Friday, September 4, 2009

Handmade Plush Organic Toy elephant and puppy dog

Early last spring I had several customers on Etsy ask if I could make an organic cotton Jumble Ball. I researched organic fabric and wasn't sure if it was going to work. My worry was that the plush fleece would be too thick to work with. The Jumble Balls are tricky to squash through my sewing machine already just using regular cotton fabric. Plus the fabric was really expensive.

I didn't want to commit to buying an entire yard so I searched Etsy for remnants. I found another shop (Organic by Nature) who was willing to sell me some smaller cuts of fabric. The thing I love about Etsy is working with other shop owners. In my experience, other sellers have been very helpful. Now that we know eachother we have had lots of email exchanges and traded items back and forth. When the scraps arrived I was so happy! The fabric was terrific - there was a cotton fleece, a sherpa fleece, and some velour. I was thrilled with how fluffy and soft all of the fabrics were. I've made several Jumble Balls from the fabric - and as per customer request, some I stuffed with all natural Bamboo fiberfill. They came out really great! The fabric was so nice, I figured I would try my hand at expanding my creations.

What better to create from super soft plush organic cotton than a plush critter. I made the sweetest organic plush cotton puppy dog - and it came out really nice. Shortly after I added it to my shop, it was featured in the Etsy Blog (The Storque) on July 21, 2009 (which was also my 9 year wedding anniversary). The item was very popular in terms of views and sold within minutes! I received many requests and have made 6 more since. I ordered more fabric and then completed a slew of cute critters and bears - mostly for my kids. One little plushy I made in no time (and it has almost no features), but oddly it came out super cute - it doesn't even have legs. My son named him Stuffie.

Then last week I came across an old pattern for a stuffed elephant and decided to give it a try. I'm really happy with how it came out. I know it's a nice one when my kids beg to keep it for themselves! I detailed each leg and the end of the trunk with hand stitching, which also helps it stand up nicely. The legs are stuffed rather firmly so it can stand up on it's own, but the body is a bit more squashy.

I plan to make several more elephants and I'm going to add printed fabric to the underside of the ears, bottoms of the feet and end of the trunk. That way it will look more personalized and I can make them specifically for a boy or a girl. Might even be fun to add a rattle in the trunk.

Jennifer -