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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 The reason for this is that links and videos can become outdated all the time, and part of the process of learning is being able to go out and find these resources.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!
Add a Comment:
 
:iconizlude:
Izlude Featured By Owner May 1, 2018
I have some software that designs plush dolls (easytoy/patternimage)  only problem is that I don't know which machine to go with >.<   Here's my specs:

-Want a good size area for embroidery.
-To be able to embroider custom images (my own digital art, including eyes/mouth for plush and then other designs things for bags and clothes)... none of that limited stuff where you can only use patterns built into the machine.
-I think there's machines that use software that is "pay per month"  and I'd like to avoid that... one that accepts some kinda open format where you don't have to pay monthly.
-Cheap!!! Budget between 300-500.
-MUST be a combo sewing and embroidery.

Would be grateful to your suggestion :)

Note, I was looking at the Ruby Royale, that looks like the ultimate machine... except it's over 2000 dollars lol.. If I generate enough money with my projects, I'll definitely buy that, but for now, looking for a cheap solution that does all the listed :D  Thanks!!!
Reply
:iconautumnspiraler:
Autumnspiraler Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This was SO HELPFUL. I’m making merchandise to support my YouTube Chanel and my viewers tell me they want a plush... so, I managed to make one using this guide! THANK YOU!
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:iconnakouwolf:
Nakouwolf Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
I haven't read all the tuto yet, but from what I've seen and heard it's really helpful! I want to try, so someday I'm sure to use it and I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your knowledge, that's awesome! :huggle:
Reply
:iconrene-sanchez:
Rene-Sanchez Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
You've inspired me, thanks so much for this guide, STAY AWESOME!
Reply
:iconemobayleef:
EmoBayleef Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you for this guide and help, I would love to start making plushies. :3
Reply
:iconartferdark:
Artferdark Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow bless up for this
Reply
:iconraexenos:
raexenos Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2017  Student General Artist
I never thought about sculpting a 3D model and then attaching/cutting fabric to get the pattern pieces *0* Thank you for this. I'm new to this plushie business and this answered a lot of my questions I had!
Reply
:iconnameless-animatronic:
Nameless-Animatronic Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
This is SO amazing.
Thank you very much for this guide !

I have a question about embroidy eyes and things. How to you put them on the plush ? Simply by sewing them together ?
Reply
:iconskyrokee:
Skyrokee Featured By Owner Edited Aug 30, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
bless
Reply
:icon3729234732y74:
3729234732y74 Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2017  Student General Artist
hah, I knew deviantart would know.
Reply
:iconskyrokee:
Skyrokee Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
found you bich
Reply
:icon3729234732y74:
3729234732y74 Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2017  Student General Artist
AASDFGHJFDGFHJKL
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:iconallysinventions:
AllysInventions Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2017  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
So I have a few questions for you . Do you hand embroider your eyes or machine? and if you do use a machine what type of machine?
I just would like to know because I am wanting to purchase an embroidery machine.

Thank you for your time.:) (Smile) 
Reply
:iconr-a-l-i-d-e-aadopts:
R-a-l-i-d-e-aAdopts Featured By Owner May 20, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I really want to thank you for this. I've wanted to make plushies forever, but I've used every excuse you mentioned and more. I haven't gotten good yet, but this really inspired me to try. kaomoji set 2 15/67 
Reply
:iconultimatecheez:
ultimatecheez Featured By Owner May 5, 2017  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
I just want to say thank you so much for this guide! All of your guides have been super helpful as I've been learning and making my own patterns and plushes.
Reply
:iconmarsasalam:
Marsasalam Featured By Owner Edited Feb 12, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I can't find fleece in my town.... There are only two sewing stores and they sell almost nothing.
Reply
:icongorlie:
Gorlie Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Time to attempt a rowdyruff boy plush I thinks x3
Reply
:iconyatzugo:
Yatzugo Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
This guide is so in-depth and just pure amazing~ :squee: I love it XD  An awesome job Diffeomorphism
Reply
:iconnightiing:
NightIing Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is so helpful! I've been wanting to make plushies and this gave some pretty great advice that I'll be following when I start attempting to make plushes! 
Reply
:iconmuffledghost:
Muffledghost Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is really helpful ^^ thank you so much~ :D
Reply
:iconioialoha:
Ioialoha Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2016
this was great! i actually have a sewing background myself, but that's quilting... lots of straight lines and very predictable geometric shapes. the thought of moving from that into 3-d is rather intimidating! 
Reply
:iconxxtoxiclimexx:
xxToxicLimexx Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much for making this! I've honestly been inspired to make plushies, and this really helped me get an idea on how to make them!
Reply
:iconbluesparkii:
BlueSparkii Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks so much! I've been wanting to make an Eevee plush for ages!
Reply
:iconomadhattero:
OMadHatterO Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2016
I am quite familiar (or at least, have some great knowledge, but I am barely into an Arts High school) with math and 3D stuff... And when I always think a little deeper about the pattern of a certain plushie, I start making it into my mind, taking almost all the pieces out. I started preparing myself about the practice and when I saw how the stitches should work, I started imagining the process into my mind, like in a 3D computer program.
Do you posses such ability after your experience in making plushies? :3
Reply
:icondiffeomorphism:
Diffeomorphism Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2016
A bit yeah! It's just a matter of breaking down what 3D shapes look like and understanding their properties, e.g. their lengths, curvatures, etc.
Reply
:iconomadhattero:
OMadHatterO Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2016
Nice to hear that! ^_^
Thank you for answering my question! Have a nice day! :)
Reply
:iconthepurpletabby:
ThePurpleTabby Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2016  Student General Artist
Thanks so much for your help! I've done sewing and pattern making before (for making clothes and cosplay armor and whatnot), but I've never made plushies before, so this was a great tutorial to help me get started!

Quick question though. What's the difference between minky and, say, an ultra fluffy fleece. I know regular fleece differs from minky quite a lot, but how does something like this particular fabric differ from minky. Do you know?
Reply
:icondiffeomorphism:
Diffeomorphism Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2016
Hm, I don't quite recall what Jo-Ann's fabric feels like, but I think some of the stuff they sell as "Soft N Comfy" fabrics almost feels more like a really fluffy towel than minky. It's been a while since I stopped by a Jo-Ann though. I also think Jo-Ann minky tends to be super stretchy relative to the Shannons stuff I like, but again, that's something which is best confirmed just by trying out both if you have the chance.
Reply
:iconniiineko:
NiiiNeko Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
thank you so much for this! <3
Reply
:iconfairydust07:
Fairydust07 Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2016
This has been incredibly helpful! I feel a bit more confident after reading this and am more eager to get started. Meow La 
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:iconjustanotherday8:
justanotherday8 Featured By Owner May 26, 2016
How do i open it ;^; i cant figure it out no matter how i try
Reply
:iconsoftt-t:
Softt-t Featured By Owner May 10, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
*cri*
IPad wont open file
Reply
:iconladyofthewilds:
ladyofthewilds Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
This is simpley amazing! I want to learn how to make plushes so much but i'm so overwhelmed on how to start. Its the patterns that have me worried, i want to make my own patterns but im so unsure how to start. This guide helps so much, thank you
Reply
:iconellimac1617:
Ellimac1617 Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2016
Thank you very much! The first part in which you described why one decide to make a plush instead of buying one is exactly what happened to me (expect for the last paragraph), so it made me laugh really =D. Thanks to you I might be able to finally be courageous and make a plush myself (when I'll have the time ;D)!
Reply
:iconkeyshe54:
Keyshe54 Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2016  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you so sharing this!
Reply
:iconangelcakes618:
Angelcakes618 Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2015
Thank you so much! I have a few plushies I would like to make, so this is very useful! c:
Reply
:iconhackeryugi:
HackerYugi Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you for the guide! I've been into sewing for as long as I can remember, and I've already made a few plushies just from drawing templates based off of pictures. They're cute and I'm satisfied with them, but I felt there was room to improve. This guide definitely gave me some new ideas of where I want to go with my work, so thanks again.
Also give that adorable Goodra a hug for me.
Reply
:iconeliotuniverse:
EliotUniverse Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Aww amazing thanks 
Reply
:iconlaugh-butts:
Laugh-Butts Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
I LOVE YOU. You are so systematic! What a fantastic teacher and fun read! 
Reply
:icondiffeomorphism:
Diffeomorphism Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2015
Haha I dunno if I'd be a good teacher in real life. Not enough patience =P I'm glad you found it useful though, thanks so much =)
Reply
:iconsapphirethewolfdemon:
SapphireTheWolfDemon Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks this really helps! You see I'm a beginner plushie maker & I've been having a lot of problems with making a plush of one of my OC's Kokoro. ^^; This is a very helpful guide! :)
Reply
:icondiffeomorphism:
Diffeomorphism Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2015
Glad I could help out! Were the problems you were having more about basic sewing techniques, or about getting the patterning right? If it's about the latter you might find some of my other tutorials useful. Or of course if you just feel like experimenting until something sticks, that's one of the best way for beginners to to learn =)
Reply
:iconsapphirethewolfdemon:
SapphireTheWolfDemon Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It was the patterning, my character is rather hard to make into a plush. I might work on one of my other characters, I do have lots of fabric & string for it. ^^
Reply
:iconlucario-luke:
Lucario-Luke Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
LUCARIO PATTERN PLEASE
AND A LOPUNNY!
Reply
:icondiffeomorphism:
Diffeomorphism Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2015
Hey there! I'm guessing you're relatively new so I'll let you know before anyone else might react to it, but many plush artists would consider a request in this form rather rude. Quality patterns take a long time to make and are inherently valuable, so asking for not one, but two free patterns without regard to how much work they take is something which some people might be offended by. Not me of course, I don't really care that much, but just a heads up.
Reply
:iconlucario-luke:
Lucario-Luke Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
O MY GOSH
I AM SORRY!
),:
Reply
:icondiffeomorphism:
Diffeomorphism Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2015
No worries! Just keep it in mind when conversing with others on the site =) As I said I just don't want you to get chewed up by someone else on dA, haha.
Reply
:icontyler8dart:
Tyler8DArt Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
thanks so much for this!!!
Reply
:icontitanshifter1:
titanshifter1 Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for this. I might be making plushies eventually.
Reply
:iconlucario-17:
Lucario-17 Featured By Owner Edited Jun 6, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I just wanted to thank you for this tutorial. I've been working with my sewing machine for months now and, while I've greatly improved, I still have yet to finish a plush. Why? Well I just can't figure out the dang ladder stitch and thus can't attach final details or, more importantly, the heads! Sometimes I think about giving up but after all this work, I can look at professional plushies and think "Oh, I could totally do that!" This has inspired me even more not to give up! Thank you for that!
Reply
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