One of the most fun and rewarding sewing project that I have ever undertaken is sewing soft toys for my kids, relatives and friends. It is fun not just because of the myriads of colors and accessories used in crafting it, but also very rewarding when you see the smile it ultimately brings on some little one’s face. Not to mention the cute little product that finally emerges after the work. For all those who are looking to sew that cute bunny or teddy bear, here are some tips from my own experience.
There is no set rule regarding the type of fabric that can be used for making a soft toy. You can mix and match different fabrics and material according to your imagination to get the best result. For example, for the below teddy bears, velvet is used for making the body and felt is used under the feet. Likewise, you can mix and match velvet, fur, pompom or any other material you think would look good on a soft toy. Fake fur is often the material of choice for stuffed animals. You can find a truly huge section of fake furs at Fabric Empire.
Whether you are hand sewing or machine sewing the toy, make sure that the stitches are strong enough to withstand rough usage. Kids have a tendency to poke their finger on any loose stitch and pull out all the stuffing. So make sure that the stitches are short and even triple stitch if possible. Check whether your machine has this facility. If not, then sew a straight stitch first and then sew over it two more times. Also invest in good quality thread for sewing.
For soft toys there are various stuffing options available like polyester, cotton, bamboo, corn stuffing, wool and fabric scrap. Whatever the type of stuffing used, make sure that it is done firmly so that the toy eventually does not go out of shape. Pay special attention to joints as they tend to flop if not stuffed properly. Also, while stuffing make sure that you check the back side for any air bubbles, which might become difficult to fill later on. The best stuffing, in my opinion, is polyester as it is lightweight and can be easily washed. I usually use Fairfield Poly-Fil Premium Polyester Fiber.
The first thing that you notice in a soft toy is its face. Before sewing the eyes, place two round pieces of cloth to find the exact location where the eyes should be fixed. Similarly, for nose and mouth, cut pieces of cloth in triangle and oval shapes and place them on the face to find the best match. Always remember to sew the facial features before stuffing and final sewing.
There are a lot of interesting patterns online for making soft toys. Keeping the above simple tips in mind will make sure that you sew success on your first attempt. Now to get you started, here's a fantastic roundup of some of our favorite Best Free Softie and Plushie Patterns: