Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Molly Monkey Pattern Improvement

I love you guys. All you brilliant crafters out there who are constantly coming up with cool stuff. Especially stuff that helps me out! I learn so much from you.

Crafter Nzaloo wrote me to suggest an easy solution to the tight tangle of limbs as you sew Molly's body back and front together. This can be especially difficult if you stuff the limbs very firm. My original Molly has nicely squashy arms and legs, so it was manageable, but this suggestion will allow you to stuff your Molly to whatever firmness you like without wanting to strangle me as you sew it. Here it is!

Instead of leaving an opening in the side, leave an opening in the back seam above the tail. That way, when you sew the body front and back together, the arms, legs and tail can stick out that hole and leave you with a lot more room to maneuver. SO MUCH EASIER! Brilliant.

UPDATED NOTE: This trick along with leaving the limbs unstuffed before you sew improves the situation greatly. See details here.

Thanks, Nzaloo!

Note: The pattern has been updated with this new method. Get it here.

Monday, August 18, 2008

fabric covered letters

A while ago, I bought some large, resin, 3D letters from Hobby Lobby for my girls' bedroom door. I painstakingly painted and antiqued them and mounted them on the door. I loved the look. See below.
    I failed to factor in daily exuberant door shutting and opening. After glueing the L together twice, then the ampersand falling and shattering in a hundred pieces, I gave up. So I decided to do some letters that were feather light. I absolutely adore the fabric covered letters at Anthropologie, but I don't want to cough up that kind of cash, plus not sure they have an ampersand anyway. 

I puzzled over how to construct a 3D letter out of cardboard to cover with fabric, then gave it up as too time-consuming. I ended up just printing the letters actual size from my laser printer, mounting them on chip board for stiffness, and cutting them out. 

Then I sprayed the front of each letter with adhesive and placed it on the wrong side of the chosen fabric. I trimmed the fabric around the letter to within about 3/8 inch of the edge, then turned the fabric to the back side and glued it. Have I said before how much I adore Fabritac? Dries almost instantly.
   Folding the fabric smoothly around the edges to the back side takes finesse. Just like in sewing, you have to clip the curves and junctures to get the best result. In the photo above, the ampersand is in progress, so you can see there are some allowances that are turned and glued on the back already and some that aren't glued yet. Note how I snipped out the corners to fold over smoothly. Any curves that fold over to the back must be clipped into smaller bits like you see above. The deeper the curve of the letter, the more clips you should make so that it looks smooth. Straight parts do not require clipping.
  The view from the front, above. The result was colorful, feather-light letters that stay on just fine with plain ol' tape. In hindsight, I wish I had chosen less vibrant colors of fabric. I feel like more subdued colors and bolder patterns might have looked better, but these'll do for now. 

It occurred to me belatedly that I could have bought some lightweight 3D brown cardboard letters from Hobby Lobby (local craft store) to cover with fabric, but I'm such a typographic snob, I probably wouldn't have seen any that were just right or the perfect size. Once I get a vision in my mind, it is really hard to shake it. 

I hope this helps if you want to do something similar!

Monday, August 11, 2008

introducing...Katy Kitty!

Katy is the doll I designed for my oldest daughter's birthday. She turned six last week. Way back before May, both my girls requested homemade dolls for their birthday, after seeing little Miss Audrey's bunny in progress. My youngest decided on a monkey, so I came up with Molly. My oldest girl promptly requested a 'red kitty cat'. Why red, I don't know. But her wish is my command, so now here's Katy.

I really enjoyed designing her and making her. I wasn't under such a manic deadline as I was with Molly. Plus, after designing Molly and working out most of the kinks with her pattern, I was able to take it further and embellish it for Katy without coming up with something totally from scratch.

Which gave me plenty of time to make her some cute accessories besides her beret, like her ear bow, her little backpack and notebook, and of course the new little twist on the shoes.

My favorite part of Katy is her shoes. I just love these wingtips, and I wish I could have a pair like them for myself this fall. Have you seen any?

In case you are wondering, Katy's sleeves and skirt are from Tula Pink's beautiful Flutterby fabric line, part of a charm pack I bought a while back when I was designing Molly.

As Molly's pattern is available for free download, I'm planning to make Katy's pattern available as well, although this time for a very reasonable price. Watch for the announcement soon.