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!
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.
All the pieces traced out and ready for cutting.
The supervisor is not impressed. (Apologies for the blurriness — she moved right as I snapped it.)
Pieces all cut out and ready for stitching.
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!
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.
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!
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)