Carolyn

April 01, 2020

a little Morkie would be awesome.

Kami
Kami

April 01, 2020

I’d consider making a pony first:)

Connie M
Connie M

April 01, 2020

I just love teddy bears!!!

Alice
Alice

April 01, 2020

I’d make lots, but probably either a lamb or a bunny first

Frances
Frances

April 01, 2020

A lamb! thank you so much for this contest rightnow.

Linda
Linda

April 01, 2020

A kitten for sure! But that would just be the first of many!

Sharon Thomas
Sharon Thomas

April 01, 2020

Our grandchildren are clamoring for any kind of animal to go with their dolls but mostly dogs and cats. So that is what I will be making.

Linda
Linda

April 01, 2020

I’d like to make the sheep but also a piggy…..

Corrina Spencer
Corrina Spencer

April 01, 2020

I would love to make the bunny! My daughter has a pet rabbit that goes to school with everyday. Her best friend’s little girl would love to have the stuffed bunny for her AG doll to play school with!!

shirley
shirley

April 01, 2020

I would love to make a lamb for my granddaughter and a pup for my grandson.

Diana
Diana

April 01, 2020

Really adorable patterns!!! Definitely I would like to make a Suffolk lamb like the ones we had on our little farm. It would be fun to make a pig & chicken as well.

Angela
Angela

April 01, 2020

Cats are my favorite fuzzy friends and I would love to make some for my dolls too! Also, I would try my hand at making a cow, because I like cows.

Piroska
Piroska

April 01, 2020

I’d love to make the lamb! Adorable!

Shari
Shari

April 01, 2020

So hard to choose but I would make a puppy since I have 3 of my own.

Heidi
Heidi

April 01, 2020

I would love a family of penguins.

Marylin
Marylin

April 01, 2020

My granddaughter loves puppies.

Anne
Anne

April 01, 2020

I would love to make the bunny. So cute. 🙂

JJ
JJ

April 01, 2020

I would like to make an elephant.

Mary C Bailey
Mary C Bailey

April 01, 2020

They are all adorable, but I would choose the little lamb- so sweet!

Karen
Karen

April 01, 2020

It’s so hard to pick just one. I would like to make a lamb

Krynne
Krynne

April 01, 2020

I would love to make either a cat or a bunny… or both lol!

Patricia
Patricia

April 01, 2020

I love those lambs and that’s what I would make. A bunny would also be nice.

Carla Ferguson
Carla Ferguson

April 01, 2020

I would like to make a puppy for my granddaughters.

Nancy G
Nancy G

April 01, 2020

I have always loved lambs/sheep. I grew up on a farm and I used to bottle feed the lambs. I have lamb/sheep statues, trinkets, wood sheep covered in lamb’s wool, in my house, so I would make a lamb :)

Tara
Tara

April 01, 2020

I would probably make a lamb.

D
D

April 01, 2020

A lamb would be so cute

MILICA
MILICA

April 01, 2020

Thanks for the giveaway! I’d like one of each. It would teach me a lot how to make any plush toy then.

Barb
Barb

April 01, 2020

They are all so cute but two want a dog and the other three want a cat and I think I will I try to surprise all of them with a lamb and bunny for the season. Thank you so much for all you do.

Diana
Diana

April 01, 2020

My grand babies want puppies!

Janie K
Janie K

April 01, 2020

I have a new black kitten so that is what I will make.

J.J. Goody
J.J. Goody

April 01, 2020

I’ve never made a lamb before, so that sounds cute.

Linda
Linda

April 01, 2020

I love Kitties, that is what I would make!!! Thanks…

Laura
Laura

April 01, 2020

I love sheep! I would make a flock of sheep and then a dog to herd them, then the shepherdess dress with hat and hook just like Mary Mary had a lamb. Now that I thought of it what a fun idea!

Lydia
Lydia

April 01, 2020

All are delightful, but would choose the lamb! Thank You for this offer and the detailed instructions! Happy Spring!

Martha  Reese
Martha Reese

April 01, 2020

I would like to make a puppy.

Sherry H
Sherry H

April 01, 2020

I would make the dog or cat to commemorate our pets

Julie Vasbinder
Julie Vasbinder

April 01, 2020

I would make a dog, that would look like my aussie, a mini horse to look like one of mine, a kitty to look like my barn cat and a bunny because they are cute.

Brandi Enns
Brandi Enns

April 01, 2020

My daughter said she would pick a puppy! 😊

Diana Marcell
Diana Marcell

April 01, 2020

I would like to make a kitty. My granddaughter loves kitties !!!

James
James

April 01, 2020

I would make cats and a dog – in the resemblance of our family pets – Sadie (cat), Bean (cat) and Penny (dog).

Michelle
Michelle

April 01, 2020

I would make Benjy and Blossom Bunny. I raised rabbits when I was younger (many years ago!) and have always loved them.

Tammy
Tammy

April 01, 2020

I would love to make a couple of lambs and bunnies.

Sharon
Sharon

April 01, 2020

I would make a pony

Pat
Pat

April 01, 2020

Would love to make a small furry dog for the AG doll.

Mary G.
Mary G.

April 01, 2020

I would make a bear or a bunny.

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