Biz Miss

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Works in Progress March 28, 2010

Filed under: diy,fairs and shows,Working from home — bizmiss @ 4:36 pm
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I know it seems like I’ve fallen off the face the earth, but really I’ve just fallen very deeply into a project vortex.  There’s lots to be done before WonderCon next weekend, and by far the  largest undertaking (literally) is a seven-foot-tall version of Mitch the Monster for Neon Monster’s booth.  Since I’ve never built anything of this scale before, I’ve had a few setbacks, mostly material-related.  The structural engineering of an 18″ stuffed animal is VERY different from that of a larger-than-human-sized display.

A. took this photo a few days ago when I was tracing out the pattern pieces on our living room floor.  It’s the only room in the house large enough to accommodate a single one of these pieces.  There are four of each of these pieces making up the monster’s body.  He’s still not quite done (I’m having eye issues), so I’m going to get back to it now.  I’ll be back to posting useful things in a week or so…on my brand new almost-finished web site!  Get psyched!


Ask Biz Miss: Stuffing Techniques September 5, 2009

Filed under: diy — bizmiss @ 10:01 am
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bighamI make and sell some novelty pillows on Etsy but have a hell of a time with the stuffing. The stuffing in your pillows looks so smooth, without any bumps or lumps. I was wondering if you use any sort of special fiberfill or foam with yours?

Stuffing is probably the hardest part of making plush toys by hand.  Though it’s more art than science, here are a few tips that I’ve discovered over the years:

1. Thick knit fabrics (like fleece) or thin woven fabrics (like quilting cottons) are the easiest to stuff smoothly. Thick wovens like canvas or thin knits have a tendency to create voids and lumps.
2. Trimming your seam allowance helps, as does pre-washing your fabric. Make sure to snip concave curves and to notch (cut triangles out of) convex curves. The tighter the curve, the more snips you should make.  This is especially important with stiffer fabrics.
3. Stuffing smaller spaces like arms (especially at the tips) much tighter and with smaller bits of stuffing than big interior spaces (like bodies), where you can use large handfuls of stuffing.
4. If you still get some lumps, you can “massage” them out somewhat.  Massaging the whole toy once it’s finished also helps keep things even.
5. The smoothest stuffing brand I’ve found so far is Soft-n-Crafty, but the brand matters a lot less than the technique.


Finished and Relieved June 29, 2009

Filed under: Success Stories — bizmiss @ 6:20 pm
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Finally finished the Neon Monster prototype last night.  The pattern is pretty complex so it took longer than I thought (hence Wednesday’s post) but everyone at the store seems happy with it.  I’ve got some minor adjustments to make when I construct the final 18″ version but all in all the pattern is pretty solid.  I celebrated by taking a nap after the meeting.

For the rest of today and tomorrow I’m going to work on some of my own stuff that’ s been backing up.  I need a little bit of a break before going back to this project.  If I get permission from the client I’ll post some finished photos at the end of the week.