03 September 2011

Sewing 101 with Becky, Stuffing!

Welcome to Sewing 101!  I'm happy to feature Becky from the Patchwork Posse today.  She will be showing us the 101 on stuffing.  




Hi girls—I am so excited to be here on Chris’s blog!! She has some good stuff—and I love chatting…so here we go!   Picking a ‘theme’ to talk on was next to impossible.  I mean, really who wants to know what?  I design quilt patterns, and doll patterns and other odds and ends. Lately I have been stuffing a few new things in the sewing room and my nose has been filled with fluffy stuffing stuff- so I thought, maybe I should share a bit about stuffing.  Let me just tell you that I pick up whatever is cheapest around here. I find stuffing at second hand shops, use coupons so I can buy the big 5 pound box of it and I have even torn up quilt batting for stuffing…..so for the most part I have tried just about anything.  But, if you have used something new, by all means share it! I am always looking for new things to achieve different looks.




When starting with this whole doll business I never really thought about stuffing and the different kinds and how It kind of affects what you are making. I of course started with the typical filling is the poly-fil that you get in the bag at the craft store. This is usually 100% polyester. Leave a bunch of air around it and it will be fluffy. Nice feel to it, but it really sheds all over the place. This will give you the most itchies in your nose that’s for sure. Because it is pulled apart and fluffed for you it is the best choice for stuffing soft items and not the real dense ones, or you would really have to pack it in. Lately I have found that even within the poly-fil world there are a few different brands out there and some of them are different from others. For the last little bit I have been using a poly-fil from Morning Glory. It has a much different feel to it than the typical style of poly-fil.


The fill isn’t fluffed as much as the other kinds and won’t shed on you either.There are little balls or chunks in there –take a look:


You can definitely pack this in.  Tight.  And there isn’t any fluff escaping from the seams, which is so nice!You have to pull it apart just a bit, but it is really nice to work with. Besides the Polyester fill there is wool.  I love my wool stuffing. I got this big bag from a garage sale. I kind of hoard it and haven’t used too much--- but right off you can tell a big difference in the look. Again, it isn’t fluffed or separated very much.You have to pull it apart and give it a bit of fluff yourself. It has a bit of a greasy feel too.  Not anything that will leave your fabric oily, but it is noticeable when you are stuffing your cute little animals, dolls or pillows.

So, what happens when you need some stuffing and there is none to be found? Grab those batting scraps. It is a good backup for stuffing if you are "up a creek" and need something—quick. You will have to pull it apart a bit before you can use it though, or it will be SUPER LUMPY and difficult to use.  Because it is flat and squished it does work nicely for dense projects. This isn’t one to use if you are needing a fluffy, soft feel. I would use it on smaller projects and not big ones too—this might end up lumpy! Be aware.

Tips on using stuffing:
  • Use little pieces at a time. I know this is hard, we want that project done now! But, big pieces leave lumps—and that is not good. Small pieces at a time.
  • Use a dowell or NON-SHARP item to push the stuffing into smaller spaces.  Points love to jump through the fabric and leave a hole! I hate that! A pencil eraser end works good.
  • When closing the doll, animal or pillow stuff just a bit more right before the last few stitches. There always seems to be a little less in this area because you are pushing it all inside and don’t want it to fall out when sewing.
How about some examples of stuffing! I love this part. Such cute stuff. Weeee!  If you stuff with small pieces and move the stuffing around so it doesn’t get piled up in one spot your doll head would look like this:


{I didn’t make this doll, she was received as a trade}

When you want things to be soft and giving, don’t overstuff. When you put the stuffing in the project keep it fluffy. Don’t push it too hard to the edges and get it into a dense pile. Leaving air around it keeps it fluffy. You do need to make sure that you don’t under stuff though. Like the little home below—you don’t want the tip of the roof to be left with nothing in there! Distribute the stuffing without squishing it too much.

{this house was given to me}


If you are looking for a tight, dense look then prepare yourself for some arm aches! The doll below is a great example of EXTREMELY dense stuffing. She is soo tightly stuffed, I am surprised the seams are still holding! This is done by adding bit by bit and piling it on top of other little piles. There is definitely no air around the stuffing here. It is packed tight. You need to make sure your seams are re-inforced so they don’t burst.

{this 6” doll was purchased}

So, what about bumps and lumps? Sometimes it isn’t that bad! Gives the item a bit of character if you are looking for a vintage look. If you aren’t going for that--- then make sure you add little bit, by little bit. If there is a bump that is seriously bothering you try pulling out that stuffing piece and re-fluffing and stuff it again. Or, use the end of a pencil {not pointy side} and move the stuffing bits around. Sometimes rolling the item will work the stuffing into a better pile. This technique works well with legs and arms.

{I made this duck using old quilts}

If you have any super suggestions you would like to share with the rest of us—please do! I don’t know it all and sometimes what works today will not work tomorrow. {I hate it when that happens} I jump back and forth from quilts to dolls, but I really think I like dolls better. For right now at least.  Lol. Thanks Chris for letting me share just a bit of what ‘I know’. I have a free little pattern for everyone – Little Travelers. They are around 9” tall and there are just enough parts to be cute, but not difficult! Using fleece gives them added softness for snuggles too. Enjoy!



Thank you, Becky for sharing your advice on different types of stuffing.  There are so many types to chose from, and it helps to know what's best for each project.  Be sure to pop in and visit Becky at her blog, The Patchwork Posse.  She features great blogs on her Trunk Show Tuesdays, and her website has great online sewing workshops HERE.  It's so nice to meet another person who loves sewing as much as I do.  :)

5 happy thoughts:

Deanna said...

Becky is FULL of good ideas. The tips on using only a little at a time and doing a final stuff on the last few stitches should help me be more satisfied with my future projects.

Caroline said...

Once I made a late night run to target and while I was there I wished and wished they had stuffing. Then I saw the pillow section and thought 'duh!' I bought a $2 pillow on sale, cut it open, and found just as much stuffing as you find in the $6 bag at joanns! Just be sure you read the tag so you don't end up with feathers!

Thanks for all your good ideas.

Anne said...

Great tutorial!! I linked to it on Craft Gossip Sewing:
http://sewing.craftgossip.com/tutorial-stuffing-a-softie-or-pillow/2011/09/04/

--Anne

Gwen @ Gwenny Penny said...

Great tips! I've never thought to add a little extra stuffing just before the last few closing stitches... love this idea.

Whosies said...

thanks for the comments and ideas! I had never thought of opening an old pillow....there are a few in the donation box. Maybe I'll snatch them back out! lol

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