Sunday, February 27, 2011

Some finished products

I'm pretty sure I've talked about these guys before, but I finally took some pictures of them.  I made Bob the zombie completely by hand.  He was made using the tutorial at  I went through the fabric I had lying around.  I used greenish blue fleece for the body and some stretchy green material for his head and hands and feet.  I made his hair out of some grey yarn that I found.  I had a bit of trouble with the hands and feet.  I couldn't make them the way they said to.  I ended up sewing them together down the sides the way they tell you to do the head.  I found that trying to make a ball of stuffing and place it into the square of fabric you cut for the hands and feet was a little bit difficult.  So I sewed in a small seam and it made it a whole lot easier.  I hand sewed the whole thing because I was having sewing machine issues at the time, but it turned out fine.  This was also the first time I ever tried a face.  I used embroidery floss to make the eyes and mouth.  It was easier than I thought it was going to be.  My daughter was a little put off by him at first.  She liked him until I added his face and then all of a sudden she found him too weird.  She warmed up to him eventually and he found a spot in her giant pile of stuffed animals in her room.  Here's a few pictures of Bob the zombie....

The second finished stuffie is Reddy the red guy.  I was at work thinking about what to make next when I came up with this idea.  I had been watching "Repo: the genetic opera" the night before and in that movie there is a character that wears other people's faces.  It made me think of the shy guys from super mario bros. I drew up a pattern the next day and decided to use it to test out my sewing machine and see if I could fix the problems I was having before I used it on the main projects I was already working on.  It worked out, but didn't turn out exactly the way I wanted it to.  I should have added a little more of a seam allowance.  Oh well live and learn.  I hand sewed on his face mask.  Here's a picture..

So these guys are finished.  Unfortunately I still haven't finished the doll I have been working on, or the bear.  I really have to get some inspiration soon.  I just haven't had the drive to do anything.  My wife got a little upset with me when I told my daughter that I would make her a bear.  She told me that I shouldn't keep adding to my daughter's stuffed animal collection.  I told her that she will always get one of everything I make, because I would keep one for myself anyway, so why not give them to her.  I think we just agreed to disagree on this point.  I won't stop making stuff for my daughter.  She's my inspiration for all this anyway.  We'll have to wait and see what happens.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sewing machines

I just have to say that the learning curve on sewing machines is very steep.  Especially if you figure that you've got it figured out and don't bother to ask questions or read the manual.  If one of the tools in my workshop were to give me this much trouble I would probably throw it out.

I started on making the bear last week.  I drew out the pattern I wanted on some poster board and traced it onto the fabric.  I drew in a seam allowance and pinned the two pieces of fabric together and cut it out.  Then I began sewing.  I got about half way up one side of the body when the problems started.  I kept getting little nests of thread on the bottom of the fabric.  Then the thread would break on me.  Then the bobbin would stop working altogether.  I tried rethreading everything.  I tried rewinding a new bobbin.  I tried everything I could think of and then almost threw the sewing machine out the window.

Then I decided to check out and see what I could find there.  I found out that if you are having a problem with the bottom of the fabric then it is probably a problem with the top thread.  Who would have guessed?  So I rethreaded the top again.  Then I read something about the tension being a too high for the material you are working with.  I have never played with the tension on my machine.  There is a dial in the front which I hadn't touched since I pulled it out of the box.  I looked at the dial and realized it was set at 8.  I looked in the manual for a guide on thread tension.  There was nothing, but the pictures there for the general sewing settings showed the dial at 4.  So I adjusted the tension down to 4.  This was all 3 days after I almost gave up on the whole thing.  It worked like a charm.  I finished the bear with no problems and am now in the middle of stuffing him.

The whole thing makes me feel a little stupid.  I really have to pay more attention to what I am doing.  I have to start realizing that the sewing machine is a tool and deserves respect.  Maybe then I can make a few more bears, because I know once my girl sees this one she's gonna want more.

Friday, February 11, 2011


I went looking around on the net and found an amazing site for crafts and sewing.  It's Craftster.  Oh what a site it is.  This is probably the best site I have found in a long time.  I'm addicted.  I go on everyday and just troll for hours.  The downfall with it is I have to have 10 posts before I can put up any pictures.  That's slightly annoying, but they want to make sure I'm not a spam bot and I can understand that.  It has given me a ton of ideas though. I highly recommend it.

I have been sewing away at the dolly and having a good time.  The body is complete.  I did manage to sew one of the feet on backwards when I attached the legs, but that's fixed now.  I'm currently working on the face.  Then I have to fill the head and the body and attach them.  Then it's on to the hair.

I bought some crazy yarn at Zellers last weekend.  I can't wait to see if it will work for the hair.  I found a great tutorial on hair making.  It's actually for a different type of doll, but it should translate over fine for what I am working on.

Of course I have an idea burning in the back of my head and it's been there all week.  So I have to put the doll on hold today and try this out.  When I went to Craftster the first time I found an article about teddy bears.  I checked it out and it had a list of non traditional teddy bears that the author had found around the net.  On, and a few other places.  I loved the creativity in them.  I never would have imagined that teddy bears could be anything but the traditional teddy bear.  You know how you get an idea in your head of how something should look and you never see it any other way.

When I was a kid I had tons of stuffed animals.  I loved my teddy bears very much.  My siblings were older than me and I usually spent my time playing alone with my bears.  I want to create a bear for my daughter.  Something that she can play with that seems like it would be a good friend.  Maybe I'm just overthinking this.  A traditional teddy bear is a lot of work.  And requires a few skills I don't have yet.  I think I'm gonna go non-traditional and make a bear that is huggable, soft and easily identifiable as a bear, but not your traditional everyday teddy.

Of course I also have some other ideas for this bear pattern which may be pretty neat.  Let's see how it turns out before I start thinking about making a super bear or a ninja bear though.