Honestly, I´m a beginner in plush designing. I started a few years ago but stopped only after a few months after because I didn´t have the time anymore. I restarted again in mid 2013, so you can say this is only my second year. My words might be a word of a beginner but I can assure you I´m a beginner who tries to learn as much as I can whenever I have free time in between my study. 🙂
Many people actually don´t have much idea how plushies are made. They asked me how plushies are made and why handmade plushies are so expensive. First of all, handmade plushies cannot be compared to factory made ones. One basic reason is of course, massive produced items costs much less than creating just one or two. But that´s definitely not the only cause.
Okay, so as you know plushies are 3D shaped soft sculptures. At this matter please disregard those flat 2D ones, like the ones made from felt. So imagine you are going to create a 3D item using a piece of paper, pencil, scissors, some fabric and needle+thread. Technically, you need to know exactly the shape you want to make and you need to cut out shapes from a 2D object, which is a sheet of paper and assemble it together. Sounds more complicated now? Well, there are actually some people who use their own software to create their patterns. But most of us designers don´t do that. For a more complicated shape we normally sculpt a piece of foam, or any other medium to help create the pattern. Afterwards we need to sew them piece to piece until its a whole item. Pretty much like a puzzle.
As for the fabric, handmade plushies nowadays mostly uses minky or faux fur, which is expensive. Fleece ones are not as expensive as the ones made of minky or faux fur, but kindly let me explain first. 🙂
There are a lot of factors that could influence the result of this whole process. The pattern obviously, but do you know even how you snip the pieces before you turn them inside out and the way you stuff also could make things look completely different? But wait, there is more… 😀 Lots of design nowadays uses embroidery appliques. These embroidery require separate designing process, which uses certain softwares like embird. I personally don´t use much embroidery on my designs because I have no machines so I have to do the whole process by hand.
On top of that, many supplies are actually not available in local stores so we have to import them. Trust me importing fabric is expensive, if you count the shipping and the tax – not to mention the other materials. So in the end, if you calculate this cost plus the hours we spend for designing and creating a plush, we plush doll designers are paid around same hourly salary as a McDonald´s employee. Although of course there is always someone who way overcharges. Nevertheless, I do feel thankful because my pay indeed helps me to pay my bill especially the past few months. I have a few clients with interesting projects they have for the designs I made for them, and its honestly very exciting. You can see one of them right HERE
I hope that answers, and if not kindly leave a comment below and I´ll get back to you as soon as I can ^^
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