Free Sewing Guide! Starter Pack Plush Pattern

Hi everyone!
I haven’t started on projects from my most recent pattern poll yet, but thank you to everyone that’s casting their votes! In the meantime, I wanted to do a project that responds to some other requests — more beginner patterns!

I often come across new fans that don’t know how to sew and ask where should they start. This new pattern is my response 🥰 It’s a set of sewing patterns that start at a difficulty of 1 and get progressively harder. And the whole time every technique and tool is explained for someone who’s never sewn before and is starting out at 0. I wouldn’t usually recommend a plush as someone’s very first project, especially if they’re at it alone. But I realize some new sewers just aren’t interested in a pillowcase or flat tote bag 😅 Can’t argue with that! So I do my best to give lots of information and options for however many or few tools and materials you have at your disposal.
It has a lot of the same information as the Plush Sewing Basics eBook I released a few years ago. Except in this case the techniques are explained as they come up in the pattern. So if you’re the type that learns better if you have a test project to practice on right away, this pattern is for you! It’s also great if you’re the type that prefers to see techniques used on a practical example instead of just in an illustration. So even if it has a lot of repeat information, I figure it doesn’t hurt to explain things multiple ways in case this works better for some people 💖

I wanted to release this in January since a lot of people make it their New Year’s resolution to learn to sew. It works from a difficulty of 1 up to 4. The basic shape of the plush stays the same. It’s a cute round body very similar to a Squishmallow. Each level has 2 animals to choose from to keep things interesting. So by the end hopefully you feel like a confident beginner and can try out some of my other patterns. Especially since most of my free patterns are in the 3-4 difficulty range.
If you’re not a beginner and would like to make some of these as a quick project, there are also embroidery files available. Levels 2 through 4 have face files that are 4″ x 4″ friendly, except for the penguin which has an applique belly at 5″ x 7″.
I hope everyone is having a happy new year. And I hope this tutorial helps out anyone who’s trying sewing for the first time!

P.S. The embroidery doesn’t include the Level 1 projects, because they’re so simple I thought of them more like test projects 😅 But if you’re interested in embroidery files for them, you can find them on my Patreon (still for free).

55 thoughts on “Free Sewing Guide! Starter Pack Plush Pattern”

  1. Thank you for this… I taught myself to sew last year and my first project was your Love Dragon Plush, followed closely by The Child… it was a struggle but I did it! I would have loved something like this back then and now I’m going to work my self through the levels!

  2. Oof, where was this lovely number when I started a few years back. But, yeah, you are definitely right, I wanted to start with plushies, not a tote or pillow when I started sewing, and I started my first plushie (a sock plushies) alone. It was a nightmare, but it’s what got me into sewing and, here I am, years later doing a bunch of complicated plushies and stuff now.

    I love the plushies in this pattern, is there any chance that you’ll release an embroidery file for the frog and avocato? I would love to do those, but have them looking a lot cleaner than just me stitching a fabric in. Regardless, I love your work and thank you so much for everything.

      1. Thank you so much, you absolute blessing! I’m definitely doing to do the avocato this weekend.

  3. WOW this is so helpful! I’ve been sewing for over 30 years by machine and longer by hand but have had little formal training (or I’ve forgotten much of what I learned). The explanations are GREAT, and super helpful! My kid is also learning to machine sew and I plan to share this with them. THANK YOU!


    Thank you! You are helping me make the leap from ITH only projects to actually building and sewing plushies. My goal is the dragon backpack. This will help me get there!!

  5. Thank you so much for this amazing guide! I’m pretty experienced in sewing plushies, and I still found helpful tips in here. I get so excited when I see you’ve posted something new. Keep up the incredible work 💗

  6. Just love it! Thank you so much, just hope my daughter will be able to start sewing her own favourite plush toys.

  7. I love these. I’m going to make a set for my son’s Easter basket this year. I do have one question though…is there a way to make the avocado pit on the avocado cat poke out a little?

    1. The easiest way I think would be to stuff it a little bit. You could cut a slit in the back of the avocado fabric, right behind the applique, and stuff it from there, then whip stitch it closed 😊 If you wanted to make it pop out more, you’d probably have to create a new “pit” piece that’s a larger circle, but with a few small darts all around to give it depth.
      I hope that helps!

  8. I love this sooo much! I’ve had so many people ask me for advice on learning to sew plushies, and this is perfect for them

      1. Hello! I’m a beginner and I just bought my heavy duty fusible web roll for appliqué. What type of fabric would be ok besides felt? And for the felt, what felt do you recommend? My minky was cheap and pretty thin so the felt I tried using seems really bulky and stiff. Do you have any recommendations for thin felt or also any other fabric besides felt? Thank you so much!

      2. Hello! If you’re looking for something thinner than felt, I would go with cotton or flannel 😊 I personally use flannel, so that’s what you’ll see in my examples.
        Felt in general is almost always thicker, especially as you get to higher quality. Each supplier tends to have its own brand name, but the thinner felt is usually called “Craft Felt” or something similar. It’s widely available at almost every craft store and even Walmart.
        I really hope that helps!

  9. Honestly I can’t believe this is free! I’ve made some of your free plushies and was astounded at the quality of the patterns but this is above and beyond (almost 100 pages!!). The detailed instructions about how to sew, sewing tools, fabric, using patterns, even different beginner friendly ways of doing the facial features – incredibly thorough and well done. I used to teach sewing and this is better than the learning materials we gave to our students! My kids have been wanting to learn how to sew by making toys (what fun is a pillowcase?) and will be so excited about this. Thank you thank you Choly!

    1. Thank you so much for all the kind words! I’m really glad you’ll find it helpful 🥰 Encouragement like this really helps keep me going, so I can’t thank you enough for all the support ♥

  10. Chloy,
    Thanks for this awesome book. Being a sewist for 40 plus years, I always am looking to learn a new trick! This book is fantastic!! Thank you!

      1. Anne, free motion machine embroidery is a thing that you can do and learn but it has a pretty steep learning curve, takes a long time to master and the results will not have quite the same sleek look as digitized machine embroidery. How you prep the fabric is pretty much the same as for digitized but you need a special free motion/darning foot for your normal machine. You disengage the feeders and then you yourself do all the steering work that a dedicated embroidery machine does automatically. It can be very frustrating especially in the beginning and getting even results takes years of practice. That being said, if you get really good at it you can do things with it no machine on its own can. Fun fact, when straight stitch pedal machines first came into general use many an avid hand embroiderer actually started using them to speed up for example making monograms on sheets and napkins and stuff.

  11. My daughters and I love your patterns! They requested so many of your plushies for Christmas that they got sewing kits to learn how to start making their own as well! Absolutely amazing timing, they could *not* wait to start these when we stumbled on them tonight! The 6 year old picked and started the frog, and the cat obsessed 4 year old picked/started the avo*cat*o of course! Not their first plushies, but definitely the largest (and cutest!) so far. Fantastic beginner and family project! Thank you for these amazing patterns, it’s obvious you put your talents and hard work into everything you make!

  12. Love these new free patterns. They are so cute. I am making each one in order. I’ve started the bunny but I don’t see the face you used in the example in the pattern pieces. Those adorable closed eyes! Am I missing them?

  13. This is so cool of you to try and help others learn how to sew! I’ve been loving your patterns for a couple years now, and I always look forward to seeing new ones come out and this Squishmallow look is super cute!

  14. I have been sewing for many years, my mom taught me when I was around 6, and I think this pattern, and all your others, is adorable! I have a friend who I have been teaching to sew, very slowly, and I think she will love this.

  15. This was finally my way to get into sewing after being interested in so long, decades even, but never getting around to it. Made the frog over the course of last week and it helped me understand exactly where I needed to make adjustments for the next one! I’m excited to start working on the rest of the patterns!

  16. I’m actually teaching a group of about 20 students (k-5) basic sewing using this pattern! (second year using it). It’s a life saver, and they absolutely love it! Thank you for the fantastic resource, and I’ve promised them that this year, if they don’t lose any needles while we work on this, we’ll move on to the cat headband you have for the next project! I wish I could share their sheer excitement over both patterns.

  17. This is an amazing starter guide. One question I’ve never really gotten clarity on though is sewing machine settings, not for the fancy bits but for the seemingly straightforward job of attaching the pieces to each other. Is there some special stitch or thread tension or something we should be using to make seams that accommodate the stretchiness of fleece and minky? On non-stretch like cotton, flannel and felt I have no issues with a basic straight stitch but for all the cuddly ones like stretch fleece and minky I keep getting issues like too tight seams that create an inward divot when stuffed, ruffled bunching seam allowances, but then also in other places stretched out and wavy seams. I’ve also had thread snap and seams bursting open while trying to see if stuffing some more would solve the problem and over all things tend to come out a bit wonky and lopsided looking in stretch – no, I do baste and stuff evenly, nap fuelled piece shifting isn’t the problem. I have had some success joining things with a serger but with that small pieces is a special kind of hell, and with interfacing the entire minky with non stretch fusible but that kinda feels like giving up. Any advice would be most appreciated.

    1. Thanks so much! Yes, it doesn’t go into machines a lot since it’s intended for those starting from nothing 😅
      But regarding your issues, I’ll take by best guess since I’m not sure what your machine settings look like.
      The too tight seams could be due to tension. If you’re using a thicker, fluffier fabric light fleece or minky it might help to lower the thread tension down to a 2 or 3 (if it was originally at 3 or 4). And then for bunching while sewing, that sounds like a different needle might help. If you’re not already using it, a stretch needle should penetrate knit fabrics easier and not get caught up in the fabric.
      As for the wavy seams, that can often be caused by a presser foot that’s pushing too hard. That would explain why your serger is working well with it, because it has differential feed. On a regular machine, I often find that lowering the presser foot pressure can help, but not every machine has that option (sadly 😢). So some opt for a walking foot which produces similar results to a serger.
      With all that said, when my machine had a lot of those problems all at once, it ended up working a lot better after getting it serviced. Since tension tends to be one of those things that wears out first.
      Regardless, I really hope any of that might help!

  18. Thank you so much for making such a detailed guide! I just got into plush making in January, and this guide was my first leap into it! My only sewing experience before this was doing minor repairs on clothes, so having everything spelled out so clearly the way you’ve done here was extremely helpful. I also love that you account for both machine and hand-sewing! I don’t have a sewing machine (or anyone who could lend me one) so I’ve been doing everything by hand, and having all the different hand-stitching options laid out was super helpful. I had so much fun working my way through each level, and I finished level 4 a few weeks ago! I feel much more confident in taking on future patterns, and I’ve even been able to take the things I’ve learned through this guide and apply them to other patterns I’ve tried where things aren’t explained in as much detail! I really appreciate you putting out all of these patterns for free, and I can’t wait to make more plushies!!

    1. Wow, that’s really amazing to hear! I’m so glad the guide was helpful and working through the levels allowed you learn a lot. That’s seriously the best news I could hope for when creating a guide like this 🥰 Thank you for taking the time to share your experience, and I hope you enjoy making lots more stuff!

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