Hand Sewing Learning: Gingermelon Patterns

After trying my hand at Noialand’s felt patterns, I also stumbled across Gingermelon’s lovely handsewn creations on Etsy. With so many patterns of cute bears, kittens, dolls and clothes that could be made out of felt, I had a hard time choosing where to start! (And yes, I did end up making a chart to see which purchases would be most beneficial in my learning – so lame!!)

THE PROJECT

I ended up in choosing the mohair teddy bear pattern without first checking if my local Spotlight store actually sold mohair – as predicted, no such luck. So instead I decided to use my newly ordered felt which feels much more firm and solid than the last lot I purchased.

The pattern pdf is much more basic than the Noialand one I previously used – it is all hand drawn and written out, but it very clear and easy to follow and much more printer friendly! The initial pattern for the mohair bear had the arms being sewn inside out and OMG, trying to reverse those tiny little arms was almost the death of me!! After the first go doing the Aqua Bear, I decided that the mohair must give more than my thicker felt, so I just stitched around the outside for the Blue Kitten which made it a much less stressful experience!

Those bust-my-chops arms! And wonky eyes :/ Still I think they look pretty sweet

Those bust-my-chops arms! And wonky eyes :/ Still I think they look pretty sweet

These little guys are so sweet and with the new felt I am finding the finish much more clean and professional looking which is excellent. I ordered the colours with some other projects in mind, so if I plan to make more of these, I may have to work out the palette and order some more specifically. But that is probably a way off yet – I already have heaps of felt to get through!

Hey there little guy!

Hey there little guy!

NOTE TO SELF

1. THE WONKY HEAD! I am still not getting it somehow, and they are bobbling all about the place!

2. As mentioned, turning those little arms inside out – too fiddly by half! It is much easier to stitch the outside, but I wouldn’t mind trying this pattern on a bigger scale with a sewing machine perhaps.

3. Take the time and get it straight! On my first go with the Aqua Bear I obviously was too excited and put those eyes on wonky 😛 The Blue Kitten was an improvement, but will have to keep an eye on that (boom-tish! “eye” on… geddit?!.. oh never mind…)

4. My new 20-35% wool and 80-65% rayon felt is sooooo much better, it makes all the difference in how the final product comes together. You can buy it at Benzie Design on Etsy.

These patterns are simple but they look great, I plan on investing in some more so I have a few projects I can go to where I can just enjoy the process of sewing without having to ‘create’ too much. If you want to create your own tiny teddies, there is plenty to choose from in Gingermelon’s Etsy shop!

How are your favourite pattern makers? I would love to find more patterns to try!

Custom Doll: Jareth & Sarah from the Labyrinth

I don’t ever remember watching it as a kid, but when I was introduced to the movie the Labyrinth as a teenager I was smitten. The costumes, the singing and dancing, the puppets, Jennifer Connelly’s teenage acting and let’s not forget David Bowie’s infamous crotch! (it’s a thing)

I adored it so much, that I even had a ‘Nursery Rhymes & Fairy Tales’ themed 21st just so I could dress up as Jareth the Goblin King. OH YES I DID!!

OH YES I DID!!!

No fairy princess dress for me thanks!

If you don’t know the story, the gist of it is spoilt teenager Sarah wishes to the Goblin King (Jareth) that he take away her annoying baby brother, and because Jareth loves her, he grants her wish. Then Sarah claims she didn’t mean it, so Jareth sets her the task of getting through the impossible Labyrinth in order to get her brother back.

THE PROJECT

My previous project making the Beauty and The Beast pattern by Noialand, sparked an idea of what I could make next. So I started researching (ok watching the movie again) and drawing out some ideas and got to sewing…

My inspiration was the masquerade ball where Jareth tries to convince Sarah to forget about her quest - very sexy is a weird and slightly wrong way!

My inspiration was the masquerade ball where Jareth tries to convince Sarah to forget about her quest.

I chose these costumes as the masquerade ball is my favourite part of the film – filled with dancers wearing elegant 18th century styled ballgowns accompanied by hideous goblin masks. Sarah is stunningly beautiful and her wide eyed innocence is perfectly contrast against the creepy feel to the ball. Jareth keeps appearing and disappearing before her, and the best part is when he comes over to dance with Sarah and sings to her – *swoon*! (For a children’s movie, they sure weren’t afraid to work the ‘Lolita’ element!!)

"Though were strangers till now, Were choosing the path between the stars, Ill leave my love between the stars..."

“Though were strangers till now, We’re choosing the path between the stars, I’ll leave my love between the stars…”

The basic cut of each of the dolls was very similar to the original pattern, although I added a base to Sarah’s dress and lengthened Jareth’s jacket at the back. What took the most time was the beads…. OH THE BEADS!!! I had enough for Sarah’s dress, but was sifting through my big stash of random seed beads to find ones for the jacket and quickly ran out of blue. I had the opportunity to buy more blue ones at Spotlight, but me being a tight-arse decided not to spend $6 on the blue ones but $2 on another bag of random seed beads and the proceeded to struggled to find enough blues in that one too! Will I ever learn? (history points to ‘probably not’)

"Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City..."

“Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City to take back the child you have stolen. “

Their facial expressions turned out pretty well, I think I captured Sarah’s wide eyes but maybe she looks a bit more pouty than I planned! I enjoyed taking all the elements I had seen of their costumes and trying to bring it back to the basics where they are still identifiable characters. And I loved the research element and being able to dig into the detail. (Although I am pretty sure my husband was sick of me playing this video on loop!)

IN CONCLUSION

No ‘Note To Self’ this time! The new felt worked so much better and made the dolls feel really special and sewing these two up in a familiar pattern made it pretty easy on the whole. I am keen at looking at maybe moving away from such ‘cute’ patterns to try and develop a more creative style of doll, so Jareth will probably make an appearance again in the future. 🙂 <3

"Live without the sunlight, Love without your heartbeat, I, I can't live within you..."

“Live without the sunlight, Love without your heartbeat, I, I can’t live within you…”

What kind of movies do you love? Have you ever tried to make your favourite character?

Custom Doll: Making My Own Mr Darcy

In my final year of high school I unsuccessfully auditioned for one of the sisters in Pride and Prejudice. I remember reading the text and not having an understanding of how a Jane Austin conversation would sound like, so I am not surprised I didn’t get a role (plus I am a pretty terrible actor!!). Afterwards I enjoyed the performance (and in hindsight it was excellently cast!) and then thought nothing more of it.

Like a many of the time (circa 1995), it was the BBC version that sparked my love of Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice – I clearly remember the end of the episode five, Elizabeth being driven away from Pemberley, looking back at the changed Mr Darcy and I COULD.NOT.WAIT. a week until the next episode, so spent my very limited student savings on buying the VHS copy and watching the final two episodes straight away. Since then my VHS copy wore out and was replaced by the DVD (and again the remastered version) and the book has been read and re-read more times than I can remember.

So naturally when creating a doll of my own design for the first time, I thought of Ftizwilliam Darcy. <3

MR DARCY DOLL: ATTEMPT 1

This first fellow was created using a basic ragdoll form, which I like because it is very versatile and created a neat edge for the pants. The felt used was the wool/viscose felt as before, and the same issues arose, especially on the skin coloured felt – there are a lot of fly aways and if you look at the face up close, you can see how thin and almost see-through it is. But I think in the end I think he turned out rather handsome, don’t you?

text here

Mr Darcy soon drew the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien and… him having ten thousand a year. *swoon*

MR DARCY DOLL: ATTEMPT 2

As in the previous post, I decided to use the Noialand Peter Pan pattern as a  the basis for my second version of Mr Darcy. He ended up with a very big head! (which may be appropriate given his abominable pride in the first half of the story!) And the portions of this pattern don’t lend him the kind of aristocratic, respected feel such a man requires.

Inspiration and creation of my Mr Darcy dolls

Inspiration and creation of my Mr Darcy dolls

THE OUTCOME

So, I really like doll 1, not so keen on doll 2 🙂 I can see I still have a lot to learn in getting the details just right when making a character, and I probably need to increase my stash to make sure I have plenty of fabric to choose from when creating a custom doll. (uhoh – more spending on the way!!)

The Darcy lads and some of my Pride & Prejudice collection :)

The Darcy lads and some of my Pride & Prejudice collection 🙂

NOTE TO SELF

1. Turning my original Mr Darcy inside-out was a bust-my-chops! I always seem to underestimate the hole needed and get angry enough to consider just ripping the whole bloody thing in frustration! Persistence eventually prevailed thank goodness.

2. I like working with felt (because I am afraid of seems!) but it doesn’t have quite the authenticity I was hoping for. I did really enjoy embroidering the waistcoat though, so will look into doing some more of that.

3. I don’t like how his arms spread out to the side, but there wasn’t enough room inside to sew him up on more of an angle. Although he doesn’t actually have any shoulders, so that might help next time!

4. The face – I officially don’t like noses. I tried on on him, but it looked stupid. I do like the eyes, they give a good sense of brooding, but again the felt and stuffing came through as I sewed them, so will have to look into alternatives to fix that.

It was really fun working off a character and trying to figure out how to make them look as authentic as possible. I can guarantee Mr Darcy will make more appearances in the future!!

Have you made a doll based on a character or person?

Hand Sewing Learning: Noialand Patterns

Since discovering the world of softies and the awesome creations you can hand make with felt, I have wanted to drive further into it. Having done some basic sewing, I was keen to learn some more techniques and found the cute creations of Noialand on Etsy to get me started.

PATTERN ONE: PETER PAN & TINKERBELL

I chose this pattern first because I wanted to know more about sewing the different leg lengths and having both a tall Peter Pan and a smaller Tinkerbell in the one pattern means I could try both at once. The pdf pattern Noialand provided is excellent quality with lots of coloured images and detailed instructions that are easy to follow. The only downside I can see is that it would take a lot of ink to print so I chose to only print the actual pattern pieces and referred to the instructions on the original pdf on my laptop when I started sewing.

Fly away to Never Never Land my little pretties!

Fly away to Never Never Land my little pretties!

PATTERN TWO: BEAUTY & THE BEAST

I really enjoyed sewing my first Noialand pattern, but I wanted to try one with some clothing and variation on the design, so the Beauty and The Beast pattern was perfect with his little jacket and her full dress and hair piece. Things definitely went faster knowing some of the techniques a bit better!

The Beast looks better thank usual since I never got around to making his beast mask - opps!

The Beast looks better thank usual since I never got around to making his beast mask – opps!

For my first foray into working from a pattern this small and learning all the techniques, I am very happy with how lovely they turned out! But there was obviously somethings that didn’t work so much.

Some of the issues I encountered - mainly related felt and my skills!

Some of the issues I encountered – mainly related felt and my skills!

NOTE TO SELF

1. I had bought a bundle of about 40 felt squares that was a combination of 60% wool and 40% viscose. It has a lovely soft feel but it a bit flimsy for this type of sewing, and as you can see on the Beast black pants, it split when in areas under pressure (holding in legs). It also became a bit ‘furry’ with strands coming up as I worked with it, so I am on the look out for some different felt.

2. Some of the edges were lumpy and not flat. I did some research and I think I am pulling the thread too tight, so I will try to be more delicate next time (pfft, me delicate!)

3. Wobbly heads! I followed the instructions and even looked at Noialand’s flickr page to try and see in detail how to do it but no such luck. Beauty looks like she has been on the champers and can’t hold her head up straight! I will persevere!

4. Peter Pan stabbed me a few times with his toes, so I had to turn the pipe cleaners over at each end to be safe. Wouldn’t be good to give to a small one and have them poke an eyes out!

I am so excited to start this journey! If you want to try your hand at hand stitching one of these cuties or one of the many others she has available, check out Noialand on Etsy.

What felt do you recommend when hand sewing your pieces? I’d love to know!

A Recent History in My Sewing Creations

I have long been creating little personalised gifts for family and friends, mainly because I like the meaning behind a handmade gift, partly because I have a severe dislike for trying to think of meaningful presents to buy and, if I am perfectly honest, I am often forgetful and/or lazy and in desperate need for a last minute pressie! :/

I thought it might be nice to look back at all the things I have created so far…
(Apologies in advance for the terrible photos – most were taken in a rush before wrapping and posting the gift!)

Cute personalised onsies and easy to make!

Cute personalised onsies and easy to make! (Note to self: make sure to wash the felt first… the red apple ran all over the onesies, turning it pink! Not appreciated by the new baby boy 🙂 )

felt baby gifts

Felt friends baby mobile, felt door and pram hangers and a little mermaid

felt toy gifts

Sock monkey, felt Wookie, felt Easter bunny and felt owl

LOOKING BACK

I am glad I have a record of the things I have created – it definitely shows me how far I have come! Looking at these I also realise that when making handmade presents that a little pre-planning will give me time to enjoy the process and do a better finish as well. I can only try….!!

A lot of these ideas have come off Google or Pinterest and I have just given them a go, I am pretty good and working it out in my head once I have seen it. It’s been a great introduction to making and sewing toys and now I cant wait to develop my skills to a more more refined and professional level …. let the journey begin!

What do you think when you look back at your early work?

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