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?

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!

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!

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