[illustration] We Are Multiple, www.wearemultiple.co.uk
Make a plush toy
Use a simple digital process and a variety of sewing techniques to make your own soft toy character…
ight now, there is a general trend towards using craft methods to create unique objects rather than relying on the power of the processor. In the following tutorial, we showyou the practical process of making a plush toy that’s full of character. We begin at the drawing board and then recreate our character design as digital artwork in Illustrator. From here, we turn the vector artwork into patterns which you can cut out for making your fabric character.
Expertise provided by Multiple, www.wearemultiple. co.uk. Sewing by www.ka-boodle.com.
Finally, we show you howto go about taking these ﬂat guides into the world of practical craft and sewing them together to make a three-dimensional ﬁgure. We hope these tips will give you the conﬁdence to turn what could be seen as a daunting task into a fun activity that is achievable at home. Use this tutorial as a starting point to come up with your own designs, creating plush characters with their own unique features,gestures and style. The results can be extremely effective.
The Illustrator pattern for this toy can be found on CD102 in the DiscContent\Tutorials\Tutorial ﬁles\Plush toy folder.
Feature Make a plush toy
Part 1: Draw your character
Collect some reference materials, rough out your character and redraw it digitally in Illustrator
Beginby picking up a pencil or pen and roughing out your character on paper. Make as many attempts as you feel necessary to capture the essence of the ﬁgure, his expression and features. Once you’re happy with the general feel, work your sketch up into a more reﬁned drawing to nail the ﬁnal idea. It’s also a good idea to look at some examples of stuffed toys to see the tricks and methods that are used,and to get inspiration for your design.
Once you’ve sketched out your character, scan it so you can digitally redraw it in Illustrator to create your sewing patterns. Open a new A3 document in Illustrator then, under File>Place, import your scan and position it to ﬁll your page. In the Layers palette, name this layer Scan and lock it. Create a new layer, and call it Drawing. This is so youcan freely redraw the image without moving the original scan.
Think about what gives your character its own personality. Facial features deﬁne emotion, and eyes are a crucial signiﬁer of whether they are sad, happy or surprised. A mouth can be smiling or grimacing to add expression. Try looking at your own face in a mirror to capture the right combination of expressions.Body shape can deﬁne your character too. Look at its silhouette, especially hairstyle or ears. Lastly, consider its appendages, what shape should they be and what action are they performing. As with drawing, it’s about capturing the essence of the object you really want.
If your character shape is symmetrical, drop in a centre guide to give yourself a mirror line so you only need to draw onehalf of your character. Now begin to redraw your image using the Pen tool. Don’t worry about being absolutely precise, because you can edit its shape later by tweaking the Bézier points.
Once you’re happy with your redrawn shapes, select them and hold down the Opt or Alt key as you drag them to make a copy. Now go to the Transform palette and, under the drop-down menu, go to Flip Horizontaland your elements will ﬂip to mirror the original half. Position them so the centre edges marginally overlap. Make sure you allow 10mm of extra material for any parts that intersect the body, because you’ll need this for the seams.
Select both halves of the body and go to the Pathﬁnder palette. Click on the ‘Add to shape area’ button (top row, ﬁrst button). This will Union the two...