Latest Sewing Project Revealed!

5 Oct

I told you I had completed a fun sewing project, but I couldn’t reveal it until today because it was a gift and I didn’t want to give away the surprise.  I made my second stuffed animal (stuffie, plushie, whatever you call it…I grew up calling them stuffed animals so that’s what I’ll stick with…although it sounds more like taxidermy than arts and crafts, but whatever).

Last year I decided I wanted to make my 1-year old nephew a stuffed animal for his first Christmas so I bought three stuffed animal patterns from Funky Friends Factory (from Etsy, my all-time favorite place to “window shop”, and sometimes reality shop).  I bought three because I couldn’t decide which one I liked most…I ended up making him “Randy the Rhino” and it turned out absolutely adorable, if I say so myself.  You buy the pattern online and within a day Pauline will email you a pdf file of the pattern and instructions, which you print out yourself.  It was a little pricey, considering for cost of the pattern alone you can buy a stuffed animal in any toy store, but I come from a long line of country folk who like to hand-make things and still believe a well-done handmade gift is a million, zillion times better than anything store-bought. Normally I hate buying patterns, I’d rather make my own for free, but I’m not quite good enough to figure out stuffed animal patterns by myself yet…I stick to the easy things like purses and Halloween costumes.

So, I decided it would be cute to make my cousin (er…Chuck’s cousin by marriage, literally speaking, but I’ve adopted his family as my own, so I’m claiming her as mine) a personalized stuffed animal for her new baby boy (who I am so excited is going to be born in November, because that means I get to cuddle and play with him during Thanksgiving since this year is our turn to share turkey with the dela Cuesta side of the family).  Christine and Ray went to UVA and are as full of UVA school spirit as Chuck and I are full of Hokie pride, so I thought it would be nice to make a UVA themed stuffed animal.  I have to admit, I felt a little weird when I approached the Jo-Anne Fabrics counter with a bolt of UVA-themed fleece…while wearing my Virginia Tech Maroon Effect 2007 t-shirt, but I brushed aside those tinges of shame and boldly swiped my debit card.

The patterns that FFF creates are very easy for even a beginner to follow, but because you are working with some small pieces of fabric and sewing some tight turns, it can be a little tedious.  I had to tear out the seams for the entire head of the elephant and resew them twice before I got it just right…and my frustration hit an all-time high when, after spoiling the tusks and recutting them from another piece of fabric (some white felt I have saved for another project), the seam of one burst while I was stuffing it with poly-fil… Instead of taking all the stuffing out and turning the fabric inside-out again and resewing it, I decided to just hand-stitch that seam closed, which turned out a little sloppy because I’m absolutely terrible at hand-sewing, and my hidden-stitch is never hidden…alas.

So anyway…here’s the final product:

Because the fabric I bought was a pattern of different sized rectangles with different images and prints in each square, it was a little tricky laying out the pattern so that each piece matched up and made sense when all put together…I tried to showcase each element of the fleece print…I tried to get “Virginia” to line up on the trunk so you could read it all, and “Cavaliers” along the belly, and “UVA” in each of the ears.  Not sure if I will use another print like this for a stuffed animal, but I think it turned out alright, considering.

And, of course, I packaged it in a matching blue and orange bag…because, let’s face it, I’m anal and matching matters. Big time.

The flubbed up, poorly hand-stitched tusk aside, I was pretty pleased with the final product.  I think mom liked it and hopefully baby will too…  Can’t wait to meet you in November, Benjamin Peter Caro!


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