Tuesday, July 28, 2015

DIY Fleece Peso the Penguin

I don't know about you, but in my house we have way more stuffed animals than we need. Earlier this year, Zane and I placed an embargo on stuffed animals as gifts. It's even hard for me to honor, because I find myself in a Disney gift shop, Cracker Barrel store, or browsing the internet thinking, "Oh that's so cute!"

My three year old has been completely obsessed with Octonauts. She often has Zane or me pretend to be Peso and help heal her other stuffed animals. This morning she was playing that game, and I thought, "She needs a Peso doll." I looked it up on the internet, found some Octonaut merchandise, and then remembered my stuffed animal embargo.

Then I realized I could easily make one, and somehow the hand-crafted aspect of a plush doll justified adding another one to our huge collection. Plus, I was hankering for a creative project.

It's really not too difficult to make, once you break down the steps. Hopefully this DIY tutorial will give you the confidence to make your kids' favorite character into a simple doll if you feel the inclination. With the right planning, you can easily make a simplified version of any character.

**Disclaimer: I did not make this with the intention of writing a DIY post, so I don't have pictures of each step, but I hope my written instructions make sense. Feel free to ask questions!

Materials Needed: 

Less than 1/8 yard each of black, white, blue, yellow fleece.
Hot glue gun
Fabric glue
Poly fill Stuffing or scraps to stuff with
Index card for Peso's medical bag

Part 1 - Cut Pattern and Fabric

1. Find an image of the character you want to create. Front-facing is best. I searched Peso the Penguin and found this image: 
via: http://wondersofdisney.yolasite.com/resources/disjunior/octonauts/peso.png

2. Save the image on your computer and paste it into a word document. I decreased my margins to .5'' and expanded the picture as big as it would go on a normal 8.5x11'' page. Then I printed it.

3. Use scrap paper to trace out the sections that need to be cut out separately. I traced a big head and added about .25'' around for an inseam. Then I moved my trace paper around to trace the black eyes, yellow beak, white face, black body (add .25'' for inseam here too), white belly, black wings, yellow feet, white hat, and blue collar.

3. After you trace your sections, cut them out of the scrap paper. Now you have patterns for each part of the doll.

4. Use the patterns to cut your fabric pieces. Remember to cut 2 identical fabric pieces for any part that you intend to stuff:

  • Black: eyes (2), head (2 pieces, add .25'' inseam), body (2 pieces, add .25'' inseam) 
  • Yellow: beak, feet (2) 
  • Blue: collar (make it a little longer to go around entire neck) 
  • White hat, belly, face **For Peso, I did not cut his white face out with the pattern. Keep a rectangle for his face, and go to the next step. 

Part 2 - Sew

1. FACE: I used the instructions from this Monster Hat tutorial, specifically how she sewed the eyes of the monster with a tissue paper pattern to sew Peso's face on his head. I've referred to that tutorial a lot for fleece appliques. If you don't want to click her link, then here's my instructions below: 

Trace Peso's face pattern with chalk on the white fleece rectangle. Pin the white over the black fleece, trying to center the "face" part on the black oval. I sew along the chalk line. After it is sewn on, cut just along the outside edge of the stitch. 

You can do the same for Peso's white belly or glue it on at the end, which is what I did. 

2. HEAD: White face facing inward, sew Peso's two head pieces, leaving an opening at the bottom where his neck will attach. Flip it inside out and stuff with poly fill stuffing. 

3. BODY: Place wings and feet pointing toward the middle of the black body piece as if he's folding up his legs and arms. Then sandwich the other body piece on and pin around the edges. Leave a little bit of arms and legs poking out to make sure that they get sewn in. Sew around the edge. Flip it inside out. The arms and feet should wave around on the outside. Stuff the body with poly fill stuffing. 

Hand sew the top of body (neck area) into the hole left at the bottom of the head. 

Part 3 - Glue

1. BELLY: Glue the white belly in the middle of the black body. If you sewed it on, skip this step. 

2. COLLAR: Optional: hand-sew chevrons on either side of his collar. Use hot glue to glue it to his neck. I extended the fabric past my pattern to wrap around his whole neck and glued it in the back, further securing my hand stitches at the base of his head. 

3. FACE: I cut tiny white pieces and used my fabric glue applied with a tooth pick to glue them to Peso's black eyes. Then I used hot glue to glue the eyes and beak to his face. 

4. HAT: The hat was the most tedious part of this endeavor, because I had to freehand cut an Octonauts symbol, which looks ridiculous. Then I hand-sewed it onto the hat. I'd say forget the Octonauts symbol unless you're really detailed. Just take small rectangle of white fleece, fold up the bottom by a 1/4'', and sew/glue it in the back. Then round off the top with your scissors and glue it on his head. 

**All of the glue parts, I used a toothpick to apply fabric glue to the edges and corners to prevent peeling up or fraying when my daughter plays with him. Hot glue is nice for big pieces, but fabric glue is better to get small pieces and spaces. Fabric glue holds better with fleece too. 

5. MEDICAL BAG: I folded an index card in half, cut out the corners to leave a "handle" in the middle, and drew a blue bandaid on with a blue marker. Then I taped up the sides with packing tape and filled the "bag" with strips of white fleece for Peso's bandages. 

My daughter LOVES him. My creative bucket is filled, by knowing that he's now a favorite toy makes it all the more worth it! 
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