After releasing my dragon pattern, I decided to take on a personal project over the holidays. I made a plush of Dusa from the game Hades! I have close to 100 hours in the game, and I’m still super into it.
I’m going to document my process below, but I also have a ton of in-progress videos on my TikTok if you’d like to check that out!
I used screenshots of Dusa’s in-game model shared by artist Paige Carter on Twitter as my main reference. My first step was to create the face embroidery. My machine’s hoop is 5″ x 7″, so I made it as large as I could. The sizes for everything else were based on this. The plush ended up being about 17″ tall (with feather duster), and it weighs 3 pounds!
The sheer amount of stitches meant it took a long time both to digitize and test the embroidery. I was able to save some time by testing one piece at a time instead of repeatedly stitching out the entire design. I learned a lot of new tricks in InkStitch while working on this, so that was great.
The body is just a cylinder with the face and back a circle approximately 8″ in diameter and a gusset 4.5″ wide. The back and gusset were cut from the same minky that I used for the snakes so that if it showed through the snakes it would not be distracting.
The snakes were by far the largest and most time-consuming part of this project. I draped them in 2D with fleece, then made them in 3D out of either fleece or test minky. One thing I found was that just mirroring my 2D pieces and sewing them together did not quite create the shape I wanted. To replicate the different widths and angles of the concept art, I used the 2D pattern as a base, then drew another version that was larger in some places. Then, when sewing the two pieces together, I made darts in the larger piece as appropriate so the two sides would fit together. This created the depth that I was looking for.
The snakes were then attached to the head with hand sewing. I did have to add a few more as I went in order to cover up some gaps in the sides.
I created more custom embroidery for the snake heads, which was thankfully much easier. The two snakes with heads are both wired with steel wire. The one holding the feather duster actually has a double-length wire that’s been twisted on itself, creating a loop at the end inside the snake head. I then tied thread to that loop before attaching the head and pulled the thread through the top of the snake’s mouth in order to attach the feather duster. The wire was almost strong enough to hold up the feather duster on its own! A couple stitches holding down the bottom end of the handle was enough to keep it up.
The feather duster was made by wrapping a long knitting needle in fleece and then brown minky. I created each feather individually by sewing in the hoop, adding foam and aluminum wire for structure and shape, and hand sewing them to the handle. The last step was to add the ribbon. It took an entire weekend to make, but I’m happy with how it came out!
The snake heads and the end of the feather duster all being on the right side of the head made Dusa tilt that way, but all I had to do was add an extra tendril on the right side to hold her up! All fixed!
After that, I just embroidered the Hades symbol on some red minky to make the seal and draped more white satin ribbon around the snakes.
This was an interesting project because I approached it more like a cosplay project than a plush. I didn’t use any existing patterns, and I didn’t do a whole lot of patterning on the computer, either. There was a lot of draping with trying things to see what works and improvising. I learned a lot and had a lot of fun. Now back to actually playing Hades, I still need to reunite Achilles and Patroclus…