Step 10: Sew the pieces together

After all those fiddly steps, we’re ready to put our monster together. To get the arms and legs sewn into the seam we need to stop and think about how to layer up the pieces.

Stack the body and limb pieces

My monster’s ‘feet’ are in front of its eyes, the other end of the legs overlapping the straight edge at the bottom of the body. The arms are crossed over the body so that the ends get sewn into the seam at an angle, leaving the ‘hands’ down at the bottom.

Notice that because the arms are long, the ‘hands’ are quite close to where I will be sewing the main seam around the outside of the body.  I need to fold those pieces up towards the middle of the body out of the way. It’s important that the pieces don’t slip once we’ve stacked them in the right order and lined up our edges. Bottom to top:

  1. Front of body placed right-side up (with tummy pocket sewn behind it and smoothed flat)
  2. Limbs, overlapping the body edge by at least 1/3 of an inch – more is fine.
  3. Back of body, placed right-side down on top of layers 1-2.

Take time to line up all the edges, press the stack with an iron, and pin or clip around the whole thing to stop those edges from slipping as you sew. If you’ve added something like a bulging nose, this will tent the fabric layers now. Quilter’s clips really come into their own in this situation, but enough pins will work fine. Stop to smooth things out as you sew if the layers start to slip.

Sew the monster together

All lined up and pinned/clipped? Sew right the way around the outer edge of the body, leaving a large enough gap to put your stuffing through. There’s space for this across the top of the head, above one arm, or below one arm. You need a bigger hole than you think you do! Sew back over the ends of your stitch-lines where you start and stop – this hole will take a lot of punishment as we stuff the doll and it’s hard enough to sew the gap shut without ripped seams at the corners!

If you cut your body to my suggested measurements, you have a very generous seam allowance to play with. I like to use the full width of my sewing machine’s presser foot as my guide. If hand-sewing, I go with the width of my index finger.

I’m fortunate enough to be able to do this step by machine, saving a lot of time, but it’s not difficult to sew by hand. These stitches are structural, so they need to be small, tight, and possibly reinforced as you go over the sections with an arm or a leg in the seam. We don’t want any stuffing leaks.

If the outside edges/corners of your tummy bag become trapped in this seam, no problem, but try to avoid catching the bottom of the bag between the legs if you chose to cut that ‘crotch notch’ into your shape. The extra bulk wrinkles an already tricky little curve.

Done? Still got a big enough hole for the stuffing? Great! Trim some of the seam allowance away if you like, but I suggest leaving at least 1/4 of an inch between your stitches and the raw edge of the fabric. Clip the seams if you want to but be mindful of leaving a very strong join.