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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Fauna Friends: dog, cat, and rabbit plush toys

Fauna Friends is my first foray into making a three in one pattern design. Using the same basic body but swapping out ears, tails and face details you can make a dog, cat or rabbit doll.  I was inspired by my two young daughters dressing up all their various stuffed animals with doll clothes. I wanted to keep this design simple but still leave lots of room for variation by using a two color design with a main body color, then contrasting color for paws, belly and inner ears. I included plastic beans in their arms, legs and bottom to help them flop and sit.




The basic body is about ten inches tall from feet to head. The cat and dog ears add two inches and the rabbit adds four inches to the overall height. The faces are appliquéd and embroidered by hand.

To add to the play,  I developed patterns for three different outfits to dress up the Fauna Friends. It's always fun to work on clothing design in miniature as it all comes together much faster than full size clothing patterns. I worked up a dress with gathered skirt and full puff sleeves, a shirt with a collar and pants and a simple dress with a peter pan collar. They all have built in openings for the tail to pop out.

Dog with gather dress

Cat with pants & shirt

Rabbit with simple dress

The two first samples I made were a purple cat and purple rabbit for my daughters, as they requested. Currently the purple cat is my daughter Wendy's favorite toy, which is one of my toy designer dreams realized. Purple cat may not be a favorite for much longer,  but it makes me very happy to have her playing every day with something I designed and made. Plus I'll get to see if my sewing skills are up to challenge of regular play and cleaning.

The pattern and step-by-step instructions for all three Fauna Friends and outfits are now available for sale on etsy and gumroad.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Blue Bird Wand Cat Toy

Over the last couple of years I've done some projects with Sport Pet, a pet toy company. I made prototypes and samples of their pet toy ideas. As is usual with prototyping work, not everything I make gets manufactured, but this time it did. I worked on the prototype for this cat wand toy in 2015, then saw on the shelves at Target in 2016.

The design process starts with sketches:

 I then worked up the first prototype:

I received notes and changes from Sport Pet, then made a revised prototype:
This became the sample and pattern that was used to make the final pieces.

I worked up lots of different themed ideas for these wands, and made a lot of different samples. Maybe these made it to the store shelves, I did see some products looked very similar, but I'm not completely sure they were my designs.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Rocky Crocodile plush toy

Rocky Crocodile is the latest addition to my plush toy menagerie. One of my inspirations was the book, The Enormous Crocodile by Quentin Blake. I love the sneaky crocodile who is trying to eat kids. Rocky is a much sweeter crocodile who would rather play with kids than eat them.

This is a super fun pattern to play around with using different fabric patterns and textures. I really like the chenille on the top body creating a neat fluffy texture. In the pattern, it's optional to add some plastic pellets inside the legs but it gives them a nice floppy feel.  I also enjoyed using felt for the spikes and claws, it gives a sharper look but then it's reinforced with a stitched line for extra durability.

The pattern is available in my store or on etsy.