20 April 2010 @ 05:42 pm
K-9 plushie pattern  

I had some people request a copy of my K-9 pattern earlier this month, so here it is. I have tried to make the instructions as clear and complete as possible (as the pattern is probably not particularly useful without them), but if something doesn't make sense in the pattern, instructions, or pictures please feel free to ask and I'll help as much as I can. If you notice any errors or typos let me know and I'll fix them.

Go here to my Google Doc K-9 folder read the note and download and print the 20 PDF files. Your completed pieces should have these shapes.

Important Note: This pattern is by a fan, for fans. Do not sell completed articles made from this (or any other DW) pattern, and do upload or redistribute the PDF files, photos, or instructions elsewhere. Patterns like this exist only by grace of the rights holders, so be considerate and don't give them any reason to come after me. K-9 is the property of the BBC, and this pattern is not intended to infringe on any intellectual property or displace any licensed product or pattern.

Less Important but Still Quite Relevant Note: With all apologies to my fellow sewers who live anywhere else in the world, I'm American and I will continue using my archaic standards of measurement until they're prised from cold, dead Yankee fingers. This pattern was drafted in inches, but I have tried to provide metric for all important measurements. If there's no metric given, precision is not necessary and you can round using 2.5 cm to an inch.

Skill Level: This is probably an intermediate or advanced beginner project; some construction knowledge and experience is useful. Since the pattern is not professionally drafted or beta tested I would recommend all users look over the instructions for the corrections/explanations (notably head gusset and body side insets.) To simplify for beginners--the body can be simplified for beginner level by omitting the 3D leg definition and doing the body sides as single pieces with embroidery or fabric paint to mimic the shape. To do this, simply modify the body front, back, and side by not cutting out the area between the legs. You will not need to cut out the leg facings, body underside, leg sides, or leg insets. You can also simplify by sewing the ‘screen’ to the outside of the body with a satin stitch rather than using my facing method.

* 3/4 yard 60” body fabric (midweight fabric works best, such as suiting or lightweight twill, corduroy, or wool. Heavier fabric can be used but will make the facings and sculpting more difficult). A fabric with some texture or color variation is best and will make the hand stitching less noticeable.
* fusible interfacing
* scrap black fabric (corduroy or other textured fabric can be used to mimic the neck tubing texture)
* scrap red, white, and green fabric
* scrap grey taffeta or other shiny fabric for TV screen
* scrap plaid fabric
* remnant of denim, canvas, or other reinforcing fabric at least 17" x 11" (optional)
(if purchasing 'scrap' fabrics, purchase 1/4 yard or remnants of the red, black, and grey, and 1/8 yard of white, green, and plaid. Regular quilter’s cotton works fine.)

* one red button, approximately 1"
* kit of six 1/2" fabric covered buttons or assorted colored buttons (omit if appliqueing on the control "buttons")
* three 3/4" black buttons with four holes
* flexible lightweight jewelry wire
* small buckle for collar, approx. 1"

* blunt end forceps
* fabric marking pen or chalk
* long needle, at least 3" (longer if you can find it, but it must be straight. 3" is typically the longest needle in a multisize pack)
* regular hand sewing needle
* pencil with eraser
* An iron
* ruler (clear plastic grid rulers are the best thing ever and you should get one if you don’t already have one)


** All seam allowances are 5/8" (1.5 cm) unless otherwise stated.

Prepare the body:
Applique the letters onto the right side of the body (K-9’s right) with a satin stitch. (To simplify this step, cut the letters from felt or other non-fraying fabric and sew down with a regular straight stitch.) Interface the TV facing piece. With a ruler, draw a sewing guideline 5/8” (1.5 cm) from the edge. Pin the facing to the right side of the body where you want the screen hole to be (remember to factor in seam allowance. The top edge of my facing is 1" down from the raw edge; the sewing line for the hole is 1 5/8" down from the edge.)

Sew on the line, rounding the corners as the facing piece is rounded. Cut out the center of the hole and clip the curves:

Turn the facing into the hole and press. You will now have a nicely finished hole on the right side of the fabric:

Cut a rectangle of your grey screen fabric approximately 5” x 4.5”, big enough to easily fill the hole with seam allowance on all sides. Position the screen and pin it to the facing so that it lays flat. It should look something like this:

After pinning, check to make sure the screen fabric lies flat with no rippling. Then sew just outside the seam line for the facing:

(Another view, from the leg insets—the upper seam is the facing seam, the lower seam is where the fabric is sewn into the hole):

This should give you a nice finished screen, inset from the body fabric. This method takes a couple extra steps, but it’s easier than turning the fabric without the facing and yields a nice finished result. The front and back leg insets are constructed the same way.

Interface the body underside and leg sides, and match notches. Sew together, leaving bottom 1/5” (1.2 cm) open. Your completed piece should have this shape:

With rights sides together, sew leg, stopping at the seam as shown:

Flip it over and clip the body at the angle, making sure not to cut too far. Your cut should end 1/8” (3 or 4 mm) away from the seam.

Clipping the angle allows the fabric to be easily turned:

Turn the corner, and sew the length of the body underside, then repeat this process to finish the other leg. The fabric may bunch slightly at the angle; manually smooth or pull it as necessary to prevent a tuck.

Sew in the leg insets. Basic process is the same, except instead of clipping the fabric the open seam you left will allow you to turn the corner on the trapezoidal leg inset. (ETA: the leg insets are 1/4" too tall because I traced the wrong draft of the piece. Whoops. I'll upload a fixed PDF when I get the chance, but for now either trim 1/4" (6 mm) off the bottom--not the top--of the pattern or line up the seam allowances on the top and sides of the trapezoid with the body underside and leg sides and just ignore any extra length. The piece fits correctly other than the little extra length.) Press the seams for smoothness, and you should have body sides that look like this on the right side and reverse:

Body front and back:
Pin facing to body front, right sides together. Sew. Clip corners, turn, and press. Repeat for body back:

Sew the body front and back to the body top, leaving the first and last .5" (1.2 cm) of the seam open. Mark the seam beginning and end point with chalk.

Leaving this bit of the seam open rather than running the seam all the way to edge of the fabric will greatly aid in turning corners when sewing the body together:

Put it all together-
Pin the body front, back, and top piece to the sides, making sure you have the piece oriented the right way (the body back is taller than the body front.) Small markings on the body back should line up with the angles on the body side. Sew together. Run a separate seam each time you turn a corner. This makes the seam stronger than simply pivoting the fabric would be and it’s easier to keep the pieces lined up. Leave the bottom 1/2” open on each seam. You should end up with this:

If you are going to reinforce the body base, interface it or baste it to a piece of denim/twill/canvas now. This is recommended, but not necessary. It will make the bottom a little smoother and make the dog a little more stable. If the body base is a little too big, don’t worry about it. Type of fabric and accuracy of seam allowances will influence the final dimensions of your body. Trim it if necessary (use a ruler and chalk to get a good straight trim), then sew it all together leaving a hole in the side to turn. Stuff the body firmly, starting with small bits of stuffing worked into the corners. The body should not be overstuffed, but needs to be firm enough to support the head and shaping. After stuffing, hand sew the hole shut.

Shape the body:
Your dog should now be a fat little thing without the right definition in the body. To get the proper shape, you’ll need to pull the sides in with tension. Use your longest needle and a long length of button thread or a double length of regular thread to do this, along with some patience. Leave a tail when you tie a knot in the thread (~1.5”). Start in the corner of body underside, pushing the needle directly into the seam. Getting the stitches right into the seam will help hide them.

Flip the body over, control the end of the needle with one hand, and press down with the other hand to force out the needle. Mind your fingers when pressing (pushing down on a soft body with a protruding 3” needle is less risky than it sounds. I’m clumsy and have never stabbed myself, but do push trepidatiously until the point of the needle emerges.) Reposition it until it emerges right in the seam.

Repeat this all the way down the body underside seam, pulling the thread as you go to force the body to pull in. When you tie off the thread to start a new piece, use the hidden thread method below to hide the thread tails. When you finish the horizontal seam, do the legs, hiding the stitches on the front and back of the body in or just under the facing.

The legs are faster and easier than the body. Promise. The stitches don’t need to be tiny for either the legs or the body underside. 3-4 stitches per inch will give you smooth tension and will be strong enough to withstand regular use.

When you’re done, you should have a bunch of dangling thread tails. To get rid of them, push your needle into the body right next to the knot, thread the tail through the eye of the needle, and pull through. If any thread tail emerges, clip it off and it will disappear into the body.

Magic! :)

Pleat a rectangle of red fabric and sew it to the head gusset at the eye placement guidelines. To hide the stitching, sew the top down like so:

Sew the bottom of the eyes down with a top stitch hidden under the pleat. Baste the sides of the eyes down, and pin and sew the gusset to the head sides. Start by lining up the eyes on the gusset with the corresponding portion of the head sides, then work down toward the nose, around the chin, then the back of the head. You will need to clip the gusset at the nose and chin angles to turn the corners. Run a new seam every time you need to turn a corner. The head back can be basted to better fit it to the gusset, but there is extra ease in the gusset on the portion that goes around the curve of the head to ensure that even if you don't baste the head sides the gusset won't come up too short (hence why it’s important to start with the eyes to insure the gusset lines up properly.) Sew all the way around. There should be an opening roughly where the X is marked on the head side. Turn and stuff firmly, then sew the hole shut.

Your head may have a smooth bridge of the nose rather than a sharp angle. To get definition, you can soft-sculpt the head. Using your long needle and either button thread or a double length of regular thread, start in the middle underside of the head and sew along the bottom of the eyes, hiding the stitches under the bottom pleat. Come out in the center of the underside of the head with every stitch, pulling to create the desired tension. The stitches need not be tiny. This will also make a dent in the bottom of the head that will make placing it on the neck a little easier.

Path of the needle:

Stitches under eye pleat:

I added a pleated overlay to my neck to add a little dimension. If you want to do this, sew the longer seam then pleat a piece of fabric, cut to fit, then sew the short seam. If you want to leave it plain, interface the pieces if you’re using a lighter weight fabric. Fold under and press the seam allowance on both open ends, then lightly stuff the neck to give it a little shape. Position symmetrically and pin to the body, driving pins in perpendicular to the body. I placed the neck 1/2” from the top of the body. Hand sew. Add a little stuffing to the neck, then position the head as desired, and drive pins perpendicularly into the head to hold it in place. Start at the back of the head and hand sew around. When a small hole is left (~1”), stuff the neck more firmly until it supports the head without drooping. Finish the seam.

Take a small piece of fabric and fold up and press a seam allowance. Fold in half, and trace the ear steam piece on the fold. Sew on the line, then trim the seam allowance and turn with forceps.

Poke the tip of the stem out with a pencil. The diameter of the stem should be just the right size to fit a pencil eraser. If it’s not, sew a new one. If you're using heavier fabric than I did, you may need to make this piece (and the tail) a bit wider to accommodate the extra bulk. Stuff the stem by shoving small bit of stuffing in with forceps and packing it in with a pencil eraser.

The ear dish pattern also lacks seam allowance. Trace it onto the fabric, sew on the line, and leave a small hole for turning. Work a length of wire into the hole, pushing it as far the edge of the ear as possible. Close the hole. Curl the dish and pin to the stem (do this before sewing to head; my photos are out of order):

Hand sew the ear to the stem on the back of the ear. Position and hand sew the ears to the head. I have the ears placed 1.5” from the top of the eyes and 1” in from the gusset seam. Front view of completed ear:

Sew, turn, and stuff the tail as you did the ear stem. Packing the stuffing in will make it stiff enough to stand up on its own without wire. Position the three black buttons on top of one another, and sew them down. Sew the tail to the body using the four holes in the buttons. (The buttons both mimic a design element on the original dog and help to stabilize the tail and keep it from drooping). Since my fabric is somewhat lightweight, also added two stitches in an X to distribute the stress on the fabric to a bigger area.

Control panel:
Interface the sides and sew the control panel center to the control panel sides (I machine appliqued on the red buttons; I don’t have the placement marked because I sewed the first seam on both sides, then sewed on the buttons, then finished sewing the center to the sides. If you are going to add the buttons with fabric paint, do them before you sew the pieces together.) You will need to clip the center panel fabric to turn the corner. There’s some extra length in the control panel center just in case. Just trim it off when you’re done. Turn under the seam allowance and press. Lightly stuff and pin to the body. Sew down, and when you have only a small hole left stuff it more firmly and finish the seam. Sew on your buttons.

Add your collar and red button to the eyes and you’re done!

I hope this pattern and the instructions were helpful. If you use this pattern, I would love to see your completed trusty, slightly snarky sidekick dog :)
Hayley: space duckhayleyscomet on April 20th, 2010 11:12 pm (UTC)
Hurray! This is astounding! I absolutely cannot wait until I can make one of these. I'm so impressed with what you've done, and your thoroughness in putting this together. I can't thank you enough!
e.clarice on April 21st, 2010 03:15 am (UTC)
You're welcome, though you may like me less after spending 30 tedious minutes turning and stuffing a fabric dog tail with tweezers :) I always try to get friends to come sew with me and never succeed--I think it's my sewing OCD, as may be evident in this post and the mere fact that I enjoy this type of geometry--so I'm more than happy to do it vicariously online.

Also, I am strangely intrigued by Space Duck crossing.
Rachaelwicked0witch on April 20th, 2010 11:36 pm (UTC)
AMAZING! Thank you so much for the pattern!
e.clarice on April 22nd, 2010 06:02 am (UTC)
No problem :)
Lilja Björk Sigurdórsdóttirliljabs on April 20th, 2010 11:53 pm (UTC)
I did a little happy dance when I saw this post :)
I really love your k9, can't wait to try it.
Thanks so much for posting the pattern :)
e.clarice on April 22nd, 2010 04:41 am (UTC)
You're welcome! Please post a pic if you make him :)
smile_ichiban: jazz handssmile_ichiban on April 21st, 2010 12:16 am (UTC)
FANTASTIC!!! I'm adding this to my memories :D this is sooo awesome!! You did an amazing job!
Do you have a machine that did the satin stitch?
e.clarice on April 21st, 2010 03:18 am (UTC)
Thanks! A satin stitch is really just a very tight zigzag stitch, so basically all machines have it, though some mid-range machines don't have a stitch length short enough to fully cover the raw edge. If your machine is like this you can just sew over the edge twice or cut the letters from fabric that doesn't fray much and interface them and they should be fine. The letters are a bit of a pita to outline with the little curves so if I didn't have to do it twice I wouldn't :P
Minuetsweet_minuet on April 21st, 2010 12:53 am (UTC)
Great!!!!! Thank you so much for posting this!
e.clarice on April 22nd, 2010 06:03 am (UTC)
You're welcome!
anyjen: Geeky Doctoranyjen on April 21st, 2010 01:33 am (UTC)
Oh, so great!! Pity I don't own/have access to a sewing machine, or I'd totally go for it. >_<

Keep up the good work! :D
e.clarice on April 22nd, 2010 06:06 am (UTC)
Thanks :) I couldn't live without my machines, but sewing is nearly the only craft I can really do...
rob_t_firefly on April 21st, 2010 02:11 am (UTC)
This is an awesome pattern! Thank you so much for sharing it.
e.clarice on April 22nd, 2010 05:47 am (UTC)
Thanks! And it was my pleasure. I've enjoyed several knitting patterns from this group so I wanted to contribute back.
42jellybeans on April 21st, 2010 02:25 am (UTC)
This is wonderful! Thank you for posting it!

I can't wait to try it, although I think that I'm going to scale it down a little bit. I sew by hand so I think if I reduce the pattern size by 50% it will be a bit more reasonable for me to handle.

So excited about this!!! :D
e.clarice on April 21st, 2010 03:23 am (UTC)
You're welcome! He should scale just fine, though you will need to modify the ear stalks (or leave them off) and tail because they're almost as small as they can get and still be sewn and turned this way.
(no subject) - 42jellybeans on April 21st, 2010 04:03 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - clarice on April 21st, 2010 05:32 am (UTC) (Expand)
wiggiemomsi: Scary Smut Bunnywiggiemomsi on April 21st, 2010 03:47 am (UTC)
Awww, he's adorable. What a great job you've done, oh crafty-sewing-lady-of-incredible-skills person!

I salute you!
e.clarice on April 22nd, 2010 05:52 am (UTC)
Aw, thanks! He was time consuming but not terribly difficult to draft because much of it could be done with a straight edge and geometry. I think I'm confident enough to attempt a Dalek now, but there are so many tiny bits on those guys... :P
Hiding in plain sight: DW-4-jelly_baby?wulfae on April 21st, 2010 04:08 am (UTC)
Added to my memories! :D He's very cute, thanks for the thorough instructions.
e.clarice on April 22nd, 2010 04:48 am (UTC)
No problem! I tried to be as thorough as I could in the instructions because I didn't have a sewing friend to beta this for clarity and I've had mixed results trying to explain sewing to novice-sewer friends :P
Spikewriterspikewriter on April 21st, 2010 04:25 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you so very much for this! I thought he was adorable when you first posted him and love the chance to make one myself.
e.clarice on April 21st, 2010 06:19 am (UTC)
you're welcome. Please post a pic of your little guy if you make him :)
KnitChick: Four and K9 playing chessknitchick1979 on April 21st, 2010 04:34 am (UTC)
THANK YOU!!!!!! Great instructions, I just skimmed through but the photos really help. I tend to have trouble sometimes making the 2D/3D conversion so the photos are going to be a big help when I get around to this. Because this is totally going in my memories for a summer sewing project! :D
e.clarice on April 21st, 2010 06:18 am (UTC)
you're welcome! My doodling skills are subpar, so it's photos or nothing, and I figured my construction method had to be explained because it's a little atypical and my prose explanation is... well, it is what it is :)
Chloe-girlgrass_angel on April 21st, 2010 02:18 pm (UTC)
I only saw the awesome of your K-9 a couple of days ago and was considering commenting that I would love a pattern on it... and then you posted this!
So thank you for sharing the pattern. And for the construction method as well!

Although to clear something up, the wire in the ears goes around the edge of the inside of them? I incorporate far too much wire in my plushies, so I get what you mean by 'Work a length of wire into the hole, pushing it as far the edge of the ear as possible' but it was a bit unclear at first.

Unfortunately, this project is eighth in line to be completed. (And the rest involve drafting patterns, bleck.)
e.clarice on April 22nd, 2010 01:05 am (UTC)
Yeah, it's a bit fussy to get the wire in the ears, but it should be an oval, as close to the edge on the inside as you can get it. It's easier to start by feeding a loop of wire in rather than ends, then increasing the circumference of the loop until it presses against the seam. A couple pins helped to hold the wire against the edge as I worked it around.
therru: Donna OMGtherru on April 21st, 2010 05:20 pm (UTC)
SO MUCH <3. You've done an incredible job with this, thank you so much! *downloads and adds to memories*
e.clarice on April 22nd, 2010 04:59 am (UTC)
Aw thanks & you're welcome. Hope you get a fun new toy out of it :)
Amelia Earhart vs. The Dancing Bear: Ron Livingstone - I Love Ya!o_deanna on April 22nd, 2010 12:47 am (UTC)
Wow, so that's my BFF's Christmas present sorted for this year! Thank you so, so much! It's so kind of you to go to all this trouble and share the pattern! ♥
e.clarice on April 22nd, 2010 04:54 am (UTC)
Yeay! The world needs more smooshy robot dogs :) I've made good use of other people's open source patterns and craft tutorials (I even drafted this pattern off line art models some other kind fan created and uploaded as a guide for people looking to make their own full size K-9 prop), so I thought I should try to give back some of that crafty-karma.