This month I have been showing you a behind the scenes look at how I design a new plushie pattern on Instagram. Here’s a quick recap of what I’ve done so far 🙂
Part 1 ~ Research
After I have decided on the theme for a design, I do some research. Pinterest and Google image search are both a great place to start. I usually start a board on Pinterest to collect the images – sometimes I will group similar themes, for example, I have used the same board to collect images for the last three patterns – Sarah, Emma and now Sabastian, because they are all sea creatures.
I’m looking for images from different angles and in the case of something like a seahorse that has different species to see what the differences are between them.
This isn’t about finding something to directly copy, but to identify the distinguishing features that help us identify this as a seahorse — a long thin snout, the curvy ‘S’ shaped body and of course the spiral shaped tail. I’m also looking at things like the general proportions as well as where things like fins might sit.
Part 2 ~ Concept Drawings
This is where the fun really begins 🙂 Once I feel I have a good understanding of my subject, I begins sketching some concept drawings. As you can see from the picture above, I decided on a fantasy look for Sebastian 🙂
Part 3 ~ Pattern Making
Next up is creating the pattern templates. This is where I have to start really thinking about what and who this pattern is for — is it going to be an art piece and something that only I will make, or is it going to be a pattern for others to buy and have fun with.
I’m still learning how to compensate for the shaping that happens when something is stuffed so I don’t end up with parts that are too skinny and a funny shape. So this is how I currently create my templates …
- Draw my design to the size I want on some scrap paper.
- Trace around this onto a larger sheet of paper, adding 1cm to the outer edges to allow for the curve of the fabric when it’s stuffed. This becomes the master template – the thing I come back to if the adjustments made during the prototype phase go horribly wrong and I have to start over.
- Using pattern making paper I trace off the individual sections to create
the individual template pieces. At this point there is no seam allowance on the templates, this will be added much later. I also start thinking about the construction steps that I might want as well as things like notches to show where the different parts join.
- There are alway changes to every pattern before it’s ready to sell. Sometimes changes are needed before the first prototype is made. For example, while I was busy having fun sketching this up, I totally forgot about the need to a seam allowance and left no room at all between the tail and the body. … opps! that’s why I do prototypes 😉
Part 4 ~ The first prototype
Making the first prototype is a mixture of excitement and anxiety. You get to see and hold this thing you have imagined for the very first time. The big question is – does it look like the idea you have in your head? If it doesn’t, does it even have the potential of even coming close?
Thankfully Sebastian has come close to what I was hoping for. There are a few tweaks needed, some reshaping of the head and tail. And the area under the neck is a bit of a trouble spot. It was very difficult to stitch and it’s pulling out, so I have to reconsider how I might fix this. I don’t what a pattern that is difficult for people to make — sewing and crafting should be fun and rewarding activities 🙂
Part 4.2 ~ More prototypes …
This week I have been experimenting with more prototypes. Each one has been adjusted somewhere. Each new one is stuffed and examined — except number 3, on this one I tried a different construction method to see if it helped with that tricky neck area — it didn’t, so I have gone back to number 2 – 0ne piece for the body instead of 2. I still like the idea of a different colour on the tummy, but it causes too many problems. So, for the sake of getting this pattern out in a timely fashion, I will compromise and use just one piece and one colour for the body. Maybe one day, when my softie designing skills are more advanced, perhaps Sebastian will
get a make-over 😉
But for now, sample number 4 sits on my sewing machine waiting to be put together and stuffed. Hopefully this will be the last prototype needed for this pattern 🙂
Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram to see all my #design_a_plushie posts as I continue to work on this pattern over the coming weeks. Don’t forget to turn on notification so you don’t miss any. To turn notifications on, go to my account, click on the 3 white dots at the top right corner and click ‘turn on post notification’ 🙂