My Other Life as a Plush Maker

12744102_556620864505600_23646695108442742_nI’m one of those people who always likes to have a project going. And I’m one of those people who likes to try a bunch of different creative projects, ranging from writing to painting, to sculpting and, you guessed it, plush making. Any one of these things can often be frustrating, but having that finished product is so, so satisfying that it’s almost always worth it in the end. That being said, though, it’s hard to balance everything and find the time to work on what I want to outside of my day job. Counterbalance that with trying to take commissions and it’s easy to get exhausted, but it’s always been something I plan on continuing as I love doing it far too much to drop any of my art projects all together.

12742245_556620044505682_4058900231909492141_nI got into plush making on a bit of a whim. I’d loved stuffed animals as a kid, but hadn’t considered making my own until graduating college. As I searched for work, I started looking for a project to occupy my spare time with so I wouldn’t go stir crazy while job hunting. At the time, a few plush artists had recently come on my radar, and admiring their work made me want to try my hand at something of my own. Naturally, I went right for something complicated because I am crazy like that, and drafted a pattern for a dragon. If you know me, you know that my choice of critter was far from surprising. But I had noticed that I hadn’t seen a dragon plush around with a pattern that I personally really liked. So, I made my own.

My first attempt was a white and blue dragon fondly dubbed Proto. She was entirely hand-sewn and had a number of flaws. The seams were extremely visible, the legs were too skinny and the body too heavy, and I botched the neck, but she was a sweet little dragon and I wanted to make another one. My second dragon was a gift to my sister, and after posting the two on Facebook, I had a friend contact me, asking me to make on for him on commission. Then another friend wanted one. And another.

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Proto the dragon.

I set up an Etsy shop not long after that, and had my first official sale through the site within a month to another dragon enthusiast. (You know who you are and you are amazing!) In addition to selling on Etsy, I started attending craft fairs and events as a way to reach more people, though most of my business came from the online marketplace. As I gained more experience sewing, I began drafting new patterns for other kinds of dragons, and I also began branching into other critters, dragons and non-dragons alike.

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Three years later, my tools of the trade include two machines (a sewing machine and an embroidery machine), and I’ve learned a lot about pattern drafting and sewing. I’ve definitely improved since making Proto, but she keeps a special place on my shelf and in my heart. You really have to embrace where you started before you can appreciate how far you’ve come.

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If you’d like to see more of my work as a plush maker, please take a look at any of the following sites:

I am open for commissions, so if you have a request, don’t be afraid to get in touch! Custom work takes a long time and a lot of work, so please bear that in mind. Larger and more complicated projects will be more expensive but if you have a set budget, we may be able to work something out that will fit within your price range. It is always best if you can provide me with one or more reference images in addition to the size you are looking for. I may decide to not take on your project, but I’m always interested in hearing your ideas.

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