18 November 2010

"Out of Focus" Entry

A friend of mine is doing "Themed Thursday" photography posts.  This week's theme is "Out of Focus."  I actually took this picture last week, so it doesn't technically count, but I thought it was perfect for this theme.  I don't know why I like this picture so much, but I do.

This picture is part of the Christmas present I am making for my husband.  I'm taking a series of pictures with our baby holding different letters (made of cardboard covered with paper--this is the back).  It will spell out, "I Love Daddy."  :)  She tolerated the letters at first, carried them around and such.  Now she just wants to throw the annoying letters away from her.  So I have to be sneaky and quick.

10 November 2010

Stuffed Animal Elephants

My daughter is one year old, and she has a cousin who is two, and another cousin due in February. And they're all girls! So for Christmas presents this year, I wanted to make all the cousins matching stuffed animals. The pattern I wanted to use was going to on sale the day after I went to the store (of course) for $1 instead of $15 or so. That's fine; I'd just buy it online (the store it too far away to go back just for that). But what do you know, but you can't buy patterns from their website. (???) So I decided to see what Google could do for me by way of free patterns. Sadly, the answer was not much. Anyway, I decided to design the pattern myself. I just love to design things, to figure out how to make it work, and make it exactly the way I want to.
And to help everyone else out there who wishes they didn't have to pay $15 for a pattern, I'm sharing it with all of you.
I sized the pattern so that I could print it out on regular 8.5 x 11 paper, hence the elephant body being cut in two. If you'd like this pattern, right click on the pattern pieces, save to your computer, print them out, match them up, and tape them together.
The patterns include 1/4" seam allowances. (But in hindsight, I think the skinnier sections--the back part of the underbelly, namely--should be wider.)
Remember to sew everything right sides together so the seams are on the inside.

What You'll Need:
Some fabric. I used fleece, but I imagine most kinds of fabric would work. I got three elephants out of a yard.
The normal sewing supplies

Lay the pattern out on your fabric and cut.

Here are the pieces all cut out.

Sew the two underbelly pieces together, leaving a hole in the middle for turning the elephant right-side-out and stuffing. Reinforce where you stop and start by sewing back and forth over the same few stitches. The lines on the pattern are sewing lines—if you take in a small seam there, the legs will point more downward. Without it, they point out a lot.

Sew the underbelly to the body. Remember, right sides together. (You’ll sew the two body pieces to each other later.)

Now sew the backs/fronts of the ears together, and turn them right-side-out.

Sew on the ears, eyes, and tail. I hand-embroidered the eyes, but you could sew on buttons, or applique eyes, or whatever. (Just be careful that any choking hazards are very securely attached, if you’re making them for small children.) I also sewed the ears on by hand, so you wouldn't see a seam and so the ears could flop more freely, but you could attach them with by machine, either. The tail is three pieces of ribbon knotted together and sewn onto the appropriate place.

Now pin the ears out of the way, pin the two body pieces together, and sew. If you want the bottoms of the feet to be flat, sew down the legs but not across the feet. If you want them to be pointy, go ahead and sew all the way around.

Here’s what it looks like so far.

Unfortunately, none of my pictures for sewing flat bottoms onto the feet turned out, and I don’t really know how to describe it. Sorry, but you’re on your own for that.

Now she's all done except for stuffing!

What I would do differently next time:
Make the legs and trunk fatter. I just think it’d be cuter that way.
Make the skinny-part that I mentioned at the beginning wider.

Well, I hope you like the elephants and have lots of fun making your own!

Oh, yeah. Thanks to HomemadebyJill.blogspot.com, who posted an elephant she made, and a link to the free pattern she based it on. Free Pattern: http://weewonderfuls.typepad.com/wee_wonderfuls/downloads/Pointy-Kitty-Pattern.pdf This was a lot of help in figuring out how to create my elephant pattern.

Please don't sell toys made from this pattern, but feel free to make them for gifts. I want to see pictures of what you make!

Welcome to my Blog!

I love to make stuff. There's just something about taking raw materials and creating something! And I love to see what other people make, get inspired, and learn how to make new things. So here's my contribution. I hope you like my blog.