So, if I'm just a "casual fan" of the new My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic cartoon series, why did I just spend a YEAR (yes, 12 months) working on a huge Fluttershy plushie with very little prior sewing experience?
Because I wanted to celebrate the fact that Tails, from the Sonic The Hedgehog series, has been my favourite animated character for nearly two decades... and he was dethroned by Fluttershy! : O
When I started getting into MLP:FiM and got to understand the various characters better, I couldn't believe how much Fluttershy reminded me of my younger self. Each episode that developed her character just made me identify with her more and more, and because of the slightly tragic slant her character has, and knowing from experience what being in that kind of position is like, I just wanted to give her a great big hug. X3
...and then after scouring the net I realized how few people were making giant pony plushies and it occurred to me that doing so would not only benefit my interest in the character and my interest in plushies, but also my desire to try making a plushie myself, and could also be unintentionally promotional, both in the good "oh that's so cute!" way and the lame "what a pervert, probably does naughty things with her" way. Which is fine, the internet will be the internet. : P
So, around the end of the first season of MLP:FiM I started getting to work on my plushie. I used my experience in 3D modelling to help me visualise the 2D pieces that would potentially make a pony shape, and with some helpful advice from
who had made some very adorable pony plushies already, I got started on my first prototype... which you can see in the bottom left corner of this photo mosaic.
...yeah, it didn't turn out so well, but I learned a lot in the process, including how to begin and end my stitches, how to deal with corners, what kind of things worked, what didn't, etc. etc.
By this point in time I had already ordered the fabric: 7 yards of short-pile Velboa faux fur, 4 in yellow, 3 in pink, and that alone set me back over $75, so I was committed. I started work on a second prototype that was going to fix the mistakes I made, but it wasn't turning out well in the design phase and thus I never even attempted to sew it. The third prototype was another attempt to fix the original's design mistakes but when I tried to sew it there were so many sizing mistakes I couldn't keep doing it.
Also, I was starting to question why I was making a plushie that STOOD. If it was going to be huge, it would never be able to stand under its own weight, and taking it to bed to cuddle to sleep with wouldn't work out so well either. This is about the point in time when I came across an adorable Braeburn pony plushie
, and it was in a laying down position!
Inspired by this, I completely redesigned my plushie into a laying-down position for the fourth prototype, and this time I actually finished sewing it. Much to my surprise, there were few problem areas and what problems there were I could easily solve, so I made the corrections and started getting prepped to do the real deal!
First, I needed to make the pattern pieces... out of just over 100 sheets of printer paper taped together. It was... pretty crazy. It took about a week just to get the pattern pieces themselves assembled so I could draw them out on my fabric, and I only had about 6 inches of tape left when I was done. ^_^;
Cutting the pieces out was pretty time consuming too and also took about a week. Though I also needed to make the eyes and butterflies. I had bought some felt to this end and was going to just stitch it on with matching thread colours, but I rapidly discovered that felt looks all wrinkled when stitched, that or I was doing it wrong, so instead I learned how to felt them on with a felting needle, which itself had some problems because felt doesn't felt onto faux fur very securely. I had to create blanks for the opposite side of the fabric to felt into so that the felt wouldn't peel off.
...and felting an eye that's as big as your hand, let alone TWO of them, without a proper foam felting block... yeah... took countless hours to do. x_x;
Hand stitching this plushie together was incredibly time consuming too, and all the while I was worried that maybe I didn't size it out too well, or that some of my pieces would be screwed up in some way and would fail to work out. By this point, I was already $150 in the hole from material costs. (Though in the long run, the remaining $50 worth of stuffing was gifted to me by my mother, so $150 was as much as I spent of my own money on this project.)
I reasoned though that so long as I worked on it at least a little every day, it would eventually be finished. And sure enough, that strategy worked, because right around the start of May this year, I finished it! : D
She's not a technically perfect plushie by any means, given my only basic knowledge of sewing and my inexperience, and I made a lot of mistakes in the pattern itself, which I had to correct on-the-fly either by adjusting how I was stitching or by actually cutting the fabric back mid-stitch, but in the end, I ended up with a whole, sealed plushie and I can finally give Fluttershy all the hugs I could ever want to! X3
Although I have no intention of selling her, I'm hoping this story of how I built her is inspiring to all of you who want a pony plushie but don't have the skill to build one or the money to buy one from someone else. While it was extremely time consuming, I was able to do it with what little sewing skill I had, so by that logic, ANYONE could do it! All you need is the drive to learn and the patience to see the project through to the end! : D
...and not be upset with the fact that the end result will be far from perfect. : P
As for the prototypes, I can't sell them either because I kinda gave them to my mother. ; )