There aren’t many sewing patterns out there for penguins which look like they’re sliding down a snowy bank, so when BeeZee Art released her latest penguin pattern, I knew it was one I wanted to try making.
Rather than sticking with the traditional penguin colours, I decided to use some tie-dye effect plush fabric I had lurking in my fabric bag. Of course this means that Percy Penguin looks like he’s been out in the sun for too long, but I quite like the colours on him.
As yet, Percy doesn’t have his feet attached, but because I added some plastic pellets to his tummy, he balances really well without his feet.
It’s strangely tempting to make more penguins in various different colours…. and hopefully make sure that their flippers come out at a better angle next time – Percy’s look like they aren’t quite right somehow.
Do you remember ages ago when I was working on the Jumbo bear pattern by Emma’s Bears? Well, I’ve finally got him finished!
Jumbo lives up to his name – he’s so big, he takes up the entire chair! So at the moment, he’s sitting on the floor, looking out of the window.
I didn’t have the right size eyes, so his eyes are a little smaller than intended, and I think I was a bit stingy on stuffing as his head really could do with a bit more padding in places. But for my first time sewing such a large bear (and having to hand stitch some seams because my sewing machine struggled), he’s come out really well!
Whenever my Mum sees a display of Jellycat plushies in a shop, she stops to run her hand through the fur of the PomPom birds.
Pompom plushie by Jellycat.com
Rather than buying a Pompom, I decided to try making my own…. which was going to be an experience, considering I had no pattern to work from!
I sketched out the rough shapes, making two 5-part spheres for the body and head. I found a long pile faux fur, although it’s still a bit shorter than the faux fur Jellycat use for theirs.
Jellycat say the pompoms have “suedey legs” so I cut the legs, neck and beak from faux suede. I was planning on using a plastic straw in the neck to help it hold up the weight of the head, but I left that out in the end, as it was too fiddly to try getting the stuffing around it!
My version of the Pompom is a little taller than Jellycat’s, and the legs aren’t quite the same proportions, but it worked well as an unusual gift!
Yes that’s right, the pear-shaped project is finally finished! Yay!
I machine stitched the arms and legs, but hand stitched the paw pads – they were just too small and fiddly to even attempt to sew by machine.
The main problem came when I realised I’d sewn the limbs ready to attach for a non-jointed bear, but had forgotten to add in holes in the body to sew them in (oops). I had to be creative with a way around that, which results in carefully trimmed the fur on the body where the limbs would be sewn on (the only way it’s possible to see the back of the fabric) and sew the limbs directly to the body.
Ok, I’m calling Willa “finished” but he still doesn’t have a nose…. he’ll get one (eventually), but for now he’s finished.
Think back to last year, and the fake fur I purchased ready for Christmas…. yes that’s right the green is the same as the bat I made earlier this year, and this is the project I mentioned that had gone pear shaped!
Willa is a smaller plushie than I’ve tried making before, and it’s proving more fiddly on the smaller pieces. The head was reasonably successful though, and I even attempted some fur trimming around the muzzle to try and get a better shape.
As usual, I’m leaving the nose and mouth embroidery until the very last minute…. that can make or break a plushie, which means it’s the most nerve-wracking part!
Strawberry is finished! When I started, the only alteration to the pattern was going to be printing the pattern at 150% for a larger dragon. In the end, I made a few more alterations just to hopefully end up with a sturdier dragon.
I cut the spines from two layers of fleece rather than using felt. With a dragon this size being given to to my cousin’s little boy for his third birthday, I wanted something that would be soft, yet sturdy if he was picked up by his spines.
The arms and wings are meant to be ladder stitched onto the body, but I cut a slot and machine stitched them on the inside just to make sure they stay attached! This gave Strawberry a small dart-like shape on his sides, but the fleece is quite stretchy so once he was stuffed you couldn’t really see the dart shape.
A slight error in reading the pattern meant I machine stitched the tail base to the tail sides and bottom part of the body, rather than leaving that gap to add the stuffing. So, as I was finding the foot pads challenging to sew by machine, I stuff him through that gap, and hand stitched the foot pads at the end!
Hopefully K will approve of his not-so-scary, cuddly dragon.
I finally finished the Forest Furry Bat without jabbing myself with the sewing needle too many times! It wasn’t the easiest of things to hand sew, given the thickness of the faux fur pile, but I think the end result was worth it.
I know it’s not really seasonal given that I’d chosen some Christmas fabric for the inner ears and wings, but I didn’t want to wait for December to share it!
I think if I make another bat in faux fur, I’d be tempted to use fleece or felt to make the feet so it stands up a little better! But it has given the bat a totally different look to the original design, which was definitely worth the effort.
Bat Pattern: BeeZeeArt
Faux Fur & festive fabric (wings and ears): Fashion Fabrics
Ok, so it’s not the fabric I was originally intending on using to make a bat, but the pattern is one of my ‘Nine to Try‘ for this year and after my original idea for the fabric proved a flop, I couldn’t resist trying to make a furry bat instead.
First things first, fake fur is a thick fabric. My machine can happily sew two layers together, but once you get to four layers…. yeah, there’s a lot of hand-cranking to get that sewn. In the end, I resorted to hand stitching a lot of the seams, which I do try to avoid with fake fur, as it’s quite challenging to see the fabric backing through the fur pile.
I chose to not make the feet – there was no way the fur would turn out easily for such an intricate shape, and sewing them into the seam would have ended up as a total nightmare. But other than that, so far the bat follows the pattern!
Batty is now stuffed, with some plastic pellets in his body to help him stand on the shelf (as a lack of feet mean he’d be prone to falling over otherwise), and just needs the final bit of hand sewing to get his body and head permanently attached!
Having struggled with the smaller faux fur bear I’d tried making before Christmas (that one is currently in my “semi-abandoned” bag), I wanted to give the Delight pattern a go. This pattern is designed for faux fur or a non-pile fabric, so I thought it might work in fleece as a trial run. Given that the fleece Delight was a success, I cut the pattern pieces from some very tactile purple faux fur.
This fur is considerably thicker than the fleece, so I trimmed the fur in the seam allowance to make it a bit easier for my sewing machine to handle. The bear’s limbs are sewn into the body rather than being jointed, which means they’re firmly attached! I did use a toy joint for the head, as I found it quite challenging to line up the seam accurate in order to sew it directly onto the body.
Normally I’d use toy stuffing with some plastic pellets to give the bear weight, but I had some bean bag filling in the cupboard, and thought it could be interesting to try that out instead. It was a nightmare to stuff into the bear, as the filling not only has a has a static cling but also doesn’t compress when you try pushing down on it, so it ended up everywhere (including all over the floor at one point)! But it has given Delight a lovely crinkly sound when you squeeze his paws, and he is actually quite ‘squishable’ which is a bonus too.
As you can see, Delight isn’t quite finished yet – he still needs his ears, and a nose & mouth; those are the features which really give the bear character…. and are also the parts which I find the most challenging, as if the ears or mouth are slightly lopsided it really looks odd!
Whenever I’ve tried making a bear out of a non-pile fabric, they haven’t come out looking quite ‘right’. Usually it’s the head or muzzle that just seems to be the wrong shape compared to the faux fur example picture. Delight, however is specifically designed for faux for or calico, so the head shape should look perfect regardless of the fabric I use.
I decided to test it out with some remnants of a fleece blanket (the same one I used for the reindeer a couple of years ago) and made Delight entirely unjointed.
The head was a struggle to align, so I think Delight would benefit from a scarf or ribbon just to cover up the shoddy stitching! I used a combination of plastic pellets and toy stuffing to make Delight as cuddly as he looks. You may notice that he’s missing a nose and mouth – that was done on purpose, as I felt that the stitching would detract from the spotty details of the fleece ….that’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it!
I do love the overall look – it’s a much better head shape than the other patterns I’ve tried before. I think the next Delight I make will be in faux fur, but as Delight is designed as a signature bear maybe it would also work to have a calico version which has an embroidered design on it (or if that fails, just a hand drawn design instead!).
And yes I admit I used a darker thread than was advisable with such a light coloured fleece!