Get your kids to draw a picture and then wow them by turning it into a soft toy. This took a couple of hours, it became a bit fiddley but my daughter was over the moon with the result. I managed to make it without a dreaded sewing machine, though it would be quicker if are good with one. You will need some very basic sewing skills to make it, but nothing too taxing.
(For another sewing project, see https://www.thecraftydaddy.co.uk/with-the-kids/blog-2-old-shirt-new-peg-bag-or-how-to-make-a-peg-bag-from-an-old-shirt-whilst-your-wife-appoints-herself-as-the-health-and-safety-officer-over-the-project/ )
Here’s how we did it….
First off, ask your kid to draw a character. The simpler the better really, as the more fiddley it is the longer it will take to sew. My daughter drew the character below. If I was doing it again, I’d probably try and talk her out of doing all the spikes at the bottom!
Once you’ve got your finished character, cut it out. I doubled up on the card in case I needed to do one for the front and one for the back, but in the end I don’t think I need this (I just doubled up on the material as explained in a bit).
Then choose some material. You could always buy some, but my daughter had recently put a hole in her leggings and so rather than throw them out, I used them! It was probably not the easiest material to work with as its quite stretchy, but it turned out okay in the end.
When you’ve got some material, draw around the template on to it. You need two layers, so as mentioned above, you could do a front and a back separately, or pin two layers of material together and just do it in one go. I used the leggings and these had two layers to it anyway (the front and the back of the trouser) so I just used a safety pin or two to hold them together to make sure they didn’t move around when I was cutting them.
Make sure you leave a bit of space around the template where you cut as when you sew it together, it’ll turn out smaller unless you give yourself some room. I forgot about this until it was too late, so as you can see, I only gave myself extra material on one side. Oops.
The next step is the laborious bit. Face the two bits together, with the sides that you want to be on the outside when its finished, facing inside, towards each other for the time being (you’ll turn it inside out later on).
There’s no getting away from it then, you just have to sew around the edge. I’ve tried to explain how to do a running stitch in an earlier blog (see link above). It’s the only sewing I know how to do, and it seems to work so if ain’t broke, don’t fix it! It doesn’t matter if its not mega-neat, but you do need it to be small enough and in enough of a coherent link for it to hold when you turn it the right way.
This was tricky, I admit it. It was made trickier by all the jagged edges; definitely stick to a circle or straight edges if you want an easier life.
Make sure you leave a gap at the top as you’ll need to be able to flip it, and stuff it!
Okay, so next step is to turn it inside out (or outside in, as actually what you’re doing is getting it the way you want). Again, this was much fiddlier because of the shape of my daughter’s drawing. I had to get a pencil and force the points out at the far end.
Once you’ve done that, the next bit is to stuff it with filling via the part you’ve left open. I bought some toy filling from Hobbycraft. I don’t know if there is something else you could use, but it wasn’t expensive and for this sized toy, you hardly used any so there was loads left. Do try and pack it in relatively full, as it spreads out once you handle it.
Once you’ve done that. Sew up the hole with a few stitches. That should be your basic shape done. Hopefully it looks roughly like the initial drawing?
Nearly there! You then need to sew on the face or anything else from the drawing. If you’ve been unfortunate enough that your child has drawn arms and legs, I guess you could have either done those as one whole piece with the body, or do the arms and legs separately and sew them on. Luckily I didn’t need to bother with that this time.
For the face, I used felt from out of the kid’s craft box, and just tried to cut the right shapes. You could sew these pieces on, but I glued them for speed (there’s no hard pieces so no choking risk). I added a few stitches for the pupils and the tongue, just going around and around with the cotton in roughly the same spot (not the most technical explanation!).
And there you go!
From picture to soft toy in a couple of hours!