Sew vs No Sew Amigurumi Patterns: Which is Better?
Whether you’re making amigurumi or any other type of crochet project, sewing is everyone’s least favorite task (minus the rare few that enjoy it). No one wants to sit and weave in ends or fiddle with placing limbs in just the right spot. That’s why no sew patterns–especially amigurumi patterns–have become so popular. But what if we’re over-complicating things? That’s what we’re going to explore in this article: Sew vs No Sew Amigurumi Patterns: Which is Better?
Sew vs No Sew Amigurumi Patterns: Which is Better?
If you took a poll on social media or even just asked your local craft group, I bet a large majority would say they hate sewing. And it’s easy to see why. Compared to crocheting or decorating your amigurumi, sewing is not only a super tedious task, but it can be hard. Whether you’re not sure which kind of stitches to use or (even worse) you have to undo your sewing to move a part, it’s just a pain.
That’s why no sew patterns are like glowing neon signs to crocheters. No sewing?! Sign me up!
BUT, there’s an important distinction to be made: no sew does NOT always equal easier.
Easy is a relative term though, so let’s do a quick breakdown of crochet project levels.
Crochet Project Levels
The following breakdown was created based on standards from the Craft Yarn Council with a few additions made with amigurumi in mind specifically.
- Basic: these projects use basic stitches, including basic increases and decreases.
- Easy: these projects use basic stitches, increases/decreases and minimal shaping.
- Advanced Beginner: these projects use combinations of basic stitches, increases/decreases, shaping and simple colorwork.
- Intermediate: these projects use combinations of basic stitches, more complex stitches, increases/decreases, more shaping and more complex colorwork.
- An example of an intermediate amigurumi pattern would be Sammie the Turtle (free here on the blog)
- Advanced: these projects use combinations of complex stitches, complex shaping, complex colorwork and internal structures simultaneously.
- An example of an advanced amigurumi pattern would be the Eastern Dragon pattern from Crafty Intentions.
Although ‘Advanced Beginner’ isn’t a term used by the Craft Yarn Council, I feel like there needs to be a level in between Easy and Intermediate since many of the skills that fall under the Intermediate level are pretty advanced for beginners.
But labels aside, now that we have a reference point for project level, let’s talk about sew vs no sew.
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Sew vs No Sew
When you’re making a project that involves sewing, generally speaking, you’ll be making several simple parts that will all fit together to make an amigurumi. For example, a teddy bear. You would need a round head, simple tubes for arms/legs, half-circle ears and an egg shape for the body. Sometimes you’ll have extra features to make like eyelids or tails. You make all the pieces, pin them in place and then sew them on.
In a case like this, the complexity of the pattern lies in the number of pieces involved. But ultimately, all of the individual parts are relatively simple.
However, if you were to take the same teddy bear and make it no sew, suddenly you’re looking at a much more complex process. Rather than making all the parts separately, you now need to make them in a specific order AND redesign the bear to work them seamlessly into the piece.
First, you’d have to make the parts that will be crocheted on like the arms and ears. Then the easiest way would be to make both legs and then join them into one piece in order to work up the rest of the body. Then note the row the arms need to be attached and crochet them on as you go. Decrease down to create the neck and then increase up again for the base of the head….
And so on.
The end result is that there’s no sewing, BUT this method means you’ll have to know a few more skills and tricks, like how to attach limbs with crochet.
What is essentially a very simple project can become very much not simple when you make it no sew.
Why does it matter?
You might be wondering, ‘Ok, so sometimes no sew is harder, but why does that matter?’
Great question! It matters because there’s this misconception that no sew equals easy and that can be very confusing.
I am all for pushing your limits and learning new things. BUT when you’re new to crochet (especially amigurumi) it can be disheartening to buy a cute, no sew pattern and realize it involves more complex techniques like surface stitching, crochet joins or manipulation of the working loop.
PLUS, when you’re making some no sew patterns, you have to be very careful of your tension and how it affects the piece.
A good example of this is my free Fin the Frog pattern. While you’re making Fin, you have to keep the arm holes in line with the eyes, not to mention working your short rows in the right spot.
Now if you’re game and want to take up the challenge then by all means I encourage you to go for it! But if you’re still learning the basics of amigurumi, I really recommend trying some simple projects that do involve sewing first.
So which is better?
Ultimately, that’s up to you. No sew works amazingly well for some projects and makes others needlessly complicated. It totally depends on your preference and how you want the final piece to look. If you’re making a bird with a ton of feathers, I can tell you right now that even though it’ll be tedious it’ll also be easier to go the sewing route. But if you’re making a Mini Octopus, the no sew option is perfect.
I’ll be the first to admit I over-complicated things a tad when I made Olive the Orca no sew because there’s really not that many pieces to sew on to begin with. But I welcomed that design challenge and I think she turned out pretty cool.
Sewing may be the bane of our existence as crocheters, but with some projects it’s just the best option. And sometimes we can get away with not sewing and still making something super cool! If you liked this article, be sure to Pin it for later and share it with your crochet friends!
I want to hear your thoughts. What kinds of projects do you think work best for no sew? Leave a comment below and share!
Til next time, happy crafting!