I recently made my first stuffed animal (and perhaps my last): a stuffed Hobbes!
A few weeks before Christmas a co-worker asked if I could make the comic cat as a plush toy for her son. I was pretty occupied making gifts for my own family, but I told her I could finish after the holidays if she'd like to wait.
I found a free pattern online, find it here. It was a great pattern to follow- clear instructions and tons of pictures. If you decide to try out this project, I'd definitely recommend following this plan!
Then, after the holidays, I got started. I bought 1/2 yd. orange no-pill fleece, 1/4 yd. each of black and white. I'd say I used half the fabric, but I wanted to have extra in case I needed to re-cut any pieces. The fabric was 1/2 off at Joann Fabrics, so I spent $5 on materials. I already had thread and stuffing, so I was ready to get to work.
I followed the directions to a T, which was sometimes hard because I like to make things up as I go when I'm working on a project. Really, the directions are so clear and well-written I wouldn't have done anything differently. That being said, I didn't find the project too easy...
Here are some of the challenges I faced in the project:
1. Machine-related issues. I had some problems with my machine jamming up on parts of the fleece, some stitch skips, and thread breaking. I think this could have been avoided with a good cleaning and oiling before I'd begun the project. I even changed out my needles twice in the process.
2. Bunching where I sewed on the limbs. If you look at the original pattern, the arms and legs are sewn on perfectly, but I just couldn't figure out how to get mine that neat. That being said, it doesn't take away from the toy and it still looks great, just not as good as the original.
3. Hand sewing the stripes on. I feel like there's an easier way to do this... maybe sewing strips of the orange and black together and then trying to cut the other pieces from that, but I don't know, I just know that this part took a lot of time.
All in all, I'd say this took me about 10+ hours to complete. It would probably have gone quicker for a more skilled sewer, or if I'd taken the time to get my machine in tip-top shape before hand.
The toy turned out so cute! If you're wondering about size, it was about a foot tall, from top of the head to the bottom of the torso... a pretty perfect size for a stuffed animal. I gave it to the co-worker who's son loved it (even if it did come after Christmas) and he sent back a letter to Santa's elves (that's me!). I'd maybe consider doing another project like this again now that I have the experience, but for now I'm back to my own projects for at least a while!