Friday, 6 April 2007

Making a Softie from your own pattern

This is just my way of making softies, there are plenty of other tutorials out there, it's really just a matter of reading them and trying them until you come across one that suits your style.

I make my softies to give away, I don't sell them.

This is what I use to make my softies:
fabric, some felt (for the face), embroidery floss, thread and needles, sewing machine, marking pencil, scissors, poly-fil for stuffing, a chopstick (to stuff with), cardboard/paper and pencil to make your template with.

I drew my own template, it took me several attempts (which included making them as well) before I found a shape that I was fairly happy with.

Some things I found out during these attempts were:
  • keep your softie shape fairly simple, it makes it easier to sew around,
  • it was easier to draw the outline on the wrong side of the fabric, then sew around the outline and trim the fabric back
  • if you are going to sew arms, legs, ears etc on as you sew up the body, make sure there is enough room for them to easily fit inside the body (otherwise it is very difficult to turn right-side out)

I drew my templates on cardboard and then cut around it, this made it easy to trace around later. I found the easiest way to draw my body shape was to fold a piece of paper in half and just draw half the body shape, then I cut around it and voila I had a nice evenly shaped body. The arms, legs and ears were drawn separate from the body.
Faces were (and still are) a bit harder, basically I just draw a shape and then doodle till I get a face I am happy with, the simple ones usually look the best. If you don't want to go to the trouble of embroidering on a piece of felt you could maybe cut circles from felt and sew them on to the face area of the main fabric. It's your softie so you can do whatever you feel like.
Lay the template on the wrong side of two pieces of fabric which have been placed right side (pattern side) together. Trace around the template with a pen or pencil, something that is easy to see is best.

After you have traced round your template, pin the fabric together.

sew around the drawn template line (set your sewing machine for a short stitch length)

trim around the line, leave about a 1/4 of an inch or 5mm, then turn right-side out. Continue sewing other body parts as required.

all parts present and correct (ears, arms and legs completed) and turned right-side out,
arms and legs stuffed, don't over fill them, I like them a bit squashy.

I've found it easier to embroider the face and then sew it on to the body, (I used blanket stitch here, but I also use running stitch) you don't have to worry about hiding the thread ends.

arms, legs and ears all pinned to the body, the legs and ears are already folded in, just leaving the arms to be folded in, before pinning the other body piece (so that the right sides of the fabric are facing together) on.

the whole thing pinned and ready to sew together

all sewn up, don't forget to leave a gap so you can turn it right-side in

body after being trimmed, note I haven't trimmed as closely at the stuffing point, this will make it easier when you come to hand sew that part together

nearly there, turning it all right side out, it's a bit fiddly doing this, so take your time, one body part at a time works quite well, I do the legs first, then the arms and so on.

all ready for stuffing, I use small amounts of stuffing and poke them in using my fingers, then I use a chopstick to get them into the curved parts, I aim for a nicely rounded softie that is a bit squashy, because it feels nicer (to me anyway). Once you have stuffed the softie to your satisfaction then you just have to sew the gap together neatly.

all finished!


  1. Hey Pip that is so cute (the tutorial works fine now) At the risk of sounding like an old woman...I shall tell you that I ONCE tried to make a teddy for my first Grandson. The stuffed legs had to be attached with 2 discs(sorry, I can't remember what they're called, movealbe joints so the poor ted could sit) before the body was stuffed and sewn up. Well, the poor teddy had legs almost under his arm pits !!LOL I might add that said Grandson is now 38 years old and he still has teddy...he was very much loved, strange shape and all. He has patched ears and hands where a small boy sucked on him at night in bed.
    Thank you for your post, it has brought back some happy memories.

  2. I was just surfing blogs on the internet and met your blog and enjoyed reading your pages.I found them quite useful.I may make a softie too.
    I am a retired teacher of English and writing on my blog when I have time.

  3. I happened upon your site by sheer accident - what a lovely surprise! I will surely be forwarding the link to my two daughters who are forever creative in all areas of their lives. Blessings to you!