The easiest way to make a stuffed toy is to cut out two identical shapes and sew them together. In the case of a dog, the shape would be the profile. You can either draw the profile of a dog freehand on a piece of cloth, or you can find a photograph of a dog in that position.
Many books on dog breeds show them in profile. You can then copy, scan, or download the picture and enlarge it, to use as a template. Draw the shape on a folded piece of cloth, so that you have two identical copies. For material, quilting cotton is a safe choice. There are many colors and patterns, so you could make a fanciful folk dog or a plain white dog. Other fabrics are available and any will work, as long as you are able to sew it and there aren’t holes that the stuffing can come out. You may be able to find furry cloth.
Hold the two pieces with the wrong sides together and sew around the edge, leaving a small hole for putting the stuffing in. Turn right side out and stuff. Polyfill can be purchased at craft stores. Put handfuls into the dog until it is very well stuffed. Put in a little more than you think is necessary, then sew up the opening and you’re done. You can sew on a button for an eye, or draw one on in permanent marker.
If you would like to create a slightly more real looking dog, one you can look at straight on, then you will need to do a little more sewing. You will make a few different templates. Cut out two large ovals for the body, and eight leg shapes, two identical tail shapes, and the trickiest one: two identical face shapes.
The shape of a dog’s head is similar to two ovals superimposed on each other, facing at 90 degree angles. In other words, on a piece of paper draw a slightly elongated circle, then a smaller oval perpendicular to the first and coming down from the middle of the first. Practice this general shape until you think you have a dog’s face.
Cut out all your pieces and sew and stuff each one separately. Then join the legs to the body and the tail to the body and the head to the body. Lastly, cut out two triangular or oval shapes (depending on what kind of dog you’re making) and sew them to the head as floppy ears. Sew on button eyes or draw them on with permanent marker. The third possible method requires some special material. To make a dog with actual fur, you can make method number two, but using hooked rug pieces instead of normal cloth.
You may have tried rug hooking before. If not, it is not hard to pick up and there are kits you can buy to learn. At a craft store, buy enough of the cloth to cut out the templates for method two. Rug hooking cloth is a thick mesh of squares. You will also need a rug hooking tool, and precut pieces of yarn in the colors you want for your dog.
Cut the template pieces out before you begin hooking. Be careful to maintain all the boxes: if one is cut into, you will have to remove it from your pattern. Trim the edges very carefully. You may have to fudge the edges of your pattern to keep boxes.
Hook the yarn onto your cut pieces, then sew together on the wrong sides, turn right side out, and, before stuffing with polyfill, put a plastic bag into each piece as lining. This will make sure that no polyfill slips out of any possible holes.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with these methods or add details to your dog. The best part about making it yourself is you have creative control: it can be a purple dog with a long draft-stopper tail if that’s what you want.Don’t be afraid