All pages and patterns of this site can now be translated by using the 'Translate this Page' Gadget at the top of the right hand column of every page. Hopefully this will help many of you who are more comfortable reading in your native language. :D

All patterns are written assuming that the reader has a basic understanding of crochet and amigurumi, IE: working in rounds, sc increase and decrease, basic understanding of construction of the parts.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tips line #1 - Take your time!

I've had alot of requests for tips and ideas on making plushies. I have alot of them, but if you asked me what is the one most important thing about making plushies it would be the one that is the simplest in its concept, but the most difficult in its application: TAKE YOUR TIME.

I know how hard it is to slow down when you're excited about seeing the results. You've worked carefully and diligently on creating the various parts, you've followed the pattern to the letter - and now you just want to see it finished! But this is most often the biggest mistake we make.

In nearly every pattern I post or write, I state that I highly recommend taking the time to pin all the parts on before you sew any of them on. Think about this: if you were sewing together a dress, you wouldn't sew it together until you had pinned it together - and the same applies to making plushies.

What will pinning do for you? Well first and foremost, it lets you see whether you've gotten all the parts done correctly and that they all fit together. Secondly, it will allow you to gauge exactly how you want the parts positioned... arms further apart, legs higher up, head turned to one side a little.... it gives you room to make your plushie unique and special.

What kind of pins you use is up to you (or just what you have). I like using the longer straight pins with the plastic ball ends. Pinning crochet with the standard short, flat headed pins can be difficult, not to mention the pins are easily lost in your pieces. Try to pick pins with colors that can be easily seen against the color of the pieces you're working on... white on white isn't as easy to see.

After you have all your pieces pinned on, set your piece down somewhere highly visible and just look at it. View it from all sides and from different distances (sometimes a few feet back makes placement mistakes very visible). Don't hesitate to re-pin a part and then back up and look again. Sometimes I'll just look at a pinned plushie for a couple of days, because *something* isn't right, I just can't figure out what exactly it is. After a day or two of re-pinning and looking at it, I find the problem. It's amazing what one arm being an eighth of an inch too high or low can do to the over-all appearance of the finished plushie.

Once you're certain you have it like you want the finished plushie to look, then sew. Sewing order is up to you, I tend to start with the larger pieces, and work my way thru to the smallest. This way, I can make any last minute adjustments to the smaller pieces , in the event that I see the need for it.

Take your pins out as you sew. Leave the other pins in till you reach them. This way, your manipulations while sewing won't cause the part you are sewing to go all crooked. Try using a 'curved' sewing needle for sewing on those difficult right-angle pieces like arms and legs. You can buy them easily in any sewing dept, they're usually in the quilting or upholstery sections. Those needles are one of the more handy items to use, I have several and use them on every plushie. They help you to sew the parts on, without as much bending or moving, and that results in fewer 'crooked' parts.

Finally, when you've sewn all your parts and pieces ... don't forget to check that all the pins have been removed! It's not the surprise one wants when hugging a lovely plushie, to end up being stabbed by a wayward pin. I should know, I'm the one that got stabbed when I forgot to remove all the pins. :)

For alot of people, I know that slowing down and taking these extra steps sounds like torture. But impatience is "Public Enemy: #1" when it comes to sewing your plushies together. Don't let the enemy win! Steele yourself to the knowledge that by slowing down, pinning, evaluating and re-pinning and only then sewing.... you'll end up with more of the perfect plushies you work so hard to make and you'll always be happier with your results!

Have fun... and "Plush on!"


Crissy said...

Had that happen to me. Got so excited and realized that one leg out of 4 was smaller. Sooo taking time and modifications = important lol

I actually like working with a curved needle. It's so much easier.

WolfDreamer said...

I've done that a few times, ended up with one leg shorter than the others. I have to laff at myself when I do something like that :)

I started using curved needles for leather work many years ago, and never put them away. They are just so handy for some many things, and for plushies, I don't think I could live without them lol

Bookworm said...

Where do you get your curved needles? I've been looking in a few different places but I haven't been able to find any.

WolfDreamer said...

Bookworm, I found my curved sewing needles at Wal-Mart. They were with the regular sewing needles, and the package called them 'upholstery' needles. Mostly people use them for sewing cushions and doing upholstery work and repairs, but I find them invaluable for sewing dolls and other 3D pieces in the tight spaces :)

Bookworm said...

I guess I'll be heading down to see if I can find one. Thanks :-D

Bookworm said...

I am back with another question (Sorry). I went down to Walmart and have checked several other places but I can't, for the life of me, find a curved needle that's large enough to take yarn. I found a needle with a bent tip that's large enough, but that's the closest. Have you ever used a needle with a bent tip? Do you think that would that work as well? I imagine they would at least work better than the straight neeedles I have, but I figured I'd ask before I go out and buy in. Finaid took nearly all my money so I'm trying not to spend on anything I'm not sure I'll actually use.

WolfDreamer said...

Yes I'm pretty sure they would work fine. I have never used those personally, but I worked on a project with a lady who did, and she swears by them. I'm going to try those needles out sometime too, if I can ever find them around here :)

lagartinha said...

I've spend a lot of time here, and i'd like to thank you very much all the good things i've been learning with your great p atterns.
My children would like to thank you too, for "Mário", "Luigi", "Picachu", "Pokeball" and "Voltorb". Not as good as yours, because i was too fast for seeing the big Finale.
Once again, thank you.

AMPARICO said...

Thank yoy very much for all these incredible patterns! You´ve magic hands and a big heart.

Anonymous said...

Is the size of these dolls listed anywhere. I love them all, but would like to try Mario. How tall is he? Thank you for sharing the patterns.


WolfDreamer said...

The majority of my dolls are around 10" tall. I generally don't list the size of my dolls, because each person is going to have a different outcome depending on the yarn and hook, and each persons individual tension. If made with the materials listed and hook listed, the doll should be roughly 10" in height.

Laurie Laliberte said...

Sage advice. I'm an experienced crocheter but I find my patience short when coming to the assembly part of any project. (I am the person who seldom pins when sewing a dress.)

I'm currently working on two Toads and one Toadette for my nephews and niece. Nephew #1's request for Toad has finally pushed me into the world of amigurumi. Some of your other free patterns are on my project list along with one I purchased from your Etsy shop.

Nancy said...

I am working on "Sonic" plushie. My 10 yr old grandson loves this guy. My trouble is the the foot/heel of this pattern. Very confusing. If I saw a picture of progressive work on this part it would be very helpful, otherwise it looks like you sew up the whole foot (red yarn) before stuffing it. I am only a two yr crocheter so maybe I'm missing something. If you can email me today 7/14/10, it would be most helpful as my grandson will be going back home soon. thank you for your patterns. This is my first one I'm trying. So far no problems.

Unknown said...

I am having the same problem as Nancy with the Sonic plushie. Help! :(

Anonymous said...

Thank you thank you THANK YOU for posting these patterns! My children are Poke'Fanatics and their eyes lit up with the different Pokemon that you created. They were VERY impressed with your work (they're 10 and 7). I cannot WAIT to get going on more of them. Right now I'm working on King Boo.

Again, your work is amazing and I thank you! :)


Carla said...

A curved needle, I've never heard of it, but now that I have, I don't think I can live and crochet another minute without it! I will immediately check the store to see if I can find it! LOL. No, seriously, I think it really is a very handy accessoire.

I must confess I almost always take too little time to pin the parts together first. Even the limbs that take 2 to make, I sew them on as soon as I have one finished. Except when I make 4 feet, I really need to see how they look all 4 together before I sew them on.

What I DO do, is to pin a part on the plushie with a (what we call in the Netherlands) saté-pinner, you understand what I mean? A thin wooden stick with a sharp point. I find that very easy to keep the parts in place until sewed on.

Blaubaer said...

Vielen Dank für die vielen schönen Muster die du mit uns teilst.Du bist so begabt und hast so viel Phantasie .
Liebe Grüße und alles Gute für das neue Jahr.
Liebe Grüße Regina

Anonymous said...

I love your plushies!!!! I stumbled on your site via and I must admit I love it. Your work is great. Looking forward to more from you.
Question have you ever been asked to make Betty Boop? ; )

Ghost the Hybrid said...

Sorry if this is a strange question but I really need some help. I'm not an native English speaker and is trying to figure out how to translate the different stitches(so I can actually use your patterns to make the adorable Pokémon amigurumis). The problem is that when ever I'm trying to figure it out I get confused because there's one explanation for the American crochet patterns and one for the British patterns, witch one should I use to translate?

Jess said...

Thank you for your tips! I love making plushies, but they always end up looking "special" since sewing has never been my strong suit. I pretty much just grabbed a needle and just went for it and made it up as I went. I will follow your advice and hopefully be much happier with the results next time. :)

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