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Designing a Plush Pattern: Part 2 - From Sketch to Pattern

This next part is often the most difficult for me to describe. Much of it is intuitive or based off experience. But I will do my best.

I'm starting with the sketch from Part 1.

 To start I'm just going to pick out simple shapes that will start to form my pattern. For this I'm looking at the beak, head, face mask, wings, body, feet, and tail. I've decided that I want to attempt to make the head and body one piece for now.

 I've drawn the tail as though it were viewed from the top (that's why it may seem a bit too wide) and the feet in two parts from the side and from the top. Now I'm going to start pulling these seperate parts out. For parts like the tail and feet that are symmetrical, I will mirror them to be even. I also mark some basic cutting instructions and such so if I come back to this pattern in a year, I will remember what I was doing. It also helps to write it all down now so I don't have to think about it later when I'm getting the pattern ready for sale.

 I'm almost done with the first draft of the pattern at this point. However, I want this to be a 3D bird. With this pattern, the body would be flat. The solution is to add a belly gusset. To make the gusset, I mark about how wide I want the bird to be. Then I make a mark approximately half that distance from the bottom of the body. I use it to draw a line across the body. I want the gusset to extend from the bottom of the beak to the tail, so I extend the horizontal line out so it will reach that far and estimate how I want the rest of the bottom to look. Then I mirror the gusset to finish it. I erase some lines between as my line wasn't perfectly straight. I also pull out the area that will be black from the area that will be red.

That gives me my first draft of my pattern.

 The next step will be to test this pattern to see if it's going to work out. I know from experience that I will have a few areas of concern. First, the feet might not support the weight. I'm going to try to simply stuff them firmly, but they may need pipe cleaner or to be re-designed. Second, small areas like the beak and head crest may need to be enlarged. Finally, the head may not be round enough. If that's the case, I will need to either put a gusset in or make the head a separate pattern piece with a cheek dart.

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