Wednesday, 21 January 2015

A bit of hand sewing- Frozen felties

These little felties have been a labour of love.  All those teeny tiny hand stitches!  All those little pieces of felt to cut out!  All totally worth it, of course.

The good thing about hand sewing is that you can sit and do it in front of the TV- no noisy machine needed.  These little guys are great to make on the go, too- all the pieces you need can fit into a tupperware container which you can pop into your bag as you leave the house.  They've been sewn at toddler group, friends' houses, play cafe... As well as my lunch break at work.

The bad things I've already mentioned.  The cutting out just kills me.  I loathe it.  I've speeded the process up a bit by tracing the pieces onto bondaweb and ironing it on, but that does mean some pieces are left with a shiny side- for example the underside of Anna's hair and cloak.  On the other hand, the sticky side does make the felt less stretchy and slightly more durable, which has to be a bonus, given that these dolls are going to be played with by a two-year-old.


I just used normal acrylic felt for these, mostly from my sister's feltie box, which is basically a cool stash of felt and other things needed to make felties, in a big box!  The embroidery threads, sequins, pipe cleaners and beads were all from the box too.

The patterns are from Kosucas on Etsy- a brilliant shop full of adorable PDF patterns for all sorts of cute felties, including lots of Disney princesses.  My favourite bit of these patterns is the hair.  So cute!

Instructions are in English and Spanish with lots of photos, but to be honest unless you're a complete sewing beginner you don't really need a lot of to make a feltie.

Elsa was the first, as you can see from the already apparent wear and tear!  I made some changes for Anna- firstly I did extra stitches at any weak points, corners etc, and made sure I fastened threads off very securely, because Elsa keeps coming undone.  And secondly I added a pipe cleaner instead of stuffing in the arms.  This means she's kind of poseable, and her arms won't lose their shoulder stuffing and go all floppy like Elsa's.


She likes warm hugs.

They've gone to sleep now, all snuggled up in their little bed!  Goodnight, dollies!

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Do you want to be a snowman? Bubble dress becomes Olaf costume!

Brace yourselves for a whole host of Frozen-themed makes!  Ready?  Here's a sneak peek to start... 

Look at that pose!  Does he look like a baby gangster or what?  Don't mess with this snowman!

The Elsa doll

Well.  Little Cub loves Frozen.  I'd already made a whole hose of Elsa dresses when this became apparent... and now my Frozen-sewing repertoire has somewhat expanded.  First came the Elsa doll (known as 'Le-i-go', or sometimes 'Holly').  She's been made a grand total of 11 days and has already needed two three major repairs. In addition she's gone pilly all over, due to all the cuddles she's had. (That's what happens when you make toys from felt!).

I know, I know, her plait is on the wrong side of her head.  Little cub doesn't care.  He won't go to sleep without her tucked up under her own blanket beside him.  I'm currently making Anna, and she's coming along nicely.  The patterns are from Etsy- from a super cute store by Kosucas.  She has patterns to make felties for all sorts of Disney princesses and other cute stuff.  And I've also discovered that you can make PDFs bigger by selecting the Poster option when you go to print- and it automatically tiles the pattern over however many pages it needs.  how had I not discovered this before?  ( A 250% scale Elsa is in the pipeline...)

The King Elsa costume

Next came the King Elsa outfit.  All of the fabric is from my Elsa-dress-making stash (which is now happily depleted to almost zero).  The trouser pattern is Puperita's Harem Pants, again from Etsy.  I've modified the pattern a bit, because it was too big even for Little Cub's cloth-nappy-bottom.  It's a very quick sew (probably 10 minutes from start to finish, I kid you not), so it's great for whipping up quick pyjama bottoms.
 Stand still while you take my picture?  I think not!  I'm gonna roll around on this rug...

The top is mostly the Recess Raglan by See Kate Sew.  I love this pattern- another quick sew- but the neck hole on it is tiny!  So I've use the neckline and neckband from my trusty Anytime At All Tee pattern by Schwin designs.  I colour blocked the pieces to make that 'Elsa curve' on the front, and on the back it's a straight line covered by velcro which the cape (a gathered rectangle) attaches to.  Little Cub wore this to a Frozen party, much to the consternation of the little girls who declared that 'a boy can't be Elsa'.  He didn't care.  He was too busy swishing around in his cape singing 'Le-i-go....'.

 Swirly twirly cape



The Olaf bubble dress costume

So how did Olaf come about?  Well, the January challenge over on Project Run and Play is to make something using this bubble dress tutorial by Alida Makes.  I'd been thinking about this, but a mum of two boys has little use for a bubble dress.  And it's the middle of winter, so I couldn't even get inspired to make one as a gift.  And although the bubble shape did say 'Snowman!' to me, almost immediately, but I couldn't work out how to make it happen.  After a few days, inspiration came to me and here's what we have:

This is his first try at ice skating.  You'd think a snowman would be good at it but... not so much.

The two key features of the bubble dress are:
1. The bubble shape.  Perfect for a snowman's body!  I added a layer of tulle between the main and lining to give it a bit more body and bounce.  It needed it as the outer fabric, a velveteen from Fabricland, is very drapey.
Note 1:  See the bubbliness.

2. It's versatile- it will fit kids 3 years apart!  Alida showed it on her 4- and 7-year olds.  So I made Olaf to fit both my 2- and 5-year olds.

Note 2:  Fits a 5-year-old and a 2-year-old.  

Long-suffering husband was drafted in to draw the face and arm pattern pieces.  It went something like this:
Me (to long-suffering husband, busy on his laptop on a Sunday evening):  Oh.  You don't look much like a man who wants to be given a job to do.
Long-suffering husband:  No, not really.  What is it?
Me:  I need Olaf's arm and face pieces drawing out for this costume.  You have a knack for that sort of thing.
Long-suffering husband:  Oh.  OK.
Me:  Do you kind of like doing this sort of thing?
Long-suffering husband:  No.  I'm pretty indifferent to it really.

But as always he came through.  Olaf's face is fantastically goofy.  Yes his eyebrows are wonky, and I was going to correct them, but the more I see it the more I think it adds to his charm.

A few notes about the construction.  The top part is the Recess Raglan pattern again.  It's an age 5, because it needed to fit Big Cub, and if it's big on Little Cub that doesn't matter, since it's a costume.  I had intended to do a separate hood, as I'd seen in this fab tutorial for a Totoro costume by You and Mie.  But the hood seemed a bit big and saggy for that, so I ended up attaching it.  I omitted the neck band and just sewed on the hood instead (from Kitschy Coo's Reversible Zippy Hoody).  The bottom of the hood was almost the exact same length as the neck band, so it worked great.

I then made the bubble.  I cut it 2"shorter than Alida's measurements, and sewed on regular elastic instead of shirring at the bottom (because I was too lazy to wind a bobbin of shirring elastic!).  At the top of the bubble, I used my serger to sew all the layers together, then sewed another length of elastic (the same and the measurement round the T-shirt section) inside.  To finish I just needed to sew the top and bottom halves together.  Hooray!


I'm really pleased with how this turned out.  There's no question of who it's supposed to be!  I would've written a more detailed tutorial but didn't take enough photos of the construction.  Maybe that's a job for another time.

And if you're interested, here's the best of the rest of the photos...

Do you want to take a selfie?



Wonder if I can eat this carrot?