DIY Crafts: How To Make Your Own Stuffed Toys
When you were a very small child, you probably had at least one stuffed toy. You’ll have slept with it, and you’ll likely have taken it with you when you left the house. As children we grow very attached to the things that bring us comfort; that’s usually a parent, but when they’re not around a plush toy can be just as important!
For many people, attachment to soft toys doesn’t end when childhood does. There are far more adults who still sleep with a teddy bear or a similar cuddly toy than most people realize. If you’re one of them, there’s no reason to be ashamed of it; experts have looked into the phenomenon and concluded that it’s perfectly normal. The appeal of stuffed toys to adults explains both the success of the adult-oriented ‘Ted’ movie series and also the ‘Fluffy Favourites’ slot hosted on RoseSlots.com, which is one of the most popular and well-loved online slots in the world. Slot game players can pick from almost any theme imaginable, from action and drama to sports and music, so the fact that so many people choose to play a slot where the central characters are cuddly animals speaks volumes about how we feel about them. Much like those who still sleep with a soft toy, they probably don’t tell their friends about their game of choice, but if they did, they would likely be surprised by how common it is.
The downside of being interested in soft toys, whether they’re for yourself or a child, is that they’re becoming increasingly expensive (if you go for classic or designer variations, they can cost thousands of dollars). That doesn’t have to be the case, though. If you’re practically-minded and happy to invest the time, you can build your own plush toys at home – and it’s easier than you probably imagine it to be. Better still, making them is an excellent use of old clothes that are no longer required. Here are the basics.
1- Get A Pattern
Much like with knitting, making a stuffed toy requires the use of a pattern, which works as a guide. The internet is your friend in this endeavor; there are plenty of websites which specialize in designs for soft toys as a business model, although if you look around enough, you’ll find many for free, too. Etsy is one of the better-known craft websites that sell patterns, and Pinterest is also full of them. If you work in graphic design or have artistic skills, you might prefer to design a pattern yourself, although we’d suggest you get used to the process first.
Beginners should be cautious when selecting their patterns. The more intricate the pattern you choose, the harder your toy will be to create. Anything with a lot of bends or curves will be more difficult to cut, and more challenging to sew. If sewing isn’t a key skill of yours at the moment, try keeping things simple until those skills develop.
2- Get Your Kit Together
You’ll need a sewing needle, some thread, and some scissors, but we’re sure you’d already worked that out. You’ll also need some old clothes to use as material, too. On top of that, you’ll need things to decorate the toy with, fiberfill (or something else to stuff the toy with), and anything else specified by your selected pattern. Double check it carefully and make sure you have everything you need before you get started.
If you struggle with sewing or you want to get things done faster, you might prefer a sewing machine to do things by hand.
3- Cut And Sew
Print out the pattern you’ve selected, and pin it carefully to the clothing, making sure that the clothing is laid out flat and isn’t creased or wrinkled. Take your time to cut along it slowly and carefully; if you cut in the wrong place, you could find yourself having to start again.
When the cutting is done, it’s time to start the hardest part of the process. That’s the sewing. Start with the two largest sections of the material; that’s usually the back and front of the toy. Sew on the inside of the clothing, i.e., the side that faced the wearer’s body, rather than the external side. Sew along all the edges, as indicated by the pattern. When you come across curves or bends, ensure that you don’t leave extra pieces of fabric beyond the edge of the seams; they can cause creases and wrinkles later on. As and when such extra fabric becomes an issue, trim it away.
It’s imperative not to close up the seams at this point completely; you’ll need an opening to put the stuffing in. Enough space to comfortably get your hand in will be required, so measure the space against your hand and make sure you won’t get stuck. When you’ve done this, turn the item of clothing the right way around (so the external sides are now facing outwards, as they would if you were about to wear it). Make sure the edges are filled out, as you would when setting a duvet for your bed.
4- Get Stuffed
You’ve done the hard work now, and you’re nearly finished. When you’ve stuffed your soft toy, you’ll see it starting to take shape. This is when you use your fiberfill, or whatever else you’ve chosen to stuff your creature with. Don’t grab huge handfuls; pick off small chunks and press them right into the farthest ends of the toy, making sure they’re properly filled out and won’t collapse when you’ve sewn the remainder of the toy up. When that’s done, fill out the rest and make sure it’s just the right balance between firm and cuddly.
5- Closing Time
Your toy is now ready for the final touches. Do the last of the sewing to close up the seam, and now it’s time to decorate and accessorize the toy. The pattern you’ve used will probably contain some suggestions, but that shouldn’t be a limit on your creativity. Add to it and color it however you wish. It’s your toy, so make it look however you want it to! If it is intended for a small child, though, be conscious of not adding small parts that could break off and be swallowed.
It really is as simple as that; it shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours for a determined adult, and a supervised child should also be able to manage it in a relatively short space of time. How does your creation look? Are you proud of it? Why not show us in the comments?