Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Mystery Critters, a Pattern, and a Tutorial

So, I was working in my sewing room the other day when these little critters wandered past my window.

"How strange!" I thought. "They don't seem to have any details or faces!  What kind of critters are they?" I went outside to take a closer look.  They followed me inside and have been hanging around for days now.  I think they want me to make them look normal-- like the other stuffies in my house:

 I hardly know where to begin...so I'm hoping you and a bunch of other crafters on Craftster.org can help me out.  Let's do a swap (you didn't see that coming, did you?!) where everyone crafts their own version of these critters; then I will have a better idea what to do to these three. 

I managed to trace around one of them--it was so squirmy!--and here's the pattern for you to follow when you make your own.  Just print it out, and use that amazing imagination of yours to bring it to life.

(I know you will respect my ownership of this pattern, by not selling it or anything you make from it...thank you!!)


This is a simple tutorial that applies to any type of stuffie.  I'm showing how I make my stuffies; if you want to do it differently, go for it!

I like to use iron-on interfacing if my fabric is regular quilting-weight cotton. Why? It gives the fabric a sturdier feel, the fiberfill won't migrate through the fabric, and the finished stuffie won't be lumpy. For heavier fabrics (like fleece, or drapery or upholstery fabric) it isn't needed. 

I use Pellon featherweight, which you can buy by the yard at JoAnn's or Hancocks.  Here is my interfacing and fabric:

1.  Print out the critter pattern and cut it out on the line.  It should measure about 9" tall and 7 1/2" wide. 
This picture shows my fabric with the interfacing ironed onto the back.  (The blue critter is there to remind you where this tutorial is going!)

2.  If you want to use interfacing, iron it onto the back of your fabric.  Trace the critter outline onto the interfacing (or directly onto the fabric).

2.  Cut out the critter 1/4" beyond the line you drew.  (It doesn't have to be exact, because you will sew right on the line; that will be your guide.)

3.  Sew on the face, and any other features you wish to add.  This is where you can get very creative! (Since the critter is a mystery, I don't want to show you one completely finished, so I only put eyes on this one.)

4.  Pin the two sides of the body, right sides together. (I don't bother to draw the outline on the fabric that will be the back, or trim the back into shape, since I will just follow the line on the front and trim it later.)

5.  Sew on the drawn line all around the critter, leaving the top of the head open (be sure to back stitch at the beginning and end of your sewing).  Use a very short stitch on your sewing machine so your curves will be nice and smooth.

6.  Trim away the excess fabric, leaving just 1/4" all around.  Clip the fabric almost to the stitches on the inward curves, like the one I'm pointing to in the picture. (If you don't, your critter will become horribly deformed when you turn it right-side out!!)

7.  Speaking of turning it right-side out...go ahead and do that!  The tool in the picture is a pair of hemostats, which makes turning it so much easier. I like to use a knitting needle or chopstick to really push out all the arms, legs and ears after it is turned.  Stuff it with polyester fiberfill through the opening in the head, then hand-sew the opening closed.  Knead the critter a bit to evenly distribute the stuffing, and you are done!

This critter REALLY looks unfinished...I must insist that you give yours more features than I gave mine!  Try thinking beyond just eyes, nose and mouth...

I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with!


Unknown said...

i want them to walk by MY window!!!
so glad you had enough time to get a pattern, Leslie.
I'm going to start going through the stash tonight to see what one from NJ might look like!

waggonswest said...

What fun!

Unknown said...

Ah, short stitches and interfacing on quilters cotton!
Will do those for the swap!

Hazel said...

This is amazing! I have a friend who's going through a horrible time of things right now, and we have the Atlantic ocean between us so I can't give her the big hug she needs... This critter may be just the thing to send instead (as it turns out the postal service don't let you mail yourself...).

Unknown said...

Thank you. What a great idea. What a nice gift. Hand Made Gives Love. And we all need love. Thank you.

Unknown said...

I found you on facebook. Someone emailed me about NJ Sandy Help. And this page was in there help box.
This is a big help. It lets us all help.

Unknown said...

Thank you. What a great idea. What a nice gift. Hand Made Gives Love. And we all need love. Thank you.