Introduction: Sew a Plushie (Includes Pattern)
Make a fun and customizable stuffed toy also called a plush, plushie, or stuffie using a downloadable pattern and hand sewing techniques.
This project is great for beginners and uses a running stitch around the edges to sew the plushie together. The pattern has 3 basic shapes but can be adjusted and combined to make a variety of plushie styles.
- Printed pattern to trace - you can download a pdf of the pattern below or at this link
- Felt or fabric - a fabric that doesn’t fray along the edges works best
- Pen or pencil to trace your pattern onto your fabric - for darker fabrics you can use chalk or a white colored pencil
- Embroidery floss and/or hand sewing thread
- Hand sewing needle - with an eye big enough to fit your choice of thread
- Sewing pins or clips to hold your fabric together while sewing - you can also use paper clips, binder clips, or clothespins to help you
- Something to stuff your project with - Fiberfil/Polyfil stuffing, scrap fabric, or even plastic bags will work
- Decorating supplies - you can use buttons, jewels, pom poms, more thread colors, 3D paints, or other craft supplies to customize your project
- Optional supplies:
- Needle threader
- Hot glue gun or fabric glue for attaching decorations
Step 1: Cut Out Pattern Pieces and Trace on Fabric
We’ve provided a downloadable pattern to get you started on a project quickly. You can download it here.
The first page of the pattern includes a simple shape for the front of the plushie’s body and three shape options to use for the back of the body.
The second page has some optional pieces for arms, ears, tails, and more! Some patterns have many pieces and complex shapes, but we’ve created an easy to sew shape that is great for beginner sewists.
Choose the pieces that you would like use for your project and cut them out. You can use the paper pattern pieces to help you plan out your design.
Next, trace the pattern pieces onto your fabric(s) and cut them out.
Step 2: Decorate Your Plushie
It can be much harder to sew any decorations on after stuffing you plushie, we recommend decorating before stitching the pieces together.
You can use the running stitch to attach details like a contrasting belly or face.
You can also glue these pieces on, just be careful not to put any glue in a place you might want to stitch through later - it will make it hard to get your needle and thread through dried glue.
Optional: Button Eyes
Attaching buttons can be a fun way to make eyes for your plush. They can be two of the same size and color or mismatched for a unique look.
If you want to sew your buttons on, first check that your threaded needle will fit through the button holes. It can take some practice to hold the button and the needle at the same time while stitching. If you want to practice your button stitching before you do it on your final project, try it out on a scrap piece of fabric.
Optional: Embroidered Details
You can also use embroidery techniques to make eyes, a mouth, or even whiskers. A thicker thread such as embroidery floss works best for these kinds of decorations.
To make whiskers make a long stitch from the nose to the ‘end’ of your whisker, then bring your needle back up at the start of the stitch. For the second stitch move it to the side and slightly shorter. Repeat on the other side of the stitch to make three whiskers. If you want, you can draw these lines out first to help you plan even stitches on both sides.
For a some step-by-step embroidery techniques, check out these Instructables by jessyratfink:
- Embroidery How To: Satin Stitch - good for making noses or filling in shapes like eyes and cheeks
- Embroidery How To: Back Stitch - use a back stitch to make a mouth or other solid lines of stitching
Step 3: Stitching It All Together
Now it is time to stitch all the pieces together before stuffing. Layer the front and back pieces together and put any arms/legs/tails sticking out between them - when you stitch around the outside of the project that will stitch them in place too.
To help keep all your pieces together while you stitch you can use pins, sewing clips, or even paper clips, clothespins or binder clips.
To start stitching, thread a needle and tie a knot in your thread. If you are new to sewing, doubling the thread and tying the ends together will help keep the tail of the thread from slipping out of the eye of the needle.
For this project a 20 inch length of thread (40" total length if you are using a doubled thread) should be enough to complete stitching all the way around the project.
Starting at the corner of one of the flat edges, use a running stitch to travel around the outside edge of your project around the curve and down to other corner, leaving the flat side of the shape open for stuffing. You can leave the thread on the needle to finish stitching after you stuff it or tie it off an use a new piece of thread to stitch closed after stuffing.
Step 4: Stuffing and Finishing
To stuff the toy you can use polyester stuffing, scraps of fabric leftover from other projects, cut up plastic bags, or even cotton balls.
Gently push the stuffing into the opening until your plushie is filled up - make sure you can still move the sides of the fabric together to stitch the opening closed. If you left your needle on your thread, make sure to keep from accidentally stuffing inside your plushie.
After stuffing, you can pin the fabric together to hold the stuffing in while you stitch the opening closed.
After making sure all your stitching is secure, you can continue decorating!
Step 5: Example Projects
Here are some finished plush projects all made with the same pattern. The creative choices you make in decorations and style can create really unique plushies out of the same basic shapes!