If you’ve read my previous posts you will probably have seen that most of what I sew is for my son. Even if originally, I intended it to be for me it still somehow ends up being his anyway! So for this month I decided to try a Toy Making Kit as he has a big collection of toy animals and is always looking for more. I’ve made a few toys from commercial patterns or tutorials online but have never sewn with fur before, or used a toy kit.

I had a good look through the range of animals available as kits and settled on this adorable Panda Sewing Kit. It was a tough choice as there are some seriously cute animals to choose from, the otter and the squirrel were other favourites but my son only has 1 panda toy so I went for that.

I was pleased to find all the pieces are pre-cut so no tracing around templates and cutting out before you start. The instructions are brief with a couple of diagrams to help. There’s a diagram of all the pieces, giving a letter to each corner. The instructions are basically sew by letter (a bit like paint by numbers), it tells you which letter to attach to which and what order to sew them in.

There’s quite a small seam allowance, 1/8th of an inch, and the pieces are both small and curved so to make it easier to keep to the seam allowance I put a strip of washi tape on my needle plate at the 1/8 line.

In an ideal world diagrams or photos for each step would have been nice to avoid having to keep checking what corner each letter referred to however it was not too tricky to put to together. I managed to make one mistake, I sewed a foot on backwards!

At that point I discovered it’s tricky to unpick when sewing fur because if you seam rip between the right sides fabrics it cuts the fur too. So I had to unpick stitch by stitch from the wrong side of the fabric.

I also found out that fur sheds a lot! I would suggest moving any other fabrics or project away from your workspace whilst you work on this kit. I did pull off the loose bits of fur as I stitched and put them straight into the bin to try and prevent it getting all over my clothes or the floor but somehow that still happened. I suspect the sewing machine will need a good clean out now.

It took under 2 hours to put to kit together. I ordered the Toy Filling to stuff the panda with. It was lovely and soft and doesn’t shed any fibres when you are using it. It only used about ¼ of the bag.

There’s a little bit of hand sewing required at the end, to sew the back up and attach the ears but I did the rest on the sewing machine. You could of course sew the whole kit by hand if you wanted too.

My son loved the panda and it’s now joined some of his favourite animals on his bed. He said he prefers animals made from fur like this one because then you can't see the seam lines, which I thought was a very good point. He’s already putting in requests for other animals he wants me to sew…