March 30, 2020

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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!

 

 

 


52 Comments

Donna Landreth
Donna Landreth

March 31, 2020

I would make the cat. My granddaughter loves cats. Thank you Cinnamon for the awesome giveaways.😘

Beth C
Beth C

March 31, 2020

I would make an adorable bunny!

Pat Schmeling
Pat Schmeling

March 31, 2020

I would like to make a cute puppy, or two!

Donna
Donna

March 31, 2020

Thanks for the great giveaway! I’m a cat person so I think the kitten is really cute.

Sonja
Sonja

March 31, 2020

We would make a family of bunnies—we love them!

Carol L
Carol L

March 31, 2020

I would make either the lamb or the kitten. Both seem perfect for spring!

Donna Landreth
Donna Landreth

March 31, 2020

I would probably make the cat because my granddaughter loves cats. Thank you Cinnamon for the awesome giveaways.😘

Dena M
Dena M

March 31, 2020

I would like to make some cats for my daughter’s dolls.

Laura
Laura

March 31, 2020

I’d love to make a puppy or two; so cute!!

Linda
Linda

March 31, 2020

My Granddaughter is into cats, so I would make the kitten.

Linda
Linda

March 31, 2020

My Granddaughter is into cats, so I would make the kitten.

Leann
Leann

March 31, 2020

I would have to make 2 cats, one for each granddaughter. Probably a fox for my oldest grandson, a penguin for another grandson, & probably a puppy for the youngest grandson!!

Ann
Ann

March 31, 2020

I would like a cat and a golden retriever for my dolls.

Juelle
Juelle

March 31, 2020

I would love to make a lamb and the bunnies!

auschick
auschick

March 31, 2020

I’d make a dog! <3

Ruth
Ruth

March 31, 2020

I would love to make a dog❤️
So super cute!

Karin
Karin

March 31, 2020

I love all of the pets, but am partial to labradors, so that is the one I would probably choose.

Marcia
Marcia

March 31, 2020

A Maltese dog, they have long silky hair and love to cuddle.

Carol
Carol

March 31, 2020

I love the lamb. Perfect for my niece at Easter

Carol B
Carol B

March 31, 2020

I love the little lamb. In the rural community where I live, it’s that time of year. Cute little lambs popping up everywhere. They are so precious.

Alice
Alice

March 31, 2020

I would want to make a bunny

BevM
BevM

March 31, 2020

I would make a kitten, which is my daughter’s favorite.

candy
candy

March 31, 2020

oldest granddaughter would insist on a fox, oldest grandson would want a husky puppy, next grandson would want a narwhale and the youngest granddaughter would want a horse. Can you tell we are into “Stuffies”. Gigi loves it.

Heather
Heather

March 31, 2020

I would make a black and white kitty for my doll so she has one like mine.

Claudia
Claudia

March 31, 2020

I would make a couple of lambs. I think they are so cute

Ellen
Ellen

March 31, 2020

Oh my gosh! They are so cute, how to pick a favorite! But with Easter coming up soon, I think I would choose the lamb. So sweet!

Pamela
Pamela

March 31, 2020

I made the little lamb; perhaps a little dog is next!

Ellen
Ellen

March 31, 2020

Oh my gosh! They are so cute, how to pick a favorite! But with Easter coming up soon, I think I would choose the lamb. So sweet!

Danielle
Danielle

March 31, 2020

I’d make a lamb or two and some piglets, my daughter wants a farm.

Nicole
Nicole

March 31, 2020

So cute! Love the lamb!

Jane
Jane

March 31, 2020

I love the little lamb, but would have to make the pouty as well! Such cute patterns!

Patti
Patti

March 31, 2020

I love the lamb.

Deanna
Deanna

March 31, 2020

I have Gennie’s puppy pattern and have the rabbit and kitten on the wishlist. But I love this little lamb!! I have Blair and her pig, but not her lamb. So I have to say the lamb. This is very timely. Thanks Gennie for all the great tips and patterns!! An thanks Cinnamon for highlighting this topic and the giveaway :) Maybe this could be a SWC sew along….

Tanya
Tanya

March 31, 2020

The little lamb…soo cute!!! then there is the puppies…and the kittens…Oh dear…I have the puppy patterns, so I’d better do that pattern…love them all!!! thanks for the tutorial

Theresa
Theresa

March 31, 2020

I would make a little white bunny named Daisy for my doll because I always wanted one and they are SO cute!

kathy
kathy

March 31, 2020

my choice is the kittens but lamb is so cute

Lori
Lori

March 31, 2020

My first choice is the lamb. But I would also love to do the bunnies.

pat p
pat p

March 31, 2020

I just made this adorable little lamb. I didn’t have the suggested fabrics so I used a quilt print. I named him Patches. When I get to go out again I will make him a friend with some cute fleece fabric.

Jo
Jo

March 31, 2020

Even though I really like the horse pattern, I would probably settle for the lamb pattern as It looks a lot easier to make.

Lorraine M
Lorraine M

March 31, 2020

My favorite is the Labrador puppy, but they are all so sweet!

Charisse
Charisse

March 31, 2020

I love the lab puppies. The lamb is also very cute.
Thank you for the great tutorial and contest!

Michele
Michele

March 31, 2020

Thanks Pixie Faire for the awesome giveaway! The animal patterns are all so cute! I think I’d try making the lab puppies. They are sweet and I Iike the little bed that is included in the pattern!

Allison T
Allison T

March 31, 2020

Ever since I was a little girl I have loved lambs!! So I am super happy for this project!

Denise Darby
Denise Darby

March 31, 2020

I would love to make the lamb and the kittens. so adorable.

Kimberly Chidsey
Kimberly Chidsey

March 31, 2020

I would love to make a cute dog plush or even a sea lion.

Kelly
Kelly

March 31, 2020

I love the new lamb pattern. I already own the puppy, rabbits and kittens- they are good patterns and make really cute animals. I think a calf next would be great.

Lesley from NE
Lesley from NE

March 31, 2020

I have always wanted to try these animals but never had. I would try the lamb,cat, or puppies! If I won, I would try all three.

Feriba
Feriba

March 31, 2020

A bunny of course , I love bunnies

Jeanne Marshall
Jeanne Marshall

March 31, 2020

I would love to make the lab puppy. My daughter says her dolls need a new puppy.

Dawn
Dawn

March 31, 2020

I love the lamb!! I had a pet lamb when I was growing up.

Dien
Dien

March 31, 2020

The lamb is so cute!!

kathy
kathy

March 30, 2020

I love the little lamb but since we have sheep already my next choice would be the kitten. Thanks for the giveaway.

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