Ever sewn a toy which didn't quite look like the pattern did?Here's a few hints and tips to make sure your toy's look fantastic every time.
It's taken me many years to perfect my toy making skills and at the beginning it's sometimes difficult to know what went wrong.
Here's my top five tips for making your toy's look great every time.
1. Choose a pattern which is the right skill level for you.
Most good toy patterns should have a difficulty rating on them with some indication of what skills you'll need to be able to complete it. Take a second to read through this, especially if you're a novice. If there is no rating system, and you're just starting out, try to choose a pattern which has fewer pattern pieces. Normally, I find, the less pieces there are the smaller the room for error!
2. Use good quality equipment.
Good quality pins and pinning can make a big difference when you go over to your sewing machine. It's also important to have good quality cotton in your machine. It needs to be strong especially if your giving the toy to a child so it can withstand a bit of rough and tumble. Another consideration is whether to use safety eyes and noses. There are plenty of tools to speed up the process. The best of which is a Rotary Cutter.
3. Choose your fabric wisely! Some patterns will suggest certain types of fabric but all patterns can always be made out of any fabric, it just makes the pattern easier or harder depending which type you choose. Fleece is your best friend when it comes to making toys! It's stretchy, so it makes tight corners look fantastic and it's fluffiness hides any stray stitches. There are pro's and con's to using other fabrics. Jersey or other stretch fabrics also look fantastic when finished but can be difficult to sew with on your machine. Cottons, linens and Poly cottons are very easy to sew with on your machine but when it comes to turning the toy the right side out you might find tight corners look messy and pulled.
4. To over stuff or under stuff? That is the question.
The amount you stuff your toy's can made them look really different. If you're using a stretchy fabric it's important to over stuff as this can warp the shape of the toy. If you're using a non stretch material, then it depends what kind of feel you'd like to your finished toy. If you want it squishable then don't pack it in too tight. If it's more for display or needs to support the weight of the toy, for example the legs, then it will help to over stuff a little.
And my biggest tip of all...
5. It's all in the face!
So often, I get sent HELP ME emails and photos from customers whose toy looks a little like something from a horror movie rather than a cute cuddly fluffy! This is always easily resolved when they look more closely at the face. The positioning of the eyes and nose make such an impact on the way your finished toy will look.
Ahhh, Cute compared to Ahhhh, run and hide!
You can see from this that it's not only positioning (the mouth and eyes are far too low here), it's what you choose to make the facial features from also makes a massive difference. To be sure, have a good play around before you sew anything down.
For lots more hints and tips and full video tutorials head over to my YouTube Channel