Now you may be asking yourself, why bother? Well for one dog toys are expensive, especially if your dog can take a $10 toy that's supposed to be tough and turn it into a pile of shredded fabric and pillow fluff in an afternoon. Also knowing specifically what kind of punishment your dogs dish out on their toys gives you the upper hand over mass produced one-toy fits all store bought toys. Another reason is because it's a fun way to use up fabric scraps from other projects. It's also a good way to improve and practice your sewing skills. I mean really, we're making dog toys here, not wedding dresses. If your sewing isn't perfect your dog isn't going to care. Best case senario your dog loves it and tries to kill it anyways... so less than perfect skills here isn't a big deal. I mean really, what other sewing project gives you so much freedom to screw up?
Step 1: Getting Started
I used fleece left over from another project. I like fleece because it's really easy to work with. You can also pick it up cheap if you know where to look. I periodically cruise the discount and rement bin at store's fabric sections. Thrift stores are another good place to look. As long as there are snuggies in the world you can find fleece at thrift stores, trust me.
I can't stand pinning things personally and avoid using them whenever possible but if you need em then by all means knock yourself out.
This may or may not be optional depending on what your dog is into. Petsmart carries replacement squeakers in their toy section. I got a 6 pack of them for $2. You can also get them online if you're willing to wait. I didn't do this on this project but another option is to raid your dog's toy box for some squeaky toy they haven't touched in months, the upside there is if you use a nylon squeaky toy as the sqeaker inside of a stuffed toy it's less likely to stop squeaking, and if they do rip the stuffed toy open then they get a nice surprise.
I usually just start chopping fabric wildly and with total abandon but if you want to mark your cuts before hand or are going by a pattern then go for it.
Step 2: Let's Do This
I started by cutting out 8 elbow macaroni shaped pieces of fleece. When you cut your fabric take into consideration that you have to leave a seam allowance. Save your scraps, yes, all of them... you'll see why in a minute.
Start sewing. I used white thread throughout the whole project just because i'm lazy. The white stitching does show on the finnished project so if you want you can use thread that matches your fabric. I don't have any orange thread though... and even if I did, I'm lazy so I probably would have gone with the white anyways.
With the righ sides (the sides that I wanted showing when the toy was done) togeather, I zig zag stitched around the shape leaving the ends open so I could turn it right side out... pretty basic right? Then I did that again so each seam is doubled, if one stitch pops durring play then there's a back up.
Once the inside seams were done I turned the pieces right side out and did a simple straight stitch through both pieces of the fabric (aka quilted the crap out of it). Really here you can use whatever stitch you want. The basic idea here is that stitching the pieces togeather like this gives it more strength, you can get pretty creative here though if you want.
For the sake of strength and durrability I doubled the fabric up. So if you look at the pictures, the pretty blue is going on the outside, and the ugly plaid is just there to back the blue up and never be seen again.
So you put the two pieces togeather and again, quilt the crap out of it. I used a zig zag stitch and went with a circle pattern... again here the stitch and the pattern of the stitch isn't important, you could stitch anything you want here so long as the two pieces of fabric are held togeather firmly.
And I did that twice so I'd have two pieces.
Step 4: Putting It Togeather
Step 5: Putting the Other Piece on and Finnishing It.
With the right sides togeather, I zig zagged the first side and then checked it to make sure I didn't screw up. Then I re-zig zag stitched it for strength. I did this on three sides. On the last side I left enough of a opening to turn it right side out.
Remember afew steps back what I said about saving all your scraps? Here's why, you can use them to stuff the toy! The upside here is that it saves you from having to buy pillow fluff. Also the scraps are a bit heavier which give the toy some extra weight which makes it easier to throw durring a game of fetch. I'm also hoping that if my dogs do tear this toy open that fleece scraps will be easier to pick up than pillow fluff.
Once I stuffed the toy with the scraps and a squeaker I stitched the opening closed. You can either be lazy like me and just use the machine to stitch the opening closed (it will show) or take the time to hand stitch it closed (which still might show but is much less likely to).
Only one more step.
Step 6: Play Time!
I made this toy about a week ago and so far it's holding strong. I don't know if it will live up to the indestructable hopes I have for it but we'll see. Eitherway, my dogs seem to enjoy it and they haven't torn it apart yet.