I love pins. Pins are like tiny fingers that never get tired. If you pin properly you can seam together any two pieces of fabric easily and neatly and create almost any kind of three-dimensional softie shape. Yes, pinning is tedious at times, but it's this sort of preparatory work that makes sewing projects succeed.
Softies are made from all sorts of fabrics, including thick fleece, long-piled faux fur, and slippery minky. I always use a lot of pins when I sew softies and it's especially important to pin well if you choose these more challenging fabrics.
Okay, let's pin!
1. Let's say the pattern instructions tell you to sew the pink piece to the blue piece from point A to point B.
2. Place the two pieces right sides together. (Not sure how to tell which side of fleece is the "right" side? Here's my post about that.)
3. Now put a pin at point A and at point B, and at the center top. These are your guide points. If you need to do any easing, you can do that between the points and know that everything will line up at the end. Notice that I'm placing the pins perpendicular with the edge of the fabric. This makes it easy to pull them out one by one as I sew (pins placed parallel with the edge of the fabric tend to end up under the presser foot).
4. Look how many pins! I place a pin every 1/8 inch or so. Why? Because softies generally have a narrow seam allowance and there isn't a lot of room for error, plus that thick fleece tends to shift around a lot under the presser foot. Better safe than sorry!
This is how most of my pins end up after a few months: totally bent. I sew softies from thick fabrics every single day. All that pulling and gripping tends to bend my pins out of shape. I've experimented with the sturdier, thicker pins, but I still prefer these sharp, glass-headed pins (and the thicker ones end up bent, too!). Once they look like this, though, they'll no longer hold your fabric accurately. Time to toss 'em.
6. Admire your lovely curved softie part!
I'm in the midst of designing a fleece doll right now, and this is the technique I'm using to create Mary Jane shoes for her! The secret to making it easy to sew these shoes? Lots of careful pinning, of course!
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