(Parts of this post originally aired in Nov. 2015.)
Each July I like to post a softie making tips roundup for those of you who are eager to make your own toys. The links are to blog posts I've written over the past few years as I expanded my skills in softie making.
I sometimes get asked if I might teach people how I make my dolls. I usually say no because my process is complicated to explain and may seem counter-intuitive to established sewers. My doll patterns come from designs I doodle in my sketchbook. Once I like a doll or dress design I draw the pattern on white paper and try it out on scrap fabric. This involves a good bit of trial and error. You can read about my sketchbook process here and here.
While I am not an expert sewer, I have learned a lot about sewing soft toys over the past few years. Even though I mostly make dolls these days its nice to look back and see how far I've traveled on this softie making journey, oddball animals and all.
DIY softies, a beginner's guide. Everything you need to know to start making softies today. This is my process for designing and sewing toys, from inspiration to final touches.
Inspiration from Stuffed Magazine. Tips I gleaned from the artists featured in Stuffed magazine on how they get inspired. Stuffed magazine is no longer in print but you can buy back issues from Stampington and Company.
The Process of Making a Toy. My doll making process in photos, start to finish.
Sewing Tips of Softie Artists. Useful softie sewing tips from the pages of Stuffed magazine.
Sewing with Vintage Sheets. Sheets are great for making prototypes and they are fun to collect.
Doll Hair for Beginners. My sewing experiments with yarn hair. I use the process shown in the photos below for my dolls now.
Don't Give Up. Creativity often requires a learning curve - try not to get discouraged.
When Imperfection is Better than Perfect. Learn from doing.
Quotes for Beginners. Creating can be hard work but its also rewarding. Keep it in perspective.
Share Your Art with the World. Join competitions and forums. Invite feedback from other sewers.
Teach Others in Order to Learn New Skills. Offer free patterns and tutorials to get your work known.
Be Different, Even If It Feels Scary. Invent toys that excite you even if they have no commercial value (yet). Making one of a kind toys will teach you what you like or don't like about the process. Create from your heart because the world needs your unique perspective.
For Doll Makers Only
Designing Doll Clothes. How I design clothing for my dolls.
Switching Up Your Doll for the Seasons. Inventing accessories for your dolls.
Design Your Own Doll Hats. My method for making chic felt doll hats. Or simply purchase my PDF doll hats pattern here and get started making doll hats today!
DIY doll berets to make for your dolls (free pattern).
I hope you found some sewing tips here that spark your imagination. I'd like to add a big thank you to those of you who have encouraged me through my blog and through purchases from my Etsy shop, PinkGingerKitty. Your encouragement is my inspiration!
Now go make something!