I love sewing softies.
I love that softies are quick
to make and are a great first sewing project if you’re just getting comfortable
with a sewing machine.
Ducky Rattle made from my Animal Rattles pattern
I love that at the end of each project I have a little creature
on my desk looking up at me, something I can give to a child or a friend and
it’ll make them feel good.
I love that softie making is a thrifty craft. Most
projects require just a 1/4 yard of fabric and a few ounces of stuffing, and
that fabric can be almost anything. I can’t think of another area of sewing in
which literally anything goes when it comes to fabric choices. Fleece, felt and
cotton are the most common softie-making materials, but upholstery fabric, fur, corduroy, velvet…whatever little bits of fabric you've got stored somewhere can become part of a softie.
Selecting and combining fabrics is a big
part of the creativity of sewing a stuffed animal.
I have a new pattern coming that incorporates shiny fabrics, fleece, and felt. His name is Hadley the Horse and he's the next pattern in Six Months of Softies, a subscription club for people who enjoy sewing softies. Hadley is a 3-in-1 pattern. The instructions show you how to make a horse, unicorn, and zebra, too. The variations are primarily dependent on fabric choice.
A blog reader, Anjali Sastri, has a Six Months
of Softies membership.
She says, "I’m learning to sew, primarily by making toys. I joined Six
Months of Softies because I love the concept of trying out a ‘sampler’ of
patterns by designers whose work I admire. Honestly, I really look forward to
receiving each month’s pattern in my inbox. Like the magazine subscriptions
that I momentarily forget about between issues, when the new softie pattern
arrives it’s like getting a surprise present that I can’t wait to tear into."
Anjali’s been sewing elephants from Wendi’s pattern and I
think what she’s done exemplifies the creativity and freedom involved in
selecting fabrics for soft toys.
"Emile, the elephant, is made from a remnant of cozy gray fleece, printed
flannel, and embroidery floss for the eyes. For Marielle, the albino wooly
mammoth, I experimented with a piece of thrifted cream faux fur, coordinating
printed flannel, and black safety eyes. Currently I’m sewing up a third
elephant from a velvety leopard print that I spotted at a fabric flea market."
Erika de Niet-Winkles is a subscriber as well. She runs
Stitchee, a fabric and craft shop in the Netherlands. One portion of the
shop is devoted to handmade softies, and that’s where she’s put the toys she’s
made from the club.
Erika said, “I
love to learn about different designers and their styles. I visited all of the designers' blogs and was happy to see that they all had very different styles and
use different kinds of fabrics like fleece, felt, cotton and other fabrics.
Lovely! I wanted to try out the different styles so I signed up!"
Erika made the elephant, too, as well as the whale designed by Jen of Zooguu.
She said, “The thing I love about the whale pattern is that it comes with templates for three
sizes! How nice is that! I love the little whale and loved using my textured
blue felt. In my stash I have a beautiful purple and yellow checked fabric.
My next whale will be the big one sewn from that fabric.”
Mouse from my Cute Critters pattern
treasured bits of fabric is a big part of the fun of sewing softies. Whatever you have, whether it's an old sweater or scraps from making a quilt, or a thrifted pillowcase, you can make a stuffed animal you'll love.
excited to show you my pattern for the club on Friday. And if you’d like to
join us, sign up! You’ll get immediate access to all the patterns that have
been released so far and then Hadley the Horse will arrive in your inbox on
What kinds of fabrics do you like best for softies? Have you tried anything unusual? Any recommendations?
Oh, I am so exited to see your new pattern…I tried to have a look at your book last week at a bookstore, but (I live in Germany), they of course did not have it in the shop, and could only get it within twenty (!!!) days. I did not order because I am in fear that my English is too bad….so I go on reading your blog.and hope to see your book at a store in my next holidays abroad to decide if I understand enough….
Thanks Abby, for including Emile and Marielle in this post. It’s really exciting to see them here!
Selecting fabric for a softie is definitely a highlight for me! I love how a unique personality is born simply through choice of materials.
Another fun aspect of the Six Months of Softies Club is gathering inspiration from other members. All of a sudden infinite possibilities emerge from a single pattern! Erika’s softies are adorable. I’m particularly captivated by her dapper elephant. It reminds me of a piece of reclaimed plaid wool in my stash that I feel compelled to hunt down for – yep, you guessed it – making another elephant!
Can’t wait for the club release of your pattern, Hadley the Horse. I’ve never worked with shiny fabrics before and this sounds like the very project to take the plunge. I see some snazzy horses, unicorns and zebras in my future!
If you’d like to find the book online, I recommend this store: http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/Stuffed-Animals-Abigail-Patner-Glassenberg/9781454703648
The price and the shipping cost are both reasonable. I can understand wanting to look through it first to be sure it’s right for you. Just thought I’d put that out there in case you’d like to order it online.
Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with the club and for taking such adorable pictures of your softies, Anjali!
Mimi @ hello shiso says
That pink fur with metallic next to it is right up my alley. I’m imagining a huge pillow for my studio with that combo. Can’t wait to see what you come up with!
Wendi Gratz says
I loved seeing my elephant pattern sewn up in so many different fabrics. That wooly mammoth made me squeal out loud!
I’ve found the key to getting the most out of your fabrics is to combine them. My plushies that are just fleece seem too stuffy. But work in a woven cotton fabric, and it changes completely. I find the same thing is true with embroidery techniques. If I only do machine applique, it doesn’t give as nice of an effect as machine and hand embroidery. In short, any fabric can work if there is contrast within the piece! Combining textures is key.
I like this advice. Softies are an artform that lends itself particularly well to mixing and matching fabrics of different weights and textures, and surface design of various kinds. All of this together can make for a truly unique piece.
Shirley Anderson says
Do you have sewing patterns for sheep or pigs
Yes, I have a pig pattern in my shop and a free sheep pattern in my list of free patterns.