Saturday, December 4, 2010

What we're making for Christmas, part two

It's hard figuring out what to get for a kid who only knows a few words. I know Ivey loves food, and she enjoys playing with certain toys we already have. But what could we get her for Christmas? Or really, what could we make her, because there's only so much money we have to spend and Suzi's big gift was a lot more expensive than we'd counted on.

For a while now, Ivey has liked to pick up a doll or stuffed animal or something and smack sweet little kisses on the top of its head. In fact, she was doing it while I typed that sentence. I thought it might be fun to make Ivey a special stuffed animal, but I didn't know what. Those little monster dolls are cute but I couldn't come up with a design I liked. I just got more and more frustrated trying. I was tired of making owls. They are wonderful but they are also two-dimensional and they don't have arms to hug you, either.

I started to think the thing to make would be a dog. I had a sweater the right color, and I thought I could probably make it work. I started looking around for inspiration and found this on Etsy. Cute! Just the type of thing I wanted to make. It was going to have to be modified a lot though, obviously. This Martha Stewart lamb pattern helped me figure out how to do the nose. I drew off a little plan for how to make one out of a flat piece of wool, and then started cutting a sweater up.

I wish I had taken pictures of the process but I really didn't think it was going to end well. I had no idea what I was doing. I broke a sewing machine needle in the process, but after a lot of machine sewing and hand sewing, she turned out okay after all. I got the dog part finished and thought I might as well make her a little dress. I used vintage buttons for the eyes and nose. The green eyes came off a card that had "Aug 1950" stamped on the back. Thanks for the buttons, Mom!

And look! Just for Ivey--butt-butt! (That is how Ivey says "belly button," for those of you who missed my previous post on that. She loves to poke people's belly buttons.)

Carried away much? I just couldn't stop.

Anyway, Ivey's dog might not look much like a dog, and she's definitely not perfect. She's a bit of a stargazer and one leg's a little longer than the other and her smile is crooked. Like I said, I had no idea what I was doing, but I did learn a lot. I don't think I've ever had so much fun sewing anything. I had to make lots of little adjustments and cover up mistakes all along the way, but I never knew how she was going to end up looking, so there was nothing to be disappointed over. There was no pattern to make me feel like a failure. I kind of like her and I hope Ivey does too!

If you haven't ever made a stuffed animal, I'd highly recommend trying it, especially with a low-cost material such as reclaimed wool. Felted wool is a very forgiving fabric. It stretches a bit and sloppy stitches get lost in the fuzz.

Have you ever made your own stuffed animal? Was it all you hoped it'd be, a disaster, or in between?

Here is my first Christmas craft post, in case you missed it:

There is lots more to be made!


Anonymous said...

Amazing Jenny!! I love it!! I made a frog shaped rice sock for Norah one year and it was so incredibly ugly. Oh very bad indeed, my stitches!

Anonymous said...

So cute!

I have never made a stuffed animal. But you've convinced me I should give it a go. :)

Theresa said...

That is the cutest dog/rabbit I've ever seen! I can't wait to see pics of Ivey carrying it around, kissing it's soft little felted head!

Megan said...

Oh my gosh! The "I love Ivey" makes me want to cry! Imagine how she'll cherish that as an adult!

Love, LOVE the butt butt.

You're amazing.

Amy @ Anktangle said...

Oh, I LOVE this, Jenny! Wish there were more photos of the process so I could try to make one like Ivey's. I've not made a stuffed animal yet, but this is truly inspirational. I'll have to try it! =)