Ask Biz Miss: Stuffing Techniques

bighamI make and sell some novelty pillows on Etsy but have a hell of a time with the stuffing. The stuffing in your pillows looks so smooth, without any bumps or lumps. I was wondering if you use any sort of special fiberfill or foam with yours?

Stuffing is probably the hardest part of making plush toys by hand.  Though it’s more art than science, here are a few tips that I’ve discovered over the years:

1. Thick knit fabrics (like fleece) or thin woven fabrics (like quilting cottons) are the easiest to stuff smoothly. Thick wovens like canvas or thin knits have a tendency to create voids and lumps.
2. Trimming your seam allowance helps, as does pre-washing your fabric. Make sure to snip concave curves and to notch (cut triangles out of) convex curves. The tighter the curve, the more snips you should make.  This is especially important with stiffer fabrics.
3. Stuffing smaller spaces like arms (especially at the tips) much tighter and with smaller bits of stuffing than big interior spaces (like bodies), where you can use large handfuls of stuffing.
4. If you still get some lumps, you can “massage” them out somewhat.  Massaging the whole toy once it’s finished also helps keep things even.
5. The smoothest stuffing brand I’ve found so far is Soft-n-Crafty, but the brand matters a lot less than the technique.

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