As you can see, the plush before had a very droopy neck. The wings were also drooping and the plastic wire in them had snapped inside one wing. His fabric wasn't as lush as it could be and its colors were more dull than some of the better versions of him I have seen. Plus he was stuffed with Styrofoam (as a plushie maker myself I HATE this). I dont blame the company for doing this as they were made cheaper since I hear they were used as carnival prizes back in the day. Im not sure though.. but despite that the Styrofoam made him very hard and not very cuddly AT ALL..
So I fixed him up! Look under the cut for my process/tutorial on how. :>
Warning: Image heavy!!
First I had to cut slots along a part of the neck and lower back seam in order to get all of that Styrofoam out, this was a VERY messy and time consuming process. Probably the hardest part!
After I finally got all of those little foam balls out I turned the plushie inside out through the lower back slot I had cut on the seam.. always take your time doing this to make sure you don't pop any seams!
Once it was all turned inside out I vacuumed the Styrofoam that was stuck to the backing of the fabric with a vacuum brush
Got it all off! After that I flipped him right side in again and vacuumed the left over Styrofoam off the correct side of the plush.
Vacuuming it already helped the fabric look fluffier, but I decided to wash him any way. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT FOR WASHING PLUSHIES WITH FAUX FUR FABRIC!! Always hand wash them in a tub of colder water.
The detergent you use has to be VERY gentle.. I use the same kind of detergent I use on my fursuits.. Woolite! I get the gentle kind thats unscented. You MUST use a gentle detergent and this one works best!
Scrub scrub away! And then rinse rinse rinse away! Remember keep the water on the cold side. Hot water melts the fur/fabric fibers. Once your done squeeze as much of the water as you can.. then transport your plush to the washing machine!
You arent re-washing your plush. This is where you spin dry it! I put my washer on the "Spin Only" setting. Then let it run! This gets a lot of the moisture out for you.
Now your gonna plop that sucker into the dryer!!
THIS IS IMPORTANT!! You must use a "No Heat" setting on your dryer. Some plushies can handle a "Low Heat" setting but I find the no heat one safer since his tail flame is long fur fabric.
Now let that run! Itll take a few hours since its a bigger plush and there is no heat being used. Once the outside of the plush is dry... flip that sucker inside out again! The backing should still be a bit damp. If not then your done! If so let that run on in the dryer a biiiit longer..
Okay! Now your plush is all dry. Sometimes factory plushies like this (especially old ones) will have these strings allll on the inside. These are just the threads the factory didn't cut after the machines sewed up your plushie. They get in the way so I trim them off.. this is optional though! It just makes it easier to re-stuff it if they aren't there.
Got all those annoying threads cut! Now is the time where you look over your plush while its inside out. Are there any popped seams? Mine had a few before I washed it. Sew them up! If you dont know how to sew then you can look it up and learn its not hard to get a basic seam repair stitch down~!
Now turn it right side in again! After being washed you can see how much fluffier and soft this fabric is! Much better~!
Nooooww is the fun part, re stuffing your Pokemon! Instead of that hard Styrofoam junk Im going to use what most plushie makers use! Polyfill. For this big plush I used one and a half large bags of it.
Start stuffing that sucker! Once you got most (or all) of the body stuffed I decided to cut small slits in the wings so I could stuff them more too. I also took out that broken wire that was making them bend wrong. Remember to be patient and gentle! Use the wooden rod that comes with the stuffing to push the Polyfill into tight places. Make sure you don't pop any seams!
Now the body and wings are all stuffed! I sewed up the lower back seam I cut open to un-stuff and re-stuff with a Jim Henson stitch. This is a stitch you use when sewing seams on the right side of a plush. Its invisible and shouldn't show if you do it correctly. Do this for any places you cut open on your plush to stuff (for me, the lower back and wing seams).
After I did that I sewed an outer dart on the inner wings that connected to the back of the Charizard's hands. This way the wings stay upwards and don't droop! It also helps hold the wings up without that broken wire in there..
Here is a comparison! The left wing has been sewn to the back of the Charizard's hand and the right has not.
After I sewed both of the wings in place I was all done! I just did one last look over and brushed it out with a soft brush and vooiilaaa~!! A new, actually cuddle-able giant Charizard Play-By-Play plushie!
Im really happy with his new turn out, and since I hand washed him and was gentle throughout the whole process his tags stayed the way they were before I refurbished him!
I thiiinkkk thats all to it! I hope this helps any other folks that want to wash their older/vintage plushies but don't know where to start. I used my fursuit washing knowledge and pretty much followed a similar process and it worked out great!
It may not be 100% original without the Styrofoam but it sure as heck is a lot softer and better for cuddling so Id say I am glad I did this. If any of you have questions or need help with your own washing/refurbishing job feel free to comment and Ill help the best I can.
Thanks for reading! <3