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Cotton Sherpa

Teddy Bear Evolution

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You guys, I fell down a teddy bear shaped rabbit hole. It started innocently enough with some pretty simple teddy bears for Rare Science a la McCall C5461. If you aren’t familiar with the Rare Bear Program, quilters sew up OOAK bears with scraps and the bears are distributed to kids living with rare disease. They are super easy to make and I encourage everyone to give it a shot 🙂 Rare Science volunteers can do the embroidery & stuffing for you, but I’ve always been too much of a control freak to take them up on their generous offer. It costs me a little more in shipping, but I usually completely finish the heads before I send them to Rare Science for distribution. The work has been wonderfully fulfilling, and one of these days I hope to receive a photo of one of my bears with his/her child. Aren’t they cute, even with just their heads?

But I digress…

This December I needed a couple of emergency teddy bears. I decided to re-purpose McCall C5461 using my preferred materials: enter velour, faux fur and safety eyes! I made two rose gold bears – one in cotton velour with cotton sherpa accents, and one in two-toned rose minky with velour accents. I totally adore both of them and couldn’t pick a favorite even if I had to. I think the velour one has one of the sweetest expressions I’ve ever made – I’m totally smitten!

From there, I sort of got teddy bear fever. I started looking at artist bears and stumbled upon Emma’s Bears. Her work is just amazing! If you aren’t familiar with her art, you should absolutely go check it out! A lot of the techniques she uses are new to me, which is equal parts terrifying and exciting 🙂

I decided to order one of Emma’s teddy bear kits to get started. Frequent readers won’t be surprised that I went with a rainbow-tastic faux fur, haha. 😉 I also purchased her “Lyric” pattern because I’m a sucker for pandas.

I’ve sewn a lot of softies at this point, and even a fair number of bears, but this teddy bear was full of new challenges. For one, he is less of a children’s toy and more of a collector’s item. He has German glass eyes, fully jointed limbs, and a fully-jointed head. I added black shading around his eyes with silk fabric dye, and little white felt pieces along the lower edge of his eyes. I carefully clipped back the fur around his muzzle so he has puffy cheeks and a defined snout — high risk, high reward on that maneuver! Lest the quilter in me feel left out, I also employed some fussy-cutting skills to cut around the indents in the lilac fur (previously of purple plush guinea pig fame).

I am pretty damn pleased with how the he turned out, but I’m even more proud of the journey I took making him. It feels good to find new new challenges, and push myself outside my comfort zone. He will be a permanent resident around here, but I don’t think my bear making journey is over. I had entirely too much fun making him and can’t decide whether or not to add a collector’s section to my Etsy shop. I do love to make kids smile, but don’t adults deserve a little fluffy indulgence, too? 🙂

Happy sewing, friends!

Linking up with CrazyMom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday. I can’t wait to see what you’re all making!

A Handmade Christmas

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Santa’s elves were especially busy this year. I entered what I lovingly dubbed the “Bonus Round” of Christmas making, and still managed to finish the very last present just before midnight on the 22nd. In previous years I’ve sewed past midnight on Christmas Eve, so I’m marking this year as a solid victory!

Here we have the Christmas toy line up in an early phase, before some of them had to go in the mail:

Handmade Christmas Toys, by Stitchified

The confetti yeti is the long lost twin of a yeti who now lives in California with my cousin. He is made from long shag faux fur and white fleece using the Confetti Yeti pattern. Working with faux fur should be a four letter word, but it’s done so we’ll use a ten letter word instead — Hallelujah!

The velveteen rabbit is for my niece, who is almost two. I’m sending along a copy of Margery Williams’s book as well (you can find my post with my feelings about this wonderful book here). Her bunny is made of cotton velour in fawn and baby pink; with organic cotton sherpa for his tummy and little cotton tail. I hope she loves him!

The little pink haired doll was commissioned by a close family friend for her granddaughter. I only just finalized the pattern for these dolls (based on a pattern by Jill Hamor of Bybido), and I was thrilled to put this together. More about dolls in the New Year!

The grumpy owl pincushion snuck into the Christmas line up, though he’s actually a belated birthday present. Oh, and he is missing his eyebrows in the photo lineup. He is made from Heather Bailey’s “Edgar Owl and Poe” pattern.  I love this pattern! There are a lot of little parts, but it all comes together in a really cool way. This is my third time making an owl, but my first time adding eyebrows. Here he is with his eyebrows, right before he jumped in the mail.

I love him and was very tempted to keep him! He has since joined my good friend MamaPeaches in her craft cave. Happy Birthday, MamaPeaches!

I also made two outfits for my niece’s collection of Monster High Dolls. At my SIL’s request, I tried to make the clothing a little more, um, modest. Not an easy task because because the whole process made me feel like a crotchety old lady saying things like “when I was a kid…”. Haha! The first dress is a sheath dress in yellow. The second dress (below) is a little halter top number with a vintage-inspired full skirt, and a little taffeta under-skirt to help fill out said skirt.The halter dress even accommodates her wings, so yay! Both dresses are fully lined. If anyone is interested in the pattern, please let me know. I didn’t make a formal pattern, but if there’s interest I could put one together.

Halter Dress for Monster High Doll, by Stitchifed

And the last of the toys include three little mice, who are pincushions to a few of my in-laws who are aspiring sewists! The pattern for these came from Love Patchwork and Quilting. Once they have pins in them, they can double as hedgehogs. Here’s an extra picture of the three of them ready for wrapping 🙂

Pincushion Mice, by Stitchified

DoubleGoosed Mini, by Stitchified

I even made a few things that weren’t toys! There’s this lovely mini quilt, which is a wall hanging for my mom’s office. I love this pattern (double goosed by Jeliquilts!) almost as much as I love Cotton + Steel, so it seemed like a good combination. I had a lovely time piecing this one – just some mindless stitching while I watched The Great British Baking Show on my iPad.

OMGMagicDreamCloud, by Stitchified

I also made a very special blanket with Nani Iro and wool batting. I am officially calling this blanket a “OMGMagicDreamCloud Blanket” because it is truly all of those things. If the materials weren’t so very very pricey I would make one for myself (and maybe make it three times as large!). I ordered the fabric way in advance from Japan, and almost panicked when I wasn’t able to find the wool batting online with Amazon Prime. I managed to find a package and get it delivered in time, but it was awfully close! If you’re interested in making your own OMGMagicDreamCloud Blanket, you can find the tutorial here.

 

Coarline Wristlets, by Stitchified

And last, but not least I threw together three Coraline wristlets for my daughter’s Montessori teachers. Swoon patterns are fantastic, though for me, there is always a little bit of a learning curve — I am not a bag maker! These came out just fine, though I did struggle with a wonky zipper on the first one I made. Sometimes it’s good to stretch yourself — I always learn a lot when sewing one of Alicia’s patterns!

 

Quilted Baby Lovey, by Stitchified

Even my oldest daughter got into the holiday making and sewed the baby a new lovey. She pieced the quilt top all by herself (seriously!) and backed it with some minky. I did handle the rotary cutter because she’s not allowed to use that until she’s 21! I also took care of the quilting and put the binding on, but still! Not bad for a freshly minted five year old!

Phew! As you can see, it was a very handmade Christmas over here. I loved making this year’s presents, though I am a little glad that crunch time is over.  Now it’s time to settle in with a nice scotch. Happy Holidays!

Linking up with Finish it Up Friday!

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This week I found myself in need of a lightning quick baby present; one that didn’t require time, planning or online fabric purchases. These baby booties were the perfect solution! And minus a quick trip out for the wool felt, I had everything on hand.
I have to confess that I’m in love with the end product. These booties are so ridiculously adorable that they are almost magical.  Honestly, I dare anyone to hold these pint sized shoes and not hear their biological clock ticking. I don’t even like babies that much (mine excluded… well, most days) and I found myself being tempted!
The design was inspired by the timely arrival of cotton sherpa from Worthy Goods Textile on Etsy. I had ordered the sherpa with a softie in mind, but once it arrived I literally *had* to make something with it right away. The timing couldn’t have been better because the sherpa is perfection here. It has an amazing pile, and it.is.stupidly.soft. As a testament to its softness, after I gave the shoes to the daddy-to-be, he kept these on his desk *all* day just so he could play with them.
Now for the specifics, because you will want to make a pair of booties for your next baby shower…The pattern is from Little Mela Design on Etsy. You can find the “Baby Slipper” pattern here. Bonus points because it includes six different sizes (for reference, I made the “0-3 month” size). The instructions are exceptionally clear, with lots and lots of pictures. (As an aside, the sherpa lining made things a little bulky, but the booties still came together quickly and easily). The  ‘Sly Foxes’ are from Birch’s Camp Sur line, which I adore and definitely need to order more of ASAP. The soles are wool felt from my LQS, Quilter’s Way, in “Pumpkin” and “Copper”. They are machine appliqued with contrasting thread. And lastly, the grey heels came from a random scrap, so I’m afraid I don’t have any specifics there.
I’m happy to say that these were amazingly well received by the future father. Overall, not bad for a few hours and a couple dollars worth of fabric. 🙂