Friday, April 8, 2011

Floppy Dog

This is one of my first sewing projects after getting pregnant with my first child. My husband and I knew that we would be moving the same month the baby was born and I wanted to get rid of as much clutter in the house as I could before we started packing. I had a bunch of scrap material that I decided I didn’t really need. Nevertheless, as an artist, it is sometimes hard to part with things that you have collected for future projects (whether or not these projects ever occur) and so I decided to sew up a few things first.

The idea for Floppy actually came from my childhood and memories of my Grandma Hilda who used scraps to make everything from blocks to stockings. I decided that a stuffed animal would be a good gift for me to give my child and that using the old material would be a sentimental way for me to remember my pregnancy and the anticipation of things to come.

Here is the how to:

1. I first drew a picture of what I wanted to make. I decided on a dog (although it has some similarities with a cow as well). You can use any animal, just make sure that you keep it simple. My dog basically has 3 parts: a rectangle for a body, a rounded rectangular head, and limbs/tail/ears plus your extras like eyes/pockets. Once you have drawn your animal, make patterns for each of these parts, making sure to leave about a half an inch of material anywhere you will sew.

2. Now decide what material you will use. Cut out the pieces according to your patterns, and then arrange them on a table so that you can see what your animal will look like from the front and the back. I like to really mix my fabrics, making sure that at least one piece of each fabric is on the front and the back of the animal.

3. Now you can start sewing. I prefer to start with the limbs/tail/ears. They are really easy, as you only need to lay the two pieces of material with the good sides facing each other and then sew around the edge leaving the limb open where it will connect to the body. Turn back right-side-in and then stuff with polyester filling. You may need to use a pencil to really get the filling into every corner of the limb.

4. Once all of your limbs/tail/ears are finished, it’s time to work on the head. First add your eyes. You can either sew these on by hand, or you can do them with the machine. I usually fold the edges of the material first and iron them flat. Then I sew around ¾ of the eye using the machine, stuff in some polyester filling, and then sew the eye shut. Finally, I sew the pupil using dark thread. If you do other accents, like making the head out of two different pieces of material, or adding X’s for nose/mouth, then you will also need to do this now. Now you can lay your two head pieces together, using stick pins, place the ears where they should go, sew around the whole head, and stuff it like you did the limbs. Since I sewed my head directly on the front of the body, I made sure to finish the head completely, hand sewing the final hole shut, where I had added the stuffing.

5. Now, it is time to get the body ready. I have added a pocket accent to my Floppy dog. This is just a pocket from a pair of jeans. You can often buy loads of them at your second-hand store. I like to use them on projects for fun. After sewing on the pocket, you will need to use stick pins and pin the head on where it should go. I sewed the head onto the body by hand, since I wanted it to lie on the front of the body (If you have a neck on your animal, this won’t be necessary, as you can sew it directly into the body). I made sure to sew it on really well, as I wanted to make sure that my son wouldn’t be able to pull it off.

6. Finally, I took the body and using stick pins, I placed all of the limbs/tail where they should go. Then sew around the whole body leaving only a little opening about an inch to an inch and a half wide. And, now for the fun part. Once you turn your animal back right-side-in, it is almost finished. All you need to do is stuff the body, and sew up your remaining hole and you are done. Yeah!

In the end, although it may seem like a long process, you will be amazed just how fast everything goes. I made Floppy in one weekend and was surprised just how easy it was.

If you have made similar stuffed animals, please post them. I’m always excited to see what others are creating!


Jen Carter said...

Kelley, this is the most adorable dog ever!! So cute!! You did a fantastic job on him!

ButtonMad said...

Great use of scraps and he is SO cute...