Intro: Sew Your Own Felt Microbe Plush
Microbe is an adorable little character created by Captain Corduroy of the Something Awful forums. He's become popular enough that people wanted a real-life Microbe of their own! Well, I've put together a pattern and instructions to make your very own Microbe plush. I've tried to make it as easy to understand as possible, as well as user friendly for all levels of ability. If you have any questions about the process, please comment on this instructable and I'll be happy to answer you.
He's super cute and because he's the best, he makes a great gift for a loved one. His materials are cheap, but the effort you put into making him will show that special someone how much you really care. Or you can just keep him, your call.
For more information about Microbe himself, please visit the Microbe Facebook Group
Step 1: Gather Your Materials!
You will need:
1 sheet of dark green felt
2 sheets of light green felt
1 skein light green embroidery floss
Microbe Pattern (see next step)
Batting to stuff with
You can get felt sheets for about 20 cents at your local craft shop. While at the craft store, go to the embroidery/needlework section and pick out a light green floss that matches your felt. A skein of embroidery floss is just one of those little bundles. You can find batting on the quilting aisle, usually.
Dark green or black embroidery floss
Squeaky toy insert
Pins - these just keep the pattern from moving while cutting pieces of felt.
Step 2: Microbe Pattern
Print out this pattern and cut it out! You have two options for pattern - I recommend the "new" design, it's easier and looks better, in my opinion. The "mouth flap" design is a bit more difficult, and I never quite got it to turn out the way I'd wanted. The scanner cut off a bit of the tip on the mouth flap design, I figure you can add on the little tip yourself. :)
If the attached PDF doesn't work for you, you can download it here: http://www.filecloud.com/files/file.php?user_file_id=678733
You can also enlarge or shrink this pattern to suit your taste for microbe size!
Step 3: Cut Out Felt Pieces!
If you are using the new design, this step is very easy. You will need six copies of the pattern shown on the last page! For the mouth flap design, you'll need 3 of each of the three shapes given. Cut these pieces out of your light green felt.
When cutting out your felt pieces, I recommend only using the pattern to cut out the first piece. For the subsequent pieces you cut out, use the first felt piece as your guide. The reason for this is twofold - first of all, felt sticks to itself really well and is less likely to slip off. Secondly, and more importantly, it is more crucial that the pieces fit each other than fit the pattern.
For the rest of the directions, the part in italics at the bottom of each step applies to those of you using the old "mouth flap" design.
Step 4: Start Sewing!
Okay, grab your light green embroidery floss. You'll see that it's made up of 6 individual strands. Cut a piece of floss off - no longer than your fingertips to your forearm. There's a Greek saying, "Long on thread, short on brains" - mainly because if you've got too much thread to work with it'll just get tangled up!
Okay, now take two of the strands of the embroidery floss and pull them apart from the other strands. It might get a little tangly, but be patient and unwrap them slowly and it'll be fine. Now you have two light green threads. Thread these together into your needle. If you really suck at threading needles, you can grab a needle threader at your local craft store for like 50 cents. Tie a knot in the long end of the threads, and let's start stitching felt together.
Line up two pieces of felt so that they line up perfectly. Pinch them together to keep them from moving, and start overlock stitching them together. Don't make the stitches too far into the fabric, or your seams will be big and ugly. Just make sure your needle is going through both pieces of fabric. Stitch from end to end. Once you have finished up one side of the pieces, get another piece of felt and line it up with the edge of one of the pieces you've already sewn. Repeat the overlock stitch along this edge as well. When you're done, it should look like the third picture below. If you run out of thread, knot it off and pull out another twon strands of floss to sew with.
The steps above are essentially the same for the mouth flap design - just sew together the three long pieces. We'll get to the smaller pieces in the next step.
NOTE: How to Sew image below is from Aranzi Aronzo's "The Cute Book" - it's a great little book that teaches you to make felt mascots. If you liked making Microbe, go pick up this book! Also, Aranzi Aronzo, please don't sue me, I'm just using your example because it's second best (after Microbe, who is the best at everything).
Step 5: Second Half!
Okay, so now you've got one half of your Microbe done, it's time to do the other half. Sew two pieces together just like you did in the last step. This time, when you're done, you need to check something before you sew the third piece on. Try lining up one of the edges of the two pieces you sewed together with the half you already finished. If it doesn't quite match up, that's the side you need to add the third piece to. If it does match up, then the third piece goes on the other side.
Why? Well, inevitably your pieces aren't perfect, one side might end up a little bigger than the other on your pieces, but if you cut them all to match each other, it's the same side on all the pieces!
Take the three small pieces with "tentacles" on the bottom and sew them together in a similar fashion as the long pieces before them, lining them up and then just sewing along the sides - not the tops! Do the same with the three "top" pieces. Now comes the tough part, and the one I never got to work right. Sew together the two halves so that they are the same length as the long pieces, and so you get an attractive little "lip" going on. This will be Microbe's mouth. If you can figure out a way to do this that doesn't look stupid, let me know - this difficult step is why I recommend everyone just use the new pattern.
Time to move on to decorating.
Step 6: Making the Face!
You can either embroider on or draw on a mouth for Microbe. If you're not very handy at sewing, I recommend just taking a pencil and drawing on one of the halves where you think his mouth should be, then going over it with a Sharpie. However, if you want it to look really fancy, you can embroider on a mouth by first drawing it on in pencil and then stitching the mouth in place with three strands of dark green or black floss.
Cut two small circles from the dark green felt for the eyes, and sew them on with two strands of light green floss along the edge.
I've included a picture of Microbe for reference while you're decorating his face.
If you're using the old pattern, all you need to do is sew eyes on the half with the mouth flap.
Step 7: Stuff Him and You're Done!
Line up your front and back halves of Microbe along the tentacles and start stitching him up with two strands of light green floss using the overlock stitch, just like you did before. When he's about halfway sewn together, you can start stuffing him with the batting. Use the eraser end of a pencil or similar thin, blunt-ended object to stuff the tentacles with batting. Try to finish him up at his "top" rather than at the bottom so you can stuff all the tentacles well.
And now you're done! Ta-da!