Sunday, June 16, 2013

Cute as a bunny

I've been having lots of fun with my new book - 'Stuffed Animals' by Abigail Glassenberg.  I decided to make the bunny from the book as my next project. 

This time I used cotton flannel for the body (just to try out a different material) and then used fleece to make the carrot.  The flannel makes the toy nice and soft to touch - but it did stretch a little as I made it.  Again - I used Abby's techniques of using freezer paper for the pattern pieces and ironing it onto the fabric and then cutting it out.  I'm loving this technique.  I also used the Hemostats again and this is definately a tool I will be using all the time now - it does make the job of turning and stuffing the softie alot easier. 

The eyes on this bunny are just gorgeous as Abby has used a layer technique with felt to create the eyes and I think it looks really good.  I also love the cute little heart shaped nose.   This pattern also has a head gusset in it to make the head shape, and footpads for the feet - and I liked they way she instructs you to sew in the footpad.  I have made several dolls with footpads before (and other softies) and I do find sewing in the footpad can be a little tricky at times.  But simply sewing in one half of the footpad at a time makes the process a little easier (instead of just sewing it all the way around at once).  So thanks Abby - another technique and tip that will make future sewing of softies alot easier.
Now - which project will I make next? many lovely projects in the book to choose from...there's the bumblebee, elephant, cat, lion, monster, puppy.....You'll have to come back and see which one I decide to make next.  See you next time!
Happy Sewing!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Something fishy...

I received the most wonderful craft book in the mail a few weeks ago - 'Stuffed Animals - from Concept to Construction' by Abigail Glassenberg.  I had this on pre-order at Amazon Books waiting patiently for it's release.  This is a wonderful book that includes 16 fabulous projects and 52 lessons on toy design and construction techniques.  It is a very well thought out book starting with all the tools and materials you need and then goes through designing techniques - like editing and drawing the patterns through to making the stuffed animals - like turning and stuffing and then finishing them off.  It then has 16 wonderful projects to work your way through along with lessons along the way - such as Lesson 1: Creating a Simple Outline Toy.  I love all the photos in the book showing how to do something step by step, so you can see exactly what you need to do. 
I thought I would start at the beginning and so ordered a few of the materials that I didn't already have.  The main item I didn't have that Abby referred to frequently in the book was freezer paper.  Freezer paper was not something I was familiar with and certainly not something we have in the Supermarkets here in Australia.  So I did a bit of research and found it online at 'Punch with Judy' an online shop based here in Australia.  The other tool that I had already but hadn't used very much was Hemostats.  (Abby sells these from her Etsy shop HERE).  I love learning new techniques and working out better and easier ways of making things and so I then used these new tools and made the first project from the book - the Fish. 

I made two fish - the first one I made I used my traditional techniques in softie making - tracing and cutting out the pattern pieces on normal paper and then tracing these onto the wrong side of the fabrics using fabric marking pen.  The second fish I used Abby's freezer paper method to transfer the pattern pieces onto and then iron them onto the fabric.   The freezer paper worked really well and the best part was you didn't have to wash away any lines made by your fabric marking pen when the toy is finished.   I then  used the Hemostats to turn and stuff both the fish and this worked really well.  It's like having a tiny pair of fingers to grab on and hold the fabric and pull it through.  It is also great to hold the stuffing with so you can get it right into those tiny places. 

I intend to make several more of the projects from this wonderful book and work my way through the lessons and tips and techniques.  I think it will definitely be a valuable resource for me and it has already given my some new skills just by making the first project.  I love coming up with my own softie designs and creating something new just from an idea so I believe this will help me improve on my design process and toy making techniques and help make more of my ideas into reality - and then into more patterns too!  
Happy sewing!