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Custom Plaid Hippo

plaid hippo, by StitchifiedOne of the scariest things about opening an Etsy store is being asked to do custom orders. It is challenging to interpret someone else’s creative vision. And then there’s the whole timing thing — my creations are time intensive, and I’m terrified of getting in over my head. If there is such a thing as high-risk softie-making, custom orders are it for me. Which brings me to the story of a certain plaid hippo.

This little guy has left his mark on me. The little girl’s mom selected a beautiful large scale flannel plaid for a custom hippo. Mammoth flannel is wonderfully thick and heavy, and once it arrived I knew this was going to make an amazing softie… BUT OMG THE PLAID. The plaid freaked me out, guys. It’s beautiful, but it’s busy. So busy! I balanced it out by using creamy white accents, but then there was the issue of pattern matching.

I considered (and even got the mom’s generous okay!) not to match the plaid. I mean, the pattern is large scale, and the repeats are far apart… and we’re talking about matching plaid from the nose to tail. Curved seams! Perfect mirror images! It seemed like an impossible challenge. But the longer I stared at it, the more hesitant I became. It sat on my WIP bench for a week and my indecision tormented me. I turned a lot ideas over in my head, and decided to give pattern matching a shot.

I didn’t think my plan was going to work, so I didn’t take photos to demonstrate my technique. Figures, right? But in the end, I was more or less able to match the plaid across all the seams — and I’m so in love with him. He was totally worth the extra effort, and I think the challenge pushed me to do some of my best work to date. I’ll let the photos do the rest of the talking…

plaid hippo, by Stitchified

Those eyes! The little secondary design along his back!

Custom plaid hippo, by StitchifiedAnd if only you could hold him! The combination of mammoth flannel and wool stuffing is the very definition of comfort object. He is waiting to be presented on his little girl’s birthday, but I know that they are going to be the very best of friends!
plaid hippo, by StitchifiedMoral of today’s story: High risk, high reward!  … and an obligatory butt shot! 🙂

Happy sewing!

Linking up with CrazyMomQuilts and TGIFF over at http://www.arabesque-scissors.com/.

{ 16 comments… add one }
  • Laura Graham June 17, 2016, 5:49 pm

    Amazing work!

  • Ali June 18, 2016, 4:34 am

    Hi Jen! I’m a big fan of your softies, and I think you’ve done such a superb job on this one! Good on you for pushing yourself with this challenge…I find custom orders pretty daunting too! Thankyou for linking up today x

  • Heide June 18, 2016, 7:23 am

    Your Hippo is just darling! Such sweet eyes.

  • Super Mom - No Cape! June 18, 2016, 5:47 pm

    Oh my goodness… how did you ever let him go to his new home! I know he was a commission but my goodness, I would have had a difficult time sending him off. You did an awesome job matching the plaids and he is just so adorable!

  • Kat June 18, 2016, 8:33 pm

    Your hippo looks great! I am so impressed with how you lined up the plaid lines down the back! And the eyelashes!! Great job.

  • Jenny Benton June 19, 2016, 12:59 am

    Oh, so cute – can I have one too? I think you are very brave to try and match the plaids, but what a sucess you had. Congratulations on a fine looking hippo indeed!

  • Cindy Kevorken June 19, 2016, 3:45 pm

    You already know that I’m a huge fan of your work. You have outdid even yourself on this hippo. Congratulations, Jen, on a job more than well done!

  • Cindy Kevorken June 19, 2016, 3:46 pm

    Ha! Should have said “outdone”. Oh, well. You know what I mean 🙂

  • Tracy June 20, 2016, 10:12 am

    This is fantastic! (of course, no surprise there, as ALL of your work is fabulous) And yes – those eyes are the best. Hope your shop is doing well!

  • Bonnie June 20, 2016, 4:46 pm

    Wow!!! He is so cute and you did an absolutely amazing job matching the plaids.

  • Irene DeBlois June 21, 2016, 7:58 pm

    What an awesome job on the plaid hippo! I love it!
    I collect hippos. Again–great job!

  • Alla @ rainbows.bunnies.cupcakes. June 22, 2016, 8:31 pm

    What an adorable make! And to think it was a commission piece–so much to take on. Good on you for sticking with it; clearly, that is one amazing hippo that will bring great joy to the recipient.
    Thanks for sharing on TGIFF so I could come over for a look-see.

  • Vicky October 16, 2016, 12:09 pm

    A plaid hippo! This is perfection! I love your work

  • Tracy October 17, 2016, 5:19 pm

    Hey 🙂 I just saw you won a pattern from Amanda Jean ~ congrats!! Hope you are doing well and your shop is keeping you as busy as you want it to.

  • Beverly Hepler September 27, 2017, 6:05 pm

    I love the hippo where can I get the pattern

    • Jen September 27, 2017, 6:50 pm

      Thanks Beverly! The pattern is by Funky Friends Factory. Happy sewing!

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