I wish I could look at any plush and immediately know what its sewing pattern looks like. Unfortunately, my brain isn’t that talented. There are several online patterns that can be adapted for most projects easily enough, but what about those times it’s impossible to avoid drafting a new sewing pattern?
Metroidhat has some very nice plush patterns and tutorials here. An especially helpful page is the “buncha sphere patterns” guide that shows seven different ways of sewing a sphere; each pattern creates a slightly different shape.
Lauren Venell has a post on a monster plush she made for a company (the monster was their logo). She outlines her entire process, from sketch to sculpt and revision(s).
Craft Passion has a tutorial on replicating a plush toy, which is very useful for rare or discontinued items. The tiger toy she copied is awesome; I can see why she made another.
Finally, Reddit user PlushDragon shares their process for creating a How to Train Your Dragon Toothless plush. It’s a pretty high tech process – for instance, PlushDragon uses Blender (a 3D modelling software) to first sculpt the plush on the computer. This is definitely not a technique that can be learned overnight, but the results are amazing.
There are many different ways to approach the pattern drafting process, and this post only touched on a few techniques. The techniques are pretty intimidating, but I have to admit – I understand the appeal of turning a design, scribbled in a tattered notebook, into an actual plush!