Lets start this by saying the sewing of these stuffies was done in secret, late nights, and while kids were distracted. I apologize in advance for the picture clutter and lighting. I had to keep a stack of patterns and fabric within reach to quickly cover my sewing when they popped in to ask the 11 millionth random question of the day 😂 Also, Stuffies = Stuffed Animals, that was the first thing I learned.
Why am I making stuffies?? Well, let me tell you a little story. A few months back Ikea did their annual Soft Toy Drawing Contest. We heard about it and naturally our two kids wanted to enter. They immediately set to work on creating a drawing of their dream stuffed animal. This is what they created, Venessa and Rex.
We submitted their pictures and then realized this contest was voting based. We don’t know tons of people to go vote daily, and it quickly became apparent that they weren’t going to win, when several drawings were getting hundreds of votes a day. The kids still enjoyed watching us vote daily, checking their numbers, and looking at the other entries. We talked about it as a family and yes, turned it into a teaching moment. They were disappointed but good sports about it.
Then I started thinking. What if I could find a pattern similar and try to recreate them for them?? So I started searching. I posted in several FB groups I frequent, asking for pattern suggestions that might match their animals. Of the suggestions, two were very close so I decided to give them a try.
I went through my fabric stash to see if I even had the right colors to make these. Shockingly, I did.
Rex was up first.
For Rex, I used the Timmy T-Rex pattern from Funky Friends Factory. I’ve been sewing for a while now, so I figured this pattern wouldn’t be much different to follow. Yea… I got stuck on step 2 (the spike) 😂. I set it aside and proceeded with the rest of assembly. Once I was at the point of attaching the body pieces, and the spike needed to be on, I chatted with several of my sewing friends. We agreed on a course of sewing and I continued with lots of fingers crossed and “you got this” gifs.
It worked, the spike was on, and the rest of assembly continued. Until I got to the eye.
I really wanted it to look like my sons drawing so I thought I’d try stitching it. When I realized I used a non fabric pen to draw my tracing lines, I had a moment of panic. It didn’t match exactly and you could see both the pen marks and the wobbly stitching, and it didn’t look like his drawing. I decided to grab a permanent fabric marker and drew over it all. YUCK, I was less than thrilled with the look.
Since Rex was all done and ready to stuff at this point, I decided to set him aside and start assembly on Venessa, while I mulled over the eye issue.
For Venessa I used the free Octopus pattern from Halla Patterns. You can find it, and the photo tutorial, in their FB group files and photo album.
After sewing Rex, I felt a bit more comfortable with stuffy number two, and it went pretty quickly.
I got really excited when I laid out the legs like this and saw a glimpse of what the final product would be. The pattern suggests taking a picture at this point so you can remember where you want the legs when it comes time to attach. Then it was time to sew the legs/arms/tentacles, whatever you want to call them.
In my haste I forgot to turn my tension back up from zero, and didn’t catch it until after leg number four. So I seam ripped and then redid.
They were finally done and ready to stuff.
Side bar to talk about how insane poly-fil is! This was my first experience with it and I ordered a box online when Joann had a crazy sale a few weeks back. I took one snip of the plastic bag and POOF! It was like a roll of biscuits. It caught me so off guard I let out a little yelp, which of course, drew my children’s attention. Oops.
Got the kids distracted again, and went back to Venessa. As I was stuffing the legs, I didn’t like how the purple fabric was feeling. It was stretching weird and showing stitches, and felt rough. I went back through my fabric and found a different purple I had missed the first time and switched it out.
Remember that picture of the legs laid out from earlier? It was so helpful at this point.
The pattern recommends pinning or basting the legs on at this point, but I wasn’t completely sure, on how they were supposed to be spaced, so I opted for using wonder tape and clips.
Note: I don’t like the bulk stuff I got off amazon, it doesn’t seem to stick as well as my past Dritz brand. One leg fell halfway off and two others fell partway off when I was actually sewing the body together, which meant I had some extra hand sewing to fix it all.
Once that was all done, I was back to the eyes. My daughter’s drawing, had a blue circle and then a black center. I used a quarter, traced out two circles in some matching fabric and an iron on adhesive. I ironed on the blue, then with a matching thread I stitched the edges to make sure they were secured. Then I was back to the black again. I chatted with my sewing friends, showed them Rex’s eyes, and went over the things I tried and didn’t like. They suggested I try some HTV (heat transfer vinyl). After a phone call for software help and two hours of playing with sizing, I managed to print and iron on some eyes, brow, and smile. My friends are amazing, just FYI 💕
All that was left at this point was to stuff Venessa’s body, stuff Rex, and hand stitch up the remaining openings. I had never stuffed anything before so I just kind of started and then quickly realized it was lumpy and not filling the edges too well. So I removed it and started again. This time I separated out smaller pieces and worked them into the points with my finger. I also fluffed the pieces together inside, as I was adding more and it worked much better. I have no idea if the spike on Rex was supposed to be stuffed or not, but I really wanted to have it stuffed, so I kind of winged the actual sewing it on part, and made sure to leave an opening for stuffing.
Overall it went pretty well!
I give you Venessa
My kids thought I was wrapping Christmas presents when I booted them outside to take these pictures 😂😂 They were quite stumped when the amount under the tree didn’t change.
Most of the fabric for these was from my So Sew English DBP stash. They are incredibly soft and squishy, I know, I gave them a few hugs myself 💕
I can not wait for them to open these on Christmas. My husband is going to try and video them so maybe I will have to update this with their responses later.
Ohhh and yea, that big ole box of poly-fil?? I barely made a dent in it. This is probably why…