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My first sewing project: a squirrel plushie

The title could suggest a great post about a kids activity. However, it is about me and my first sewing project (although you could sometimes still consider me a kid). Last Saturday I hand sewed my first plushie. It took me a few hours but I did it! 

Perhaps I should mention that it was not the first time sewing in my life. I remember when I was a kid I would make my own pillows and blankets for my Barbie dolls on my mom’s sewing machine (very crudely of course). These were always rectangular strokes of fabrics and straight sewing lines on three sides, turning it inside out, filling it, and another bit of straight sewing to close it. But I always thought they were fashionable and they fit in perfectly with the rest of my doll house furniture. Did I mention my mom made the complete doll house? And its furniture? Yep, she did that too.

But back to my first plushie. “Your first plushie? What about all the plushies and other sewn nursery decor in your shop Mippoos?” For those more regular to this blog, you might know that Mippoos is run by my mom and me and that she’s actually doing all the sewing (up till now! ;) ). Mom has wanted to teach me how to sew from the start, but we didn’t have time for it yet. Plus I don’t have a sewing machine in my own home to practice, or any fabrics for that matter. I’m normally relatively patient, but lately I’ve seen so many cute patterns on Pinterest that by now I really wanted to learn and just do it myself. And I’d loved to be able to design my own plushies eventually!

That being said, mom and I planned to sew a cute squirrel on Saturday on a sewing machine. You can find the free pattern here (not meant for mass production). Of course, all credits to the creator matsutake! Just happy to create it. :)

The plan was to create this squirrel using a sewing machine, but in the end I have hand sewn it without the help from my mom. Why? Because now I had really become too impatient (plus a little stubborn). We ran out of time on Saturday, so I eventually packed some cute fabrics to take home and agreed with mom that I should try hand sewing an easier beginner’s pattern just to get started. Or at least print the pattern for the squirrel fairly big. But I like cute little stuff…

It is Saturday evening 9 p.m. Did I already say that I can be a little stubborn? I did not enlarge the squirrel pattern nor looked for an easier pattern. This is what it looked like before cutting out the fabric in detail:

So far so good! The instruction specifically states to cut along the solid lines. Here’s where I first got confused… I have seen my mom cut out so many patterns and I know she always leaves about a centimeter of extra fabric around the lines. I know it’s because it makes sewing easier and also improves strength of the stitches. But, as a good little girl, I did what the instruction said. I’ll get back to this error later. Yes, it was an error.

The second step in the instructions is to sew the ears. Ha, I can do that! Whoot! (I choose baste thread and stitches on purpose, although this would mean my plushie wouldn’t be really sturdy but I figured it would be easiest to start with, plus I don’t really know how to do any other stitches yet.)

10.30 p.m.: When attaching the belly (step 4) I didn’t notice in time that the green polka dot fabric was turned the wrong way. Oops, first time undoing the stitches. But, still motivated!

11.00 p.m. : Attach the ears and the forehead. Uhmmm.. OK, confused again. How am I supposed to sew in those ears? It doesn’t really tell me in the instructions and I wanted to be able to stuff the ears as well. I finally figured the pointy end of the ears should point inwards when sewing. Ha, see, I can do this. Unfortunately, by now I was so absorded and concentrated I forgot to take any more photos of the process.

12.00 a.m. : Sew together the back and tail of the squirrel and turn inside out. My excitement was rising when stitching the final part of the tail and then starting to turn it inside out… but then: disappointment. I forgot the turn the ears inside out before attaching them, gah! And undoing stitches again…

12.30 a.m. : Turning it inside out again after reattaching the ears the right way. Oh it looks good this time! Now for some stuffing. Remember my first point of confusion? Not leaving any extra fabric around the sides? It came back to bite me in the butt. Some of the fabric got torn around the stitches and there were now some small gaps in the squirrel’s face. OOPS. But I stuffed it anyway (just not too hard) and I’m actually proud of the little critter! I took some photos the next day in some daylight.

01.00 a.m. : SLEEP. 


The next day: and the result is in! What do you think of my first plushie, my first sewing project? Not bad, right?

What was your first sewing project? Do you still remember? Have you ever sewn a plushie? Please tell me about your experiences by leaving a comment!

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