Making a Reggie: My softie competition entry – David Bowie!

If you have been following my instagram you will have seen that over the past few weeks I have been making a ‘Reggie’ – a doll to submit to the first ever Reginald Award for softie portraits. I have been soooooooooo excited about this competition and been racking my brain trying to decide who I could choose to do a portrait of.

If you read this previous post, you would already know about my love of David Bowie 🙂 But it wasn’t until last year when I watched the documentary David Bowie: Five Years in the Making of an Icon that my interest was sparked in discovering all the colourful and unusual personas he created through out his career.

THE PROJECT

The softie for the Reginald Award had to be created from an original pattern so I decided to start my foray into softie designing with a very simple outline shape and add the character details to the key features. David Bowie has had some very complex costumes in his time (!), but I decided to keep it simple and chose David as he appeared in the music clip to ‘Life On Mars?’.

From concept to completion - David Bowie softie

From concept to completion – David Bowie softie

Because of the chunky human form I had chosen, I decided to go with a more interpretive way of presenting his features, especially since the video is so blown out you can’t see much detail anyway!

You might be wondering where the nose is...I have officially decided I don't do noses - they never look right!

You might be wondering where the nose is…I have officially decided I don’t do noses – they never look right!

THE OUTCOME

Overall I am pretty happy with the way he turned out!! I love the face especially, but I can see there are a lot of areas for improvement. I think he jacket isn’t long enough and some of the seams I sewed in blanket stitch would probably have been better in applique or back stitch.

David Bowie - Life on Mars?

David Bowie – Life on Mars?

IN CONCLUSION

Making a Reggie has been so much fun! I am thinking I miiiiiiight be able to squeeze in another go before the deadline and make something even better to submit instead… but I know my procrastination level, so no promises there!

Are you making a Reggie too? Tell me how you came up with you design!

Sewing Time Experiment: Gretel Felt Doll

It is in my nature to underestimate the time it takes to do things, hence our family tradition of always being late ಠ_ಠ (I am working on improving that!) So when I sit down to create, I always think I will be done much sooner than it ends up being in reality.

THE PROJECT

Given this, I decided to find out how much time I actually spend on a project, to give me some hard data to work with. I had downloaded Ginger Melon’s Hansel & Gretel pattern over Christmas, got the timer on my iphone ready and started cutting and sewing!

GingerMelon Gretel doll

I took the time to make sure her stitches were neat and I am really happy with how nearly she turned out.

THE OUTCOME

So, just to get to body complete (from cutting out pieces to attaching all body parts) it took me a total of

….drum roll please….

FIVE HOURS and FORTY THREE MINUTES

WHAT THE WHA??!?!? Holy crapola Batman, that is sooooooooo long!!! Admittedly it was a new pattern, although the technique is similar to several others I have made, and I spent the time to make sure she was finished properly, but that is waaaaaaaay longer than expected!

Breakdown
Cutting felt: 38 mins
Sewing head and features: 1hr 48mins
Sewing arms and legs: 2hrs 2mins
Putting body together: 1hr 15mins

Unfortunately I didn’t manage to keep up the timer for the clothing, but I estimate in total Gretel has taken me at least 4.5 hours for the clothing, so a grand total of 10 hours to make her come to life.

All the finer details of her pretty dress

All the finer details of her pretty dress

NOTE TO SELF

1. Cost effectiveness: just to pay my time at $10 per hour would make her cost over $100, not to mention costs of the materials or any profit!

2. I did really enjoy creating her and seeing her finish come up so evenly. I will attempt Hansel when I have some more skin coloured felt, but I think handsewing these dolls will be for fun only :/

Gretski all done and dressed up

Gretski all done and dressed up

Very interesting findings and a lot of food for thought came for making of Miss Gretel, got a lot to think about in the direction I want to head with my softie creations.

Have you had a project that took longer than you expected?

Holiday Day Project Challenge: Foxy Girl

With the madness of the Christmas period finally over, I ended up spending some very hot summer days in my craft room being distracted and generally very unproductive. It’s annoying to have the time to create only to end up with nothing to show for it but an increasing alarm for the well being of the residents of Midsummer County with it’s exceptionally high murder rate.

So in an effort to motivate myself I set a challenge to complete a sewing project from start to finish in one day. I had plenty of felt and a few Ginger Melon patterns I had bought in the holiday sales so I chose the Peak-A-Boo Fox pattern and got started.

PROJECT PROGRESS

It wasn’t as smooth sailing as I had hoped, especially given the temperature, my very unergonomic chair and my cat Ash’s contribution, hence my resorting to some left over Christmas bubbly for comfort and encouragement. 😀

Helpful assistance by Ash followed up by a more bubbly assistant to get this project finished

Helpful assistance by Ash followed up by a more bubbly assistance to get this project finished!

THE OUTCOME

Ta-dah! Here she is!

What a foxie little lady!

What a foxy little lady!

NOTE TO SELF

There are a few things I learnt from this experienment

1. Hand sewing takes FOR-EV-ERRRRRRR. I plan to do a tally of how many hours it takes on my next project to get an idea if its viable for selling.

2. I love felt because it doesn’t fray, but I am still having issues with the white breaking apart and bleeding fibers into other areas.

3. I need to be better at storing my creations away from rogue stuffing/cat fur/fibers. I left this one on my desk, then chucked it in with other dolls and it has lots of tiny fibers on it. It’s a fairly small doll but I still notice it, especially when doing the photos. Grrr.

So that’s it = CHALLENGE COMPLETE! If you would like to try this pattern, you can pick it up from Ginger Melon’s Etsy shop.

Have you started on any projects over the holidays?

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?

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