Not long ago, a mother contacted me and asked if I could turn her child's drawing into a huggable plush pillow. She attached a very detailed line drawing created by her 5 year old daughter who titled it "Googly Eyeball Lady." (There are 32 eyeballs in all.)
When I do a custom plush commission, it's important to me to stay as true to the child's work as possible. Since this was a very intricate line drawing, I decided to machine-embroider every single detail. Here's how I did it...
Step 1: Enlarge your image
I have to admit, as adorable and imaginative as it is, I was a bit intimidated by the task of recreating this 32-eyeballed lady. To simply interpret her image and add my own creative flair would have ruined it though, so I had to stay true to the original drawing.
First, I enlarged it in Photoshop and printed it out in three parts which I then taped back together.
Step 2: Trace the Image onto Fabric
Since the line drawing was faint, I traced it with a Sharpie.
Then, I placed it under white fabric and traced it with a pencil. (You can barely see the pencil lines in the photo).
Step 3: Machine Embroider the Image
I suppose it would be easier to simply print the image onto fabric and turn it into a plushy, but embroidering the lines makes it tactile. The child can actually run their fingers over the lines they made and feel their drawing on the fabric. You could hand-embroider over the image, or you could do it on the sewing machine. I chose to do it on the sewing machine because it can create thick, wide embroidered lines, much like the thick, wide lines of a crayon.
First, I ironed on some stabilizer to the back of the white fabric to give it added strength.
Next, I referred to the original often as I sewed a zig-zag stitch over the faint pencil lines lines (at a length of .7 and widths varying from 3-5). When the stitching was completed, I ironed another layer of thin stabilizer onto the back to seal it and secure any loose stitches.
I sent a photo of the embroidered image to the mother and had her choose a fabric for the back.
Step 4: Turn it into a Huggable Plushie
Finally, I placed the backing together with the embroidered front (outsides facing in), cut around the image, stitched along the edge, left a small opening to stuff it with Polyfil, stuffed it, and hand-stitched it closed.
The Googly Eyeball Lady is now a Huggable Cuddly Googly Eyeball Lady.
Soon after, I received another commission for a young girl's rendition of a skeleton. I recreated her masterpiece in the same way and added yellow fringe for the hair.
This is a great way to preserve a child's drawing and put it on display in a 3-dimensional soft and huggable way.
Hand-drawn + Handmade = a one-of-a-kind you will never find in stores.