Welcome to the Plush Team Virtual Book Tour!
The Plush Street Team is a group of artists supporting and furthering ideas behind plush dolls, toys and all the soft areas in between.This year we published our first book, Get Stuffed, which is available for sale in our team shop.
In the book you'll see oodles of amazing creations from plush makers all over the globe. My creatures couldn't wait to see themselves in the book.
Thank you so much for stopping by to visit me on this tour. As a special treat I'll be taking you behind the scenes in the Fluffy Flowers plush making world so you can see how creatures get born.
Oh, but before we start you might want to put on a little music. Or play a little music if you're so inclined. You can borrow my plush amp if you want to crank up your guitar. This amp makes a cameo appearance near the back of Get Stuffed. You can read all about it here.
I find myself constantly inspired by things and people that surround me. Recently, a dear writer friend of mine was considering writing a book about a mermaid. She was on the fence about it and I wanted to do everything I could to persuade her to do it. I decided to make her a plush mermaid to serve as inspiration. So where to start...
First I gathered potential supplies. I usually grab a lid off a copy box and use it for whatever project I'm working on. They're perfect for portability if you want to go from the studio to the TV room or even to the car if you're going for a long drive. Be sure someone else drives! I have a bunch of these box tops which I bring home from my day job. I swear by them!
Anyway, back to the hunting and gathering stage. I go through all the materials in different parts of my studio. I grab anything that speaks to me as "mermaidy" or "oceany". I grabbed a lot of blue stuff because my friend's favorite color is blue. I also grabbed that groovy word fabric because she's writing a book...
Next I draw a design. This can be tough. I try to make it very basic without much detail.
Next, cut it out.
Then comes the fun part. I tried out different fabrics to use for the tail. I like this bubbles one a lot.
This one's groovy too, sort of sky looking.
This one is kind of oceany too but I really think I like the first one best.
Next I draw the pattern on the fabric. I don't really go in for all those fancy pens and things you can buy at the fabric store. I just use regular ol' pens you can get down at the grocery. I swear it's never been a problem.
Ok, now I cut the mermaid tail out but first I double the fabric over so I can cut both sides out at the same time.
Ta da! Two tails ready to go. Notice how the fabric is reversed so that the right side will show on the outside after it's sewn together.
Now to cut out the body. I picked this groovy swirly patterned fabric because I figure it will look like tattoos.
I was careful to lay out the body pattern so the swirly bits would go across the body.
Notice I used that same red pen to trace the pattern. Then cut it out. I love that little pattern detail.
I cut one upper body with the head but then I realized that I drew the neck so narrow on the pattern that is would be super tough to turn the fabric right side out after I sewed it. So I decided to cut the head separate from the upper body. This will allow me to stuff it separately.
Finally time to do some sewing! Sorry about the lighting. I can never seem to get a decent shot from my sewing machine.
Here she is all sewn together. I sewed the upper body to the tail for both the front and the back. Then I laid the two pieced together and sewed all the way around except for the neck which I left open for stuffing and so I could attach the head.
Now its time to turn your fabric. Oh boy. This is never easy when you're working with small pieces of fabric. The best thing I can tell you to do is use tweezers. Yep, its one of the best tools to help turn those cotton fabrics inside out.
It takes a little fiddling and a lot of patience but I swear it works!
See? I usually start with the extremities and pull those in first and then turn the whole thing inside out.
Time to start stuffing! This is another thing that takes time. I use a pencil or a chopstick to get the stuffing way down in there and then work my way up.
The secret to good stuffing is to pack it tight. Not too tight so that your stitches gap but really snug. Just when you think you're done stuffing try to see if you can stuff a bit more. A well stuffed softie will look much better than a less stuffed one.
Also, notice the two stuffings above? The one on the right is sort of silky and the one on the left is sort of cottony. I find the silky one pretty tough to work with. I have some in case I need it but usually I get the cottony kind which comes in a big box at Voldemart.
Ok, time to give this lady some personality. One thing you will notice about all my creatures in the Plush Book are the big, wide eyes. I almost always put big eyes on my plush. I cut a little felt so that it made a little blue ring outline around this sweet mermaid's eyes.
Now she's starting to come alive. She just needs to get her smile on.
I snuck that smile on while y'all weren't watchin'. Now it's time to stuff that head and I made the neck so small that it took a while to get it in there.
Okie, dokie, her head is stuffed and nearly sewn on.
Now for her hair! I used some yarn from my enormous yarn stash (I'm a knitter in the winter months) and maid (ha ha, I really can't spell but I think in this case it was a slip of the mer kind :) it really long.
I just sewed it on with a simple part down the middle of the head.
I slipped this little starfish bead necklace on with a ribbon. It's a perfect finishing touch.
Now you know what this little lady needs? A home to live in. Writers usually make some sort of inspiration folder or box for their stories so I figured that would be a good place to start.
I think this shoebox will make the perfect home for her mermaid.
Perhaps a little coral sea floor?
A little tulle for waves and a star to steer by. She's starting to look a little cozy. But she needs some accessories.
How about a plush book for the writer?
Blue fabric for the cover, word fabric for the interior, and a piece of felt to sturdy the pages.
Time to do some book binding!
I wedged the pages in between the covers...
...then sewed them together.
It turned out better than I expected!
I think she likes it. Oh, and I slipped in a little plush fish to keep her company.
I think she will be well loved.
Thanks so much for stopping Fluffy Flowers for the Plush Team's virtual book tour. I appreciate it! I hope you enjoyed your visit.
My creatures really enjoy it and I know you will too!
Hope to see you Saturday at the next stop on the tour.