Aby-a-Day – April 5: The Jake Plushie Project (Fashion Friday)

I’ve been trying to make an Abyssinian plush for a long time.

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This little Aby was made from corduroy and felt hand-sewn when I was about 11. Even then, my Abys had green collars.

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I’ve been trying out a LOT of patterns to try to find the perfect Aby. These are some head trials. None is the perfect Jacoby head, but I do like them all. They will all end up on gift plushies, fear not (they’re much too cute to cannibalise for parts)!

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This pattern came from DeviantArt and was created by IsisMasshiro.

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I love the way the body turned out, but I couldn’t get her head to work with this body (it’s the one on the far right in the heads shot above), so I substituted this head pattern by Runo Dollmaker. This is also the head used on the Angel dolls.

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I think it may be the Minky fabric I used, but the head just didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to no matter what I did.

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This was a different pattern by IsisMasshiro that I modified slightly. The head came out a little too round to be an Aby, and the tail’s a bit thick. I like the fact that it’s nearly life-sized, though.

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I tried out a new, one-piece pawpad on this one that I think turned out well. The black shading is done with Copic markers. I ended up giving this one to one of Jacoby’s favourite patients at Tufts. She loves it. That’s the thing with making test versions while seeking the perfect pattern: you end up with a lot of extra Abys. By the time I’m done, everyone I know will probably end up with a plushie prototype of their very own.

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This Jake teddy was made using a modified vintage 1907 teddy bear pattern. Basically, I just really wanted to try it; I didn’t really think it would make a good Jake.

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And, in a way I was right; it looks like a bear with cat ears and a tail. It has no neck!

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But I do really like the jointed arms and legs, the leather footpads, and the general teddy bearness to this plushie. He has a very satisfying feel to him when you hold him. And I love the colouring I did with the Copic markers.

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I think a modified pattern designed to look more feline and less ursine might be pretty awesome. I’m actually working on two jointed “teddy-cat” patterns right now (yes, I’m making them both at the same time) that are much more cat-like, so we’ll see how those turn out.

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But eventually I’d like to try making my own pattern, with more realistic kitty legs and a more naturally jointed head.

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Something like this, perhaps. It’s another avenue to explore, certainly.

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Here we have proof that a commercial pattern isn’t necessarily better than a pattern someone on DeviantArt drew themselves: this little Aby-oid.

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He’s cute, but…odd. I did not use the head pattern that actually goes with this body, though – it just wasn’t a very good head at all. Instead, I used the same head as the one on the far left of the heads shots photo above, only smaller. This head is actually a Pokemon character pattern created by *Renegar-Kitsune on DeviantArt which is very nicely modifiable into a really cute, if cartoony, plush cat.

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What I like best about this plushie is the thing I made up on my own: the paws. The pawpads are black leather reclaimed from old single leather gloves found around Boston this winter. I also like the glow-in-the-dark eyes, which I found on Etsy.

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The nice thing about making stuffed kitties is, you can always go back and fix something. On the big Angel plush I finished a few weeks ago, I wasn’t happy with the ears or the face, so I remade the ears and I did some more scissor-sculpting and Copic-markering on her face.

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I think she looks much better now!

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She even seems happier. I fixed the colouring on her upper muzzle, trimmed the fur significantly, and I tried something new with the ears to keep them standing up nicely – I put little pieces of plastic inside!

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My husband says her ears are too big…I say Abys have big ears, so…yeah, they’re big!

I’m very pleased with the new version. It’s still not perfect, but it’s better. And with every attempt, I’m learning new tricks…and remembering a lot of long-forgotten old tricks, too!

(PS, the whiskers on all these kitties? They’re price tag fasteners! Yes, those little plastic things that are on practically every item of clothing you buy. Turns out, they make pretty decent whiskers. Who knew?)