Monday, 30 April 2012

night-night too-whoo

I've toyed with the idea of toy-making for a while, without actually taking the plunge and making anything. But what about my Owl pyjama-case? Well, I'm choosing not to count him as a toy, but as storage solution. Which means that when I see him about the bedroom, he represents tidiness rather than clutter.

Who knew that an orderly life could be achieved so easily?

(If only I could find a similar solutions for every other room in the house.)

Meanwhile, here's what I did to make him...

His size was dictated by the size of my fabric. I folded it in half, and cut a piece of paper to match.

Then I folded the paper lengthways, and drew in one half of the owl pattern. The top of his head was a horizontal line starting at right-angles to the folded edge, curving up slightly at the end for the tufts of his ears. Owl's body was formed with a long 'J' shape from the point of his ears down to meet the fold again at right angles - just visible on the next photo.

I opened out the pattern to give my owl template, and cut out one front piece from the main fabric, and one from the fleece lining fabric.

Then I cut two back pieces from the main fabric and two from the fleece, using the template folded in half lengthways (as it was originally drawn).

The pieces so far:

Next Owl needed some features. First of all, a tummy piece which doubled as a pouch (surely that should come in useful sometime***?). I folded the pattern piece top-to-bottom, leaving a crease across the middle....

... and used that crease a a template to cut the tummy piece, placing the folded line of the pattern on the folded edge of the fabric, so the only raw edges were on the outside curve.

Now Owl needed some wings. I drew a wing, as above, and cut it out with added seam allowances to the inner edges - the outer edge already had a seam allowance included. Then top of the wing needs to be above the line of the tummy / pocket, so that it can be sewn down later on.

I used my wing template to cut two wing pieces in three different fabrics: front, back and a fleece middle layer to give the wings some plumpness.

Next, Owl needed some big round eyes. I used a glass to draw my circle, and then backed it with Bondaweb ready to applique onto Owl's face later on.

On to Owl's feet. I drew a three-toed foot using the outer edge of the body template as a guide...

... and then cut the foot template out with a 1cm seam allowance added on all around, and used it to cut a front and back piece for each foot.

The pieces so far: pocket/pouch (seen unfolded here);  body - front and back in outer fabric and fleece lining; feet - front and back; wings (each of those pieces is cut as a double layer); and two eyes, both backed with bondaweb.

Have you spotted that Owl has no beak? His original triangular beak (seen here when I was playing with the pattern pieces) didn't work out quite right.

Instead the beak pieces needed to be shaped like a diamond with one point missing - as seen here:

Time to put it all together at last!

First I folded my pocket piece in half with wrong sides together, and edge-stitched across the top.

Then I stitched it in place, and ironed the eyes in place as well.

For Owl's feet, I cut out the actual foot pattern piece (leaving only the seam allowance where it would attach to the body)...

... and used it as a template to sew together my foot pieces, right sides together, leaving the top edge open.

Then I trimmed the seam allowances, turned the feet right-side-out...

... and added a little bit of polyester stuffing to make them squidgy.

I pinned and stitched them in place on Owl's bottom edge.

I pinned the wing pieces together, with the right sides of the patterned fabrics facing each other, and stitched around the curved edges, leaving the straight top edges open.

Then I trimmed the seam allowances, and turned them right-side out.

I edge-stitched the wings in position, leaving room for seam allowances on the front body piece.

Then I stitched the two beak pieces together, leaving the top open...


... folded the open top seam inside, and added just a whisper of stuffing...

... before stitching Owl's beak onto his face across its top (open) edge.

I spent a long, long time choosing buttons for Owl's eyes, and then added a running stitch around the bondaweb/applique pieces.

Hooray: front piece done!

(I had an interlude for tea and biscuits to celebrate.)

Now for the back. I thought that Owl might see some rough handling in his life, so I reinforced the zip at the top and bottom with scraps of the floral fabric from his pouch. I simply folded these and placed them over the ends of the zip, with the folded edge inwards.

Then I sandwiched the zip between one of the back pieces and one of the back lining pieces, right sides together, stitched and pressed, and did the same for the other side.

Back piece done!

I put the decorated front piece on top of the back, with their right sides facing each other, and
then placed the front lining piece on top...

... pinned all the way around the edge, being very careful not to catch the wings...

...and stitched it all together.

Turned and pressed: ta-dah!

Here's Owl in action - filled with pyjamas and looking plump and cuddly. He's been used every day since he was made, has survived the washing machine, and has been out for a bath-time playdate with toothbrush and toothpaste in his pouch (see *** above).

Son #1 likes him, and has requested a bear. How shall I do that?

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Elsie Marley KCWC

Starting out on the Elsie Marley Kids Clothing Week Challenge today: the aim is an hour of sewing every day for a week. What a joy!

I especially like Elsie Marley's name, which come from a charming little nursery rhyme that I'd never encountered until son#1 was born:

Elsie Marley has grown so fine
She won't get up to feed the swine
But lies in bed 'til eight or nine.
Lazy Elsie Marley!

When I first read it, at a time when I was new to parenthood and early mornings, it seemed a bit hard on poor Elsie - surely eight o'clock wasn't really so late? But ten years on I see it in quite a different light, and 'eight or nine' seems impossibly, outrageously, disgracefully late.

Or perhaps I'm just a bit envious.

Off to sew now...

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Springtime Stashbusting

There is building work going on at runcibledays: the loft conversion is well under way. Consequently I'm being extra-thrifty, and trying stick to my good intentions of not buying any new fabric or patterns for a while. Having said that, the costs of the building project are so dizzying that they make ordinary everyday economies seem a touch futile. For just a fraction of the funds being poured into the roof, I could be splashing money on cashmere socks, and taking tea at the Ritz. But no matter - on to the sewing...

First of all, another ipod case from the Dog under my Desk tutorial. This one is for son#1, and follows the pirate-esque theme of his bedlinen, seen before in his bedside organiser.

Secondly, a sweet little romper suit for runciblegirl using Burda 9652 - quick and fun and summery. I've had the pattern for a long time and was a bit afraid she would have grown out of it, but fortunately the sizing seems more than generous and might even see us through this summer and into the next.

I may yet take the elastic out from the ankles - what do you think?

And my favourite, saved for last, a super-stashbusting owl pyjama case, also for runciblegirl.

(This is the slender version of Owl, flat on the kitchen table)

 I haven't seen pyjama cases for a while, but can remember having something similar when I was small. They were definitely part of the seventies childhood experience, along with Bagpuss and the Wombles. The beauty of Owl is that he uses up such a lot of hoarded fabric. His eyes are made of Dr Who shirt material, a present from my very generous friend Nicole, and his body is made of a blue floral which also found its way into the Doctor's shirt as the yoke facing. Owl's floral tummy pouch is a remnant from last summer's Village Frock, originally a gift from the lovely Amy at Lots of Pink Here. His beak and claws are an apple print left over from my venture into making baby shoes (part of a whole chapter of ill-advised pregnant sewing) and his wings are backed in leftovers from a floaty Sorbetto top.  He's lined with fleece from the Bear Ear Pyjamas.

(And this is the tubby version, stuffed with delicious pyjamas)

To put the cost savings into perspective, they probably equate to a couple of roof tiles and half a light socket. But it terms of sewing satisfaction, Owl is (as the Mastercard people would say) priceless.

(Just need to reassure you that son#2 will soon get something new as well. But first, one question for the Who fans: what would the Doctor's ipod case be made of?)