Kalu’s Krafting: The Beginning of Bemani Plushes

First off, I’d like to apologize for the title and how it might make you want some macky cheese. You can always come over and I’ll make you some as an apology. This has been a post that I’ve been putting off for so long… I think I’m hitting about a year and a half after the initial idea hit me! Whoops~

Anyway! Welcome to my very first “I made a thing” post! I know it won’t be my last and I’m really excited to get this moving. I ended up making these plushes for David as holiday/birthday gifts because money is a jerk and since I like making handmade things for people it made the most sense. I learned a lot from these “prototypes” and I can’t wait to make more and expand into other rhythm game themed plushes! I don’t have many photos of these first two projects due to a crummy phone (I think I was using an LG Volt at the time. Honestly I’m not even that satisfied with the Nexus 6 camera now!) and not really planning this out properly, so I’m cramming the IIDX single dao plush and the DDR dance pad ravioli plush into the same post. Let’s go!

✖️ DDR RAVIOLI ✖️

Let’s start with the baby of the two. I’ll tell you right now I was not even slightly prepared to make this and I kinda just half-assed the entire thing. The goal was to make a small, almost throw pillow-esque sized stuffed… pillow buddy… based on DDR arcade pads. I had a sort of “style” started with the Oyasumi Punpun plush that you can see in the above photo. I liked it enough to keep it going with all future plush creations! Too bad I have absolutely nothing to show progress wise for that first plush.

Let me remind you that I was not even remotely prepared to do something like this. It’s impossible to stress that enough. The Punpun plush was the first time I had done something similar. I’ve made scrunchies and worked on the dress for my Ponyo cosplay prior to that. Pretty much everything else I’ve done over the years was done with hand stitching. I don’t recommend doing that. Ever. Don’t do that. Needlework is incredible and fun, but don’t hand stitch gigantic rice bags. It takes a million and a half days.

So here’s what I started with! I had a bunch of extra white felt after making Punpun and some scrap microfiber fabric of some nature and figured I could make use of them both. If I remember right, I cut a 12×12 square out of the felt to work with. This was back when I was still using freezer paper for stencils (it’s still a great tactic for plenty of ideas!) and didn’t think about using old cardstock to get shapes right. I really regret not thinking of that sooner because hand drawing the squares and sizing it all up perfectly on the wrong side took way too long.

For some reason I can’t even fathom at this point, I stitched the line for the intended 9×9 size. Maybe it was to know where I was working? I honestly don’t know… I guess it helped with placing the arrow colours! I cut squares a bit bigger than I wanted and pinned ’em in place to be able to stitch them down. It’s kinda hard rotating a 3×3 square around on a machine. They don’t tell you that when you get one. I liked the idea of having the arrow fabric being long and in line with the style I’ve been crafting for myself, so when I snipped the excess fabric I left a small amount beyond the seams.

See it’s kinda pretty looking when you’re not focusing on all the unnecessary work I put into getting here!

Here we are yet again at some unnecessary work due to the fact that I didn’t have fabric markers to use at the time. Had to poorly scribble in basic arrow shapes and then back stitch the design in to be able to have it look the way I wanted. Always, always, always have fabric markers or pencils! Life is so much easier when you can just wash it off or it fades on its own. I’m serious! Before I got some for myself I was using pens, markers, chalk, you name it. I was determined but holy cow I could have saved myself so much trouble.

Once I got the front part of the plush done, I cut another 12×12 square of felt and pinned that bad boy together. I think part of the reason I have the style of plush that I do is because I’m lazy and don’t like doing the “right sides in, sew, then turn it right sides out” part of any project. I think this way is really cute and I’m kinda glad I’m keeping it as my “thing.” Only downside is trying to sew up that last bit after stuffing it, but I think I make it work pretty well.

Here’s our first finished plush! For the first time doing this specific plush I’ve been pretty happy with it ever since I finished it! It was neat getting a project done in a single day of work. I try to not nitpick and focus on imperfections, but it’s pretty hard sometimes. It’s good to remind myself that this is handmade and the next one I make will be different in a bunch of ways. We have this on the couch in our basement since our DDR cabinet is there as well! It makes for a nice little accent piece and the pets like to use it as a bed.

✖️ IIDX 1P DAO ✖️

Next up, IIDX! This time I was a bit more prepared… Don’t get me wrong, I still didn’t have everything I needed to make this simple but I did alright given the circumstances! The goal this time was to get as close to the actual dimensions of a standard IIDX single player dao as I possible could while also adhering to my style and staying consistent. I based this one on David’s controller since I was making it for him anyway. I might have learned blanket stitching before making this but I definitely put way more work into it this time around.

You know how I had the stuff just kinda lying around for the DDR plush? Yeah… for awhile I had a ton of felts and fabrics at my disposal because they were gifted to me. I had to leave all of it behind when I moved and I’m honestly sad about that. I’m not sure how or when I could get that stuff sent to me ever. This was a simple three colour plush at least! Just red, black, and white. I spent hours doing the maths to be able to find the proper measurements for everything I needed to cut. I probably could have searched online but I was so determined to have it be a 1:1 scale that I did some pretty silly things. Once I figured out the measurements I cut out makeshift stencils from card stock and note cards.

I didn’t have any fabric pencils yet again so I had to trace the stencils I made with chalk. Chalk was the best route since I had black felt and coloured chalk made the white felt easier to work with. The hard part was trying to cut out the shapes for the turntable and buttons because I wanted those to be blanket stitched on rather than my usual method. Can paper cutters even cut through felt? I’ve never tried. Sure as heck wouldn’t have helped with the turntable anyway. I thought just drawing a circle was hard… ugh.

As you can see, I went blanket stitch happy with everything! I didn’t have any gray or silver embroidery floss on hand so I had to swap for some gray yarn that I had from a trip to Goodwill. For awhile that was the only place I’d shop to get yarn. Hand stitching through felt is hard enough with embroidery floss and a more standard sized needle (learned that hot tip from the Punpun plush…), but trying to get yarn AND the biggest needle I had through it was honestly the hardest part of any project I’ve ever taken on before. I once tried to sew a zipper onto the back of that Ponyo dress I was talking about and screwed it up so badly I had to rip out every stitch and have someone else do it for me and I still think the amount of work to hand stitch the turntable was worse. Future versions will have embroidery floss for everything!

I said drawing a circle was hard, alright? I probably should have made a stencil for it, too. I ended up scratching around for a basic circle shape and still had trouble back stitching it.
I somehow don’t have progress photos for the rest of the work! Used the ol’ sewing machine to stitch down the red parts and went back to my usual theme. I used more of the gray yarn and learned how to make french knots to pretend the plush had “screws” that matched the actual controller’s design.

And here we are! With all the initial work that it took to prep (stencils, research, and so on) this project and struggling with the usual Brain Things, I completed this in about a week. I’ve personally used this as a pillow several times and it is definitely close to the real controller size! This project is one where I see that I will make a lot of improvements with my next attempt and I’m looking forward to being able to take decent (and many!) photos of my progress. We also keep this little buddy in the basement close to it’s mechanical counterpart.—

There you have it! I’ve made things! Both were very fun and much needed learning experiences. I can’t wait to see what stuff I create next in this theme of Bemani things. I hope you all enjoyed this little adventure into the things I vaguely tweet about as I’m making!

PS:
It’s really weird seeing these old photos because I don’t even live in that house anymore!