The gold/floral dragon from Wednesday is upholstery velvet, but I made the test dragons in minky. Not ideal, since one is woven and the other stretch, but not bad at this scale and the minky is much easier to turn for quick-and-dirty tests of the rough shape.
I’ve been trying to hit the sweet spot between “not a blob,” and “not too hard to sew at this scale.”
I’m fairly happy with this one in minky; we’ll see how it comes out in velvet.
I tried something new yesterday: I made something and put it on Etsy right away. This probably doesn’t seem like much of an accomplishment, but “the perfect is the enemy of the good” a lot around here. I need to find a more appropriate fabric for the wing membranes, but I liked the way the floral fabric (which has a metallic gold accent) came out anyway, so I finished the dragon and put her up on Etsy.
Tomorrow I have an errand that will take me to the big JoAnn’s again. I’ll take snippets of all my relevant velvets and find some fabrics that coordinate with a little less contrast (and less literal patterns).
Continuing my attempts to do Stupid Things With Embroidery Machines, I’ve been trying to get some of the fancy dancewear/cosplay fabrics involved, with limited success. I keep poking through them with my scissors.
I sold the last of the Pernese dragons in the Etsy shop this weekend; there are still a couple of non-Pernese ones left. I’ll restock a little when I make the instructional photos for the design, but that’ll probably be it (though the kid has expressed a little interest in piecework, and presumably they’ll be available from other sellers using the design).
In any event, it was to a repeat buyer so since she already had a Renegades of Pern key fob, I needed a second. This one’s the primary dragon of the cover of Dragonquest so he’s a little more detailed (more than the stitching can capture at this size). I’ve put up all four variations on the Dragonrider Snap Tab page.
A small batch of made-to-order pugs is going up in the shop this morning, probably around 10am EDT. If you use the code SSOSSPUGS, you’ll get 20% off (so, $28 plus shipping) through the end of the month.
If you follow me on the silo that is Instagram, you’ll see a slightly-poorer discount because I love my blog followers more. 😉
I got an email request to revive an old pattern, and by “old” I mean several generations back in the blog. Somewhere I have the text that goes with it, but I’m not sure where, so here are the pictures. And no, that link doesn’t work.
Aside: Hotmail is bad. I tried to answer the request by email, but in my experience Hotmail just silently discards mail from small operators like me. No spam folder for me, no rejection notice to you, it just accepts it and then doesn’t deliver it. Maybe the person got it and just didn’t have anything further to say, but I can’t tell.
It’s my take on the type of pattern in Sewing Tiny Toys by Carolyn Vosburg Hall (https://amzn.to/2YhtKuX 📦) so you’d need to buy or track down a copy of that for more detailed instructions. (It’s also a pretty great book worth owning.)
But to sum up: it’s made to be cut out of felt, sewn together on the cut edges with an overcast or blanket stitch (no seam allowance). The dotted lines are generally folds, except the curved one on the body is a center belly seam: make two underbody pieces, feet and all, sew them together and then to the outer body. The eyes and nose are seed beads (the nose is two pink beads sewn side-by-side).
I don’t remember the exact scale but if you print it at about 8″ long that will be about right.
I think people have sewn it larger, adding seam allowances (including between colors) and using faux fur, but it’s really not designed for that. The larger a stuffed animal is, the more it needs darts inside the legs to keep them from sprawling out to the sides. I would start with something like this:
You’d cut a single belly piece on the fold, then sew the legs on (the belly piece will only go halfway down the hind leg, and then the two hind legs will be sewn together after that point), and otherwise it would work like the felt version (don’t forget to add seam allowances all around). That’s completely untested though, so sew up a muslin before you commit to any expensive fabric.
If you sew one, especially the leg-dart version, send me pictures!
In addition to sewing more test pugs and color variations (I figure I’ll put a few on Etsy myself), I ordered some test pugs on Spoonflower fleece.
I… think I remember how this thing works? I am really unimpressed with my own (lack of) precision after watching the embroidery machine work, let me tell you.
I’m also a little disappointed in the, uh, creasiness of this piece of fleece. I’ll have to see if it irons out, but it’s polyester so we’ll see.
I was happy enough with the colors that I ordered another fat quarter, this one in minky and in different colors: a brown-point fawn, and an experimental brindle. I’ve been looking for a good brindle-substitute minky print, and haven’t even found a nice tiger stripe. Not even in fleeces at JoAnn or Fabric.com; apparently they’ve fallen out of fashion. We’ll see if my Inkscape/GIMP texture looks plausible; if it does, I’ll make it available as yardage on Spoonflower because come on, there are a lot of brindle dogs out there.
I have had Salley Mavor’s Felt Wee Folk📦 how-to book for quite awhile, so when she made a deck of playing cards with said felt wee folk on them I snagged a couple for gifts, with the plan to make a doll to go with. And then panicked because I canNOT make faces on round beads, and all my past wee folk have had just two dot eyes (channeling my Amish ancestors). But not only did I have to make a face, I had to make one THAT WILL BE NEXT TO SALLEY’S FACES.
The result is… acceptable. And let’s be honest, moms are very forgiving when it comes to handmade gifts, right?
If you’re unfamiliar with Salley’s work, let me having the pleasure of introducing you to Wee Folk Studio. It is not just cute little flower fairy dolls; there is some seriously amazing art.
One of the viral art challenges on Instagram and the fediverse (at least on mastodon.art and other art-oriented instances) is #mermay. I noodled around with a conventional mermaid embroidery but wasn’t happy with the result and didn’t really pursue it.
And then recently I got to thinking, well, I should just put a tail on some of my plushies, what would be the best one… oh.
I considered a manatee tail first, since that seemed kind of obvious, but wasn’t really sure if the blobby round tail of a manatee would be recognizable by itself (even if a pug face does sorta resemble a manatee’s). And then I remembered I needed to do a silver pug anyway, and here we are.
In related news: just to prove I haven’t entirely gone over to the embroidery-machine side I ordered a fat quarter of pre-printed pugs (just fawn and black) on fleece which will hopefully arrive on Monday.
And yes, this should have been my Friday post, but my husband took the day off and we visited the Rittenhouse Fine Craft Fair, and then yesterday I fought with the griffin pattern and didn’t end up with anything worthy of a photograph.
There are still some tweaks to make (the neck join, the muzzle, the tail) and of course this is the less-horned Pernese variant, but I have successfully made a non-beanie dragon on a 4×4 hoop. Well, almost: I mirrored the wing and did them simultaneously in the 5×7, just to speed up testing.
It’s a fair bit smaller than the green 5×7-hoop one that made a guest appearance in the call for pattern testers, though I couldn’t really get an angle that showed it.
I may tweak the legs/feet a little more; they’re not much changed from the venerable Basic Standing Dog design.
The forelegs are a little shortened but once the wings are on the curve of the back is not that noticeable. (Yes, I’m seeing both a bat and an otter/ferret pattern happening there.)
I have experimented with a standing-on-hind-legs version but so far I only have a mutant kangaroo. 😂
Pattern testers, of course, will get versions of the pattern only after I’ve settled on a design, well past the mutant-kangaroo stage. The outside testing point is “I have a working pattern, now I have to see if other people can duplicate it with my instructions.”
It’s approaching the time I will need people who aren’t me to test my patterns. People who have different embroidery machines, different experience levels, different stabilizers, different threads… whatever variables might be introduced, I’d like to run into them up front. Here’s what I’m looking for.
someone who has never made a stuffed animal
someone who has
someone who has little to no conventional-sewing experience
someone who has little to no embroidery-machine experience
someone who has a lot of embroidery-machine experience
someone who has a machine that doesn’t use PES files
And here’s what I’m offering:
a free version of the pattern(s) you test (I mean, duh. But also you get the final version)
a free version of any one of the other patterns (and if you decide you don’t ever want to make another stupid plushie as long as you live, it can certainly be Queen of Unfinished Projects or a custom design or something)
never-ending fame and fortune (okay, just credit in the pattern)
preferential “hiring” if this works out and I get to actually pay real cash money to testers down the road 🤞
And here’s what you’ll need:
an embroidery machine with a 4×4 hoop that can read PEC, PES, EXP, DST, JEF, VP3, or U01 files (if you have the wherewithal to convert from one of these to your machine’s HUS or whatever, that’s fine)
some minky or fleece or reasonably stretchy fabric; each critter takes anywhere from three to a dozen 5×5″ squares
possibly some bits of other fabrics (the test dragon’s wing membranes are quilting cotton, for instance)
a needle for hand sewing
a way to take pictures to send me (nothing fancy and nobody but me need see them; they’re just for “is this right?” or “look at what went wrong” or “look how it came out” purposes)
And here’s what I need you to do:
not flake (I mean, I get that life happens, I just mean don’t take a free pattern and run)
tell me what your skill level is
tell me what machine(s) you tried it on, what thread brand, fabric brand, stabilizer brand, etc. you use (as much as you’re able)
tell me how many tries each piece took and what caused any failures
tell me anything else you want to tell me about the pattern (“I got frustrated and gave up” is valid!)
The first test will be the orca, which is a simple little three-square critter and a good intro to how the three-dimensional ITH plushies work. The only hand sewing is closing up the tiny little turning/stuffing opening. If you’re interested, drop me a line.