WASO Graphic Designer Pip Bartlett joined the team in 2019 after spending seven years working in our beautiful South West. Not only is Pip a wiz at design for your Orchestra, she also creates incredible plush toys made with love.
How did you first get into making plush toys?
It started last year when a friend and I had a craft day making cushions. I hadn’t done any sewing since school, and had forgotten how I liked the process of making something with fabric. I then decided to challenge myself by making a teddy bear or plush toy in my spare time.
Where do you even start with something like this?
Finding the right pattern is the start. I found this great website called Choly Knight which had adorable patterns for purchase and some for free with easy to follow instructions. After printing off the patterns and buying fabric and thread, I found it quite therapeutic to follow the step by step instructions and see the character develop.
What do you enjoy most about making plush toys?
I am quite interested in 3D design so plush making helps with the understanding of how a 3D element is formed. It was surprisingly helpful when I completed a 3D animation course online as I could see real flat patterns being joined together into a 3D shape. I love how you watch the finished product come together and it is a great activity to do with your hands whilst watching a movie or listening to music or an audiobook. The first two plush toys I made were entirely by hand and although it took probably three times as long as using a sewing machine, it was perfect as a downtime hobby after a long day at work.
I also look forward to seeing the face of the person I give it to for their new baby. You’d hope that it will become one of the child’s favourite toys as they grow up.
What is the most challenging part of your creations?
I always find the face is the hardest as that is where all the personality of the plush toy is. If the eyes are crooked or the nose is placed too low, it changes the character of the toy. Any of the smaller details or curved details like arms and feet are a challenge as they are fiddlier due to their small size.
Is there anything you would love to make but haven’t tackled yet?
It would be great to find a pattern where the character is playing an instrument but I haven’t found one yet. I may have to design my own.
I was thinking of doing a little T-Rex next as the pattern is so cute, but I need more of my friends to have babies so I can give them away when I’ve finished. Otherwise, I was thinking of making a quilted pouch bag with my fabric scraps and then I’d be able to use the end result practically and not waste my leftover fabric.
What inspires you and how do you decide what you will make?
A lot of the time it’s the cuteness factor but usually it is the idea of hand making a gift for a friend’s baby or child. I like the personal factor of making a gift that hopefully will be treasured.