This year for Christmas I have several new babies and small children on my present list. I decided to make some super cute stuffed animal toys as gifts. I always feel that a hand made gift is the best kind of gift. I started by looking at some of my stuffed animals, which I of course have strictly for when little ones visit. I decided my stuffed animals had to be super cute, ultimately cuddly, and have nothing hard (chocking hazard) on them. I really like this one ugly doll that I have in my collection. I decided I’d go with something like him mixed with some of my favorite anime styles/artists work. The bunny above is the finished product. Here’s how to go about making one of your very own.
The first step is to get some super soft very cuddle-able fabric at your favorite fabric store. I bought 1 yard of this soft fleece at Walmart. Truth be told, the fabric caught my eye while walking from automotive to electronics one day and spawned the project to some extent. Next step is to make a pattern in paper. The photo above is my finished pattern for what I will loosely call a stuffed bunny. It took quite some time, and a bunch of paper to settle on this design. Working in paper is faster and easier then cutting fabric so it makes sense to use paper. This is a project truism that holds true for making just about anything. Make a pattern in paper first before you have a go at using a more expensive material. After I settled on a pattern design, I scanned it in to the computer, in case I had some Zactastrophe resulting in the pattern being lost, ruined, set on fire, stolen by fairies, etc.
After making your pattern and copies of it, start to cut out the pieces from fabric. I folded and used a crease to make life easy in my designing this toy. In some cases I left the fold, in others I sewed all around the cut out piece. You can do it either way. After cutting out two of everything, except the tail I laid out the pieces, as in the photo above right, to make sure the stuffed animal looked cute. I thought it was pretty good. Sew up each of the appendages (tail, arms, legs, ears, noses, etc) leaving the small end open. Flip them right side out and stuff with small cut up scrap bits of the super soft fluffy fleece fabric until quite full. At this point you can either sew up the ends, or leave them open to be closed when you sew them onto the body.
Next, cut an appropriately placed vertical slit in one of the body pieces for the tail, pull the tail through the slit and sew it up. Now’s the time to embroider eyes, face, makers mark, etc by hand. It’s best to do this BEFORE you sew up the body and stuff it (as in the above picture). It wasn’t until the third stuffed animal that I actually did the embroidery work before sewing up the doll. The hard part in sewing it all together is making all of the toys arms and legs fit inside as you sew. I found it was far easier to do it one at a time as I went. I started at a leg and went out and around next sewing in an arm, ear, and back down around. Part of the cuteness factor is the small size of these stuffed animal toys. Making them small, and thus cute, results in an increased in sewing difficulty but it’s worth it. After you are done sewing around the doll and all the body parts are on, carefully flip it right side out by pulling each arm and leg through the small opening one at a time. Stuff with polyfill minding the shape of the final stuffed animal. I found that teasing the polyfill some was needed as I stuffed it in to keep the body from becoming lumpy. Finally, hand stitch the “filling area” with a thread colored to match the fabric you select. Your doll is done and looks like the image on the top of the page.
Happiness is seeing a lil girls face light up when she opens her Christmas present to find the very special doll made just for her. I’m pretty sure that this little bunny is going to see lots of love and will become a favorite of the children that get them this year. It takes about one hour long tv show to make one start to finish, not including the pattern making. The yard of fabric I bought is enough to make about 8-10 stuffed animal toys of this size. By cutting up and using the scraps as fill for the arms/legs/ears there is zero wasted material in this project. All in all I’m happy with the costs, efforts, and final products of this project.
Don’t be afraid to let your stuffed animal design evolve as you make them. My first toy was a little bit too wide for my liking. My second stuffed bunny was a very cute size but I decided I didn’t think the arms were cute enough and made a new pattern for the arms. The evolution continued with each stuffed animal being uniquely different. All of them are cute, cuddly, and oh so soft meeting my original requirements. As such they will each get gifted this Christmas and I hope loved by a small child.
Here’s the pattern I came up with for this toy: Projectsbyzac.com – cute bunny stuffed toy pattern