Making Soft Toys the Basics
Believe it or not... 15 years ago I couldn't even sew on a button!
The process of learning any new skill is trial and error. You need to be prepared to give it a go! Much of what I have learned has been 'self-taught' My own sewing skills have only developed by not giving up and being patient with my mistakes and being persistant.
Before you make your Soft Toy please take the time to read this page, as it will offer you some valuable tips on Soft Toy making which you will be able to incorporate into your own Soft Toy making, giving you the best possible outcome.
First and foremost- Safety! If the Soft Toy or Cloth Doll you are making is intended for a young child, it needs to be child-friendly on the inside and the outside.
You can buy 'stuffing' from craft and sewing stores this is purpose made 'stuffing' to go inside your toys. The cost of store bought stuffing can be high especially if you need to use alot of it.
I use alot of Stuffing so it is more cost effective for me to use 'Pillow Stuffing'. If you purchase cheap 'new' pillows at Big W for instance, a two pack of Pillows is just $5! The 'pillow' stuffing is 100% Polyester and safe and sit well in my toys.
I like to use 100% Cotton Quilting Fabrics for my toys. The fabric is strong and comes in a variety of colours and designs, which enables you to choose a fabric which will complement the particular toy you are making.
Features are the eyes, cheeks, beak or wings! It is what you put on the outside of your Toy to give it a personality.
The features are the 'finishing touch', should complement the fabrics and character you have created, and bring it to life.
I use alot of woolen-felt and pure woolen-blanketing material in various colours for my features. The following link will take you to instructions on how to make and sew on, the 'features' on your toy.
Buttons & Beading
I generally do not use buttons and too much beading on my toys. When I sell my toys I do not know the age the child is, who is going to recieve the toy. I therefore want to make each toy completely child-friendly and safe.
Generally if the child you are making the toy for is under 3 years of age, do not use buttons or beading to decoate your toy. Small objects can be swallowed and become a choking hazard and nobody wants to be responsible for that.
Making your Soft Toy or Cloth Doll durable so it will stand the test of time!
Kids will be Kids! You need to be prepared for the fact that your 'pride and joy' is going to be 'played' with. Sadly your Soft Toy creation will be thrown, kicked, dragged around the house as well as 'snuggled'.
I 'line' all my Soft Toys and Cloth Dolls with an extra layer of fabric usually 'Quilters Muslin' in cream or white. I cut it to exactly the same size as the fabric I cut for my toy and place it on the reverside of the fabric. See in the image adjecent, the fabric for the Penguin is black but on the inside I will have an extra layer of cream fabric, this will not be seen when the toy is finished.
Lining your fabric with 'Quilters Muslin'
Use a Small Stitch & Stitch Twice
When you are sewing your toy on the sewing machine, you normally sew around your pattern once. I always sew around the pattern 'twice' and use a small stitch on the sewing machine.
Using a small stitch and sewing twice will make your toy alot stronger. Also, when it is stuffed firmly the seams will not be weak and will not be prone to ripping under pressure.