Fabric, Thread, and Eyes
What materials you decide to use will determine the overall quality of your plush animal. The softer the fabric, the more you'll enjoy cuddling your plush. If you're selling them, your customers will always appreciate quality over quantity.
Fabric choice is incredibly important in plush making, as is choosing the threads that hold together the plush. Faux fur is often not as stretchy as Minky fabric and remember that the pile length differs between the two.
The pile is the length of the hairs on the fabric, faux fur usually ranges from ½ inch up to 4 inches. Minky fabric is commonly 2.5mm to 3mm in length, however there is 1mm minky as well. Much like real fur, minky and faux fur have a natural direction that the hair lays, which is called the nap. You can use the direction to your advantage when designing pattern.
Howl Fabrics has a large collection of Minky and Faux Fur fabrics in varying lengths and custom run colors.
Regardless of what you choose or if you do a combination, remember that these fabrics can be difficult to work with in comparison to regular fabrics. Minky is a type of knit fabric, so it often moves or is slippery, it’s a good idea to use plenty of pins when sewing on a machine.
The next thing to consider is the thread, usually all-purpose polyester thread is strong enough for a plushie. Heavy duty thread tends to go through minky or faux fur in irregular patterns and a straight stitch will be uneven or jagged.
Coats & Clark Dual Duty XP All-Purpose Polyester thread comes in hundreds of colors and is relatively affordable. How much thread you need is dependent on the size of the plush, an 11’’ tall horse that is a completely solid color requires about half a 250yd spool.
Safety eyes are common for plushies to give them the final look and really bring them to life. Eye color, shape, or size will be dependent on the project, all of my horses have clear plastic safety eyes.
Before installing them, I paint the backs of them a color of my choice, usually brown, and then seal the backs with UV resin to be sure the paint will last and won’t rub off. You can get eyes that already have colored irises, or completely black eyes.
If you’re making something that needs a nose, there are also options for plastic safety noses. If you’re not sure about sizes or colors, this company does not have a minimum order quantity, so you can get a single nose or pair of eyes in different colors and sizes to find the perfect fit.
While they do offer glass eyes, I personally recommend plastic for beginners as they are easier to install and more durable.