How to Make Stuffed Animals by Sian Keegan
Stuffed animals are fun. They are cute and whimsical and come in so many shapes and sizes and colors. I have made a couple stuffed animals before but they are like potato chips- you can't have just one. So when I found the book How to Make Stuffed Animals by Sian Keegen I thought, yes please!
Sian's stuffed animals are very adorbale but I would put them more in the sculpture catagory than the 'fun things for kids to play with' catagory. The animal I chose to make is actually part of a pair that are suppose to be wedding cake toppers. Not that a child can't play with them but perhaps an older child would appreciate the aethstetics of these little creature better.
For some reason the deer caught my attention. They just looked so sweet standing together that I thought I should make one. I then flipped to the back of the book and found that I would need to enlarge the pattern. This is not unusual in crafts books. Putting full size patterns in the back of the book can take up a lot of pages and some might not even fit so they give you a smaller version that you have to enlarge on a copy machine to get the proper size.
I don't have a copy machine. I do have a scanner which I suppose I could have scanned the pattern in, figured out how to enlarge it and then print it out but my computer savvy husband is out of state visiting relatives at the moment and I knew this would cause me nothing but rage. Therefore I opted to do it the manual way.
First I traced the original pattern pieces into a piece of tracing paper. I then measured each piece section by section and then trimpled the number to make the piece three times bigger thatn the origianl.
It took some time and a bit of guessing when it came to the curves but I am much better in the physical world than I am in the digital one so in the end this did save me time. It also saved me the time it would have taken to get in my car and drive to a place that could enlarge it for me.
Once I had all the pieces enlarged I cut them out. In my fabric stash I was lucky enough to have a fun brown batik for the body, a copper colored silk/hemp blend for the inside of the ears and tail and some brown felt for the antlers.
When you are cutting out something with this many curves I suggest you cut it completely away from the rest of the fabric first. Then you can easily turn it this way and that to get just the right curve. Move the piece- not your hand.
I did the antlers a bit different than she advises in the book. I cut out pieces of felt with pointy tips and then stitched to hold them together and create a bit of a design.
I tacked the ears and antlers down.
Looks like a deer to me!
After following the rest of her direction I came up with this little fellow. When I stuffed him I added some lentils in his feet to give him some weight so he would stand up better. You could use dry rice too but beans might be a bit big in relation to his size.
Overall he was a fun little project to make. There are a few more animals in the book that I might make but I think I will enlarge the patterns even more. Even at three times the original size I still felt that there were some small places that make this a tricky piece to sew.
If you decide to do antlers the way I did them then I reccomend you put in a piece of wire perhaps to keep them up. Mine are a little soft and start to droop.
I definatley reccommend this book if you are interested in making cute stuffed animals.
After making this cute deer I decided I also need a weiner dog too...just because. So I grabbed some brown felt and made one like those on the cover of the book.
When I made the deer I forgot to show how I made the eyes so here are a few photos that show that on the dog.
First I drew the eyes on with a marker. I did the same with the nose.
I then stitched on the eyes doing my best to hit the exact edge of the line I drew so that the eye would come out even.
Having a line to follow is really helpful and something I did not think to do on the deer.
And there you go, a wiener dog with stitched eyes and a nose. Another option would be to paint them on but I like how the stitching gives the little guy a vintage feel.