The Making of a Monster

11 Aug

For me, the construction of a monster is quite an organic process. An idea will germenate slowly, often taking many twists and turns on its way to a fully fledged plan.

When I put together my ideas for ‘Bouncing Baby Beatrix’ last week I thought it might be interesting to take some photos at each stage of the monstering process. Eventually I would like to put together some instructional videos for aspiring plushie artists but for now, check this out:

Initial Sketch

Initial Sketch

STAGE 1: I usually mull a monster over for a good few days before committing it to paper and it often takes a few sketches to get it right. Having said that…often the finished article is nothing like the sketch I start out with!

Yummy Fabrics

Yummy Fabrics

STAGE 2: Once I have and idea of what I want to end up with I go to my fabric collection, my beloved fabric shop or one of my many favoured fabric websites to find the perfect material to construct my monster. In the case of Beatrix I wanted to evoke a vintage feel in light of the fact that it was to be presented to its new owner at an afternoon tea party. I went for a mixture of patterned fabrics with a velvety beige base, steering clear of pink and blue.

Paper PatternFabric Pattern

STAGE 3: To get my monster started I translate my sketch into a paper pattern which I then draw onto the reverse side of the fabric and cut around leaving at least a centimetre or so as a seam allowance.

Nappy BitsNappy Pattern

STAGE 4: And so construction begins on the Beatrix’s nappy using the bottom half of the original pattern.

Putting Beatrix TogetherAdding the Arms

STAGE 5: This is where she starts to take shape, but also where my brain starts to hurt as I try to work out which way round everything goes so she looks right when I turn her in the right way. I also add the arms which I made earlier, stuffed slightly and turned in. I pin the whole lot together and carefully feed her through my trusty sewing machine.

Ready to TurnTaking Shape

STAGE 6: After sewing all her bits together I notch the seam allowance with a small sharp pair of scissors so there isn’t too much excess fabric and she turns in smoothly. Whenever I turn a monster in the right way I always have the same feeling….I don’t like it. I have learnt that this moment of doubt passes once I start embellishing so I never discard an unfinished project.

A Little Bit of Blusher!Here's Looking at You Kid

STAGE  7: Now…this is where the fun starts. I can begin to listen to my little creation and it starts to tell me what it needs. In this case she needed some rosy cheeks which I achieved using some of my own Bobbi Brown cream blusher. It works a treat. I start to add eyes using hand stitched felt and some carefully chosen buttons. This is my favourite bit as as soon as the eyes go on, you start to get a feel for the little monster’s character.

Those Letters Took AGES!But it was Worth it

STAGE 8: She needed a little bib so I used the same fabrics as the nappy and cut out some letters free-hand to retain the handmade, vintage feel. I attached these just using some fabric glue fixed with an iron and then used one of Mr Monsters Sharpies in brown to roughly outline them to make them stand out. I must admit I felt a little smug when I finished that bit!

Nearly DoneAnd Here She Is!

STAGE 9: The bib attaches on with another button and craftily hides the top of the arms which were a little messy. Thats the great thing about plushies, you can always cover up your mistakes. Just a few finishing touches to add like the belly button and some shading in the ears and then all thats left to do is write down her back-story. I am not always instantly pleased with every monster I make so I tend to leave them out on the windowsill on my living room so I can casually look at them every now and then, see if they need any more embellishment and eventually they all grow on me and I will usually declare about each one that it is ‘the best I have ever made’…until the next one that is!

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