Fake Fur Ideas

There’s nothing better for inspiration than a rummage through a fabric shop. On this occasion, I found two soft long-pile fake fur fabrics. They were more like 1/3 to 1/2 of the standard width, but at £8 a metre, I knew that 50cm of each would be enough to make a few small bears.

The red is quite a bright intense shade, which looks plain until it catches the light at a certain angle, when you can see an almost silvery shade to some of the fur strands.

The forest green is a more muted shade compared to the red, but the two tone look with the silvery tips caught my eye in the shop.

I will admit I normally wouldn’t pick green fabric, but this was too sleek and soft to pass up! It should definitely make a bear that you can’t resist running your hands through its fur.

Happy December 1st

The weather here certainly thinks it’s winter already – to say it’s “chilly” outside would be an understatement! But it makes the first day of Advent seem even more seasonal. And what commonly goes with Advent? Yep, you guessed it, a chocolate advent calendar. I spotted the fabric panel for this calendar in my local Hobbycraft store (unfortunately they didn’t stock it online). Priced at £8 for a metre, I thought it was better value than some others I’d seen online…. but when I was told I could have one panel (50cm) for £4, that was one of the quickest decisions I’ve made to purchase anything!

The fabric came with a printed panel, complete with marked and numbered squares, plus all the individual printed pockets.

I added a piece of 2oz wadding to the back of the panel, and stitched through the edge of the pocket markings, just to hold the wadding in place.

The instructions say to fold over the pocket edges before attaching them to the calendar panel, but I found that way too fiddly to get a neat finish. So I improvised and added a polycotton backing to the pocket pieces, which also helps to make them sturdier.

That was quite easy to do – just place both fabric pieces right sides together, sew down one side, along the base and up the other side, Turn the pocket the right way out, fold the very top edges of both fabrics towards the inside, then top stitch that top part to close it up completely. Then the pocket can just be sewn on as normal.

I decided to stitch the pocket pieces on using white thread, as I didn’t want to try colour matching the blue of the sky, and thought that black (like the markings on the panel) would be a bit too heavy.

But how do you get the calendar to hang? When I cut some plain white polycotton for the backing, I added a couple of inches more in height than I needed, and folded that back over itself to make a tunnel. Recycling a sturdy straight plastic tube ‘handle’ from an old broken bag, I threaded some red and white ribbon through it, to allow it to hang from the door.

At this point, it was almost finished, but there were still raw edges around the entire thing, so some basic white bias binding was the perfect finishing touch. I did have to be creative and leave a gap for the ribbon to stick out, but you don’t notice that unless you look too closely!

All I need to do now, is get more chocolates to fill the pockets – the packet of Heros I used only contained 19 chocolates (and 6 of those were ones nobody in my family likes), so we’re still a little short!


Advent Calendar panel: Hobbycraft

Dotty Dinosaur

Having made a dolphin, I could hardly pass the opportunity to make a dinosaur! The body shaping was a lot easier, although I will admit his face is slightly off-centre.

I used black faux suede for the eyes and mouth but looking closely at the stitching, I should practise my applique skills for unusual shaped pieces! The spines are also faux suede, just to add a little colour to lift the grey.

The faux suede was quite stiff, which made it challenging to turn such small pieces, but I think it was worth the effort, as it sets off the dotty grey really well.

Both Dotty Dinosaur and Dotty Dolphin are just the right size to sit on your hand, and despite having never made either of them before, didn’t take too long to make up.

An Early Christmas Present

Seeing as the Halifax Hoodie went so well, I had a crazy idea to make K a hoodie as an early Christmas present. Hey June Handmade’s Hatteras Hoodie* is made in exactly the same way as the Halifax, so I felt reasonably confident at my ability to make it.

I chose some blue spotty sweatshirt fabric for the main body, along with some ‘cops and robbers’ t-shirt fabric for the hood lining. To break up the spots, I also cut the cuffs and waistband from the t-shirt fabric.

The Hatteras pattern doesn’t include a drawstring around the hood, which meant I could skip hammering in any eyelets! It also doesn’t include binding on the edges of the pocket, but I added those in just to give some interest to the front panel.

The sweatshirt fabric isn’t brushed like you would expect – it has a furry feel to it, and a definite nap. This means it should be snug and cosy to wear, but did give me some challenges when it came to sewing. I’ve sewn faux fur fabric before, but never anything with the furry side facing out. Of course that resulted in the fabric slipping mid seam, which was a nightmare when it came to attaching the hood.

After two mis-sewn seams, and unpicking far too many stretch stitches, I was at a loss for how to resolve the problem. In desperation, I attached a walking foot, and reverted to a zigzag stitch instead of a stretch stitch – it was the only thing I could think of to try.

Much to my amazement, that did the trick! The hood stayed pinned as it was meant to, and even the cuffs weren’t as terrible as I thought they could be.

The pattern on the cuffs is upside-down…. but that’s an intentional design. I like the idea of K being able to see the pattern the right way up when he’s wearing the hoodie.

The sleeves are a little snug for the bear that’s modelling it, but hopefully it will fit K perfectly, and keep him warm when he’s playing outside this winter.

 


* affiliate link

Fabric: Fashion Fabrics

Halifax Hoodie

Ever since I made a hoodie from a Craftsy course last year, I’ve wanted to make a hoodie with more of a traditional sweatshirt style. Searching through various websites, I eventually came across the Halifax Hoodie by Hey June Handmade* which looked perfect for the style I was after.

As this was my second ever hoodie that I’d made for myself, I decided to keep things relatively easy, and make style A – a regular-styled hoodie with a split neck. I did make things a little more complicated by choosing to line the hood, and add in the thumbhole cuffs from the Lane Raglan Top* too.

There were a few points where I started arguing with my sewing machine, especially at the point where the neck band is meant to cover the raw edges of the hood and the main body. But a couple of hand stitches helped just to hold the band in place.

I do need more practise (or maybe better instructions!) at adding in eyelets for the drawstring cord. The back of one of the eyelets came off as I was sewing the drawstring channel, and I’m not convinced it’ll stay in position when the top gets washed. At least with the drawstring in place, the eyelet won’t fall off completely – it’ll get caught on the drawstring itself, so I shouldn’t be able to lose it!

I lined the hood with some grey swan jersey fabric and used the same fabric for the binding on the edge of the kangaroo pocket. The drawstring tape is a little brighter than I’d expected, but it picks out the orange bills of the swans.

The instructions for the Halifax are really easy to follow, and it resulted in such a great hoodie, I’m already planning my next Halifax top.

 


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Pattern: Halifax Hoodie by Hey June Handmade*
Fabric: Fashion Fabrics

 

Dotty Dolphin

I’ve seen a lot of dolphin plush toys online, and I was pleased to find a free pattern from Choly Knight. The pattern uses minky or similar fleece and I thought it would be ideal to use some of the dotty fat quarters I purchased from Hobbycraft.

Although the eyes look embroidered, they are actually appliqued! I cut the black from a faux suede fat quarter, and the eye white is cut from acrylic felt.

The tail is straight rather than having a v-shaped notch, as I made a mistake in the sewing…. but I don’t think that really matters. The dolphin plush still looks suitably cute and her misshapen tail won’t prevent her from pretending to swim!

Raspberry Bear (finished)

I’ve finally finished Raspberry Ripple Bear! I’d finished the main parts a while ago, but had been putting off adding in the ears and embroidering the nose and mouth, because those elements can either make a bear look perfect, or end up making it look really weird.

Raspberry Ripple has a jointed head, but the arms and legs are machine sewn into position, so they should be securely attached to allow for lots of play. The paw pads are made from some faux suede from Hobbycraft, just for a little different feel.

I stitched the ears on a lot lower than I would normally do, in the hope that Raspberry Ripple would have a younger look, as this little bear is destined to travel to the US to be a gift for a friend’s young child.

 

Release the Kraken!

After making Bertram Bigfoot, I decided he needed a friend, which also gave me a third entry in Choly Knight‘s Halloween Plush Contest!

The body of the Kraken isn’t too challenging to sew, even with the applique spots and eyes. I used a glow-in-the-dark fabric for the eyes like I did for the Loch Ness Monster, although as yet the fabric doesn’t want to co-operate and glow.

The base was the most challenging part to sew (ignore the colours being reversed from the official pattern instructions), with each of those polo mint look-alike suckers being machine sewn to hold them in place.

The Kraken (which incidentally is still in need of a name), is perfectly cuddly and the two shades of plush fabric are a great match for my purple and silver colour scheme. I was hoping to get a photo of the eyes glowing, but for now here’s a mockup of how they might look!

The Monster from the Deep

I thought I needed a slightly easier pattern to try, after Bertram Bigfoot, and Choly Knight‘s Loch Ness Monster looked like it would be ideal. The body and head have two sides and a bottom gusset, while the four flippers are sewn into the gusset seam. This means the only hand sewing is to just ladder stitch the turning gap at the end.

I chose some black and white glow-in-the-dark fabric for the eyes, so I used the eyelash eye pattern pieces, and left out any inner eye features. I hand stitched them in place, as I was finding it challenging to machine sew the eyes onto the plush fabric without it sliding about everywhere.

In the end, I using a small amount of fusible interfacing for the body dots, then machine stitched around them afterwards.

The neck dart was a challenge to get right – one side’s dart is a little longer than the other, but that just gives Nessie a uniquely quirky look.

Until I can get the fabric to glow properly, here’s a mockup of how the eyes will eventually look…. I hope!

Raspberry Ripple Bear (UFO)

After a mini shopping spree at Hobbycraft, I found myself with some dotty cuddle fat quarters. I thought they would make a lovely soft squishy bear, using the “Happy” pattern from Emma Bear’s.

I was originally going to use the pink and yellow for this bear, but the yellow looked a little harsh so I plumped for cream instead. It gives the bear a raspberry ripple look, and that was the fastest I’ve ever named a bear!

So far I have his head stitched (although he still needs ears), and his legs finished. The paw pads are faux suede just to add a different texture to the sleek dotty fabric.