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  • In-the-hoop: making Totoro

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    Original text by Marina Belova 

    I continue my quest of embroidering fluffy toys on my embroidery machine. Last time I wrote about making a simple one piece stuffed teddy-bear. Today I decided to make the task harder and embroider paws and several other details separately. 

    A couple of days ago I came across a pattern in a Chinese magazine called Pomelo Handicraft, and this pattern seemed suitable for making what I wanted — a Japanese animation character Totoro. So I decided to make it. Here's what I got: 


    This toy was created entirely on my embroidery machine, except for one short side seam (about 3 cm), which was made by hand. In order to make my Totoro, I needed to create 2 embroidery design files. 

    One for ears, paws, and tail: 


    And another one for embroidering different parts and sewing them all together: 


    I picked several pieces of gray stretchy velvet as the main fabric for my Totoro's coat. For applique on the belly — the faux fur cuttings, and for the teeth applique — the ordinary calico. 

    My first step was to embroider the flap pieces of the toy. In order to do this I hooped the velvet, folded it in two with the pile surface on the inside: 


    Then I started the machine and stitched the details: 


    My subsequent operations were trimming the details along the perimeter (I had stitched a zig-zag outline) and turn them the right side up. I should mark that it was not easy to do the latter, for these details are very small. And so I decided not to stuff them, but to leave as they were: 


    Now I needed to hoop a tear-away stabilizer: 


    After that I embroidered an outline: 


    Attached the velvet to the stabilizer with its right side up: 


    Then I stitched the velvet along the perimeter to prevent it from peeling off and embroidered the eyes and the outline of the first applique — the mouth: 


    Now I position the fabric for the mouth: 


    I stitch and trim it and enclose it in a satin column border. I will skip these steps as the obvious ones. Immediately after that I stitch the outline for the belly: 


    Place a piece of fur for the belly applique: 


    After having completed this applique comes the most important part — positioning of the flap details. I placed them in accordance with the embroidered marks and tried to secure them with glue, which doesn't usually work well on velvet: 


    Then I stitch these details to the fabric: 


    Now I cover this with another layer of velvet the wrong side up for the back part of the toy: 


    And after that comes the finishing touch: sewing the parts together. I left a small opening on the side through which I would stuff the toy with a filler: 


    That is all; now I may take the hoop off. I trimmed the fabric along the perimeter in accordance with the outline, embroidered at the very beginning: 


    Then I removed the stabilizer and turned the yet two-dimensional Totoro up front: 


    The rest is easy — I stuff the toy and sew up the opening. But you may go without stuffing if you like. I think that I should have made the hind-paws, too, for he looks somewhat strange. But I'll leave it for the next time. 

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