Introduction: Steggy the Stegosaurus
This is Steggy. He's a cuddly stegosaurus made of soft minky fleece.
I love minky fleece - it's extremely soft and also machine washable, which is important for a toy. My fabric store carries it in lots of vibrant colors, and it's not too expensive.
Things you'll need:
- 2 colors of minky fleece (or flannel, or other similar fabric). You don't need very much. 1/4 yard would make several stegosauruses.
- polyester fiberfill
You will of course also need a needle, thread, and pins. I sewed Steggy on a sewing machine, and I also used a fabric marking pen and a hemostat.
I make these for babies, so I leave off any attachments that could be choking hazards. But, if you like, you could stitch on beads for eyes.
Step 1: Cut the Pattern Pieces
Print out the attached pattern. The image should be 8.5 x 11, although you could make your stegosaurus a different size if you like.
Note: Seam allowance is not included in the pattern pieces. Add about 1/4 inch around each piece when you cut it out.
Cut 2 sides, reversing one. If using fabric with a pile, place the pattern so that the fur runs from head to tail.
Cut 2 underbody pieces, reversing one. Again, make sure the fur runs from head to tail.
Cut 10 spike pieces. The fur should run from top (the rounded side) to bottom (the flat side).
Personally, I like to trace around the pieces with a pen so that I have a line to sew on. If your fabric is dark, you may be able to get away with using a regular ballpoint pen. If your fabric is white like mine, use a fabric marking pen that erases with water.
Step 2: First Round of Pinning and Stitching
Pin the 2 underbody pieces right sides together along the straight edge. Leave a gap in the middle for stuffing and turning the stegosaurus. Sew the two sections that you pinned. Because they're so short, sew over each one twice.
Take 8 of the spike pieces and pin them together in pairs, right sides together. Sew around the curved edge, backstitching at the start and the end of each seam. Leave the straight edge open for turning.
Fold each of the remaining 2 spike pieces in half, and pin along the curved side. Sew the curved side, leaving the straight edge open for turning. Because they're short seams, sew each one twice.
Step 3: Sew the Darts on the Legs
I forgot this step when I was making Steggy, and had to go back and do it after I'd sewn him all together. It's much easier if you do it first. Don't be like me!
Take the underbody piece, and fold one leg back along the top of the leg (fold furry side toward furry side). Place a pin in the middle, and sew a shallow curve as in the picture. Repeat for each leg.
If you skip this step, the legs will splay out and the stegosaurus won't stand properly.
Step 4: Sew in the Spikes
Place the two side pieces right-sides together. Lay the underbody (or the underbody pattern piece) on the side piece so that the legs are lined up, and mark where the points of the underbody hit the side piece. (I did this before I sewed the underbody, which is why there are so many pins in the picture.) I used pins to mark the points, but in retrospect I should have used a pen.
Now, collect all the sewn spikes. Trim the seam allowance if it seems excessively long. Then, snip the seam allowance at short intervals around the curves. This helps the seam lie flat.
Turn the spikes right-side out. (Hemostats are useful for the skinny spikes, but not necessary.)
Fold back the top of the upper side piece. lay the four wide spikes around the curve of the back, with the open edges sticking up past the edge of the side piece.
Place the two skinny spikes similarly, but on the tail.
Replace the top side piece, making sure it's lined up with the lower one, and place a pin through all four layers of fabric at each spike. Also pin around the head an the tail to the points you marked earlier.
Carefully sew from the point at the chin around the head and back to the point under the tail. Backstitch at both the start and the end of this seam. Be extra careful as you sew around the tail spikes. There's not a lot of space in the tail, and it's easy to accidentally catch the side of the spike in the seam.
Step 5: Sew in the Underbody
First, open up the two side pieces and check that all the spikes are sewn in tight. Make sure the seam is smooth around the head and the tail. If anything looks like a problem, sew over it again.
Next, open up the side pieces. Pin the underbody to the sides, right sides together. Start by matching up the feet, and then pin around the rest of the pieces. Remember that the short end of the underbody is the head and the longer end is the tail.
Now, carefully sew around the whole thing, making sure to overlap the stitching at the point where you start and end the seam.
I prefer to sew this with the underbody down, but the points at the head and tail are slightly tricky. (Basically, sew as far as you can up the neck, then lift the presser foot and fold the head toward the other side so that you can sew down the other side. Do the same for the tail.)
When you're done, stick your fingers in side and feel along all the seams. If you find any holes, sew over those sections again (it may be helpful to flip the stegosaurus over and sew on the other side). Also check for any places where the stitches are too close to the edge of the fabric. If necessary, redo those sections.
Step 6: Turn and Stuff
Once you're happy that all your seams are solid, trim any long seam allowances and the portions of the spikes that stick out past the seams. Clip the seam allowance at short intervals around all the curved parts - which is the whole stegosaurus.
Turn the stegosaurus right-side out through the hole in the stomach.
If you used a fabric marking pen, you may want to wash the stegosaurus to get the pen marks out before you stuff it.
To stuff, pull off small pieces of stuffing, and place them in the head, tail, and legs until those parts seem fairly solid. Then place stuffing along the back seam, and fill in the rest of the body. A blunt tool like a pencil or the end of a crochet hook may be useful for packing the stuffing in.
Step 7: Finishing
Sew the opening in the stomach closed with a ladder stitch. Add more stuffing as you go, making sure there are no empty spots.
If you want to add a face, you can do so now.
Otherwise, you're done. Give your stegosaurus a hug!