Plush toys come in several varieties, and there are different fabrics for various purposes. Choosing the right kind of fabric and the best sewing machines for making these plush toys will provide you with the best output.
Few fabrics are stretchy, and few don’t. It is important to take this into account when you stuff these toys, and their stretchiness can alter the size and shape of the toy, making it looks a certain way. If you have an idea of how they would look when finished, you can choose better and wiser.
It is not written in stone to use a particular kind of fabric for a specific type of job, but these guidelines are something I gathered with my sewing experience and believe to be helpful for newbies.
What Fabrics to Choose for Sewing Plush Toys?
The fabrics used in making plush toys can be broadly classified into woven, non-woven, and knit fabrics.
Cotton and flannel fabrics fall under this category.
Cotton fabric is smooth to touch and crisp to handle easily. You get unlimited colors and patterns, plus it is suitable for beginners. It lasts long and comes at an amicable price, but the only drawback is it is not as squishy as others.
As it is thin, it requires plenty of batting for looking full. You will find the toy to be taut due to its non-stretchy nature. It is mostly used in making kid’s toys.
Flannel has a little stretch, and it is also slightly thicker than cotton. It is made from poly blends or sometimes from natural cotton. You get a range of colors and patterns in thins, soft, textured fabric.
Though it is slightly costlier than cotton, you might need to know that its pills over time are not as durable as cotton.
We get fleece, Minky, and faux fur fabrics here.
Fleece has the right amount of stretch that can keep it rounder in shape. The soft and fluffy fabric is ideal for squishable toys as it is available in many fun colors and prints. Pilling and the necessity to use a stretch needle to sew are its minus points.
Minky fabric is extremely soft and thicker than fleece. It is also stretchy yet has a good shape retention capacity that gives you nicely shaped toys that are perfectly rounded.
Though it sounds like dream fabric, the catch here is that it has fur, and care should be taken to arrange your pieces in the same direction, meaning you need to take care while cutting and sewing it.
Faux fur is mention-worthy here as it comes in a knit base and is widely used in making plush toys. However, you can also find it in a woven base so check carefully if it suits your needs. It also comes in the Minky variety, which is the softest version.
The long fibers help in hiding the seems to make your toy look seamless. But it is expensive, and care should be taken while cutting to maintain the correct direction, and you must cut from the back.
Felt is a pressed fabric and does not have grain, so you need not worry about the direction to cut. When stuffed, it smooths out the seams and looks smooth as it has a slight stretch. Its crisp wool blends are suitable for creating good details.
You can make sculptural plush and handsewn trinkets as it does not fray, allowing you to leave free edges. However, they are not very long-lasting, and cheaper varieties are not as crisp to retain their shape well.
Minky, fleece, and faux fur are widely used fabrics for huggable toys, whereas flannel, cotton, and felt are used in toys requiring details.
As you know how each fabric behaves, you can now decide based on how you want to use them and what you are trying to achieve.
Top 3 Best Sewing Machines for Plush Toys
Janome MOD-8933 Serger
You can operate Janome MOD-8933 quickly and easily as it comes with a user-friendly setting. Also, the user manual comes with a detailed instructions manual and DVD with tips to help you if you get stuck anywhere.
This lightweight serger is preferred by both beginners and experts alike as it is easily adaptable yet offers advanced functionality in the range of mechanical sewing machines. It provides easy-access threading with a color-coded guide.
The retractable cutting knife, adjustable tension dials, and regulatable foot pressure are mention-worthy features of this serger. Modifiable stitch length, along with 3 and 4 thread stitch options, gives you enough flexibility.
You can create a rolled hem by quickly changing the settings. It comes with differential feed which keeps the fabric from stretching and puckering to help you achieve a professional output level.
Coming to accessories, you get an all-purpose presser foot, tweezers, foot controller, screwdrivers, and similar tools that make your job easier. Owing to its features and functionalities, it is an ideal sewing machine for sewing plush toys.
Janome 8002D Serger Sewing Machine
This Janome 8002D serger is efficient yet compact, making it suitable for small spaces. It is versatile enough to sew various kinds of fabrics, be it slippery to thick. This ability allows you to sew plush toys made from a soft to a crisp range of fabrics.
The additional accessories such as needles, screwdriver, and tweezers make your working with this serger easier. It is durable enough to create several projects for years to come.
You can use it to create 3 or 4 thread stitches using the 1 or 2 needles, which are suitable to sew the 4-thread overlock, chain stitches, flatlock stitches, rolled hems, and cover hems. The best thing is you can finish the seams while the fabric is trimmed and sewn neatly in a single go.
Its extraordinary speed of 1300 SPM and its adjustable cutting width makes it popular among sewing enthusiasts. The capability of sewing various kinds of stitches and variable cutting width makes it suitable for sewing plush toys.
Brother 2340CV Serger
You can use this serger with almost all fabric types, including knits, woven, and non-woven fabrics. Its cover stitches are suitable for providing durability to the plush toys you make.
The tri-cover stitch, narrow cover-stitch, wide cover-stitch are all possible using this machine. Color-coded threading, adjustment dials, presser dial, snap-on foot, and adjustable speed make this machine highly customizable and convenient for your specific sewing projects.
The thread looper and the three needles are responsible for producing cover-stitches of professional quality. You can use it to embroider hems decoratively that are colorful.
The built-in accessory storage keeps all your accessories safe and handy for use. An LED bulb is provided to illuminate the work area. With its differential range of 0.7 to 2 and a sewing speed of 1100 SPM, this serger offers excellent support in making your projects look professional.
Hence it is understandable why both the beginners and advanced users are equally in love with this serger.