Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A note about stuffing

From time to time, I am asked how it is that I stuff my little toys so evenly, and yet they remain squishable. I realize, being readers in blogland, some of you may not have a first-hand acquaintance with the squishableness of my creations, but take my word for it, my stuff isn't lumpy or overstuffed. (Some may look overstuffed, but they are still soft, not ever rock-hard.)

That was not always the case. I have, somewhere in the attic (at least, I'm pretty sure they're still up there) one of my earlier attempts at doll-making. These were small dolls, sewn from fabric, and they were stuffed so firmly, I think they could be fairly effective weapons. And lumpy? If they aren't, it's only because there wasn't any room for lumps when I was done. Since then, I've learned a few things.

First, don't skimp on the stuffing. Get the good stuff. It's only stuffing, so even the "supreme" quality isn't expensive. We're talking maybe $6 instead of $2. I know what it's like to have no money, and I understand that even $4 might feel like too much sometimes. Thing is, if it's a good quality stuffing, you need less for each piece, so it lasts longer, making it cheaper in the long run.

My hands-down favorite is Polydown by Hobbs. However, this is seldom available in the stores near me, and I haven't had much luck finding it online, either (unless you count the almost $100 case of the stuff...). (You can't order direct from Hobbs unless you're a store.) Possibly, if your local shops carry Hobbs batting, you may be able to get them to order in the stuffing as well, if you ask nice.

Having tried several other kinds, I have recently settled on Fairfield's Soft Touch Poly-fil Supreme. My local stores don't always have this one in stock, so sometimes I do have to order it online. I've ordered it from Fabric Depot, who sells it by the bag. To make the shipping worthwhile, I tend to order however many bags it takes to get me right under the first price-break for shipping.

When looking at stuffing in your local shops, look for the words "down-like" and "silky" in the description. If in doubt, skip it. The "popular" variety tends not to be the best. Crafter's Choice would be my last choice, because, like it says in the description, it will "result in a firmer feeling finished product". In other words, not squishable at all.

With any stuffing, it helps if you separate fibers, and use small portions. Even if you're stuffing something huge, like the X, don't grab out half the bag and try to force it in there. Tuck some in the smallest parts, using the eraser end of a pencil (or the tip, if it's really small), and keep adding more until you're satisfied with it. I wish I could say different, but you'll never get that squishy feel from bargain stuffing, no matter how much you separate fibers beforehand.

One more tip: if I'm sewing something, I will often add a layer of batting, especially if it's a large object. You just cut out your pieces in batting, same as you did for fabric, and sew it as one with the fabric. This prevents any lumps showing and gives the item a smooth look overall. Not something I generally do with knit or crocheted stuff, but helpful when making a pillow or sewn stuffed item.

1 comment:

joan said...

hi thanks alot for this advice it will come in handy for future stuffings lol