Did you know that you can use stretchy knit fabric to make extra cuddly and soft stuffed animals?
You can! And even though sewing with knits has a bad reputation – it’s really not any harder than sewing with woven fabrics.
Cloud 9 Fabrics – makers of all-gorgeous, all-organic fabric – recently released a line of deliciously soft knit fabrics perfect for comfy clothing, cozy pajamas, and cuddly soft stuffed animals. (That’s their adorable photo up there with the cozy jammie pants.)
They exhibited those knits at Quilt Market this fall and asked me to use them to make some squishy stuffed animals to add to their display. Fun!
I’ve used knits to make softies before (mostly old T-shirts to make Bartholomew Bunnies) and they make exceptionally soft stuffed animals. For this batch I decided to use patterns I had designed with fleece in mind. I love how they turned out!
My favorite is Franklin the Fat Cat made in an awesome striped knit that really accented his fatness. 🙂
Munch was also easy and fun and I liked playing with the different coordinating prints for him.
Benson Bunny was a little trickier.
See how his shape nips in a little around the neck? He’s not one roundish shape like Franklin and Munch – and that’s what makes him slightly tricky. He’s not hard to sew – that’s easy. It’s the stuffing where you have to be careful.
Like I said – the sewing is easy. I have a whole video here about sewing stretch fabric with a regular machine, but it really comes down to just two things. Use the right needle and don’t stretch it while you sew.
What’s the right needle? Well – I sewed these guys all with a basic universal needle – and that’s usually what I start with. Sew a little test seam on some scraps and take a close look. Usually everything looks just fine and you can move on to your real project, but sometimes there are potential problems.
If you’re skipping stitches, switch to a stretch needle. It has a longer scarf (the groove that the thread rests in) and that helps prevent skipped stitches.
If you’re getting runs or snags in your fabric, switch to a ballpoint or jersey needle. It has a slightly blunt tip that makes the needle slide between the fibers instead of poking into them.
Those are the two potential problems to sewing with knits – both easily fixed with a new needle.
But the stuffing! The stuffing is where you really have to be careful. A softie made with woven fabric can sometimes be lumpy and bumpy – and that problem is a million times worse with stretch fabric where the fabric will just stretch around any lumpy stuffing. You must keep things smooth as you go. Also – usually understuffing is a problem with softies – but if you make them with knits you need to be careful of overstuffing. Use just enough stuffing to fill out the shape and keep it very smooth as you go.
That’s it! Use the right needle, don’t stretch the fabric while you sew, and keep things smooth while you stuff. The yummy Cloud 9 knits I used to make these cuties is in shops now. Make an extra squishy and soft stuffed animal today!