Friday, 3 July 2015

A Rainbow Mermaid Doll

I think maybe I need to rename this blog, the word 'rainbow' seems to be inexplicably missing!

Another birthday present, of course, for Maria. But if you would like to make a mermaid doll, rainbow tailed or otherwise, then it is much easier and more doable than you might think. This one is created very much along similar lines to the Clara doll I made earlier in the year - here.

I started out drawing a basic shape, and cutting it out of a doubled up piece of neutral fabric.

I cut an extra head shape with this doll - just to help stabilise it when I was machine sewing the facial features and so that I didn't have to worry about the start and end of my stitching showing through to the front of the face.

I started out on the tail, and cut lots of 'scales', a quick check to see if I had about the right number and I was good to go.

Then, as with Maria's mermaid tail, I began at the bottom. And, again as with Maria's tail, I hadn't quite decided how I was going to tackle the fanned out bottom section of the tail yet, so I just pinned these 3 'violet' scales rather than sewing them down at this stage.

Then the indigo scales...

Which I did sew down.

And I continued up the tail with each colour in turn, being sure to cover the top of the previous row each time and any gaps there.

If I make another one, I'd mark it out in advance with a soluble pen before sewing each row down - partly to make it more even (you can see the yellow row is quite narrow here) and partly so it's easier to make the reverse of the tail identical, so they match up when eventually sewn together.

When I got to the red row, I ironed under a little hem at the top of the scales before sewing them down.

Just to neaten it up a bit.

Then I sewed around all the scales again just to secure them more thoroughly. And I decided some red ricrac along the top would be a good extra touch as well.

While I was at it, I also added a little belly button, Maria likes putting belly buttons on her drawings!

Then I did exactly the same thing with the back of the mermaid - trying to keep my spacing the same (see above comments re marking it out in advance!)

For the face, I machine sewed the outlines of the eyes, nose and lips in black thread (on the doubled up fabric), and then added some colour with fabric pens/crayons.

By this point, I'd come up with a plan for the bottom fan part. And I chopped it off...

It's hard to see in the photo above, but I also sewed half way down the middle violet scale, to be sure they were held in place.

Then I cut an identical fan shape from an old wool blanket, for some wadding...

And cut larger 'scale' shapes for this section...

I started out at each end and sewed these longer 'scales' down.

Finishing with the middle green one.

I struggled a bit with these, I think my machine is in fairly desperate need of a service, it's really not feeding through very well at all. And at this point it was just eating these scales rather than sewing them. I had planned to do exactly the same thing with the back of the 'fan' and then simply sew them together just around the edges. But because it was chewing them up so badly, I sewed my second side directly on to the first, with the wool wadding in between. The extra thickness helped to stop my machine eating it.

But it did mean that my stitching came through to the first side of the 'fan'.

Now I cut out some arms...

Sewed them right sides together and turned them back out again. I sewed around twice again to make them more secure.

And lightly stuffed them.

Then sewed them on to the back piece of my mermaid to hold them in place.

To keep the arms tucked out of the way while I sewed the front and back together, I held the 2 arms together with an elastic band - looks slightly odd in this photo, as if the poor mermaid has been kidnapped and tied up!

Then I pinned the 2 mermaid pieces together, right sides together, with those arms tucked in the inside.

I sewed all the way around (twice), leaving just the bottom of her tail open, and turned her out again.

And carefully stuffed her, from the opening at the bottom...

I took my 'fan' piece, slotted it into the opening, and pinned it in place...

Then sewed the opening closed along those violet 'scale' sides.

All done by machine, but I did then have to hand sew on some wool hair...

The bottom of her tail works really well,

The one thing I'd like to improve is to try and make her a bit more malleable around her middle and bottom. She's sort of a bit too much one solid piece, and so can't 'sit'.  I could have her tail from a separate piece of fabric initially, but once the tail piece is sewn to the body and then the whole thing stuffed I'm not sure it would make much difference. Something to think about though. And Maria is very happy with her, which again is the important thing.

Have a great weekend.


Wednesday, 1 July 2015

A Rainbow Cat

Venetia started making this a couple of weeks ago for Maria's birthday. And despite best intentions of being organised in good time, it didn't actually get finished till the last minute.

 But I think it was worth the wait, I love how he turned out, and happily so does Maria.

Venetia managed most of this by herself, but I had to take over for the last bit, sewing the body together with all those long limbs squeezed in there was just a bit tricky for her.

We'd been inspired by this gorgeous cat we saw on Pinterest:

Find it here on Pinterest
Though since it was for Maria, ours obviously had a rainbow theme. And we went for a different and much longer tail too.

I think we might well be making other variations of this cat in the future, and maybe even a little kitten or two!


Friday, 26 June 2015

Maria's Quilt!

Maria had a lovely birthday yesterday, and, happily, the quilt was finished to give to her - with several hours to spare!

After my late panic about how it was looking all together, I am actually really pleased with it now.

It wouldn't be to everyone's tastes, but it has just the bright, whimsical, slightly crazy mix of fabrics look that I wanted for Maria!

I think changing that middle block was very important though, it looks really different now...

And I think the whole quilt works together so much better because of it.

Although I do like the 'on the surface' look of this quilt, that's only part of the story with it. The more important part is hidden away deeper into the quilt.

It was constructed from 15 largeish blocks, and each of these blocks has a hidden picture or cute creature or message, each one particular or personal to Maria. They've all been part of a blog post along the way, so I won't show you all of them again, but just a quick sample of them. Ten are hidden away in lift the flap blocks. This one, for example...

Hides a mermaid, with the obligatory rainbow tail of course!

Or this one...

From a drawing Maria did.
Or one more...

Of the remaining hidden pictures/creatures/messages, four are in a 'pocket in a block', along these lines...

A bee buzzing out of this pocket to visit the neighbouring flower garden, tucked up under a flap.
 And one is in an envelope in a block...

Maria has had lots of fun exploring these different elements, and whenever she drags the quilt around with her (happening quite a bit at the moment!), it tinkles gently as the bell (inside the envelope block) jiggles around. It's the first tinkling quilt I've ever made!

For the binding, I did think about going scrappy, but there's just so much going on in the quilt that I decided the red and white spotty fabric all the way round might help bring it all together more.

And, again since there's so much going on in the front, I just used a bright, flowery, vintage sheet for the back.

Happily, it's a lovely flannelette one, so extra soft!

And, since it's Friday, I'm doing some linking up - over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Crazy Mom Quilts, and Chezzetcook Modern Quilts who's hosting TGIFF this week.

Have a great weekend,