This was my first challenge with Etsy’s Plush Team, and it was a lot of fun! I was partnered up with the very sweet Area Thrifty One, and she chose The Little Mermaid as her favourite fairytale. She’s a big fan of the Hans Christian Anderson version, and has never seen the Disney version of this story, although she loves a very tragic anime version of the story that premiered in 1979. So, I wanted to try and make my plush capture the emotions of the original fairytale, stay away from the one that is heavily merchandised, but possibly keep her animated looking. After several sketches, this is what I came up with:
Area Thrifty One said that she really likes the darkness that fairytales have (I have to agree with her!). She loves The Little Mermaid sculpture in Copenhagen, because she looks so sad as she stares out at sea, since she is not really part of the land, and she is no longer a part of the sea.
At first I thought of giving The Little Mermaid legs and feet, try to show her sadness of being removed from the sea, but then I thought she wouldn’t really look like The Little Mermaid upon first glance (and there’s no way I could come close to replicating the famous statue in Copenhagen!). So I decided to keep her in mermaid form, but to make her sad, and to definitely stay away from the identifiable Disney colours. ^_~
This was my first sketch for The Little Mermaid plush. It captured her sadness, but this design was way too complicated and time-consuming. But, I still like how this sketch turned out. ^_^
This photo shows the progress of The Little Mermaid plush.
#1 – First I sketch out my plush designs on small scraps of paper. I decided on the one on the bottom right-hand corner. I liked the simplified shape, and how her hair looked like water.
#2 – Next I sketched out the plush design in the actual size I wanted it to be. I tried to keep the shapes simplified.
#3 – Then I cut my pattern out of plastic tablecloth (a little trick I learned from my Mom — it makes the pattern last a long time). This is my “master pattern”. From this, I made more patterns of just the skin, then the tail, the hair, etc.
#4 – Then I cut out the felt, and place everything together. At this point I had already sewn blue thread into the hair.
I added netting on the blue background to symbolize her feeling of being trapped. There are a couple of starfish trapped in the net, too. ^_^
The Little Mermaid has been made with felt, mesh, and she’s been both machine and hand sewn. She will be available in my Etsy shop. Thanks Plush Team & Moons Creations for a very fun challenge. Area Thrifty One, I hope I did your fairytale justice! ^_^;