Erin from Boolah Baguette designs plush dolls and toys, and she sells originals in the Boolah Baguette shop. She showed us how to make a cute, little Sleeping Bag for Dolls or Softies earlier in our Six Weeks of LOVE for Softies series. Now she’s back with three ways to add a tongue (or ears, horns, legs, etc.!) to your softie…
Here are three ways to include a tongue in your next softie project! Really, this tutorial could be called something like “three ways to give your softie any appendage,” but I chose the tongue because, well, it’s probably the most fun.
Making a Tongue:
Cut two U-shaped pieces of any type of fabric you would like to use for the tongue. I used pink fleece, but this might be a good place for cotton, corduroy, felt or perhaps even Minky? The size of the pieces simply depends on what you are making; consider the scale of your project and what seems appropriate for the size of the mouth.
Step 1: Sew the pieces right sides together, leaving an opening across the top. Turn right sides out.
Step 2: Add a bit of stuffing before you sew a center seam, from the opening to 3/4 of the way down the tongue.
Adding to an Existing Seam:
The easiest way to add a tongue is to include it in an existing seam of the pattern you are making. Here I show how I would include the tongue when making a cat’s muzzle.
Play around a bit to find the right placement before pinning in place.
Make sure the tongue is sandwiched between the two pieces being sewn together, leaving enough of the edge sticking out to ensure you catch it in the seam.
Sew the seam as usual, but backstitch over the edges of the tongue to secure it in place.
Turn right side out to make sure you are happy with it. If not, you can always remove it and try again.
Adding Where No Seam Exists:
Adding a tongue where no seam exists just takes slightly more commitment. Decide on the front of the fabric where the tongue should go and make a mark or use a pin. Using your mark, cut a horizontal slit here that is just slightly narrower than the width of the tongue you are using.
Insert the end of the tongue piece through from the front of the fabric to the back, so all of the raw edges of the opening and the tongue are exposed in the back.
Fold the fabric along the slit and sew a slightly curved seam that encases all the raw edges. It will take a bit of practice to get this step right, so there are no puckers from the front. Faux fur is especially forgiving!
Adding to an Existing Project:
Say you don’t want to cut into the fabric, or you just want to add a tongue to a project already in progress or even one that is finished. Well, here’s how. Make the the tongue as in Step 1, but in Step 2, leave about an inch of space from the top opening before you start the center seam. You will need room to fold the raw edges back into the opening.
Again, play around with placement and make a mark or use a pin.
Using a needle and embroidery thread (knot the end), insert the needle into the middle of where you want the tongue to be placed and bring the needle back up to the side of the knot (the knot will be hidden by the tongue).
This is where you will begin stitching the tongue to the main piece, starting at the side seam.
Use a ladder stitch, working back and forth until you are at the point where you started. Abby Glassenberg has a great video tutorial for this step. Take another stitch to bring the needle and thread out at the base of the tongue and knot the thread here. If you want to hide the knot, insert the needle very close to where you just made the knot and bring the needle back out just to the side. Pull the thread gently to pop the knot inside the fabric, and cut the thread close enough to the fabric so the end disappears inside.
Even though so much talk about plush tongues seems a little ridiculous, these are three basic steps you can use to add any piece to your softies. Whether it be ears, horns, legs or, of course, a tongue, I hope one of these steps helps you in your next project!