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So you want to make plushies? A beginner's guide by Diffeomorphism So you want to make plushies? A beginner's guide by Diffeomorphism

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Phew, finally decided that this was good enough to publish! Only took like 10-20 readings after my initial rough draft.

Anyway, here's a guide I threw together for people who want to sew but have absolutely no idea where to start. I wrote this guide in a way which would've been most helpful to me back in May, when I decided to start sewing but didn't really know much besides mashing pieces of fabric together. Naturally the guide is written from my own perspective and experiences in sewing; ask other plushie makers and they'll have a whole different set of experiences and advice to share.

I tried to make the guide as comprehensive as possible, but one thing I didn't do was include links to resources. The reason for this is that links and videos can become outdated all the time, and part of the process of learning is being able to go out and find these resources. Nonetheless, one of the best resources I can recommend is Metroidhat's site, which gives not only visual instructions on how to do stitches but also some good step-by-step tutorials. I found myself going back there all the time when I was starting out.

If you have any questions, comments, or objections, feel free to leave a comment or send me a message! I wrote this guide to help people out, and I'd love to help out however I can! (Although I can't give my patterns away.) Speaking of which, if I get bored, I might release some sort of guide documenting my pattern-making process. It won't be any time soon but I figure it's something which people are interested in and that I'd like to write about. Be warned though, it's going to involve some pretentious math terminology =P

That's all. Happy New Year! 2014's gonna be a good year, I can tell.

Edit: Holy crap, 100 favorites already! I had no idea there'd be this big of a response. Thanks guys!
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:iconpaperhana:
paperhana Featured By Owner May 8, 2015  New member Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Thanks so much for this!  This was very encouraging.
Reply
:iconkaliedo-star:
Kaliedo-Star Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I have been ACHING to make OC plushies for my self and one or two friends. I was thinking of commissioning someone but then it would be tedious to try and find someone to have some open and it would cost money (no offense to the commissioners of course). I was considering making some myself. I just had to think about it in the long run. This might help me move forward into making it a reality! Who knows? I'll figure it all out when I get to it <3.
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:icondixon-vixen:
Dixon-Vixen Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Reading this guide makes me want to actually try and make one..! I've been looking around trying to find someone to commission to make a plushie of my characters, but I don't even have enough money. Thank you for making this guide, it's very helpful.
Reply
:icondarkshuka:
Darkshuka Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Well, just returned from an anime convention and won some sewing equipment from some contest judges, and I decided to try plushie making a few weeks ago. Ended up spending the rest of my spending money on some fabric and a sewing kit. Your guide reminded me of how I felt about cosplay making lolz. Figured if I can improve in that, I can improve in plushie making. Also used to hand sew bags together and fix comforters when I was younger, so at least the sewing part won't be completely new. Gonna start tomorrow, so wish me luck XD
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:icongemlettuce:
Gemlettuce Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2015  New member Hobbyist General Artist
Well thanks to this guide and seeing thousands of really bad Pokémon collectors plushies on ebay I'm also going to try making plushies. I'm going to start off with felt though and from what I've seen it can make plushies look bad :( sadly there are no cheap fabric shops anywhere around where I live so ebay/amazon is my go-to.

Thank you so much for the supporting words that anyone can learn to do this, I have a bad track record of wanting to learn things and then giving up because "I'm too old to learn"
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:icondiffeomorphism:
Diffeomorphism Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2015  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Admittedly I'm not a big fan of felt myself, but that's mostly because I'm accustomed to fabrics like minky which is definitely a high end fabric. If you intend to use minky in the future, I'd honestly start out using fleece rather than felt; both are cheap, but felt, from what I understand, has very little stretch, whereas fleece has a lot of stretch and is a little bit closer to using minky, which has a medium-high degree of stretch when stuffed. That being said, if felt is the only thing available, then by all means go for it! Train yourself on the basics and go from there. For the record, Plush Addict is a very good minky vendor in the UK, should you ever decide to want to purchase any; they also sell polar fleece and stuff, although idk if it's cheaper to buy in a store (£6.35/meter is definitely way more than I pay for fleece here in the US).
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:icongemlettuce:
Gemlettuce Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2015  New member Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you so much for the link! I actually asked around my town and there is a fabric place (long walk but oh well) on the outskirts. I will most likely be buying from that site though!  I was wondering if you know of any forums to do with plush making and sewing? I've googled but only found dead threads and forums from 2008.
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:icondiffeomorphism:
Diffeomorphism Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2015  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
There's a pretty active Facebook group called Plush Artists United which is very active right now and includes plush artists of all levels, including some of the best plush artists out there; I feel like that's probably the most active plush community out there right now.
Reply
:icongemlettuce:
Gemlettuce Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2015  New member Hobbyist General Artist
Ah awesome thankyou! Just sent a request :D
Reply
:iconwaltervd:
Waltervd Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
this is a good read i want to make a plushy from minky of a pony OC of mine  
i have touched a thread before xD 
i once tried to make a pony cube which ended decently ( picture below ) 
all dem cubes by Waltervd
i also made the cubes for some other OC's of mine but never finshed them ( i think i should ) 
( first is human second and third dog like and the last dragoneque xD )


but yeah this was a good read i learned something from this ouo
all tho i havent done embroidering before i can do felt eyes/cutie mark
and if i may ask do you know a good pony sewing pattern ?
i think i can fiddle around with the legs since my oc has the hooves in view ( like big mac ) 
and he has a female head so if you know a good male/female sewing pattern please show me XD
i have seen a lot of them and not all make sense or the end result doenst look how i thought it would ( some have pictures that show the end result )
Reply
:icondiffeomorphism:
Diffeomorphism Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2015  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Hm, I'm not familiar too many pony patterns out there; I know Voodoo-Tiki has a few, but I haven't found any others since I've never needed to use a pony pattern. I'm sure a few people out there are probably selling patterns for download, but I couldn't tell you where to find them =P Good luck!
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:iconwaltervd:
Waltervd Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
thank you :D
Reply
:iconsicatoune:
Sicatoune Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2015
I love you!
Love your approach, your point of view, your words... You love what you do, and you want to share this love with us... Thank you!!!
Reply
:icondiffeomorphism:
Diffeomorphism Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2015  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Glad I could help =) I just like to help people out whenever I can.
Reply
:icondragonsculpt:
Dragonsculpt Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2015  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
you are the best person alive for making this xD thank you alot
Reply
:iconlynn-writer:
lynn-writer Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2015
Excellent guide!  Thank you so much  :)
Reply
:iconelementalbeastie:
Elementalbeastie Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
"...Who have never touched a spool of thread in their lives." 
me: PERFECT!
Reply
:iconspaztastyck:
SPAZTASTYCK Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
Oh my God. Thank you so much for making this, this is really helpful. I have been wanting to make plushies for a while now, but I have been discouraged since I totally suck at sewing, or at least used to. I actually successfully made a sock monkey a little while ago, never thought that would happen, seeing as I broke 3 sewing machines in my 7th grade sewing class and 2 in 8th grade (on the last one I broke, I just not-so-casually moved seats and waited for somebody else to report it to the teacher...she knew I did it XD). I think I have buried talent somewhere, it's just taking a lot of blood and tears to get there. 

Anyway, I think this guide will help save me a couple ounces of blood and tears. Adding you to my watch so I can keep seeing more adorable plushies :)
Reply
:icondiffeomorphism:
Diffeomorphism Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Thanks! =) Even I'm still pretty bad with a machine, I'm trying to get better though. So far I've only broken one needle, which is a pretty good average for the 1.5 years I've had my machine, haha.
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:iconspaztastyck:
SPAZTASTYCK Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
Of course :) And that's good! That's really good actually. I think I was just an idiot because I broke them all over the course of two years. Technically a few months because they were different trimesters. I think it helped to learn how to thread the bobbin correctly... XD
Reply
:iconthecommentator88976:
TheCommentator88976 Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2014
I've favourited this to look at over and over again. I want to learn these things so I can make my own Marionette plush from Fnaf 2. I can't find any patterns for Marionette, so I'll have to make my own. Which will be tough. But I believe with enough practice I can make my Marionette plushie. I'll study the details of Marionette carefully so I can make it as good as it can be for a beginner. Reason I'm doing this is because there are no Marionette plushes for sale. Your guide should really help me make this plushie!
Reply
:icondekiigrupo:
DekiiGrupo Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2014  Professional Artisan Crafter
thank you very much!!! so helpfull!
Reply
:iconchibi-pets:
Chibi-pets Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2014   Artisan Crafter
Is ok If I share this in my fan page in facebook? ^^ is really cool! 
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:icondiffeomorphism:
Diffeomorphism Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Sure, no problem! If someone with your skill level thinks it's worth sharing then I'm pretty happy =P
Reply
:iconchibi-pets:
Chibi-pets Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2014   Artisan Crafter
www.facebook.com/ChibiPets?ref… thanks! 

Thanks for your kind words too 
Reply
:iconhadescreations:
HadesCreations Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
~Hugs so much an gives much love~ you - have made my day~! I 've been searching for something on how to do decent plushes and felt like I was doing bad but I'm so happy this has been shown to me~! <3
Reply
:icondiffeomorphism:
Diffeomorphism Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Glad I could help! Even if this tutorial didn't provide too much specific pattern advice =P
Reply
:iconhadescreations:
HadesCreations Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It's helped a lot more than some guides I've found ^~^;
Reply
:iconsadhandle:
SadHandle Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2014  Student Artisan Crafter
I have a question: I just made my first plush ever (caterpie!) and the issue I had with him was that once I stitched him up I could see the stitches on the outside, even though I did them on the inside. My ladder stitches weren't visible but my regular ones were. How do I avoid this in the future, as I don't plan on using a sewing machine any time soon.
Reply
:icondiffeomorphism:
Diffeomorphism Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
A lot of times it actually just depends on the fabric you use. I know that generally when I sew fleece by hand the stitches tend to be quite visible; fleece definitely seems to look much nicer when it's machine-sewn. However, for minky, which I use for all my plush, generally I can hand sew without stitches being visible from the outside, mostly because the fuzz covers the seams up. Other than that, I'm not sure I can offer much advice; just pay attention to the spacing and tension of your stitches, and perhaps consider using a backstitch.
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:iconsadhandle:
SadHandle Featured By Owner Edited Nov 4, 2014  Student Artisan Crafter
I tried backstitches actually on part of him and I found them to be more visible. I am using fleece. I don't think it helped that I was using white thread on green fleece ^^;;
Thanks for your help though :) and getting back to me so fast
Also one other thing and I promise I'll leave you alone lol! I use knots from my ladder stitches and they are VERY visible. Any tricks for hiding them? Or different knots? I've been using french knots for the top stitched details, but I don't think I can do that :/
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:icondiffeomorphism:
Diffeomorphism Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
For the starting knots, you typically just have to figure out a good starting point that'll hide them. For the finishing knot, typically what I do is that after tying up the finishing knot, you want to bring the needle into the seam as close to the knot as possible and pull the string through tightly; many times this will cause the knot to get pulled into the seam, and you won't be able to see it from the outside. 
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:iconsadhandle:
SadHandle Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2014  Student Artisan Crafter
Oh I see! Thank you so much!
Reply
:icontransforpuppy:
transforpuppy Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2014
This in an amazing guide! I'm trying to start learning how to make plushs and this has really helped ^v^ especially the bit about the patterns 
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:icondiffeomorphism:
Diffeomorphism Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
No problem, glad I could help! Yeah I definitely understand how pattern stuff can be pretty intimidating; it really is true that being good at making patterns just involves trying over and over again. The only way to get better at making plushies is to make more plushies.
Reply
:iconbronzewinged:
Bronzewinged Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2014  Hobbyist
Thank you so much for this piece of happy text and advises. ^_^
I've no idea if it'll be of use but I fave it anyway so I do not loose it. 
What is the hardest to make plush you've done until today?
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:icondiffeomorphism:
Diffeomorphism Featured By Owner Edited Aug 7, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
No problem! As for the hardest plush, does the first one count? =P That's always the hardest since that's when you're figuring everything out. I think Aromatisse was probably the hardest in terms of involving lots of hand stitching and being somewhat repetitive, especially when sewing on top of the faux fur. Definitely never making that one again...
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:iconpink11219:
pink11219 Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2014  Student General Artist
This is a great guide! I'm just starting to make some pony plushies after about 6+ months of not sewing. I'll always look at this as a reference if I have trouble with any projects. Thank you for making this! :D
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:icondiffeomorphism:
Diffeomorphism Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Awesome, good luck! There's a lot of decent pony patterns out there with which to get started; Voodoo-Tiki has a lot of pony patterns and tutorials. I don't make ponies but if you have any questions feel free to let me know!
Reply
:iconpink11219:
pink11219 Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2014  Student General Artist
Thanks! I'm actually using their Pony Loaf pattern. It's turning out well so far. :3
Reply
:iconglowingradiance:
GlowingRadiance Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you for making this. I can cry. Cause, there's no place here in my country that sells those stuff....
Or maybe I just didn't see any yet... 
Though it is RARE to see a craft shop fully furnished...
I even buy yarns online...

*bawls*
Reply
:icondiffeomorphism:
Diffeomorphism Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Hm that's surprising, you'd think there's some place that at least stocks some cheap fabric. Keep your eyes peeled, I'm sure you'll find something!
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:iconglowingradiance:
GlowingRadiance Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I will. I'll hunt anything cheap. Especially yarns as well... 
Hey, I can see a good business chance here. haha
Reply
:iconjwiesner:
JWiesner Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2014
THANK YOU for this! I needed that. :)
I can relate to the beginning of your story, I'm currently studying economy and the likes as well, nothing that has to do with making plushies. And I had a scary mean teacher that one time everybody had to take sewing classes at school, many years ago! So I got a distance from that topic. But I still love and appreciate good looking plushies. I swear those unique ones from practiced plushie makers always look better than those mass-produced plushies in stores. I'm a nit-pick like that. It became one of the reasons why I thought about making the plushies myself (I REALLY want to have a medium-sized Donphan one day).

I'll save this file! So I can read it and follow it step by step as soon as I feel brave enough to make this new kind of art. C:
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:icondiffeomorphism:
Diffeomorphism Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Yup, sounds a lot like me! I admired Pokemon plushies for the longest time and remember admiring like crazy anyone who could make plushies. Well, I certainly still admire plenty of plushie makers, but now it's like I really wish I had started earlier. Ah well. Good luck, and let me know if you have any questions!
Reply
:iconjwiesner:
JWiesner Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2014
I have a little question, only because I wonder. When you're making/figuring out patterns and stuff, do you need to be good at math? Because I actually suck at math. xD
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:icondiffeomorphism:
Diffeomorphism Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Not really, lots of people have different ways of creating patterns. Some people can even make things without using patterns, which of course I find impossible. I just find that using math helps me organize my approach. None of it is too complicated anyway; as long as you understand that you can't connect two sides if they don't have the same length, then I think you're good to go.
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:iconjwiesner:
JWiesner Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2014
Alright, good to know. Thank you!
Reply
:icon5nights:
5Nights Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I've been looking forward to making plushies for a VERY LONG TIME.
Now I have set up a sewing room and am now practicing the basic stitching process. 
I hope to one day have adorable plushies that I can look at with satisfaction and say "I made that"
This has inspired me to do so much more than just 'make plushies,' but to embrace the fact that it is hard work, but satisfying.
Thank you tons for this guide!
Reply
:icondiffeomorphism:
Diffeomorphism Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Man, I wish I could have a designated sewing room, mostly it's just a buncha crap cluttering my desk, haha. Best of luck with your plushies; feel free to ask if you need anything!
Reply
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