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

Elizabeth Murphy
Elizabeth Murphy

April 01, 2020

I would make a cat.

Star Huston
Star Huston

April 01, 2020

I love the animal patterns. Especially the kitty. My granddaughter will love them.

Linda
Linda

April 01, 2020

For years I had a stuffed white lamb and carried it with me everywhere. Your email today about the stuffed animals brought back those memories. Thank you

Thelma
Thelma

April 01, 2020

I would love to make a little dog or kitten for the doll

Beth
Beth

April 01, 2020

I would love to make a chameleon for my dolls. I’ve always wanted one myself, but don’t have the space!

Darlene
Darlene

April 01, 2020

I would make a bunny

Carol
Carol

April 01, 2020

Lambs are perfect for spring. Puppies are perfect anytime.

Debra
Debra

April 01, 2020

i love these little animals and I have purchased most of the patterns but have been hesitant to try one because I’m afraid I won’t get the right results. Thanks for these tips, I might actually give it a try now! :O)

Gail
Gail

April 01, 2020

The sheep are adorable! They would be my first choice. My girls would love puppies.

Janet
Janet

April 01, 2020

I’d like to make a cat since I’m a cat lover.

Kathy
Kathy

April 01, 2020

I like lambs

Maryann
Maryann

April 01, 2020

I would make the lamb for Easter.

Florence
Florence

April 01, 2020

Thank you for the guide. I would love to make a pony!

Brisja
Brisja

April 01, 2020

I’d have to start with a bunny and a lamb. So cute!

Bernice Balbi
Bernice Balbi

April 01, 2020

I like the lamb

Sophie T
Sophie T

April 01, 2020

I would like to make a lamb for Felicity, so she can have her Posie.

joyce
joyce

April 01, 2020

i’d like to make a puppy version of my shih tsu/pomeranian mix. after looking at all the ideas, i need to rethink my choice!

Marilyn
Marilyn

April 01, 2020

A springtime bunny and lamb would be fun to make right now!

Jane
Jane

April 01, 2020

I would like to make a fluffy yellow baby chick.

Doll Lover
Doll Lover

April 01, 2020

I’d like to make a monkey like the chimpanzee I had as a child.

Etta Hart
Etta Hart

April 01, 2020

I’d like to make a unicorn,

Connie
Connie

April 01, 2020

The lambs are soooo cute.

CHERYL
CHERYL

April 01, 2020

i would make all of these if i win. But the puppies are my favorite

Rachel Mutchler
Rachel Mutchler

April 01, 2020

I would love to find a little cheeky ferret or chimpanzee pattern.

Joan
Joan

April 01, 2020

I had a “wooly lamb” as a child and would love to make them for my grandchildren. Yours is adorable!

Cathy
Cathy

April 01, 2020

A cat of course

Susana
Susana

April 01, 2020

A bunny for me!

Ruth Ann
Ruth Ann

April 01, 2020

I love black Labs so I would probably start with a dog.

Gail Beam
Gail Beam

April 01, 2020

I would love to make some puppies.

Beverly
Beverly

April 01, 2020

Genniewren you have beautifully made darling animal patterns for us to make and enjoy. I would love to try your little lamb pattern. Thank you!

Dana A.
Dana A.

April 01, 2020

I think a hedgehog or a guinea pig would make an adorable pet!

Jasmine A.
Jasmine A.

April 01, 2020

I think probably a dog or a cat… can never have too many dogs and cats….

Carine Kintz
Carine Kintz

April 01, 2020

The lamb is so pretty
<3

Sandra
Sandra

April 01, 2020

Cool blog post

Diane R
Diane R

April 01, 2020

I would make some huskies if I found a pattern that looked real enough.

Susan
Susan

April 01, 2020

Well my dolls and I LOVE cats, so a cat would be perfect!!

Lisbet
Lisbet

April 01, 2020

I would love to make the lamb. Also, would love a pattern for a chicken.

Karen
Karen

March 31, 2020

I love the lamb!

April B
April B

March 31, 2020

I like anything that can have a story or poem to associate with – i.e. Baa-Baa Black Sheep, Three Billy Goats Gruff, Mary Had A Little Lamb, Peter Rabbit, Clifford, etc.

Marjorie Mickelson
Marjorie Mickelson

March 31, 2020

I think the lamb is adorable but it is a toss between it and the rabbits

Hilary Lee
Hilary Lee

March 31, 2020

I would love to see a duck , quack

Jo
Jo

March 31, 2020

I would enjoy making the lamb.

Bev
Bev

March 31, 2020

I would make a puppy.either German shepherd or cocker

designdreamer
designdreamer

March 31, 2020

The puppies are adorable, but the lamb or pretty cute also. I don’t know. It’s a toss-up!

Cathy
Cathy

March 31, 2020

My grand daughter would love a lamb and a kitty.

Jennifer
Jennifer

March 31, 2020

I would have to make a kitten for my cat-loving granddaughter!

Kim Hubert
Kim Hubert

March 31, 2020

I know my daughter would love the puppy and the lamb.

Sue
Sue

March 31, 2020

I would like the lamb as an friend for Lil’ Chloe. She has puppies already. These are lovely and great tips.

Cassandra
Cassandra

March 31, 2020

Lamb

Julia
Julia

March 31, 2020

I would like to make a rabbit, because they make a cute pet and Easter is coming.

Lori M
Lori M

March 31, 2020

I’d make a bunny

Isabella Queen
Isabella Queen

March 31, 2020

I would make a husky puppy! I love huskies and I’ve always wanted to make one! I might try that sometime!

Mae Lynn Beck
Mae Lynn Beck

March 31, 2020

I just read the bunny pattern thinking I would make one for Easter.

Heidi
Heidi

March 31, 2020

Now. Can have a bunch of lambs!!

Melanie
Melanie

March 31, 2020

Very informative post, thanks!!

Laura
Laura

March 31, 2020

Tis the lambing season and I’m a spinner/knitter so I would say the sheep but all are adorable and a great addition to the pattern selection.

Laura
Laura

March 31, 2020

Tis the lambing season and I’m a spinner/knitter so I would say the sheep but all are adorable and a great addition to the pattern selection.

Cheryl R
Cheryl R

March 31, 2020

I would love to make a basket of bunnies, and then move onto a litter of puppies! How fun!

Berth
Berth

March 31, 2020

I would make the lamb! But they are all adorable!

Terry
Terry

March 31, 2020

I would like to make a frog, but that isn’t furry. I love the lambs and how realistic the fabric can make them look – as well as the great pattern. Thanks so much for the wonderful tips.

Pam H
Pam H

March 31, 2020

I think that sheep’s are the cutest.

Kristi S.
Kristi S.

March 31, 2020

I would LOVE to make a Boxer Puppy!

Melissa Pokk
Melissa Pokk

March 31, 2020

I would love to make the sheep or as my daughter would say “She-Pea” (fyi: shes 23 and has a 3mt old but she loves her sheeps)

Helena
Helena

March 31, 2020

I’d love to make bunnies and lambs.

Paula Anderson
Paula Anderson

March 31, 2020

My gal would love to have a sweet white lamb to call her own.

Patricia S.
Patricia S.

March 31, 2020

I always wanted a goat. That’s what I would make.

Joy
Joy

March 31, 2020

I would make one of each animal. I love animals of all kinds.

Jenny
Jenny

March 31, 2020

What great advice. My daughter’s tend to love puppies, so that’s what I’d try.

Beth
Beth

March 31, 2020

We used to have a bunny so that would be my fave.

PS Browse the PEST and accessories patterns???

sheila
sheila

March 31, 2020

I would make the puppies and kittens—-so cute!

teri-ann
teri-ann

March 31, 2020

Id make a lamb or sheep ive always loved them <3

Lisa
Lisa

March 31, 2020

I would make a sheep. The animals look so cute!

Mary Cox
Mary Cox

March 31, 2020

While Jen’s little lamb is absolutely adorable, every kid needs a puppy to cuddle with. I would
choose the Labrador puppy Thanks Jen for another great pattern to choose from. I love all your patterns.

Kyla
Kyla

March 31, 2020

All of them!! Love the bunny and sheep the most though!!!!

Yessenia Huerta
Yessenia Huerta

March 31, 2020

My 2 year old is very into horses so I would love to make the unicorn for her

Stephanie S.
Stephanie S.

March 31, 2020

I would make the dog or cat.

Cora
Cora

March 31, 2020

I am a cat person, so it would have to be a furry cat either all black or white with a black diamond on the forehead with a partial black foot. Then I would have my cats that I no ;longer have.

Deb H
Deb H

March 31, 2020

I already have the cat pattern. But would like to make the bunny for my granddaughter’s Easter basket. Currently don’t have the right fabric to do so.

Renee
Renee

March 31, 2020

I would like to make a poodle or a Yorkiepoo. We always had a poodle growing up and now I have 2 Yorkiepoos.

Mary
Mary

March 31, 2020

Have to go with the lambs. Cute for Easter.

Melody
Melody

March 31, 2020

I’d love to make a cairn terrier. :)

Mary
Mary

March 31, 2020

I would make a monkey for my doll, I always had monkeys instead of teddy bears when I was growing up!

Kay
Kay

March 31, 2020

Hard to choose- they’re all adorable. Probably lamb or bunny- Easter’s on my mind.

Janet
Janet

March 31, 2020

I’d ;love to make Rosemary the lamb – simply because I have never sewn a lamb, and she sure is cute!

Sue
Sue

March 31, 2020

I would like to make a plush goat.

Marichu
Marichu

March 31, 2020

unicorn

Bronwyn Brady
Bronwyn Brady

March 31, 2020

My Granddaughters doll is horse crazy so I’d like to make a horse

Judith Martinez
Judith Martinez

March 31, 2020

I think the lamb is adorable. I would love to make one.

MARIA L BADANI
MARIA L BADANI

March 31, 2020

I am going to do the lamb. This is perfect timing while we are home. Thanks for the tutorial, this will give me confidence to do it

Kay
Kay

March 31, 2020

Love the lamb …would also see a need for the tip on if pile is caught in the stitching to brush it out….very good information and need to give these patterns a try.

Kathy
Kathy

March 31, 2020

The bunny is adorable ❤️.

Teresa
Teresa

March 31, 2020

Lamb

Kathie
Kathie

March 31, 2020

My husband visits with many nursing home residents. For several years he has been handing out small stuffed lambs with the reminder that “The Good Shepherd always cares for his lambs, and you are His special lamb”. It has brought comfort to many in their final days. We buy them wherever and whenever we can, but they are hard to find. This lamb pattern will be the perfect size (and probably a little less costly)!

Betty
Betty

March 31, 2020

I would make two Labrador puppies from the pattern I already purchased from Genniewren Designs (one for each of my great granddaughters who think I can make anything). Then I would make a pet bed for each of them.

Jeanann
Jeanann

March 31, 2020

I would make a stuffed bear for my grandson.

Mary
Mary

March 31, 2020

I’d like to make Benji & Blossom. Bunnies are the best!

Diane
Diane

March 31, 2020

I would love to make a cat and bunny like our pets.

Diane
Diane

March 31, 2020

I would love to make a cat and bunny like our pets.

Teena
Teena

March 31, 2020

I think the bunnies and lambs are so adorable! I’d love to see a calf pattern, as well as some wee birds. :)

Patricia
Patricia

March 31, 2020

I would make a cute little puppy.

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