Saturday, March 27, 2010

How to make a Softie

After machine quilting all day I needed a change so I started to make a new softie without much of a plan.
I drew the outline on Glad Bake. It's not that clear on my tablecloth. The main thing is that whatever you draw, you need to remember that the limbs can't be too skinny because you lose a quarter inch in seam allowance all the way around.

I drew a body, a claw type arm and an ear.
You need to cut 2 bodies, 4 arms and 4 ears.

The material has to be laid back to back. I chose to do the inside of the ears a different colour to the outside.

Once the shapes are cut out it's is a good idea to iron them. I also cut out a piece of felt for the face.

Sew the face on with 2 strands of stranded cotton. You can use running stitch for the outside and for the main features I usually use running stitch or split stitch. I added felt cheeks and lips and goggly eyes which I bought from Spotlight.

Sew up the arms - with fabric right side facing. Snip the corners as it helps when you turn the pieces around to the right side. I always check the front and back of my sewing as sometimes I miss an edge and it is not sewn in properly. Turn the arms around the right way and stuff them. If you are stuffing ears or feet, do the same for all of them.

This is the bit I messed up and had to fix. Take the main body of your softie.
Place the back body on the table with the right side facing up.
Place the arms and ears on the body facing inwards so that the edges stick out of the seams. You can see my ears sticking out of the top of the head.  The arms' ends are sticking out of the shoulders.
Place the front part of the body on top with the good side facing inwards.
I flipped the edge over to show you the arms inside.
Pin everything into position.
If you are sure everything is in the right place make the stitch length on the sewing machine really small as it makes the seams stronger.
If you forget to put in your ears, like I did the first time around, it's a killer to unpick.
I usually start sewing about 3cm under the armpit, going over the first arm, around the head, catching the ears, over the next arm, around the legs and up to the ankle of the second leg.
Stop, leaving about 6-8cm open to turn the toy around. Double back on the sewing machine because it strengthens the edge.  When you turn the toy around it really pulls hard on the seams.

Here it is turned around the right way. It looks like a lamb! Oh well - not what I had expected. One leg is skinnier than the other but that is the fun of all this. You never can really plan something totally. On the right side of the photo the seam is open on the leg.

Pinch the seam together and try to roll the edges in as you slip stitch it closed. I had to continue stuffing the legs as I made the hole smaller. I use a plastic chopstick to do it. I tried a bamboo skewer once but it kept poking holes in the fabric. The chopstick has a round edge, is really strong and not too thin so it actually can push the polyfil in.

I sewed the ears down so the pink is showing.

Not my best work but it kept me amused while the boys watched the footy this Saturday night.

Friday, March 26, 2010

School's Out

Yahoo, school holidays have begun and with that comes an empty staffroom and the perfect quilting table for me to use. Every holiday I take over the staffroom and baste my quilts. I did my niece's quilt today. It is so much easier to sit on the tabletop than sit on the floor.
The backing is a Kaffe Fassett Liberty fabric. It feels beautiful.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Machine Quilting

I have been ringing around to find out how much it would cost to quilt my Japanese Kimono Fabric Quilt because I thought it might work better than the usual hand quilting I do. I've also been reading stacks of blogs and have found that lots of people just seem to manage doing the machine quilting with their ordinary home machines. I really can't decide what to do. I know $150 - $200 is reasonable because of the work involved but should I try to do it myself and risk the mess? I have a walking foot - I am just scared.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

My niece's quilt

Today was the day I just had to sit and sew. There are just too many incomplete projects lying around and more fabric is on the way. I have a variety of fabric from the last big buy but I just couldn't decide what to use for the borders of the "S" shaped patches quilt. My main problem was that I didn't have the same fabric as in the book. Anyway I stuck to the theme that it had to be mainly yellow. I think it needs a strong colour binding to finish it off.

Border Number 1

Border Number 2

A walk in the park

Most weekends I like to walk around Caulfield Park. During the school week I don't really find the time or have the energy to do much exercise so I love going out early on the weekend for a walk especially at this time of year when the mornings are crisp and I don't have to wear a stack of layers.

Last Saturday 2 hot air balloons landed right next to some kids warming up for a cricket match.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Magnolia Square Market

I went to Magnolia Square Market last night. It's at St.Kilda Town Hall this weekend and is worth a visit. Loved the toys at Soft Things but there were stacks of things to pour over. It's not a very large market however the products were really well displayed and the stall holders were very friendly and happy to chat about their stuff. You just need an hour and the time will be well spent.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Softie Moonbeam baby purple

I've been playing with Flickr and I think I have managed to link this up to my photos but if anyone can help me to set up a Flickr icon straight to my photos I would be thrilled.

Secretly escaping

The week was over and I had barely had a thought for making anything except dinner. So on Friday night, after we had eaten, I snuck into my lounge which is the "quiet room" in the house, shut the door, put my ipod on and managed to do some hand sewing on one of my unfinished quilts. This is the second quilt I have made from the same pattern but the results are so different.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Productive Day

It been a good day for sewing. First I went to Amitie to match a backing for a quilt top I made over the holidays. I bought all these scrap pieces of kimono fabric from a reject bin at Kazari in Richmond. They smelt terrible so I had to wash them all first - they still were smelling rather different from the lovely cotton smell I am used to. They ironed well despite the dip in detergent and I spent a couple of afternoons cutting and sewing the pieces together. They were really interesting fabrics with different textures and weaves. I will definitely visit them again.

Anyway, I didn't get such a positive response from my family so I put the quilt away to think about. I decided to have another look at it today and bought a lovely chocolate brown variegated fabric to back it with. I also bought some yellow Kaffe Fassett fabric to finish another quilt. That's now complete as well.

Next job was to finish the Moonbeam baby dolls I had started at the market.
Done - sewn and ready for stuffing.
So at last I was able to work in earnest on my nieces' quilt. 28 patches made and 14 to go.

Now to clean up the mess the storm has made. The hail stones made holes in our porch roof and water poured into our family room through the doors. The volume of water was just too much for the down pipes. At least the garden looks happy.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

5 new Moonbeam Babies waiting to be stitched up

I've had these guys ready for a week but I have left them by the wayside because I have been so excited about my new fabric. I have stitched up another quilt and started cutting the new fabric for my niece's quilt. I always seem to have 5 projects on the go at once. Anyway it all seems to come together in the end, usually during school holidays when I have some time off. I have to stop making so many of them but it's so hard to resist.
This is the quilt I should really finish before starting the next one. I managed to get most of it done but ran out of the the yellow fabric. Will have to buy some more before it runs out.