Another Success! A Cuddly Poliwag

I’m not dead! Thanks to some setbacks with my foot, as well as things getting very busy at work, I’ve not been able to spend as much time working on plushies as I would like. Fortunately I was able to make some time to work on this little guy, and I’m quite happy with the results. This is also the first time I have successfully worked without a pre-made pattern.  Behold, a cuddly little poliwag!

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A wild poliwag appears!

As always, there are several things I want to change in future iterations. Obviously, the color isn’t quite right, but I was just working with what I had lying around, and that was the only shade of blue I had. I also somehow managed to make one foot larger than the other… hmmm. I made this guy as a four-panel sphere, but in the future I think I would like to try something much different — I think a two-panel oval might make a shape more closely matched to the actual poliwag from the games. But in the meantime, this little guy is quite cuddly and adorable, and I am very happy with the results! 

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How could you deny those eyes?

I have several projects in the works, so hopefully I will be able to post more over the coming days. 

Adipose Plush – Success!

What’s this? A plush that turned out pretty much the way I intended it to? It looks that way! Behold, my third attempt at a plushie, a cuddly little adipose!

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I shall call him Chubbs.

(I once again forgot to take progress pictures of this one, but this was when I noticed my mistake, so that shouldn’t happen again. Furthermore, both the dog and the cat were thoroughly engaged in nap time, so neither of them turned up to assist.)

This one went really well! It was my first time working with a pattern that utilized not just a front and back panel, but side-panels as well (I don’t know where you’d classify spheres in terms of paneling…). It was awkward pinning it all in place at first, but once I had the basic shape pinned down things went quite well. I also think I have gained a better grasp of seam-allowance, which probably helps a lot of things.

This pattern also made an interesting suggestion that I hadn’t seen before — clipping into the edges of the seam allowance, which they suggest gives the shape a better form once it’s turned inside out. I can’t tell if the results I got were strictly from this crimping, or from my better use of seam allowance, or some combination of both. But I was very pleased with the rounded-shape that I got.

This is also my first attempt at attaching limbs since my first plush. It’s still not an easy task, and I think I need a lot of practice yet before I get better at hiding my stitching there. But the limbs on this one are definitely sturdier than my previous attempts.

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So there you have it, the latest addition to my collection of plushie attempts. Looking at the picture above, I do feel like I’m making progress with each new attempt. A good feeling! The holiday weekend is coming to a close, so I expect my posts will thin out a bit as I go back to work. But I have a lot of patterns lined up for further projects, so more updates will be on the way!

Resources!

Adipose – Free Pattern and Tutorial

My First Two Plushies!

They aren’t pretty. They are derpy. They are filled with mistakes. But I have made my first two plushies ever! And holy cheese, I have learned so much already. Let’s start from the start.

(A list of resources relevant to this post will be given at the bottom.)

Plushie #1 – Totoro!

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Ah, look at it. So many mistakes. So much derp. But he’s my very, very first. In hindsight, I almost definitely chose a project too complicated for my first try. Hey, it looked simple at the time! But it was a big learning experience. 

What did I learn? First off, felt is a great starter material based upon all the research I have done, but color selection is crappy. The colors above were the closest I could get to correct (shy of ordering them online), so please pardon the off-ness of his coloring.

I also learned to PAY ATTENTION to which side of the fabric is getting stitched… I’m looking at you, ear-piece #4!  >_>

Also, ladder stitch is harder than it looks, but not as hard as I was afraid it would be. I’m going to need a LOT of practice to hone my skills there. I also realized that I probably need to leave a smaller “fill hole”. My gut-impulse was to leave a large one so that turning it right-side-out would be easier. But that means a much larger area to ladder stitch.

For this guy, I actually remembered to take in-progress pictures, something I forgot to do at every point after. But here are some of said pictures.

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All the pieces traced out and ready for cutting.

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The supervisor is not impressed. (Apologies for the blurriness — she moved right as I snapped it.)

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Pieces all cut out and ready for stitching.

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Finished product

So I didn’t get all the pieces lined up perfectly, my stitching is dodgy in places, and I definitely need to work on attaching limbs. But it’s a start. He may be a derpy, mis-colored Totoro, but I’ll cuddle him all the same. And as my very first, he will always be special to me!

Plushie #2 – Slimes!

Now on to Plushie #2. Because of that wallet-ravaging monster that is the Steam Summer Sale, I have found myself in possession of a game called Slime Rancher. And holy hippo handbags, the Slimes are adorable!

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So much cute!

I MUST make an army of Slime plushies! But that means that I need to start figuring out the best way to make them. That’s where Plushie #2 comes in! (Sadly, I forgot to take in-progress pictures for this one.) 

I have heard that stitching spheres is a great way to get practice, so this seemed like a good place to start. I tried a couple of four-panel spheres, but never quite got the shape I was looking for. At first I chalked this up to my own inexperience, or the fact that felt is probably the wrong material for this, but then I stumbled upon something — a FIVE-panel sphere pattern! That did the trick. I still think a Slime would be better served by a different fabric, but at least the shape is closer to what I want.

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Also not in the correct color due to fabric selection. Joy.

Is it exactly what I was going for? Absolutely not! But it does give me a solid basis for making Slimes moving forward. For one thing, I like the size of it. Looking at the finished product,  I think the mouth needs to be much bigger. The eyes need to be closer to the mouth and perhaps wider-set, to more closely resemble the game Slimes.  I may also try to get a little bit of a taper on the top. Those are all issues I will address in Slime Mk II.

What did I learn on this one? For one, my stitching was much better than on my Totoro, so that feels like improvement. Following the sphere tutorial for the five-sider, I found that it saved me a lot of mistakes to sew two sets of two panels, and then connect them together with the remaining panel. 

I also forgot to stitch on the facial appliques BEFORE closing and stuffing the sphere. Because I had the right color thread (ie, black!), I think it turned out ok. But it was much more work to try to hide my knots. 

So there it is, my first two plushies. The first was terrifying, and was certainly a crash-course and a learning experience. While the first reminded me that I have a long way to go, the second gave me hope that practice (and research!) leads to improvement. At the end of the day,  I learned a lot and I had a BLAST making these two! It certainly proved to me that this is something I enjoy a lot, and I can’t wait to make more!

Resources!

How to Sew a Ladder Stitch

Totoro Tutorial and Free Pattern

Five-Sided Sphere Free Pattern and Tutorial (Note: for the Slime plush, I used the “Supersize” sphere pattern)

 

Introduction Time!

Oh, hi there! Looks like introductions are in order. My name is Emily, and I am an aspiring maker of cuddly plushies. I have been interested in plush making for years, but I’ve never really had time to sit down and pursue it. That changed a couple of weeks ago when a broken foot left me with a lot of downtime and not much to do. I’ve spent a lot of time on the couch, which means lots of time to start my journey towards learning plush making. (That dork  below? Das me.)

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Le dork

I have only just started working on plushies. So far just a couple of completed plushies to my name. And yes, they all look goofy and are filled with rookie mistakes. But I have learned a lot already, and I have enjoyed every minute of it, so I think this is something that I will be doing a lot of. And hopefully the appearance of my plushes will improve as I go 😉

So what is this site for? At the moment, it’s serving as a sort of journal of my progress as I learn how to make plushies. I’ll be posting pictures of my plushies as I make them, links to where I got the patterns and/or tutorials, and a run-down of what new things I learned as I made the plush in question. In the future, if things go well, it might also be a base of operations should I decide to go for a bigger web presence or (if things go really well) start taking commissions. But for now, it’s just a log of my adventures in plush making.

And I should probably introduce my partners in crime while I’m at it! The first of the two is Zia, pictured below. She is an almost-3-year-old Swedish Vallhund (commonly known as “Viking Dogs” because of their historic origins). She makes up one half of my familiars. She is super curious and tries to “help” with everything. That means she will probably show up in my progress pictures, as she often has her nose into my materials.

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The Viking Dog in question.

Part 2 of my gang? That would be Mac. He’s an almost-2-year-old kitten that we adopted from a rescue. He’s a little snugglebutt who loves nothing more than to curl up in a pile of blankets. He’s also very curious, and supervises everything I do. He’s pretty sure that making off with my thread classifies as “helping”.

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I’m helping!

Oh, and Zia and Mac are pretty sure they are siblings separated at birth. They play, they cuddle, and they cause trouble together. Which means that, when I’m working on my plushes, they are almost always BOTH into my stuff together. So if you don’t see them show up in my pictures, I can almost guarantee that they have layers of hair all over my stuff.

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We’re not judging your work. Not at all.

That ought to do for introductions. I’ll be posting my first plush soon, and we’ll get this blog rolling.