If you "like" my Facebook page you may have been curious about my brief status update the other day, talking about sewn toys. If you are a regular reader you will know that I haven't been sewing for that long - about a year. This is the first Christmas that I have attempted any sewn gifts, because it is the first time that I have felt confident enough in my abilities to give my stuff to someone else.
After my success with the Amish Puzzle Ball, I had to find something to make that would use the rest of the green fleece I bought. I had around 2/3rds of a metre left and I had an idea niggling away at the back of my mind for a couple of days. I decided that I would give my idea a chance to show itself. I decided to design my first sewn toy and it would be a FROG! I wanted the shape to be recognizable as a frog but I wanted it to be useful as both a toy to hug and a cushion to sit on. I am not very good with free hand drawing so I used OpenOffice Draw to create my pattern pieces. I was especially pleased with shape of the legs.
After printing my pattern pieces out, I had fun sellotaping my pages together so everything lined up and then I got cutting. I spent ages sewing my frog up only to find that I had made the legs too narrow and they couldn't be turned the right way out - it was quite demoralising.
I left my sewing alone over night and came back to it the next day. I always find that a good night's sleep helps me regain my strength and motivation. I took my original pattern pieces and made new ones with an extra 1cm added on around the outline. I basted the new leg and tried to turn it right side out, before sewing the whole frog. This time the legs were fine so I put the frog together pretty quickly. I have to say I was relieved that I had enough fleece left over to make a whole new set of legs.
The frog's body is approximately 35cm in diameter which I think is big enough for a child's cushion. My froggy friend is stuffed with toy stuffing and there is a surprising amount inside him. I wanted the legs to be nice and firm so I just kept ramming it in. I used a pencil with an eraser on the tip which worked surprisingly well. I must remember this for future stuffing endeavours! In addition to the fleece, I used some felt from my stash and gave him a big wide mouth.
I used my new sewing machine's blanket stitch to sew the tongue in, and I have to say it is so nice to have a quick and neat way to applique when you want to get something done quickly.
The eyes are made with a circle of white felt and I used black thread to sew on the pupil. I then added a fleece eyelid. In an ideal world I might have had the confidence to try a 3-D eye, but I'm not quite there yet.
This toy also gave me the chance to give my new craft labels an outing. I decided to sew it on to his little green fleecy butt!
I know you can't see it above. I have blown it up a little in this next photo.
Basically, it's a little sheep with the words "Hand Made With Love By ....." on it. I decided to get them after seeing Susan Crowe's labels. I was jealous and decided it was high time I had my own personal tags for all my hand made gifts. I ordered them from Cash's and was really pleased with the quality, and speed of delivery.
I am proud of my first attempt at a sewn toy, and it has given me a great deal of confidence to try something a little more complicated next time. What has surprised me is how much my other half likes this frog. Normally he's not that interested in my crafting, but this little guy really made him smile.
For my next try at toy making I have my eye on a bear in Sew Hip Magazine from a couple of months ago and it may well be my next fluffy friend. However, I have other crafting to do before I'm allowed to play with toys again, so you might have to wait a while for an update on toy making.