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Stuffed animal sewing is not for the faint of heart if you ask me. Though I’m sure that others would happily sew an entire army of stuffies before cracking open a legging pattern, I do not number among those.
My kids, however, do not appreciate the difference and see my sewing machine as a place that can magically produce stuffed animals. And occasionally it has like this dragon that continues to be loved (and also stitched back together regularly) and these little hamsters I blogged in the summer that are well-loved pocket pets.
Last summer when we were all home together I stretched my skills and achieved what I think was my most successful stuffies to date. Meet the Floppy Filly horses.
After picking out their pattern I took the kids to the store and let them pick out their own fabric. They went in slightly different directions……
About the Fabric
I have limited experience working with Minky- it is not my favorite. My sewing room was a fuzzy disaster for the entire length of this project. The kids chose their fabric based on color so I ended up with a varying range of stretch and thickness on the minky.
Here is my advice on choosing fabric if I was to do it again. Make sure the fabric you are going to use on the hooves is the thinner variety. Both my horses ended up with bulky minky at the hooves and it made the whole process harder than it had to be.
Buy more fabric than the pattern calls for and then use the cutting diagram.
My brown horse was originally supposed to have brown front legs too. After years of garment sewing, I’m a little biased against cutting layouts. I find that I can usually get more in if I cut and fold as I go. Typically I don’t lay out multiple pieces unless I’m working on matching a fabric pattern or plaid. And, typically, garment patterns will allow a certain amount of buffer fabric in there. I’m confident I will have more than enough if I have the required yardage.
This pattern gives you pretty smack on fabric requirements and you aren’t going to get all your pieces cut unless you use the layout provided. Obviously not a flaw- just a word of warning.
The notions list is easy to follow and complete. I was able to pick up all the things I need at my local Jo-Anns.
They both picked out a variegated yarn for their manes. Creating the tails and manes may have been my favorite part of the whole process. I had my kids wrap the yarn so they got to be involved. We used the max reccommended mane and tail wraps. I didn’t have any trouble attaching them and I really like the full look.
The pattern uses color photos to help guide you through construction. Given that at some points in the construction of a stuffie it can be hard to tell the head from the butt while everything is inside out and being sewn frequently in circles- the pictures are very clear.
I would not say this is a fast sew. I took breaks, much to the frustration of my children. I found when I tried to complete too much in one sitting I started making mistakes, and ripping 1/4″ minky seams is somewhere near the worst.
The end result is a really professional looking stuffie. They have held up for 6 months now through the rigors of well-loved stuffies without incident.
Originally I tried to stuff them with bean bag pellet fill. It didn’t give them enough shape, we ended up emptying them out and going with a more traditional stuffing really packed in there. So now they can stand on their front legs.
You can find the horse pattern here. My fabrics and supplies were all sourced from Jo-Anns.
I think I’m going to have to make one more once my toddler realizes she’s missing out, but I’m not quite ready to dive back in to the minky just yet.
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