Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Making a soft toy from free online patterns

At Fabric8 we ran a  Toy Making Competition some tinme ago. I've been inspired by some of the entries to make a little stuffed toy of my own. Although I've made stage costumes, wedding dresses and other wonderful things I've never made a teddy. I decided to use a pattern thats freely available to download off the net from http://www.wyrm.org.uk/cuddly/index.html . After reading the instructions I assembled the materials needed.

Toy Stuffing
 and fabric 50cm x50cm 

The pattern I downloaded was the beanbag Dragon and I have to admit I'm very impressed. The instructions are very clear. I used the seam guide to find the seams are 1/4 of an inch. The first step as ever is to cut out the pattern pieces and to lay them out on the fabric. I decided to recreate the dragon from my childhood back in Wales, "Magon the Dragon".  I used red fun fur for the top of his body and pink for his underbelly and the inside of his ears. 

Some pieces such as the wings need 4 copies cut instead of two. When working with such small pattern pieces it's easy to lose a piece  when you clear out the scrap fabrics, so make sure to keep all the pieces safe including the wing and ear pieces which you had to unpin from the pattern paper so you could cut out the second copies (yes I DID accidently throw my wings in the bin when tidying away the scraps).

The head is the first piece to be assembled and I think looks very cute. I found it amazing how much shape the neck piece adds to the face. This picture was taken BEFORE the head was stuffed which I think goes some way to showing how much shaping the neck piece does. 

The wings are made next, and the lines of the wings are top-stitched on. This gives them a lot more definition. The two top sections are then tacked onto their wings and then the top sections are sewn together, leaving a small gap  for turning out. One of the two tail pieces is sewn on the top section as well. 

Next the inside of the back legs are sewn onto the bottom of the body. Care must be taken to make sure the right leg is on the right side. Here you can see that I didn't take enough care and thus the feet wouldn't not match up when sewing the top to the bottom. (never learn from mistakes, learn from someone else's :) ) 

Once the top and bottom of the dragon are sewn together you need to sew the head on. I found it easier to push the head into the neck cavity and sew along the neckline by hand. (right sides together of course). I always use a machine were possible but even I found it much quicker to do this short bit of sewing by hand. 

And there you have it, one very cute fuzzy dragon. Of course this one wont be in the toy competition as I'm a staff member. But anyone else can download a patterns and make one for the competition. You can express your creativity in many ways with these and other patterns. Try different fabrics, add embroidery, maybe use beading as well. You have 3 more weeks to get an entry into us and this little fella only took a few hours to make. Surprise us, and maybe yourselves as well. 

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