1. A Stroke of Genius!
....or maybe just an idea, or an animal I saw in the wild (or out my window!), or maybe “hey, you don’t see too many walrus stuffed animals, and walrus are SO popular with the kids these days....”
2. A Little Research
I like a good old fashioned encyclopedia of animals, or the Internet. What are the most prominent characteristics of the animal? Maybe just leave those tusks off of a walrus? No way! Make those things comically big! Who doesn’t recognize a walrus by those huge tusks.
3. Draw it Up, Cut it Out, and Sew it Up
Things get a little tricky here....Each shape that goes on the face is its own piece
that has to go on in a particular order and all of those pieces have to stand alone by themselves. Add in seam allowance, stitch width, fabric thickness, and these three steps take some time, but I love when it starts to look like something!
4. Set it in Stone Plastic?
Once I’m happy with a pattern I can make a permanent pattern using heavy duty template plastic. It’s sturdy and easy to trace around so that many, many, many animals can be made from one pattern!
5. Make a bajillion, and make them all unique.
Since I make them all by hand, I can truly say that each one is one of a kind. When I go to choose what sweater each animal will wear, I like to picture that animal in its natural habitat. For example a moose may have a plaid lumberjack sweater from being in the woods, a penguin may be dreaming of warmer weather, and I always picture a studious walrus in argyle.
6. The Eyes have It!
My favorite part of the process is always creating new animals (maybe that’s why I have 21 different species!), but I also love the moment that I get to cut and place the eyes on each animal. I like to think I’m bringing them to life!
7. Do the other 95% of the work!
If you know any small business owners, you know that the work doesn’t stop at a finished product. Marketing your product and yourself, creating and maintaining a website, Instagram and Facebook posts, approaching re-sellers...it’s all a little intimidating for an introverted artist like me, but it’s all worth it to see the look on your face when you see what I have created!