Making the obvious

So, I decided to work on another of my Christmas makes list at the end of last week. I’m prioritising things for my brother to take back up to his branch of the family in Scotland after his visit, which starts tomorrow evening, eek. Now, as my brother is loads older than me, my neices and nephew are all grown up. I was pondering what to give my nephew. The answer is obvious, a job that utilises his shiny new masters in animation, as this is clearly what he wants at the moment. However, my magic wand has gone AWOL, so I had to think again. The next obvious choice seemed to be a Pikachu Doorstop.

Ok, I confess, it’s not that obvious a choice.* I don’t know if he wants/needs a door stop. He did have quite a soft spot for Pokemon back when he was 9, but that was a while ago. However, once the idea got in my head it wouldn’t leave. So a Pikachu door stop it was to be then. I also got him a little something else sweet and edible, cos the shop had some.

However, when I went to refresh my brain on what Pikachu looks like I was horrified that he was a really complicated shape with sticking out ears and arms and legs and a tail. Eek. Much more shapely than the blob like Totoro. Had I bitten off more than I could chew?

Once under the spell of the fabric shop Undaunted I bought half a metre of yellow fleece. Bright, cheerful, close enough weave to stuff with sand, doesn’t fray so no seam finishes required. Yay. Then I did some searching on the internet.

As well as lots of tutorials on how to draw Pikachu I also found there were a lot of people making Pikachu inspired cosplay, such as this modified hoodie. I also found a hat tutorial. There is an amazing downloadable papercraft model that someone had used to make a giant plush toy. However it looked a bit complicated for what I had in mind and I couldn’t get the template to print properly. I did discover the out of print McCalls 2512 that includes a Pikachu plush, but it was too far away and too much. I was beginning to wonder if it was doable, but then I found this kawai cubed Pikachu tutorial which is very simple and looks amazing, which restored my faith.

In the end, I went with my original plan. First I drew an oval the size I wanted the base to be. Then I measured half way around (from one side to the other). I drew this distance as a straight line and made it the bottom of my simple Pikachu shape. The tops of the ears didn’t fit on the paper but that was ok as they needed to be black anyway.

My sketched out pattern piece

My sketched out pattern piece

I cut out two of the main body pieces and one oval. Don’t forget to add seam allowances (ask me how I know).

pattern pieces with seam allowance ready to cut out

pattern pieces with seam allowance ready to cut out

Next, to make Pikachu’s face. I found some red felt and some scraps of black fleece from the spider costume and cut out circles and stiched them down. I was heartened that the red circles immediately made the character recognisable (I did them first to avoid having to change the thread more than necessary). As neither fabric frays, I just used a straight stitch, but I did use a short stitch length to help turn the tight circles.

applique added

applique added

Then I used a fairly short stich length zig zag to add some features and imply limbs. I used a washable fabric pen to mark them out first. I also added the ear tips by cutting an overly large piece of black fleece for each one and sewing in place, then trimming to the right shape.


Then I added a tail to the back with more zig zag embroidery. The back should have a couple of brown stripes (she says with her new found Pokemon anatomy knowledge) but I didn’t have any suitable fabric and they were a bit wide to machine embroider so I decided to cheat and leave them off. After all, his (?) back should be against the door.

tail applique

tail embroidery

Finally I added the white (actually pale pink, it was what I had) dots to the eyes. I’m showing you a separate pic so you can see what a difference this small detail makes.

front all prepared

front all prepared

Then, I put my two pieces right sides together and stitches all round, except not across the base. At this point I had basically made a glove puppet and was having doubts that it would turn out 3D. But I soldiered on and cut across the top of the ears (just above the stitching) and cut a few notches on the concave curves to help with turning.

glove puppet stage

glove puppet stage

Then with the main pieces still inside out I attached the base. I pinned it first and left a gap of a couple of inches so I could turn it inside out. As the gap gets handsewn shut and my handsewing is not amazingly neat I made sure my gap was at the back to one side, where it would show the least.

about to sew the base on

about to sew the base on

Then I just needed to turn it out through the hole.



And I had a Pikachu shape that almost stood up on it’s own. I used a chopstick to turn get the end of the ears turned out.

ready to stuff

ready to stuff

And then came the waiting. Because my sand was damp. Last time I ignored this and then had to keep turning my door stop to let the base dry out, so this time I had a cardboard box with sand spread out in it next to the radiator for a couple of days until it was dry enough to stuff my Pikachu. Except of course there wasn’t enough so I had to dry some more and try and keep the kids away from the 3/4 stuffed one held together with a peg. But eventually, it was done and Lo, I had made a Pikachu door stop.

Finished door stop I love how you can manipulate his ears into different positions

Finished door stop AKA chu ate all the pies. I love how you can manipulate his ears into different positions

I’m pretty pleased with this one. Obviously it isn’t a proper 3D Pikachu shape, but it’s recognisable, it’s functional and it’s fun. Will my nephew like him? I don’t know.

Obligatory back view. My glamorous assistant found this concept amusing and insisted he stand in the corner like he'd been naughty, but I think it looks more like he's playing hide and seek

Obligatory back view. My glamorous assistant found this concept amusing and insisted he stand in the corner like he’d been naughty, but I think it looks more like he’s playing hide and seek “coming ready or not”

As an aside, I think I know where the idea came from. Recently I made a much needed door stop. I made a cube, because I couldn’t decide on anything more exciting to do. I know shops sell little house shaped ones (too twee for me) and I’ve seen union jack bulldog shaped ones (definitely not my thing) but all I could think of was a cube. Even after making it, I still kept musing on what more interesting shape I could make. I realised if I tapered the door stop up to a flat top (i.e wide and fat base but basically traingular sides so the front and back meet at the top) then I could mitre the corners and make ears. This reminded me slightly of Totoro. We have the film, My Neighbour Totoro (a present from a different uncle) and no-one I’ve met in real life has ever heard of it. But it kept cropping up on blogs. I saw Totoro costumes on Cherie’s You and Mie blog and Totoro inspired outfits on Beth Being Crafty. They all looked really cute but I couldn’t imagine my kids in them (my 6 year old has very definite idea’s on what she’ll wear that don’t involve grey/black and my 8 year old is getting a bit big for dress up). But a totoro doorstep for their room, that could be good (and hopefully slightly less likely to go missing than the wedge one they have at the moment). So it got put on my mental to do list but I haven’t got round to it yet. So, that’s a long way of explaining how it resurfaced as the “obvious” present for my nephew.


10 thoughts on “Making the obvious

  1. Wow, amazing – how clever are you??

  2. This is adorable – your nephew has to like it! It’s so thoughtful and well-executed.

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  4. I love this Pikachu doorstop, he’s so cut and chubby!

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