I have made more pillows using McCalls 3274. These make quick and easy gifts.
The L pillow was very easy to do and I would say the easiest letter in the alphabet to make as you really don’t have that many angles to push stuffing around into. With some of the letters I had to modify the shape a little but with the L it is very clear so perfect.
On this M pillow I did change the shape around a little. The letters are all in a bubble font style so they are meant to be curvy and puffy but on some letters it means you can’t really tell what they are. On this M I made it is so the middle point was more prominent allowing you to see the shape more. I also changed the position of the turning gap which is your stuffing gap so that made stuffing the angles easier, alternatively you could do 2 stuffing gaps (one on each straight side) to make stuffing easier.
The I pillow I modified a lot. The original pattern is just a long centre piece with a rounded top and bottom that is it. I didn’t like the shape you couldn’t tell straight away it was a letter so I added to the top and bottom bar. In hindsight perhaps I should have made the 2 ends wider as it does look a bit anchorish but you can still easily tell it is a letter I.
The fabrics used was some leftovers I found in my stash. From a distance it looks stripy but when you get closer you can see a white floral pattern on it so it is child like but can see be teenageish as the kids get older. I still have more of these to make later this year. It is a great pattern for the stash even if you do modify some of it.
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.
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.
I do love a pattern whether it be PDF or paper packet that is multi use, by that I mean that you can make it multiple times for different people or for the same person but in different fabrics each time. That is certainly the case with McCalls 3274. The pattern has all the letters in the alphabet as well as 3 additional shapes.
On this occasion I made the letter E just from some fabric I had in my stash. In the past I have used this fabric in baby blocks but I wasn’t sure what I would make with the remainder but it is perfect for this letter.
This is meant to be a letter N, I’ll admit it looks more like a H. To me the diagonal middle section doesn’t have enough definition but I didn’t discover that until I had stuffed it fully. It isn’t the end of the world I’m sure the little boy who is going to get it will still like it as it has fabric that he likes. I’m planning to make another one later in the year (it is already cut out) but this time I’ve cut it so the diagonal section is more prominent.
Soft toy letters had been on my to make list for some time so I’m really glad I purchased this pattern last year. I’ll be making a lot of them this year
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.
Miss 4 is into My Little Pony so for her birthday this year I decided to make her a plush pony. Her name is now Twilight Sparkle and she is very happy with her new owner. Not to break the magic but Miss Twilight originates from Bubbles by Melly and Me. Her sister was made a few years ago.
This was the first time I’ve worked with panne velvet and to be honest it may be the last. It wasn’t the easiest fabric to work with as it kept curling up. When I pre-washed the fabric it rolled itself into a giant ball which was hard to pull apart. As a result of the curling fabric her leg seams are crooked and she doesn’t stand up. Ponies don’t always stand some like to lie down and this one does. I don’t do this very often but I almost ditched her half way through sewing as it was that difficult and I wasn’t happy to how it was looking. Towards the end she came together so she was a keeper. She does have her good points, her ears are the best I’ve ever made. She feels so plush and squishy. I do have some of the fabric left over, if I was to work with it again I would interface it next time and perhaps make an item where I could sew 2 pieces together then cut the shape from the fabric to stop it from shifting around so much.