Crafting a Cuddle-Worthy Body

A project log for Nova - A Companion Bot

Building a sweet little shoulder dragon to accompany my Color Stealing Fairy project.

Angela SheehanAngela Sheehan 05/10/2020 at 20:510 Comments

The final part of Nova's build was trying to stitch together a soft body that securely stored all her hardware but felt life-like and cuddly. My concept of a dragon as a luxury fur stole took quite a bit of patterning and fabric shopping. Earlier in the process I draped some muslin to get a feel for the scale of her body against the blue velvet dress I planned to wear with her.

The trickiest part of this process was creating a fabric cover that could open and close with velcro that would not impede the movement of her head and wings. I found an off brand My Little Pony plush at the Dollar Tree with legs that draped the way I would like her to sit on my shoulder. After some tracing, adjusting, and fit testing, I had a pattern that would form the base for Nova's body and dangling front feet. 

Her body acts as a slip cover, with no permanent attachment to the 3D print that houses her hardware. Getting her to sit on my shoulder naturally without hitting me in the face with her wings took quite a lot of pinning and some help from my friends at the library makerspace I worked at during the build process. 

After pinning things in place, I began dividing up her body into sections that could velcro in place with a channel for her wings. The length of the fur helps disguise this space a bit. 

To add some bulk to her body without needing stuffing, I glued some batting directly on her 3D printed body. 

A small panel of fur attaches along her spine after the sides of her body are velcroed in place to hide the base of the wings. 

Finally there are two slits in her body where the elastic band feeds through to hold her on my shoulder. I spent a lot of time trying to think through how to design a low profile harness that would work with my dress, when the simplest solution ended up being a clear bra strap! 

She is so light weight that it is sturdy enough to steady her when combined with the counter balance of her long tail and battery pack. I was very pleased to discover how much freedom of movement this gave me while wearing her.

Once I started putting together her fur body/tail is when she really started having a personality. I spent some time working on her during our makerspace's open lab time and some of the kids who frequented the space began petting her and visiting her daily. Once this began happening I knew I had created a compelling creature!