I do love it when an idea in your head works out the way you hoped it would.
I have made another version of the Flosstyle Spiral toy and again I have made it a little different to the basic pattern. Last time I turned it into a snake this time I turned it into eels well to the point Parramatta Eels and have created two little Erics. If you are not familiar with Rugby League in Australia there is a team that’s mascot is an eel called Eric, I have a work colleague who is a devout fan of the team so this year when she finally became a Granny I thought it was only fitting to make her grand kids little eels.
I followed the basic pattern but omitted the ribbons. Once I joined all the circles which formed each side of toys together I created stripes down each piece using a twin needle, on each piece I marked where to stop so the lines would be even on each side. The yellow fabric I found in my stash and I just had enough to do all the pieces. The wool felt on the eyes came from my scrap stash, using pearl cotton I did a French knot in each pupil before I stitched it to the toys. The mouth is done in regular embroidery floss using a back stitch, I didn’t mark it this time I just eyeballed it.
Once again I left multiple stuffing gaps in the toys not just the one just suggested in the pattern. The spirals can be very tricky to stuff and the multiple gaps allowed you to stuff smaller sections which made it much easier and I think quicker. I used interfacing on these ones too which made it a little bit stiffer than the first time I made this so the stuffing smaller sections was a must on these.
This week the toys were given to the new Granny and she loved them. She couldn’t believe that I had made them. She has already given one to the first grand child’s parents who are excited to put it on their pram, the other eel is ready to be given to her next grand child later this year when they arrive. I had a lot of fun making these. I looked at the mascot and thought of how can I recreate this. I thought about ways to do the stripes down the side so they would stand out. I loved the challenged and even I really don’t like the team I do like these little guys.
Normally I am so on top of things but I’ll admit one child who was having a birthday had crept up on me. I was planning on making the child a different toy but the materials I had weren’t suitable and before I knew things it was nearing time to post the gift off and I had nothing done so Plattie came to the rescue.
Plattie is a Funky Friends Factory pattern. This pattern had been in my stash for some time to make. When I realised my impending deadline I remembered this pattern and knew it was perfect, the toy was going to a child not living in Australia. What a cute little native animal to make them. Construction wise it is a really easy and quick pattern to make – providing you cut out all the pattern pieces! In my rush to get the pattern traced out and pieces cut so I could take it to my sewing group meeting to stitch up that day I missed a piece and didn’t take the leftover fabric with me so I had to come home early to finish him off in time. There is an online tutorial you can follow for this pattern but I didn’t need to. The only way I differed from the pattern was I ironed on pellon on each of the paw pieces (double thickness in each finished paw) Unlike a lot of toy limbs you don’t stuff the paws on him so I used the pellon to make them a little bit more fluffy and cuddly rather than just straight thin cotton in the paws.
The fabric used were caramel fabric leftover from the Activity Go Case and some brown spots from the Kids Messenger Bag. Confession I have a basket of fabric in my lounge room waiting to be put away downstairs in my stash which comes in handy when I am wanting fabric at odd hours or last minute as you never know what you will find in it and generally the fabrics in it have been pre-washed and ready to use. Plattie has turned out to one of my all time my favourite toys. I don’t say this often but he is totally adorable, it was hard to give him away. In my gift stash I found a cotton crocheted blanket I made as a test piece a couple of years ago which was perfect to wrap around Plattie as toys do like to snuggle in blankets.
So my theory is that you learn something from each project you make. From this project I learnt the value of being organised so that your aren’t in position of rushing to make a deadline. When you rush you make mistakes like forgetting to trace out a pattern piece. I also learnt that what seems the most simplest project can also be the best looking if you do it correctly, the old principle of Keep It Simple works.
I first made Lego Man at the end of 2014. Lego man is a softie I designed myself from a free colouring in page I found online. I have made him again but I changed things around this time a little.
Lego Man 2017 is little larger. I photocopies my pattern pieces from last time but this time increased the size to 150% which basically means he is 50% bigger than last time. I than added extra seam allowances to the pieces which I can’t remember if I did last time. This what I was trying to use my seam allowance guide on but unfortunately couldn’t. The larger pieces made it a little bit easier to sew around the tight curves and angles. Also this time I have changed him from an all in one jumpsuit to pants and a top.
I love both versions and don’t have a favourite. I have had fun designing both. Each one has its own personality. Both were fun to make and I enjoyed the process of working out pattern sizing and fabrics. Sewing them was fun. Both are unique. I’ll possibly make Lego Man again next year but for that one again I will change it around somehow so he is different to these two.
Once again this year I will be contributing to Softies For Mirabel a toy drive hosted by Pip Lincolne (Meet Me At Mikes) where toys are hand made for the Mirabel Foundation who support children abandoned due to parental drug use.
This year I tried out a new pattern I had in my stash Simplicity 1549 making 2 toys from it an owl and a bunny. I brought this pattern I think at the start of 2016 but never got around to making it last year.
The owl is made from brown fabric leftover from draft stoppers I made last year. The leg fabric is the same fabric but in a stone colour. The fabric had a very open weave so I decided to use a double layer of it on the body and legs as these areas would be stuffed and I didn’t want it falling apart or the stuffing getting out. The wings are a single layer with a layer of pellon inside each one. I did they eyes differently as I think I have mentioned before I don’t like closed eyes on toys. Eyes give the toy personality and I like them open.
For the bunny I used more of the stone fabric again doing double layers but this time on all pieces. The ears aren’t stuffed but I wanted them to hold their shape so that is why I did double. The purple body is leftover polar fleece as is all the applique on the eyes, ears, nose. The mouth is some pom pom trim from my stash, I love the added bit of texture it gives.
These toys were very easy to make as there wasn’t a lot of pieces or complicated sewing. I did all the applique bits by hand as I enjoy hand sewing but you could have easily done them on the machine.
I hope some little kids enjoy these toys and the toys make them feel safe. They were made with love.
In the Activity Go Case pattern there is a bonus play mat that you can make that fits inside the case nicely held in place by the elastic on one inside panel.
On the front I used the same tan fabric I used on the case and some wool felt for the track. The road lines I stitched on with white thread
On the back I used more of the motorcross fabric. The play mat is constructed like a mini quilt. My inside lay is a piece of pelon. I quilted it from the front side just going around inside the gaps of the road way. Very basic quilting but that is all you need.
This was a super quick project to make, I actually made this up before I made the case. I really like the track design and I’m sure I will make it again. It is a good size and you can easily add this to other toys. The mat doesn’t have to be a race track, you could make it in plain fabric or even make a grid pattern and use it for naughts and crosses if you made tokens.
I made one last set of Butterfly Wings this year.
Once again the pattern I used was Butterfly Wings by Wife-Made. This time I kept it simple. For the applique shapes I worked with glitter wool felt for the first time. I had a piece in my stash so I thought I would try it. The sheet was 8″x12″ and I basically folded it in half, pinned it then free hand drew some shapes on the 6″x8″ rectangle and cut them out. It is amazing what you can draw in that little space. Admittedly I was expecting to be cover in glitter when I cut it and stitched it up but I wasn’t. I did get the odd speck on my fingers but I wasn’t showered in it and finding it on me for days. I get my wool felt from Rose Petal Collections as the quality is very good. The sheet of glitter felt is surprisingly thick but really easy to sew.
This was the first time I’ve made wings with one solid colour background. The stitching on the front doesn’t look too bad as eyes are more focused on the applique but on the back the stitching looks…. a little abstract. I used monopoly thread which is clear but on the black ground it really stood out. In hindsight I should have used black thread. Every wonky curve is visible. That’s ok lesson learnt.
One thing I do a little differently to the pattern is cut the batting layer in half so you have a piece behind each wing front. I tacked it into place with some left over bobbin threads to hold it. For me this is easier to work with when it comes to turning the wings out when fully constructed. This is another great way to use those near empty bobbins.
I have more wings planned for 2017 and after making these I now have a clear plan on how I will make them.
This little guy came out of no where but I am so proud of him.
I brought the pattern (Simplicity 8156) on a whim at the ASG Industry Day. Prior to the day I had planned out all the patterns I would be buying but on the day I remembered I needed to make a gift for a 1 year old this Christmas. I was too lazy to find an existing pattern in my stash instead I flipped through the Simplicity catalogue and came across this pattern thinking yep that will do. To be honest I wasn’t really taken by the pattern but it looked easy and it was different to the other taggie toys I’ve made. As I was going to sleep that night I had an idea.
The next morning I started work on him. I decided he would be the Hungry Little Caterpillar. I set myself a personal challenge of only using fabrics from my scrap stash. I love setting myself challenges like this as it really forces you to think. This toy was the perfect toy for a scrap challenge as you only needed small pieces for each of the various bits. I raided my scraps and found enough of everything.
I made him a little bit different to what the pattern says to. I used only cotton fabric for the body not cotton and fleece. I didn’t use ribbons instead for his legs I made my own fabric tabs from a left over piece of red cotton and for his antennas I used wool felt. I also decided he needed a tongue inside his mouth to add a bit more character. In real life I’m allergic to caterpillars so I would never have imagined myself making a Hungry Little Caterpillar 🙂 Essentially he is a taggie toy but because he doesn’t look babyish as the child grows the toy becomes a character in a book that the child can read whilst holding their little toy. Most taggies lose their use once the child stops teething. This little guy could be made for a child of any age.
I have also reviewed this pattern on Pattern Review. If you have never been on Pattern Review before and you like sewing you will find it a very interesting website. People post personal reviews on anything that you can sew, books, sewing machines. It is a very informative site.