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Making My First Dragon Softie

You may be familiar with the now classic “sleeping baby dragon pattern” by Naomi @ NimblePhish. You can find sewists selling dragons made from the pattern in the $100 range all over the place on Etsy and Facebook. I love the pattern, and hope to make it one day for an adult recipient since the appendages are all sewn by hand (using a ladder stitch or button joints). The resulting dragons are gorgeous, but I would fear for their safety if they ever met up with my two year old.

So, you can imagine my excitement when I heard that NimblePhish was introducing a new toddler-friendly dragon, “Doughnut.” Unlike his older brother, Doughnut is entirely machine sewn in a single structure (except the wings). I picked up the pattern in a heart beat, and pulled out some dark purple cotton velour that I had been holding on to. About twenty-seconds in to pattern cutting I realized that cotton velour is a delicate beast, so I applied fusible fleece to each piece (for the record, that step takes forever!). Then I added a few splashes of corduroy in lime green and orange for contrasting details. Finally, I ended up with a beautiful pile of pieces.
And then came a sewing extravaganza, which actually took place a few weeks ago before our home renovation projects. The sewing went smoothly once I got his feet sewn on in the right direction, but I would certainly consider this little guy an intermediate level pattern. There are some tricky seams, and generally very little detail or explanation. But, that said, anyone with modest sewing experience (or a lot of drive!) could make their way through this one.
Even though I finished his “skin” awhile ago I wasn’t able to stuff him until now, thanks to the arrival of new eyes from 6060 and a new batch of wool stuffing. Unfortunately, while I was stuffing him I realized that something was funky. As you can see, he is a little slimmer and a little taller than the pattern picture. My best guess is that I misinterpreted the cross-grain/length-wise symbols on the pattern pieces, and ended up putting the stretch in the wrong direction. Easy enough to do since I was also compensating for the nap direction. But still, argh. Add in the fact that he is/was intended to be a special birthday present for an amazing friend’s son next week? Double argh.
I debated sending him to the Island of Misfit Toys, but thought better of it (for now!). I’ve been assured that he is presentable, just different than planned. 
 
Even so, I decided to add a little more personality and charm where and if I could (read: I lay awake for hours trying to figure out ways to redeem him) So, I fashioned a snap-on diaper for him, and made a cut-out for his tail. I also added sleepy eye-lids, which are a feature in NimbleBit’s other patterns. And lastly, I added a little bling to his under-wings in the form of dark purple silk. I had to hand-baste the wings before machine sewing, top-stitching was a @%&$@$ challenge, and the silk didn’t photograph well, *but* it feels lovely. I think little hands will love it. But for my sanity’s sake, I’m never ever sandwiching (real) silk and cotton velour together again. I promise you that much.
But for now, he is done, though I might decide to pin his ears down. I am probably going to vacillate between exiling him to the Island of Misfit Toys and giving him as a gift about a dozen times between now and next week.  It stinks when you work on something and it doesn’t come out how you expected. Especially when it’s a gift for someone special. I’m hoping that he’ll grow on me if I just step-away. Step away! 🙂
{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Christine July 31, 2013, 5:06 pm

    I think he looks wonderful and can’t tell that anything is wrong with him. The diaper is adorable. But I know too well how disappointing it is when you put a lot of work into something and it doesn’t come out as planned.

    • Jen August 2, 2013, 11:58 pm

      Christine, you just made my day. Thank you so much!

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