Go Stuff It: Sewing Antics

Sometimes I get these crazy notions in my head such as beekeeping, wine making, and the like.

One of these crazy projects was apparel sewing and while I’ve crafted some decent dresses and tops, crafting dresses and tops gets a bit boring. Plus, there’s only so many dresses and tops that can fit in my closet.

Then one day last summer my mom brought me some fabric she said was “pure Tammie.”

Yep, elephants. I adore elephants and if I could have a herd wandering around my backyard, that would be amazing….although with as soppy wet as my lawn is right now, they would all sink in some horrifying Le Brea Tar Pit type scenario.

I did end up making a dress with this fabric (it’s very cute, by the way), but the whole time I was putting that dress together, I kept thinking, “This would be perfect to make a stuffed animal with.” Specifically, an elephant stuffed animal.

For a while that notion got set aside, but in December I was tidying up a closet and found a pile of fabric scrap bags I had made and had dreams of selling. No one bought them, so I was stuck with a bunch of perfectly good bits of fabric.

Hmmm…wasn’t I thinking of making stuffed animals way back when?

I figured the scraps would be ideal to practice with and would finally give me a way to make some use of them other than simply chucking them in the bin.

But I had no idea how to make stuffed animals. Ah well, the only way to learn is to jump straight in with both feet, right? And of course, loving a challenge, I started right out of the gate with an elephant.

I found a free online pattern. Instructions were vague, curses were muttered, but I cobbled the damn thing together. This is the sad result…I call him Lumpy.

 

I said to myself, “Maybe I should try something easier like a fish.” So, I drew out my own pattern, still having no idea how exactly to piece all the bits and bobs and fins together, but I ended up with something not too shabby.

Still, I thought it might be time to call in help in the form of a book. From our newly rebuilt library, I picked up a copy of Stuffed Animals from Concept to Construction which is full of the cutest projects ever.

Again, did I start off easy? Hell no! I went right for the elephant. This fellow looks a bit better, but there was still plenty of cursing.

Okay, back to simple. Let’s try Book Project #1 – The Fish. This did teach me some things about putting the parts together, but I didn’t really like the LOOONG look of Ms. Fish. I stuffed it with scraps and catnip. The cats have been drooling all over it ever since.

I decided to try to use the book’s fish pattern to redesign my own fish to be more rounded and cute, but I went a bit overboard with the fins and lost the tail taper so this guy looks more like a box fish than a fishy fish. Ah well…he’s also filled with plenty of catnip and providing the cats some entertainment.

Alright, I was ready to go for it. It was time for another elephant. The pattern in the book is okay, but I didn’t like how the trunk curved under instead of up and I didn’t like the ear shape, so I changed these and ended up with a pretty decent looking pachyderm.

This pattern is really fiddly and I don’t like how the author has the ears and legs piecing together, so I see another bit of design enhancement on my next attempt. Once I get it figured out, I’ll break out that elephant fabric!

The book is quite tempting and has patterns for some bunnies, a cat, a dragon, and many more projects…I think I might finally run out of scraps.

Anyway, hope you had a good laugh at these attempts. What projects are you working on?

As mentioned last time, next Wednesday we’ll start jumping into some Behind the Book features to explore the stories that went into creating my upcoming novel. And there’s going to be something very special I’m sharing with you, so stay tuned!!

See you then :))

***

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10 thoughts on “Go Stuff It: Sewing Antics

  1. I love Lumpy too! (Personally I probably would have gone straight to the dragon.) Do you know of Elmer the Elephant? I used to loved to read it to the kids in the library at school. We created our own Elmer patterns on paper, and you are making a herd of Elmer’s.

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    1. Oh no, I’m plagiarizing and I didn’t even realize it!! I’ve never heard of Elmer, but he is pretty cute. The dragon is really complex. Once I get all these bits and bobs sorted out, I definitely see some reptilian fun in my sewing future.

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  2. Oh your posts are so delightful – this section gave me quite the giggle: “although with as soppy wet as my lawn is right now, they would all sink in some horrifying Le Brea Tar Pit type scenario”. I was visualizing that somewhere in the Pacific NW a herd of elephants were sinking…
    Thank you for sharing your stuffed animal artistic creations! They are wonderful! I have that same book and I hope to make some stuffies from it too!

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    1. I’m sure your creatures will come out far better than mine. I’m having nightmare of a time with all those tight curves and fiddly bits. As for my La Brea Tar Pit yard, I’m sometimes afraid to walk across it to dump our kitchen scraps in the compost bin. Trying to be eco-friendly might just land me a spot on an archaeologist’s display one day!!

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  3. Spooooky! Reading the first section, I thought “Hey, I have a book about stuffies that Tammie should hear about”… Then BOOM! You’ve already picked it up at the library! I love your ever-growing herd of elephants, and I think the pattern mods you made for the green and pink one really worked. Just be careful to hide them from Finn, lest he be tempted to launch a Hannibal-style incursion into Washington State…

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    1. That book seems to be quite popular! I was hoping more for an invasion on Washington DC, but I guess Finn can practice on Washington State. I better start stitching to build up his army…although I don’t know if floral pattered elephants are going to seem like much of a threat (or could that be a sneaky tactic?).

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