Killer Queen Berry Flower Plush

2017-07-29 12:04 - Making

An in-game berry flower, full of berries. An in-game berry flower, picked clean. I've hardly posted about it, besides the tapper buttons I made last year, but since early 2016 I've been spending a lot of time playing an arcade game called Killer Queen. It's played by ten people at once, in two teams of five. The social aspect of working with your team to outplay the other one turns a fantastic game into an addictive one. At left and right here are two pictures of one of the key parts of the game: these yellow flowers are scattered around the play area. They start, like at left, full of six berries and often end up like at right, plucked clean. The berries are central to play, being a direct path to one of the win conditions and also the means by which players upgrade themselves to pursue the others.

One of the very dedicated players that I know thanks to this game is pregnant, with her baby due in just a few weeks. A coworker and fellow player had the wonderful idea to give a Killer Queen themed baby gift, and one was a plush berry flower toy. I was excited from the moment I heard the idea. I finished making it, and gifted it, this week. Here's a photo gallery plus some explanation of the build process.

Some fuzzy pom-poms will be the berries. A plush berry pile, on a flower-to-be.

First was gathering materials. There's some yellow felt here for the flower, and some fuzzy pom-poms of just the right color to stand in for the berries. I had to make two orders of these. At first I just got six, because that's how many there are in game. Once I saw them in person though, I realized I'd need to make a pyramid in three dimensions for this to make sense as a physical object.

The first of the petals, top and bottom, being stitched together. Using printed paper templates, I cut four petals out of yellow felt, and sewed two layers together.

I found what seemed like a reasonable petal shape and drew it out on the computer, then printed it out on paper for templates. These were traced onto yellow felt which was sewed and trimmed into the final outer shape. It took two tries to get the size right. This worked out great: though I wanted the profile of the smaller size, using the larger size ended up being just the right amount of extra material to wrap around the depth I wanted. So I sewed and cut the outer shape of all four petals. Each was one sheet of felt, cut in half and stitched together into a pocket.

An early step of sewing the separate petals into one flower, two seams join one petal to either side of a third.. Continuing the process of flower assembly, all four petals are either sewn together already, or pinned in place for sewing. The first half of flower assembly complete:  All four petals are sewn together on one side.  The other side

With all four separate petals prepared, the next step was to start sewing them together into one flower. This involved pinning the remaining flaps in place, stitching from the outer corner of two petals down to the middle, and repeating three more times. When done one side of the flower was sewed up, with flaps remaining on the other side.

A piece of upholstery foam is cut into the flower shape. The foam is stuffed into the flower, by flipping it inside out over the foam. After fit was confirmed, a few last seams were done by machine, leaving the smallest flap open for stuffing the foam through while inverting the felt flower around it.

The plan is to flip the felt flower inside out around a piece of upholstery foam, leaving it stuffed and plush, with the seams hidden inside. This was tested first, and the fit was fine. So the foam came back out and two of the four remaining seams were done by machine, again on what would be the inside. With a smaller open hole left, the flower was stuffed again, leaving just a few loose flaps.

Stitching the second of the remaining seams by hand, from the outside. Last seams of the flower complete, foam stuffed inside.

The remaining two seams were stitched by hand. This leaves a raised seam, but they'll be hidden shortly.

A green pistil and some berries are laid out to plan their placement. The pistil is stitched in place.

I had hardly noticed despite playing the game for over a year, until I looked closely for this project: There's a green structure that holds the berries. I'm choosing to call this the pistil (a discrete organ in the center of a flower capable of receiving pollen and producing a fruit). So I made a simple cone out of green felt and stuffed with a bit more foam, with the intent that it holds up the higher layers of berries without crushing the lower ones. I laid the bottom layer of berries in an arrangement that would mostly cover the raised seams, and leave room for the pistil in the middle. Then stitched the pistil in place, again by hand.

The petal The lower layer of berries were stitched onto the petals. The lower layer of berries are all in place.

Next I added the vein pattern onto the top of the flowers. I found a reasonable image online, then traced out the main structure and stretched and tweaked it to fit my exact petal shape. I printed this out onto paper and cut out the shape to form a stencil, which was drawn over with a marker. With that done, the first layer of berries were stitched onto the petals in a triangle shape, around the pistil.

Two more layers of berries are stitched onto the pistil, to form a tetrahedral shape. The finished flower, shot one. The finished flower, shot two.

All that remained was to attach the final four berries. These went onto the pistil, using its structure to help with the shape. Which did not end up perfect. There was more slack than I hoped for, but I'm still very happy with the final result!

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