Step 12: Test the joins for strength

Before you begin to stuff it, take hold of your monster, and give everything a hard tug and a bit of a twist – features, embellishments, seams. Go extra hard on potential choking hazards like buttons and dangles. If anything doesn’t seem strong enough to be permanent and child-proof, go over it with more stitches. If in doubt, err on the side of caution.

Step 13: Stuff the body of the monster

If you’ve followed my measurements, you’re going to need a fair bit of toy-safe, hollowfibre stuffing to make this monster plump and cuddly. Fill the body little by little and push the stuffing well into the shape.

Don’t stuff the body so firmly that it becomes difficult to slip papers into the tummy-pocket. I usually stick my smartphone in there, poking out of the mouth, before I stuff the monster, to make sure I leave a functional mouth and tummy.

Step 14: Sew the last hole shut

Unless you’ve done this before with a doll or a cushion – something well-stuffed – I suggest that you do some web-searching or reach for a sewing book before you start. Many videos and tutorials can walk you through closing the gap with a hand-sewn ladder stitch or similar ‘invisible’ technique. I use a ladder stitch in thread that matches my fabric, erring on the side of strength rather than beauty. If you have no matching thread, choose a darker shade rather than a lighter one – it will be less visible.

It’s a fiddly job on a firmly stuffed doll. Take your time and concentrate on making a strong join that will never leak stuffing. Leave a tiny gap until the last minute in case you need to add a bit more stuffing. Push extra in with a finger or a pencil if you need it.

Step 15: Stuff the limbs

Turn a ‘cuff’ at the raw ends of your limb and press with an iron – sew or pin the turn in place if you need to. We’ll be inserting the felt hands/feet/paws/claws into this end of the tube once it’s stuffed.

Add a little stuffing at a time and work it in well so that it fills out the shape of the limb. I like to work the first bits into the corners where the limbs join the body using the sharp end of a pencil, then push more stuffing in with my fingers, wrinkling up the long tube as if I was about to put on a long sock so that I can reach in far enough. The fabric tube will ‘concertina’ down the length of any long stick if you need more reach. Pencil, wooden spoon – whatever works for you!

Step 16: Make up the hands and feet

Other than the fact that the ‘wrists’ and ‘ankles’ need to fit into the ends of your arm tubes, anything goes here. I usually go for something between hands and paws, and either flippers or claws for the feet. All are made from felt, either layered up with some extra felt inside for shaping and sewn through to secure and sculpt them or – if I want to stuff them with hollowfibre– sewn along a template outline drawn onto the felt, trimmed close to the seam, then turned and topstitched.

I suggest that you cut your own templates from cardboard as I don’t know how to get mine to print to scale. Some suggested shapes can be found at the end of this guide. You can draw a shape first or cut freehand.  I usually start with a rectangle or square and chop away until I have something I like, then test it against the arms/legs of my monster for a good fit.

I give my feet ‘ankles’ simply by folding them and sewing many times through the fold with strong, matching thread to create a sort of hinge. It’s crude, but it does make felt feet stick out forwards rather than hang limp. I’ve noticed that this works much better on acrylic felt than on softer wool-blend felt.

The felt hands and feet are inserted into the ends of the tubes, behind the hem, then I sew through all the layers once before going right around with ‘invisible’ hemming stitch. It’s possible to create a 3-dimensional wrist/ankle instead of a flat join. Take extra care that the stuffing is unable to escape at the join.

Step 17: Check everything’s safe

Go over your new monster in detail and check everything. Make sure that the stuffing can’t leak, no choking hazards can come loose, nothing frays, nothing that dangles is longer than 6”, and that you’ve removed all sharps such as pins and needles.

Check that the zip works.

Put your hand inside the tummy pocket and check that it’s open all the way down.

Congratulations, it’s a worry monster!

Get in touch with Knit-for-Nowt about donating your monster(s).

https://www.knitfornowt.org/contact_us

Thank you for supporting this wonderful charitable scheme. Your monster will make a lot of difference to the lives of troubled children.

©2020 Helen at http://inky.work This guide may be used, reproduced, and reprinted only for charitable and personal use. If reposting/republishing any part of this guide, please also link to Knit-for-Nowt (http://www.knitfornowt.org) to publicise their important work.