Still Not Dead! The Latest Big Project – Banette

I know it’s been a bit of a stretch since I posted, and I don’t feel good about that. I’ve still been working on my plushies, and I have lots of projects that I need to get posted on here. But things have been hectic, so I haven’t gotten around to posting much. But I’m hoping to change that over the next couple of days, and we’ll start with the biggest project I’ve been working on — a Banette!

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This one was requested by a friend. I wasn’t familiar with this particular Pokemon, so I did some research to figure out what I was in for. There were several things that had me worried — the head shape, the head-piece in the back, the facial features in general. I couldn’t find any ready-made patterns online, so this was one I had to put together myself. Which is ALWAYS terrifying. But through the magic of reference images, minky fabric, and sheer stubbornness, I was able to put something together that I’m pretty pleased with.

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The head shape came as a total surprise. At first I tried making it as a three-paneled sideways sphere. I wasn’t pleased with the shape that came from that, so I decided to add a fourth panel to see what would happen. I made the panels “fatter” around the middle to try to get the proper structure. The result was 100% not was I was going for, but I was really happy with it.

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The head-piece off the back was tricky, but turned out alright. The trick seemed to be understuffing it so that it would lay correctly, rather than just sticking straight out the back. The body and arms were pretty straight-forward. I put a dart in the belly-piece to give it the right shape. 

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The face, on the other hand, was quite tricky. I decided early on to do an applique zipper, and not an actual zipper. I feel like that keeps the cartoon-ish look of the design. Otherwise, it wasn’t very difficult to shape and apply the face, but getting the proportions was difficult. In the various Pokemon that I’ve been making, that is a problem that I have found to be pretty universal — in turning a 2D cartoon character into a three-dimensional plushie, it is nearly impossible to get the facial features to look right. For the most part, with a bit of fiddling, you can get it pretty close to right. But this one did give me a lot of trouble. I pinned the features in a lot of different ways, and they just never quite looked right. Eventually I settled on the placement you see now. To cap things off, my fabric paint did NOT want to stick this time around. It was strange, because this paint has worked fine on minky before, so I don’t know what happened there.

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Pardon the messed up tablecloth in the back. It’s the cat’s fault.

So, finished product! In the end, I’m happy with how it turned out. My friend who requested it was disappointed with the face, and that’s never a fun thing to hear. Because of the fabric paint outline on the eyes, I can’t just pull them and replace them, so I may end up redoing the whole head. We’ll see what happens with that.

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But otherwise, this guy is SUPER cuddly! The size and shape is excellent for snuggling, which is a great quality to have for a plush. This is also easily the biggest plush I have made so far, as well as the most complex. I feel like I learned a lot, and it’s good to know that I can pull off something of this caliber. Even if the face still irks me.  

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