Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A lot of inspiration from my friends put me in the groove for the Fabulous Scrap Fabric Swap

Meet Petal Blue and her little mouse friend, Periwinkle (Wink for short).




Petal is a sweet little kitten, a daydreamer. She spends most days reading books, writing stories and painting pictures. She loves flowers and watching birds. Wink is never far from her side, always ready to listen to Petal's latest story or snooze in her lap while she's reading or painting.

I created Wink and Petal with fabrics from The Fabulous Scrap Fabric Swap.




Do you remember me mentioning the swap? I received the fabric scraps from my partner right away. They were so sweetly packaged and there were so many fun pieces of fabric. (I thought I photographed them when they arrived, but now that I'm doing this post I see that I have no photos of the scraps in their "before" state. Sandra, however, did take a photo that you can see here.)

After I got my fabric I would look at it and arrange it on my work table. Although I had many ideas, there was no spark. I had vague thoughts of things I'd like to do or try, but nothing really stood out. My ideas felt boring. I knew I wanted to try some new things and to challenge myself. I was inspired by Judy's month-long Art Retreat and by Sharon's continued sewing experimentation (especially her stuffed toys). I kept coming back to the idea of creating a stuffed toy of my own. I loved the idea of creating a stuffed toy, but I think I may have been a bit intimidated. I was running out of time, so I took out my project sketchbook and started playing around.




I let the idea sit for a day or so and then I started work constructing. First I created a pattern (and simplified my plan, removing the tail).




The fabric I used for the body of the cat was my own, leftover from another project. I had plans for a very colorful (and patterned) dress, so I wanted the cat itself to be fairly plain.




It was a bit too plain with only the solids and so I added some bits from Sandra's scraps as contrast for the ears and paws and some more as spots (she's truly a calico cat!) on the back.




Because I wanted this project to be a chance for me to try out new things, I decided not only to adhere the appliqué with fusible web, but also to experiment with the satin stitch on my sewing machine (I've had a project in my mind for years that required the satin stitch and I've never really played with it). I probably should have practiced a bit before trying it out on the real thing, but although it's not perfect, it didn't turn out too badly. Especially once I'd added a face.




I embroidered the nose but decided to use some buttons that Sandra sent me as her eyes.

Even unstuffed she was starting to develop a personality. And then I stuffed her...




When it came time to create her clothing, I didn't do a great job of either planning it out or documenting it. I had vague ideas of what I wanted her jumper to look like and I simply started playing with fabric (and making plenty of mistakes) until I ended up with something that worked. I went to bed that night with ideas of how I could fix her in-progress dress and had trouble falling asleep because my brain just wouldn't turn off.

Here it is almost finished.




I ended up adding pockets (usable and fully lined) and the tiniest of buttons.




I would love to make a tiny storybook and a tiny sketchbook to put in her pockets.




Next came her sweater. I had a basic idea of how I wanted to do it and measured the stitches against her body as I worked. First the sleeves.




A bit of a yoke and finally the body worked in a lace of some kind.




I ended up choosing "Strawberry Lace" from Sasha Kagan's Crochet Inspiration.




I sewed it together, added a bit of edging and some buttons. Oh, those tiny buttons.






I've long been wanting to design and create some sweaters of my own so this allowed me to do it on a tiny scale.

It was such fun to be so single-minded as I worked on this project. Inspired. Focused. Nothing turned out perfectly, but I must say that I am completely smitten with this kitten, her sweet outfit and her little mouse (thank you, Simone, for the mouse inspiration!).




I kind of want to make some more.

Thank you, Sandra, for the fun, colorful fabrics. And many, many thanks to Sharon for organizing the swap and for all of the inspiration and encouragement; I would never have attempted this project if it hadn't been for you!

10 comments:

  1. This is wonderful Anne. You truly have many talents! Please don't stop at this softie - you need to make many more!!! The button eyes really bring the kitten alive! The colours all work so well together too. I hope you have started planning your nexrt one! :)

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  2. My sis used to host a Holly Dolly Holiday sale each year when she was exhibit director at the art center. I shared this with her but I love it to pieces.

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  3. Anne, I love your toy kitty! It so adorable with its little dress, sweater and mouse friend. Thank you for showing your freestyle pattern and process too. I love seeing how others make things, especially toys :) Thank you for joining my swap!

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  4. Such fun to see how a bunch of internet friends have gathered around this swap! Judy, Simone, Sharon...all "visiting" you in your creative process. Thanks so much, Anne, for showing us how your sweet Petal and Wink became toys via Sandra's fabrics. This is one of my favorite "my giant strawberry" posts ever. :-)

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  5. Holy Cow! She is absolutely adorable! You do realize that you have set the bar pretty high for your next stuffed toy, right? I love how she turned out. Anne you did a really nice job on this. You have a great eye and attention to detail that really makes it special.

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  6. She's purrfect! That jacket is a work of art in itself :0 I love the idea of a painted book in her pocket.

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  7. OMG! They are so great! I love what you created. The sweater and all the details. Perfect!

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  8. Your softie is super cute but the clothes, the clothes are amazing AND fantastically cute. I agree with you: those buttons, those buttons! And the pockets you made, the details - love it! Thanks for sharing your process and I hope you will make more softies, a friend for this one is a must!

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  9. Petal Blue is truly beautiful, Anne. Great work and very, very inspiring!

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