For all of you Marvel lovers out there, this one is for you!
Within the last year I have really gotten in to making plushes, usually animals, but Iron Man is Iron Man so I had to give him a go. There are just a few things I would change, but I think he turned out pretty well! The things I thought could be changed I have mentioned in this tutorial.
If you're interested in templates of any of my other plushes, feel free to comment! I keep most, if not all, of my cut outs for previous designs. Otherwise feel free to use them as inspiration for other designs :)
Step 1: Things You Need
- Paper template
- Cotton fabric (red and yellow)*
- Felt (black and white)
- Thread (black and white. Red if you have it, but not necessary)
- Sewing pins
- Measuring tape
- Sewing machine
- Pillow stuffing
*For the yellow fabric I used a Fat Flat from spotlight, and for the red fabric a Fat Flat as well as a 10cm cutting from a 'by the metre' fabric. I did this because a Fat Flat is only 50cm long and the band is 80cm, so I wanted one long band rather then multiple. Alternately, you can use a fat flat by cutting out as many pieces you need to make 80cm and sew them together.
In the image of the template I've labelled each piece with what they are, the colour, and how many of each you will need. For reference, the overall size of the Main piece is just under an A4 piece of paper, but you can really make your plush any size you like. The larger the better I think, because that means you can snuggle it or use it as a pillow :) It is also a good idea to have the whole Iron Man drawing on the Main piece so you can refer to the positioning of everything later.
Step 2: Cutting the Fabric
Before cutting out the pieces, if the cotton fabric you are using is a little creased like mine was, give it a quick iron. If it's not very creased there is no real need to iron.
When tracing the main pieces (the red ones), you want to give approximately 2cm birth all the way around. This is to allow for the material lost during the sewing of the two pieces (I originally only made a 1.5cm birth, however after seeing the end result of the plush I thought the yellow section came a little too close to the edge so I decided to increase it for this tutorial). To make life a little easier, once one piece is traced, fold the fabric in half, pin the two sides together and cut two pieces at once. This saves a little time and results in two even pieces. All other pieces are cut to the same size as the templates.
The felt pieces I do admit are difficult to cut as pencil doesn't mark very well on the material, so I held the paper templates on the fabric while cutting around them. I thought about pinning the paper to the fabric then cutting but it made too many kinks so it wouldn't have turned out straight.
The last photo shows the end result of all of the cut templates.
Step 3: The Machine Sewn Detail
Firstly, set up the sewing machine - place either a bobbin of yellow or white thread (I used white as this thread will be on the inside of the plush so will not be visible) in your sewing machine, and thread the machine with a spool of yellow. Set your sewing machine to zig zag stitch with a length of 1.
For the plush - place and line up the yellow piece on one of the red pieces. If there are visible pencil lines from when you cut out the template, place that side face down. Refer to your original drawing for a visual of how far away to place the yellow piece from the edges of the red piece. Pin around the yellow edges to hold it in place. Make sure all of the pins face the same way so you can pull them out as you feed the fabric through the sewing machine.
Now to sew - It doesn't really matter which way you sew, it just depends on how you placed your pins. It also doesn't really matter where you choose to start. I sewed clockwise and I started at the top right corner. Place your material under the machine foot, but don't put the foot down yet. If you are sewing clockwise, use the wheel to move the needle to the right and lower the needle so it will fall on the red fabric, 1mm away from the outside of the yellow. This position is where you always want the right most position of the needle to fall. Lower the foot, and now you can begin sewing. Follow the edge all the way back to the beginning, making sure you pull out the needles before sewing over them! When I get back to the start I like to go over the first few stitches I made to ensure they are secure. Raise the foot and cut the threads.
If you are an experienced sewer you are probably wondering why I didn't use a back stitch to secure the start and finish. I chose not to as I don't like the thread to look too bulky, so I flip the fabric over to see the back side, pulled both threads through the fabric and tied them off at the back.
Step 4: The Hand Sewn Detail
Now for the detail - thread a hand sewing needle with white thread and either double or triple knot the end. You want the knot large enough so it doesn't pull straight through the material. Place one white eye piece in position on the black eye piece. Place the needle through the back, starting at the corner. Follow the edge, keeping the stitches small, approximately 1-2mm, but spread them apart, approximately 1-1.5cm. When you get back to the start, tie off the thread and cut any excess length. Do the same with the other side of the eye. Once both are sewn on, place the completed eyes in position on the yellow fabric, change the thread to black, and hand sew the eyes to the face. Do the same with the mouth.
Step 5: Sewing on the Band
Change the settings on your machine to a centred straight stitch with a length of 2.
Face the Iron Man upright. Beginning on either the left or right side, line up the band with the outer edge and pin down. The fabric will gather when you go around the curved sections, but this is ok. When you get back to the beginning, leave a little bit un-pinned. If one side of the band is cleaner than the other, ensure the clean side is facing down.
Place the fabric under the foot of the sewing machine, face up, lining the outside of the fabric with the outside of the foot. Position the needle approximately 1cm from the start of the band. Again, it doesn't really matter which way you sew, it depends on your pinning. This time I went anti-clockwise. Sew all the way around, keeping the foot in line with the edge of the fabric (it may not always be perfectly in line, especially going around the curves, but just do your best!). Don't forget to pull out the pins as you go! Before finishing it off, fold back the 1cm of fabric that you had left at the start, lay the end of the band on top of this fold and continue to sew. Sew this overlap for approximately 2cm, then back stitch to secure. Raise the foot and cut the thread. If there is extra fabric that hasn't been sewn down it can be trimmed off. This beginning/end section will be where you fill the plush with stuffing.
Step 6: Sewing Together the Front and Back
Lay down the piece you have been working on face up, folding in the band and flattening. Place the plain red piece on top, and line up as evenly as you can (it may not line up perfectly, mine didn't, so don't worry!). Lift back half of the plain piece and lift up the band. Fold the plain piece back again and line it up with the band. Pin this section, entering the band side first, and from there continue to pin the rest of the fabric together. When you reach the stuffing section, leave 7 or 8cm unpinned. This unpinned section will be where you start sewing.
Place the fabric under the sewing machine foot, the band facing up, and line up the fabric the same as the previous step. Sew all the way around until you get to the un-pinned stuffing section - leave this section un-sewn. As mentioned in step 3, secure the beginning and end stitches by pulling the thread through to the same side and tie off in a double knot.
Step 7: Stuffing!
Now the exciting part! Turn the fabric right side out by pulling it through the hole you have left for stuffing. Take handfuls of stuffing and stuff in the plush. Keep on stuffing until you reach your desired fluffiness!
Note: For the stuffing I brought a cheap regular pillow from Kmart and used the stuffing from that.
Step 8: Hand Sewing the Hole
**Now I began sewing the hole the way I have always done, which is zig-zagging the thread from one side to the other. This had always looked fine, however I had always used matching coloured thread to fabric and because I was using white thread this time it was very noticeable, so halfway through I had thought of another way that would hide it! I googled hand sewing techniques and I found what I did is called a Slip Stitch or Ladder Stitch. This is the website if you want to have a look https://sew4home.com/tips-resources/sewing-tips-tricks/hand-stitching-basics**
Thread a needle with white thread (red would be ideal but I didn't have any). Starting with the opening between the back side and the band, create a little fold on both sides, approximately 1cm wide. Pinch the two sides together in one hand, and use the other to thread the needle through one side. Try threading it so you have space to hide the knotted end. Push the needle into the opposite fold directly across from the fold where it came out. Slide along this opposite fold about 0.5cm, then push the needle out. Bring the needle straight up from where it came out and insert into the opposite fold. Continue this back-and-forth-and-slide pattern until you reach the end of your opening (this is exactly how the stitch is explained by Liz Johnson in the above url. Thanks Liz!). Once you reach the end, push the needle underneath the fabric so it comes out at the second hole. Again, pinch the two sides together to create two folds, then follow the same stitching method as explained above. When you reach the end, tie it off with a double knot, then poke the knot through the crack to hide it.
Step 9: Done!
Now admire your masterpiece!