Updated date:

Softie Making Tutorials | How to Make Cute Plushies | Free Sewing Patterns

How to Sew Your Own Stuffed Toys & Animals

Softies are basically a sewn outer fabric shell with soft stuffing inside to help it keep its shape. They can be used as cuddly toys, cushions or decorations, and the possibilities for shape and design are endless. Plushies are the same idea, except they are mostly made of softer (plush) fabrics.

Softies will at least require a small amount of hand sewing, especially for intricate parts, but most parts can usually be machine sewn. There are a few different ways of making softies, from very simple ways such as sewing a simply shaped pillow and then adding felt details to that base, to harder ways such as creating detailed 3D designs with more lifelike features.

I have compiled a list of the best craft tutorials on the web, including tips and starter projects for beginners, plus a display of handmade plushies to show you the massively varied styles of softie that are possible with this creative and fun hobby.

I hope you find this page helpful :-)

Felt Doll Plushie

Top-Rated Softie Making Books

An Introduction

Ideas For Making Your Own Cuddly Toys

Making plush toys is an easy hobby to get into even if you have only basic sewing skills. If you are a beginner, I would suggest using felt fabric to make your first toy, as it doesn't fray at the edges and it is really easy to cut and sew. When you become more experienced you will be able to work with any fabric you like (although I would stay away from anything stretchy).

For your first project I would go for a 2-sided design in a very simple shape such as this bunny, this raindrop cushion, or this owl.

Here are some ideas for what to make when you become confident enough to design your own pattern:

- Make a toy replica of your pet or of your favorite animal

- Make a mythical creature such as a dragon or unicorn

- Make an extra large or tiny weeny size toy

- Make an extinct, ugly or weird animal like a dinosaurs, Dodo, or some weird thing that lives at the bottom of the sea!

- Monsters - which gives you lots of room for creativity

- Robots - perhaps using metallic fabrics

- Replica of your favorite book or movie character e.g. Jack Sparrow or Dumbledore

- Make a copy of an inanimate object e.g. a Rubik's cube, a TV, sailing boat or a boombox

- Make a stag head or the head of another animal to mount on the wall

- Make a globe softie and stitch markers on places you've been or places you want to go

- A classic Teddy bear

- A Halloween themed character e.g. a vampire, Frankenstein, zombie, skeleton, witch

- Make a softie as a gift for a family member or friend, in the theme of their favorite hobby/TV show/movie - or even make a doll that looks like them and is dressed like them!

There are so many fun things you can make that I think it's a craft you'll never get bored with.

I hope you find lots of inspiration on this page!

Plushy Creatures

Beginner Tips & Easy Projects

Kawaii Plushie

Animal & People How-Tos

Gary the Tattooed Softie

I love the tattoos on this guy!

I love the tattoos on this guy!

Cute Characters & Fun Makes

Girly Robot Softie

The above robot was designed by Audrey & Maude, and the pattern can be bought here.

Lessons in Softie Making & Fab Tutorials

Plush Bull Terrier

Aww what a cute little guy!

Aww what a cute little guy!

How To Sew a Curved Seam

how-to-sew-softies

how-to-sew-softies

When joining together the curved edges of two different pieces of fabric, it can be quite awkward to get them to join up perfectly and smoothly. This diagram shows you how to go about the task of making a neat curved seam:

1) The aim is to sew the curves together so that the A points join together, the B points join together and the C points join together (see first picture). The length from A to C on both curves is equal.

2) Place the fabric pieces right sides together, and line up the center points (B). If the pieces are symmetrical, you can fold them in half to find the centers, or you could use string (cut to the same length as the curve) and a ruler. Place a pin here to join the fabrics temporarily at point B.

3) Now use a pin to keep the A corners together, and another pin to join the C corners together.

4) Put several pins in between the A, B and C points so that the curved edges join up perfectly all of the way round.

5) Slowly sew around the curve, making sure to remove the pins as you go so that you don't sew over them.

6) Cut triangular notches out of the fabric so that the points of the triangles don't get too close to the sewn line. Then you can turn the fabric pieces the right way out and the seam should be nice and smooth. If you don't cut these notches out, there will be too much bulk on the inside of your softie and the seams will look messy.

Megan Whitmarsh

Megan Whitmarsh makes and exhibits 'soft sculptures' which include softies in so many different shapes - from replica sewing machine to TVs, pens, radios, vinyl records, plant pots, record players and much more.

This photo shows sculptures displayed at PULSE Art Fair 2010, New York.

Click here for more Megan Whitmarsh sculpture photos.

Plushie Making Videos

A Variety of Plushie Projects

Little Chick

Sven the Viking

From Teddy Bears to Darth Vader!

How to Sew Neat Curved Seams & Corner Seams - Creating 3D Shapes Requires Smooth Seams

sewing-seams-notches

sewing-seams-notches

1) Corner Seams: To get a sharp (not rounded) corner in a plush toy, you need to remove the corners of the seam whilst it's inside-out. As show in the diagram, this step is after the fabric pieces have been sewn with right sides together. Be careful not to cut too close to the sewn stitches.

When the seam is turned the right-way-out, the corner won't have the extra fabric bulk in it and will therefore look more pointy than if you hadn't cut off the fabric corners.

2) Convex/Hill Seams: After sewing along the seam (with the fabric pieces right sides together), you simply cut notches along the curved edge to remove fabric bulk. This will help you achieve a smooth seam.

3) Concave/Valley Seams: After sewing along the seam, just clip the curved edge i.e. cut slits from the edge to just before the stitched line. Do this at regular intervals, as shown in the diagram. This is to allow movement and stop the fabric edge bunching up on the inside of your stuffed toy.

Gary the Felt Plushie Snail

More Cute Things to Make

Book & Movie Characters

A good way to get inspiration for character softies is from books and movies - although you won't be able to sell these without permission of course. I love these Hagrid and Dumbledore fleece plushies!

A good way to get inspiration for character softies is from books and movies - although you won't be able to sell these without permission of course. I love these Hagrid and Dumbledore fleece plushies!

Little Elephant

DIY Stuffed Toys

Teddy Bear

Cute bear softie made by re-using pyjamas.

Cute bear softie made by re-using pyjamas.

Creative Creatures & More Projects

Giant Kawaii Tiger

Softie Making Blogs & Websites

Handmade Plush Birdies

plush-bird-softie-diy-pattern

plush-bird-softie-diy-pattern

Photo and birds by Viviana Agostinho.

CLICK HERE for the pattern.

Please Leave a Comment!

anonymous on September 03, 2013:

Thanks so much for featuring my Very Hungry Caterpillar!

anonymous on May 29, 2013:

This is a great resource for wonderful softies. I am making dollys for charity and I will refer my gals/guys to this site so they too can make softies for our charitys and theirs. Thank you!

belinhafernandes on April 08, 2013:

So many resources! Lots of cute ideas to try! Awesome lens!

Pinasheart on December 25, 2012:

thank you for this! I love it!

anonymous on November 29, 2012:

there are awesome!! :)

rooshoo on November 14, 2012:

This is a really fun lens. I love plushies.

wellingtonboot (author) from U.K. on November 05, 2012:

@anonymous: ~Sorry there's no pattern available for that one :(

anonymous on November 04, 2012:

where is the bull terrior pattern? I would love it

MintySea on October 12, 2012:

this so cool. I am sending it on to my more crafty sister.

SomethingInteresting on September 25, 2012:

Beautiful Patterns

MatterWarp LM on September 03, 2012:

Where'd you find all these patterns? It must have taken a while.

LoveToClean on August 29, 2012:

I LOVE the little elephant--- SO CUTE!! :)

SewingMama on July 14, 2012:

These are amazing and this is just the resource I was looking for. Thank you!

anonymous on April 14, 2012:

I have made a bambi!

Loulie LM on March 04, 2012:

What a fun lens!! Adorable!!! My daughter and I have made a few softies, and we look forward to making many more. We will definitely refer to this page! Many thanks! :)

alexaa7x on February 06, 2012:

Very cute idea!

jimmyworldstar on February 02, 2012:

That plush of Gary the Snail from Spongebob must be such a hit. I know plenty of people who sew clothes but not toys.

howtosewadress on December 30, 2011:

If you want to venture into business with your sewing skills, it will be an advantage if you take classes. You should learn more about the terminologies used in sewing, equipment to be used, techniques, as well as how the business runs. You donât want to go to a battlefield unprepared.

ktluvsice on December 16, 2011:

I want to make all of these! Too cute.

AngelDey on July 25, 2011:

These are absolutely adorable! Thanks for sharing. I definitely want to get my son to try some of these.

JoeReview on June 16, 2011:

OMG soooo cuteeee Ô(Ëâ¿ËÔ)

Marina K on May 21, 2011:

Ooh, these are extremely pretty! Totally awesome!

lilyofthevalley1 on May 19, 2011:

These are soooooo adorable! Wonderful lens :)

FunkyJewelleryUK on May 17, 2011:

Such a cute lens! Adding to my favourites so I can make myself some squishy friends :)

anonymous on April 15, 2011:

Hi,

One of my favorite softie patterns is from hazelnutgirl.blogspot.com. It's the most adorable rabbit!

Lemming13 on March 19, 2011:

Great resource here, and some lovely cute softies.