I love to sew. A long time ago in a city far far away, I bought a bunch of patterns on sale for dresses, slip covers, and toys. When my daughter and I were looking through patterns recently, this one caught her eye –
The elephant was my daughters choice when this sewing project began. And then my boys found out I was sewing it, they wanted to have a new stuffed animal so I thought, why not?
Here’s my tips for any sewing project –
1. Wash and iron the fabric before use. This will take care of any fabric shrinkage before even using it. Ironing the fabric will make the finished piece look crisper and also easier to work with.
2. Keep straight pins handy. I use straight pins for different things while working on a project. Whether it is for pinning the pattern onto the fabric to cut it out or pinning the piece together, I highly recommend using straight pins.
See there’s no way I could have kept this fabric together while running it through the sewing machine. Sometimes I’ll be in the middle of sewing and stop and pin fabrics to keep things straight.
3. When cutting a pattern make teeny triangles pointing outwards where the pattern indicates this. Some people just snip the fabric at this spot but I like to cut out a triangle to be able to more easily see where the fabric should match up.
4. Always follow the pattern directions. This is self explanatory right? Well, sometimes patterns aren’t so simple. That’s why I prefer Simplicity or other easy type of patterns because there generally aren’t any fancy sewing terms or hard to do projects. I haven’t figured out completely how to sew in a zipper or make button holes(although my mom has tried teaching me many times). Sew, try out a more simple pattern before moving up to the tough ones.
5. Remember stuffed animals are fun and comforting toys. Have the child pick out what colors they would like. Use extra buttons as eyes. Use ribbon to create features like mouths or hair. You can stitch with thread that doesn’t match. Just keep things fun and stuff with filling that makes the animals cuddly and cute. Have fun with this project and don’t worry so much about perfection. Most kids are just excited to have something made just for them. For my kids, I pulled out a stack of leftover fabrics and let them pick out what they wanted for their new creatures.
Here’s how they turned out.
The elephant that I had a pattern for –
For my youngest, I made a tiny pillow turtle. I used a plastic lid to outline a circle and cut out two pieces of fabric.
Then cut two pieces of fabric for each side of the 4 legs, tail, and head. I stuffed these with filler and added button “eyes” to the head. Then put the two circles of fabric front sides together and pinned the head, legs, and tail to the inside of the two pieces of fabric. I sewed around almost the entire circle making sure to sew over the openings of the head, legs, and tail. Then I inside-outted(is that a real word?) the fabric and made sure the head, legs, and tail were securely in place. After stuffing the body of the turtle with filler and sewing the opening shut, viola! A cute little turtle!
The big Whale pillow was the last project. I just winged this without a pattern too. Like the turtle I cut out two pieces of fabric for each fin. For the body, I used a washable marker and drew it on the back side of the fabric making sure to draw it a little larger to consider the width of the seam. From this I cut two pieces of fabric. I pinned some green ribbon on each of the pieces of the whale’s body and sewed it in place for a mouth.
Then I took a bunch of coordinating ribbon and wrapped it around my 4 fingers in one hand. I gathered the ribbon and sewed it together at one end. I pinned the ribbon to the top of the whale’s head to look like a water spout. Also before sewing the whale’s body together, sewed together the fins and stuffed them with fill. These were pinned and sewed to each piece of the whale’s body.
Now, it was time to pin and sew the two sides of the body together. I left a little space to stuff it and then sewed that up. Here’s how it came out –
This was a fun project day! I enjoyed sewing these for my kids and had fun relaxing while working on a hobby.
Have you sewn anything lately? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.