Woo Hoo — I’m on a short break this week.

break time2 Next week I am taking a short break.  It’s a good time to take some time out and recharge before the craziness of the soon-to-be-here holiday season, plus we have 2 holidays to celebrate at the end of next week.

Both my Etsy and Craftsy shops will still be open for sales because they have instant download, but my Madeit shop will be in holiday mode for the week.

I will also be taking a short break from my #design_a_Plushie posts on Instagram, but the following week I will be choosing fabrics and starting work on the instructions and the first sample :)

Some Interesting Thing From The WWW.

This week I came across a couple of interesting videos on youtube.  This first one is  about  recycled plastic bottles being turned into polyester.

And this one is about how they make fleece.

spoonflower logo has recently published a great resource book filled with information and tutorials on how to design your own designer fabric.  At the moment they are running a competition (until the 7th October 2015) .  The lucky winner will receive a copy of their new handbook and 2 yards of fabric.  Click on this link for your chance to win  http://bit.ly/1MLV6yh


Until next time … signature-pink-2


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Project 6: Turning Heads & Poofy Cheeks (Stuffed Animals – Concept To Construction – part 7.)

Stuffed Animals_Dog3

For the last couple of years I have been slowly working through Abby Glassenberg’s book “Stuffed Animals, from concept to construction”.  Last year I finished the last of what I felt was the basics of soft toy designing.   From now on the projects are more challenging as we start to get into much more detailed designing features — but this is where the real fun begins :)

The Project – Puppy

Stuffed Animals_Dog4The main subject of this project was to create a toy with a turned head, giving an animated feel.  

It’s amazing how doing one simple step like turning the head a little helps create so much character in a plushie.  And it’s not that hard to do — just separate the head from the pattern and twist the head in one direction when you stitch it to the body rather than matching the seams up as you would to have the head facing forward.

As I was doing this I remembered some advice I was given from a professional fashion designer when I was studying dressmaking and pattern making –

… when you want to create a design feature such as something that’s off centre – make it ‘obviously’ off centre.  Subtle changes wont work, instead of looking like a design feature, it will look like you made a mistake.

Other Lessons for this project.


The another lesson in this project that I had a lot of fun with was creating a dart to add shape and fullness to an area.  This one starts to get a little more technical — but it’s not too hard, just requires a bit of thought.  Things such as where you want the fullness and how to compensate for the fabric that has been removed where you have stitched the dart.  For the Puppy, Abby created a gathered dart in the cheek area to create a ‘cute baby’ look. I followed this example and created fuller cheeks on my deer, but this could be used anywhere.  


Abby’s instructions for compensating for the fabric removed is to add it back at the side seam under the chin, but I ran into some problems with this on my pattern, the snout on Abby’s Puppy is much longer than on my deer, so to add the whole amount here meant I lost the chin almost completely — hmm – what to do?? I tried adding half to the front and half to the back of the neck, and that seemed to work, although I haven’t sewn up the sample yet to see just how well it worked.  While I was pondering this problem I had a look though some of my pattern making text books to see how they deal with this problem in apparel.  What I found was a technique that requires you to cut the pattern piece all the way through from the dart opening to the opposite side, stopping just a millimetre from the edge to keep the 2 halve together, then spread the 2 halves apart the required amount for the dart opening. You do gain a little extra fabric throughout the whole piece, but this shouldn’t distort the overall shape too much.


Other lessons included in this project are sewing with faux fur and using eyes with a back Project_7_Stuffed_Animals_lesson20loop as wall as tips for sewing with thick fabric and bulking layers.  

Living in a regional area, some supplies are a bit hard to get.  I have a little faux fur, but I’m saving it for a future project, plus I didn’t think a red and blue puppy would really work for me.  The other thing I wasn’t able to try out was the eyes … I’ll just have to save these for a future project when I am able to find some :)

My design — a Deer.


For this project I thought I would try designing a deer.  This is the very first prototype and (S)he still needs quite a bit for fine tuning — especially those feet ;) but in general I’m happy and excited by this experiment. I think (s)he has potential to become a pattern one day. I especially like the look of the turned head. I can imagine my little Bambi wanna-be  as a Christmas decoration someday :)

Next project — A Lion


I’m looking forward to growing my skills as a designer with each new lesson and designing more complex and dimensional plushies.  Next time I am looking at animals in motion — I can’t wait :D — what animal can I use for this project???


If you enjoyed this post you may also enjoy the others in this series.


If you’re interested in seeing my process for designing and developing a plushie pattern you can follow along on my Instagram account – @mignonpriderdesign and use the hashtag #design_a_Plushie to search for the post I have up so far :)

Until next time …  



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#Design_a_Plushie ~ Update

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This month I have been showing you a behind the scenes look at how I design a new plushie pattern on  Instagram. Here’s a quick recap of what I’ve done so far :) Part 1 ~ Research After I have decided on the … Continue reading

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#Design_a_Plushie – A Behind The scenes Look …

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Have you ever wondered what goes into designing a plush toy pattern? I am about to start work designing a new pattern.  It will be the third in a series of baby/toddler toys.  My first two  – Sarah and Emma, … Continue reading

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New PDF Sewing Pattern ~ Emma the Fish

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Emma is a cute little fish designed as a babys toy. She makes an excellent and easy DIY baby shower gift or a gift for any time for the special little ones in your life. Her tail is great for … Continue reading

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More Items added to the glossary ~ Tools

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This week I have been busy photographing all sorts of different tools and gadgets I use to add to my glossary of Tools and Notions. I have more to add, but I’m still editing the photo’s, plus I’m sure there … Continue reading

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Sarah Starfish ~ A New PDF Sewing Pattern.

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Sarah is a cute little Starfish rattle. She makes a quick and easy DIY baby shower gift or a gift for any time.  Her arms are great for small hands to hold and her large cartoon style eyes gives her a … Continue reading

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12 Fun Easter Crafts To Do With The Kids This Weekend.

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   YAY!  The Easter Bunny is coming soon — it’s almost time for Easter egg hunts and chocolate overload ;) While you’re waiting for your Easter egg hunt, here is a list of 12 Fun Easter Crafts to do with … Continue reading

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Good Earth ~ A Celebration of Craft & Craftsmanship.

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In the wake of Etsy’s most recent move to go public and become just another money making machine (for a few), one company is standing up for all those values that Etsy once believed in. After seeing this video from Good … Continue reading

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Introducing: A Glossary Of Sewing Terms & Tools.

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The rise of the Handmade industry has swung the doors of the cottage and craft business wide open resulting in innumerable home based business  raining down on us through the internet like pixy dust — all pretty and shiny and mesmerizing. Crafty … Continue reading

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