Monday, August 8th, 2011

Who the heck are we?

(An introduction to the Sewbies team.)

Haley Moore – Project Leader

Haley is the creator of the Sew By Numbers template.  She has directed live events and created artifacts for several Alternate Reality Games, written eight plays for two award-winning high school theater groups, and built interactive art for TEDxSMU with the Dallas Makerspace.  She also writes for the transmedia blog Workbook Project, and co-hosts their Transmedia Talk Podcast.

She is based in Coppell, TX.


Oguz Yetkin – Software Lead

Oguz is a PhD student in Bioengineering at the University of Texas at Arlington.  He holds a bachelor’s from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in both Computer Science and Molecular Biology.  He has spent the last 12 years in industry as a software engineer, specializing in interactive 3D graphics, scientific visualization, and Virtual Reality.

Oguz was a team lead on several projects at the NASA Langley Research Center, and also spent a year working exclusively on VR software and hardware at Mechdyne.

Wes Lewis – Software Developer

Wes is a recent graduate of the University of North Texas in Computer Science.  He is a freelance developer who contributes to projects at the Dallas Makerspace and works on video game projects in his spare time.


Monday, July 18th, 2011

Contest Results!

I’m proud to announce that Toader from DeviantART is the winner of our Free-For-All Design Contest! She sent in this adorable three-eyed girl named Petra.

Toader will be receiving her prizes in the mail – including that sweet trophy! – and her doll’s pattern is marked with a special winners seal.

Judging this was extremely hard; I’m amazed at the level of quality in the submissions we got, especially considering that all the entrants were using the Sew by Numbers template for the first time. Goiku entered this awesome Snow Wolf, which I’m also sending her in the mail as a thank-you for entering.

Many thanks to everyone who entered!  You can download their designs – and many other dolls to make – here.

If you’d like to try your hand at designing a doll, the Sew By Numbers templates are always free and open.  I’ll happily post any completed dolls here on the site – just send them to sewbynumbers at gmail.

You can also get new dolls, contest updates and news by adding Sew By Numbers on Facebook or Twitter, or by joining our DeviantART group, #Sewbies

Monday, July 11th, 2011

MakieLab: Distributed Toys Go Commercial

A startup in Britain called MakieLab is working on a customizable 3D printed doll that will be tied to an online game for teenagers.

They’re very keyed into the idea of personal and local manufacturing and opening their designs, which makes them close in spirit to Sew By Numbers (although different in implementation). I’m excited to see what comes of this.

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

Doll Contest Update

Hey kids! Our doll design contest ends in a week, so now is the time to pull out that pencil or tablet and start drawin’. (More details here.)

So far we’ve only had one entry, so I’ve decided to sweeten the pot a little. On top of a sweet trophy and sweet swag for the winner, if you enter and I post your design on*, I will also make your doll for you and send it to you in the mails. I offer that service in the store for approximately a scad of cash, so this is your chance to get some valuable handcrafting done for free.

Creating Sew By Numbers toys is a little different from anything you’ve done in the past – it’s more like designing papercraft. In putting together the templates, I did everything I could to move the sewing details out of the way, so it would be easy for 2D artists and graphic designers to make plushies.

As I’ve put together the ones that were done by hand on flats at last year’s SDCC, its become clear to me that the pattern is much more flexible and forgiving than I anticipated.  Even a 30-second sketch can produce interesting results.  So consider this an invitation to try the medium out and see how it handles.  BUT I’ll only be offering this until June 13, so get those entries in soon!

*For a design to feature on the site, it must be complete and have a credit on the credit line, like this.

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

SDCC Sketch Doll: Teerawat Palanitisena

During Comic Con 2010, I ran around the con floor and other locales with a bag full of blank dolls, searching for artists to vandalize them. These are the results.

This character comes from Teerawat Palantisena, another contributor to LAVAPunch.  He drew on a flat, and I put it together later.  The mascot for LAVAPunch is a toy spaceman, by the way.

I love all the little details on this guy – the patches on his sleeves and the view from the back of his head.

I don’t know what’s up with the bottom; maybe it’s a breakfast space taco.  You can find out more about Teerawat, and view more of his amazing art at

The mascot for their compilations is a toy spaceman, by the way.

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

SDCC Sketch Doll: Gabe

During Comic Con 2010, I ran around the con floor and other locales with a bag full of blank dolls, searching for artists to vandalize them. These are the results.

On the last day of San Diego Comic Con, I finally got the nerve to ask the great Mike Krahulik of Penny Arcade to draw me something. I had run out of dolls at this point and was giving out blank flats for me to sew together later. I was tired, and I could tell he was too.

“Eh, just put a face on it right here,” I said.  And he did.

Despite a few of the lines getting clipped out when sewed together, it looks really great; the doll has tons of personality.

(Unicorn butt courtesy the front cover of The Splendid Magic of Penny Arcade.)

By the way, aside from being an awesome webcomic, Penny Arcade also runs an awesome charity, which I’ll be raising money for by crafting this fall.

Friday, July 1st, 2011

Doll Design Contest!

NEW: Since entries have been slow, I’m also offering to make each entrant’s doll and send it to them!  See here.

Happy July Fourth Weekend, Everybody!

Sew By Numbers is holding its first ever plushie design contest starting today, because I just finished making THIS:

Tiger Puff, get down from there.  You are not in the contest.  YOU ARE NOT THE BEST DOLL. >:O

This trophy could be showing up in YOUR mail box, with a doll YOU designed in its place of honor!  (Never fear, you’ll also be able to take your plushie out and play with it.)

If you’re going to San Diego Comic Con, you’ll want to enter this contest, because I’m also giving the winner these.

(OR $25 and 10 sheets of homemade printable fabric, if thats more your style)

I came back from SDCC with an amazing collection of sketch dolls last year.  The winner gets five fully assembled blank dolls, with individual storage bags to prevent smudges.  (BTW, these sets and many other things are on sale in the store right now.)

Finally, the winner will be added to the Sew By Numbers “A List” of artists.  These are basically the people I’ll call first when I start putting together a series of dolls for retail sale.  They will also get their winning entry featured in a SECRET PROJECT that we’ve been working on, with possible further rewards.

How to Enter

1. Design a Sew By Numbers doll!

It’s July 4th weekend, which is all about freedom (and hot dogs), so this contest is a free-for-all.  Send in your heroes, villains, companions, pets…anything goes!  Designing Sew By Numbers dolls is easy, and requires no sewing skill whatsoever.

Traditional Artists – Print out the new SBN Draw-On Template, alter it in your medium (drawing, paint, collage, etc.) and scan it in.

Digital Artists – Download the Sew By Numbers Template or the Easy Edit Template, and edit in your favorite drawing program.

2. Send it in!

Email a JPG, PNG, TIFF, or PDF of your design to SewByNumbers SPLAT  by July 13 at noon Central Daylight Time.  Winners will be announced July 15.

Frequently Answered Questions

Will you post my design on the site?

Not without your permission.  If you’d like to see it on the site, mention it when you send your stuff in.  Otherwise I’ll write you to ask.

Do I have to print, cut, and sew my design to enter it?

No.  I do need a photo of the finished doll to feature it on the site, though.

If I win, will I get the sketch dolls in time for Comic Con?

If you live in the U.S., you should get them by July 17, the Monday before Comic Con.

Monday, June 27th, 2011

SDCC Sketch Doll: Evon Freeman

Evon Freeman is a contributor to the excellent comic compilation LAVA Punch, which is how I ended up meeting her at SDCC last year.

I ran out of assembled dolls, so Evon drew her design on flat fabric at San Diego Comic Con before I assembled them.  When I got Evon’s doll home, it looked like this.  (Hers is the one on the bottom right).

After cutting and stitching, behold!  It’s a little dude with a HUGE COWL.  He came out great!

I like this doll especially because it breaks a lot of design assumptions, which is something that I admire a lot in toy design.

The pattern she drew on his outfit is just beautiful, too.

For more of Evon’s stuff, check out her Gallery and DeviantART.  You will not be disappointed.

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

Sketch Dolls for Comic Con

Last year at San Diego Comic Con, I took a bunch of our blank dolls with me, to be illustrated by artists. The results were pretty amazing – I basically ended up with my own little art toy collection.

I got dolls made by the likes of David Malki!, Phil Foglio, Diana Sprinkle, and Robert Iza.  The illustrious Bryan Lee O’Malley even drew a quick and dirty Scott Pilgrim doll, which was enthusiastically signed by several of the cast members from the movie.

That signature, alone, makes this doll one of my favorite things ever.

Children’s illustrator K. Michael Crawford took a doll home to paint on it, with results that I think you’ll agree are beyond cool and well into spectacular:

Unfortunately, due to some conflicts with other cons, I won’t be able to make it to Comic Con 2011 next month.  Its a pity because last year, I ran out of dolls LONG before I ran out of people who wanted to draw on them.  Hopefully I’ll make it to some other cons this year and have more opportunities to expand my collection.

However, if YOU are planning to go, I highly recommend taking some dolls along. I’ve just opened a new Sew By Numbers store that carries blank dolls and kits. They even come in seven awesome colors!

The two odd colors (Peach and Frog Spot) are limited.  I bought the fabric and when it’s out, it’s out.

If you order before July 13, you will get your stuff in time for Comic Con.

One lesson I learned at last year’s SDCC was that, while drawing on a doll is sexy, a plushie or three takes up a lot of space in your bag.  I started giving artists blanks, still on their backing paper, with labels on them so artists could see where everything goes.  The results were just as good when I put the dolls together.

Here’s a never-before-seen example!  This one comes from Evon Freeman, who was at last year’s con with LAVAPunch.

I love this doll so much.  You have no idea.

Saturday, September 4th, 2010

SDCC Sketch Doll – Lars Brown

During Comic Con 2010, I ran around the con floor and other locales with a bag full of blank dolls, searching for artists to vandalize them. These are the results.

Lars Brown is the creator of North World, a very funny fantasy comic which you can read online or in book form.

Lars is a friend of The Kantz, so we got to spend a lot of time hanging out at the con, and I have to say he is one of the nicest, most charming artists I’ve had occasion to meet. For his sketch doll, Lars drew me!

I don’t know why I’m wearing striped pants or why my shirt is duct taped together, but you have to admit, I am damn cute as a doll. I have pretty good doll cleavage, too.

FYI – This is an old pattern of the doll, from when I had some pretty stupid ideas about how to make feet.

And with that, I am sad to inform you that this is the last of my comic con dolls.  However, I do have these:

Four more artists agreed to draw on some of my extra blank patterns.  I’ll be putting them together soon, and we’ll see how they come out.

In the meantime, you should definitely check out Lars’s books and his webcomic.  He is awesome.

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

Paint Doll! – K Michael Crawford

One of the artists who drew on a SBN doll at Comic Con, K Michael Crawford, sent us a lovely email the other day with pictures of a brand new art doll she painted over her comic con sketch doll.

Her little beebear is cute as a button!  I love it so. <3  She said she’s going to take him out to cons this year, so look for this guy at the Happily Ever Art! booth.

Monday, August 16th, 2010

SDCC Sketch Doll – Aaron Ancheta

During Comic Con 2010, I ran around the con floor and other locales with a bag full of blank dolls, searching for artists to vandalize them. These are the results.

Aaron Ancheta has one of the most interesting stories I’ve heard in comics.  He went from an artist in the Scott Pilgrim fan community to an art assistant on the sixth (and final) book.  This is Phantom Siren, a character from a new project Aaron’s developing right now.

This sketch doll looks suspiciously like this one that can be found in volume six, probably because it’s the same character.

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