Tale of Three Plushies

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Not only are my two bestest buddies joining me on my DragonCon adventure, but we’re doing two group cosplays, and a couple of weeks ago I had the most adorable idea…

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Nausicaa is not exactly the most recognizeable character, and because I’m really not a wig person, and I didn’t have time or cash to learn, I wanted to have at least one real prop for her. So I wanted to make a Teto plush. And then I realized that my two friends (going as Sophie from Howl’s Moving Castle, and Kiki from Kiki’s Delivery Service) could also have plushes! And that I could make them! Because I’m insane like that.

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I worked on the Jiji plush first. Jiji is Kiki’s companion, a sarcastic black cat that travels with Kiki when she moves away from home. I asked if my friend wanted to hold him, or if she wanted him to sit on her shoulder, and she chose the first option. So I made him a little oversized. It’s hard to tell from the reference pics I was using, since I don’t own the movie, but I think he’s technically a rather small cat, but the plush I made was more of a large cat. He’s the biggest of the three plushes, but since he’s black against a navy dress, I wanted to make sure he could stand out. The plush also looks much more like the toy cat in the movie, but I think the point gets across well. Plus mouths are hard…

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In fact I avoided the mouth completely… I ended up embroidering the eyes and nose, which took much longer than I expected, and then free forming the plush. Take it in a little here, and out a little there, add some more stuffing there and not here, etc. And I ended up with a loveable Jiji… until I realized I forgot the tail. And then once I remembered and added it, I ended up with a loveable Jiji!

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The second plush was Calcifer, since I wanted to get the plushes for friends out first… Calcifer is a fire demon that is under a contract with Howl, but really becomes best of friends with Sophie, so I thought he’d be better than Turnip Head, who I also briefly considered. I had this reddish wool coating ( I think) and attempted to make a 3D version. I intended to make the bottom perfectly round, using 4 panels, but it ended up a little boxier… I cut the top of the four panels to look like flames, and attempted to use a “facing” to make it a bit cleaner… and then had to hand sew the top shut.

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Then I painted the plush with some acrylic paints. Mostly yellow, since it “melted” into the wool like orange… I gave it two layers, one that went around the majority of the plush, and then a second to give the appearance of the “core.” And then I let it dry for ages, before adding puffy paint eyes. Once the puffy paint dried, I painted on the mouth and the irises. Isn’t he adorable? He’s not particularly cuddly, but I don’t think fire should be cuddly… right?

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So I then got started on Teto. He was the only one I actually bought fabric for, since I didn’t have fake fur or brown felty fleece, so I know for a fact that he’s made out of poly fleece. with poly fake fur. He’s an imaginary creature called a fox-squirrel, and has always been my favorite character in Nausicaa. I basically made tubes for the body and legs, and lightly shaped them into submission. Then I free handed the head and tail, and then shaped the ears. The ears are held up in part by cardboard inserts, and also by some clear fishing line attached to a hook and eye to the tail so the ears can either stick straight up or flop down when I want them to.

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The darker brown on the body is stitched on, as is the faux fur belly. The bib-like structure is lightly stitched, but the bottom is mostly left free to hang and move. The eyes are some green knit interfaced and then hand sewn to the head. Then I drew and painted on some high and lowlights. He’s designed to sit over my shoulder, which he does pretty well, and I’m terribly pleased with how he came out…

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And here ends the tale of three plushies! Do you have a favorite animated sidekick?

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2 thoughts on “Tale of Three Plushies

  1. These are super little guys, they look just like the picture and amazing you made them with no pattern, awesome makes.

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