Crochet Tips & Tricks
How to Customize Your Amigurumi Projects

How to Customize Your Amigurumi Projects

Have you ever been struck with an idea for a new amigurumi project and you immediately jump into trying to find the perfect pattern? But you scroll and search endlessly before coming up empty-handed. Maybe you wanted to honor a pet, but you can’t find a pattern that looks enough like your fur-baby to work. Or perhaps you want to make something fantastical, but aren’t sure what to start with. It’s frustrating, but it doesn’t have to be. In this article we’re going to cover how to customize your amigurumi projects so you can create that unique vision in your head!

How to Customize Your Amigurumi Projects

Quick Disclaimer

To be clear, this article is going to lay out various ways you can alter and customize amigurumi patterns for your own personal use. I don’t recommend or condone altering patterns for resale because it’s an infringement on the designer’s copyright. While I know this is a hotly debated topic, that’s not the subject of this article. Be kind and respectful of all of the hard work that designer’s put into creating patterns.

Start With a Plan

Before everything else, we first need to come up with a plan. So you need to ask yourself some important questions:

  • What kind of creature/thing do you want to make?
  • Do you want it to look like a real animal? (ex. a certain type of bird or a specific pet)
  • Who are you making it for?
  • Will certain materials be a concern such as safety eyes or wool (allergies)?
  • What materials do you have access to?
  • How would you add details?

To show you an example of this process, I’ve answered these very same questions to create a plan for a custom duck. Here’s a brief layout of my sample project based on the questions.

  • What kind of creature/thing do you want to make?
    • Ruddy duck
  • Do you want it to look like a real animal? (ex. a certain type of bird or a specific pet)
    • Somewhat realistic
  • Who are you making it for?
    • Myself
  • Will certain materials be a concern such as safety eyes or wool (allergies)?
    • N/A (not applicable)
  • What materials do you have access to?
    • I want to use wool yarn from my stash so that I can easily felt on top of it. I also have safety eyes in my stash to use.
  • How would you add details?
    • I want to embroider around the eyes, alter the body colors and add cheek details with needle felting.

With all of this information in mind, searched for a few reference images of ruddy ducks on Google. Then I sketched out a duck and marked off the changes I’d like to make using my Sir Duckington pattern as a base.

Once you have a general idea of your project, it’s a good idea to write notes before you start. For example, if you’re adding color changes like I did, read through the pattern and note where you would most likely want to transition.

Simple Alterations

One of the simplest ways to customize a pattern is to change up the colors. If you’re not familiar with using colorwork for amigurumi or want some inspiration check out these articles:

I could have incorporated the white cheeks as colorwork, but honestly, getting the colorwork to mirror in exactly the right spot would have been difficult without the eyes and beak in place first. Definitely possible, but not something I wanted to sit and rework until I was satisfied. So the easier alternatives are to add the cheeks on separately by either crocheting/sewing them, gluing on cut felt pieces or needle felting them on.

I chose to needle felt the cheeks on later, but any of the other options would work too. So if you’re looking at your references and wondering how to achieve spots or stripes, consider using other materials added on after. You can even use fabric paint to create color transitions and definition on your amigurumi.

Don’t be afraid to make adjustments!

At first I expected to change colors around Round 12 since it starts decreasing the head, but once I started crocheting, I realized the transition would look better a few rows down at the start of the neck.

It seems like such a small change, but just adjusting the colors of the base duck makes a huge difference in appearance.

Adding Custom Elements

Let’s say you want to take your customizations a step further than just changing colors.

You can take things to the next level by adding custom elements such as appliques, embroidery, accessories, etc… Whether you’re going for a realistic look or something more fantastical, these extras will push your project from great to incredible!

Let’s look at some examples:

Appliques

Appliques are flat shapes of fabric (crocheted or otherwise) that can be sewn or glued onto another surface for decoration. When it comes to amigurumi, I typically see this done more with dolls where small decorative designs are sewn onto clothing. However, I recently came across one designer, @moontyasha, making this large, huggable Nessie with appliques sewn onto the body.

applique example for blog post
Image by @moontyasha from Etsy.

She does an incredible job of making her super-sized Nessie look even more cuddly and adorable with simple fabric clouds sewn onto the body. Check out her Nessie pattern here.

Embroidery

If you’ve been a regular reader of my articles, you’ll know embroidery isn’t my favorite thing, but it’s still super important. Even small touches can make a big difference. For example, I added a little line of white embroidery around the eyes of the sample ruddy duck I made and then added 2 little black lines on the beak for nostrils.

eye embroidery detail for how to customize your amigurumi projects.
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

Since the safety eyes are so dark against the black of the head, the white embroidery really makes the eyes pop.

But you can take it a step farther and add all sorts of embroidery detail to your projects. On Cassandra’s hat, I added several french knots to embellish the moon and flower details.

image of french knot detail for blog post
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

Accessories

Chances are if you’re reading this article, you’re pretty comfortable free-handing some things in crochet. For example, if you made a little snowman, you would be able to easily free-hand a little scarf to wrap around his neck. And this is where you can put those awesome skills to use!

Accessories can be anything from a hat for your amigurumi to custom tiny bags and so much more. Adding these smaller items can really give your project a personality and add a ton of life. Not to mention, if you’re creating a toy for a child, there’s more elements for them to play with and explore.

But if you have something in mind that you aren’t quite sure how to free-hand, I recommend looking at real life examples. Say you want to create a little messenger bag for a bear. Take a look at how human-sized messenger bags are constructed. How do all the panels fit together?

Then you can take that info and create tiny flat panels in crochet and seam them together in a similar way. Boom! You did it!

Extras

Extras can be literally anything you want and you aren’t limited to just crochet. For example, @crochetbunny91 created this absolutely stunning Forest Reindeer pattern with some Christmas craft supplies added for an extra festive look.

reindeer example project for how to customize your amigurumi projects.
Image by @crochetbunny91 from Ravelry.

But you can also create custom elements in crochet to add to your amigurumi, like adding antlers to a bunny to turn it into a jackalope. In a contest on Instagram hosted by @lizzybeecrafts, I submitted a customized spider based on her Spooky Spider pattern.

custom spider example for blog post
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

I free-handed a bunch of tiny mushrooms and then sewed them into place all over the spider’s body before adding some custom felted details. I was going for a sort of swamp-spider look and I think I nailed it.

Adding Textures

Texture is huge and should not be overlooked. If you’re aiming to create a cuddly teddy bear for a child, you’ll want to be sure the yarn you use is soft, but doesn’t shed fibers everywhere. Or if you’re creating a toy for an older child that needs to stand up to a lot of play, the yarn needs to sturdy and washable without being scratchy.

And aside from practicalities, there’s also a ton of options to explore aesthetically. Maybe you want to make a squirrel with an extra bushy tail or a hedgehog with fluffy fur.

Sometimes you can achieve the texture you’re looking for with different kinds of yarn and sometimes you’ll need to use special stitches or other materials.

In the case of special stitches, one example would be Hernando the Hedgehog (check out the free pattern here) where I use the double loop stitch to create the fluffy fur on his back.

hernando the hedgehog example for how to customize your amigurumi projects.
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

If you’re interested in checking out other cool texture stitches, these articles will help:

And don’t forget you can also create fur by attaching individual strands of yarn and then brushing them out with a wire brush. This process pulls the yarn fibers apart and softens them into fluff and while it is a little tedious, it also works great!

Wrap Up

Honestly, everything from your choice of yarn and colors to safety eyes and embellishments matter. Even your choice of hook size, tension and stuffing methods can play a role in the final result. Each little decision comes together to create a beautiful project.

I hope you enjoyed this article and learned something new along the way. Are you inspired to customize your next amigurumi? What techniques do you want to try? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Don’t forget to share this article with your ami-making friends and Pin it for later. I hope you have an amazing day and happy stitching!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *