So, you've decided you want to make a plushie but you're not sure where to start?
No worries! Here are the top tools to use whether you're a veteran sewist, or just getting started.
Obviously you'll need fabric. But what kind should you get? That is often the question when people are just starting out. The fabrics used for garments often aren't the best choice for making a cuddly friend.
Generally the type of fabric required depends on the plush you want to make. For example, a traditional teddy will look best in a short pile faux fur or mohair. But these can be quite expensive.
The most popular fabric choice right now is something called Minky. Generally used for baby blankets, it's seen a rise in people using it for all kinds of plush and even dolls! It has a short pile fur so it's snuggly, but also has some stretch making it great for rounded edges.
The second choice and the one I recommend when just starting out is Fleece. There's Anti-pill and Blizzard Fleece options, usually you'll want anti-pill since the plush will likely be cuddled and handled a lot. Fleece has a similar stretch to Minky so if you want to transition to the pricier fabric it'll be much easier to do.
Then there's dolls which you can use Craft Velour or Doesuede for making the body. These fabrics are smoother so it's easy to paint details like a face or tattoos.
You can find Minky/Fleece at these websites or JoAnn stores (the best brand is Shannon!):
https://plushaddict.co.uk/ - UK based!
https://www.minky-europe.com/ - Europe based!
And Velour/Doesuede here:
Needle and Thread:
Next you'll need needles and thread! If hand sewing, then the needle you use doesn't matter much as long as you can thread it and it's comfortable for you to use. The needle on your machine however, will depend on material you're using. Minky and fleece are heavier fabrics, so you'll do best with a medium weight needle like a 90/14 size.
For thread there are a lot of brands but I use Coats & Clark for hand and machine sewing. There's also embroidery thread, the most recommended of which is Madeira and Sulky.
If you're just starting out you might not have a sewing machine which is ok! Plenty of folks love hand sewing or simply can't afford a machine.
But if you are in the market for one, consider the Brother brand of sewing and embroidery machines. The machine I see recommended a lot for beginners which I would also recommend, is the Brother SE-400 which is a sewing and embroidery machine combination and one of the most affordable embroidery machines. It only has a 4x4 hoop so if you want something a little bigger, the Brother PE-770 has a 5x7 hoop which so far has fit all my needs and is still under $1,000 in the U.S.!
You can get an even more affordable machine from Brother, just browse online and be sure to read the reviews!
Check out the Brother machines here:
If you're going to use an embroidery machine to make your plushies, you'll also need stabilizer. This is a special kind of paper-like material that keep the fabric from shifting while being embroidered. There's cut-away, tear-away, iron-on, and water soluble stabilizers. Which one you use is up to you and the kind of project you're doing! For plush-making specifically, I recommend cut-away or tear-away. When using minky you'll also place water soluble stabilizer on top of the fabric to keep the fibers down.
The Sulky brand also has great water soluble stabilizer you can find in your local craft store or right here.
My favorite stabilizer to get is this pre-cut tear away, so easy to grab a sheet and start embroidering!
Of course you can't make much of a plushie without stuffing! There are a couple routes you can go with the stuffing for your plushie.
First is polyester fiber filling. You can find this stuff at most craft stores such as JoAnns and Micheals labeled Polyfill so it's easy to find.
You can also buy it online, convenient!
The other route is the more eco-friendly organic cotton fill which may be harder to find in a store and might have to be ordered online.
Finally and perhaps the most eco-friendly and affordable option is to use old fabric scraps! Yes, once you've made a number of plush the amount of minky and fleece tiny scraps and pieces adds up. You can use these to stuff your plush or use a combination of polyfill and scraps!
You'll also need a sewing pattern before you get started! If you've never made a plushie before I highly recommend using a plush pattern so you learn a lot of techniques and see how pieces fit together to form a plushie! Even experienced makers like using patterns for their convenience and ease of use, creating a pattern from scratch is whole other skill!
You can browse various and versatile plushie patterns right here:
Other Useful Tools:
You can make a plushie with only the tools outlined above, but these extras make the process easier!
Hemostats: Perfect for things like stuffing hard to reach corners and even turning right side out! The ends have grippy bits to help latch onto things.
Applique Scissors: Good for detail work using applique, you'll wonder how you got along without them!
Walking Foot: For sewing with heavy fabrics like minky. You can get along fine without it, but this makes it easier to sew and move the minky forward on your machine.
^ Psst, these are affiliate links, I earn from qualified purchases.
So was this list helpful? Any tools you would add to make plushmaking easier or more fun? Leave a comment to let me know!
Want to monetize your hobby? Check out the different ways to make some dough from your plush creations!
Thanks for reading!