The inspiration and the resulting plush (keychain). This was my first introduction to the weird and wonderful Walliserops Trilobite. I have since made them into full size plushes and even scarves.
One of the inspiration images and the resulting plush. This is the extinct whorl tooth shark Helicoprion.
How to make a Quetzalcoatlus plush (not really). Ok, so this really isn’t going to be helpful if you’re planning on making your own, but I’ll give brief insight into my haphazard process.
1) Make a pattern. Make sure to accidentally start it out too big, and then have the whole thing be gigantic to keep it proportional just because you were too lazy to use up your eraser from the get go. I only ever draw half a pattern onto a folded piece of paper so that it’s a mirror image on the other side. Saves a lot of time and luckily most of my plushies are symmetrical like that. Oh and if you can awkwardly tape more and more pieces of random paper together to accommodate your rapidly expanding pattern that makes it even better. I generally use just 20lb computer paper as that is what is convenient.
2) Trace your awkward pattern onto your fabric. I use a purple fabric pen that you can get in almost any craft store. It disappears after a day or so so you don’t have to try to wash it off. Very convenient! (I go through a lot of them). Make sure your pattern stays still by using random objects around you to weigh it down. Quetzalcoatlus had my cell phone, tv remotes and a tape dispenser holding down its spindly arms. Anything within 5 feet of you is best as 6 feet is too ambitious. Note: I would not recommend using an open top glass of apple juice.
3) Cut out whatever pieces need to be cut out, then lay them down where they need to be. Then pin them down to get ready to sew. Make sure you pin them down with the points facing toward the sewing machine so that when you are feeding the fabric you are also constantly stabbing yourself and catching your skin on the pins. Most people pin items perpendicular to the line that’s going to be sewn to avoid this, but that’s just not how I do things.
4) Cut off excess fabric, turn inside out and voila! You’re done! Ok, so Quetzalcoatlus’s head was only this simple (and even then not really). Its arms and body had wings that needed to be hand sewn into the body, blah blah. I even had to top stitch which I hate doing because I don’t like visible seams. I avoid hand sewing unless its absolutely necessary as I am really slow at it and have shaky hands, but it was not to be avoided this time.
Anyways, the end result is a Quetzalcoatlus with a 4 food wide wing span that took several more evenings of work than originally anticipated. At least it turned out as I had imagined!
Eurypterids! In keychain form. I love making these as I get a chance to use some of the millions (not really millions) of scraps that I create while making bigger things. These are also some of the most simple items for me to make and therefore the least expensive items I have floating around in my Etsy shop. Some color combinations more than others appear to have Krusty the Clown hair. Maybe that’s just me, though.
If forced to decide, I would have to say my Ammonite plushies are my favorite creations. If they didn’t take forever to make I would have an Etsy store full of them. Yes. I would. Unfortunately the pattern on their shells is all hand stitched which takes forever. There is a lot of pinning involved and a lot of anger on my side from constantly stabbing myself with said pins, but it works out in the end. All of my anger and pin pricks get resolved. I also have an affinity for extant tentacled species—octopus, squid, nautilus. Oh they’re adorable. So adorable. Can’t have those as pets, though. I know that’s a big reason why Ammonites are my favorite plush (maybe my favorite fossil too? not going to think about that right now).
I feel like I almost have made enough of these to make a Brady Bunch type photo square of just the Anomalocaris (Anomalocarises? Anomalocari? Pluralizing creatures has never been my strong suit). These are often the creations I’ve made that I get the most search hits on and within the last few months the most requests for. Anomalocaris are fascinating and awesome at the same time so I can completely understand :)
I usually end up working on them while I’m work (I have a lot of down time and it’s more productive for me than staring at the wall). It’s always an interesting situation to try to explain to people what the heck it is that I’m making. Most of my creations are like that, but Anomalocaris in particular. Inevitably “Wait, so it’s NOT a dinosaur?” comes up haha. I guess that sort of confusion is more acceptable than my mom when she occasionally asks “How are your aliens selling?”
I’ve made 7 of these guys in plush form so far with 2 more on order. I have a soft spot for both Anomalocaris and LOL cats so this appealed to me. I love the Burgess Shale :D
This is my favorite ‘customer appreciation’ photo where the customer photographed the plush Eurypterid I made her with her actual Eurypterid fossil. I may have squee’d a little.
A look back at one of the first paleo plushies that I ever made and the scientific illustration that I used to make the pattern. The scientific illustration came out of my textbook “Invertebrate Palaeontology and Evolution” 4th edition by E.N.K Clarkson. I have since simplified the pattern a great deal as sewing on 12 loose segments slightly overlapping was going to give me an aneurism. I also updated the eyes to better fit what their eyes look like in fossil form.