Friday, April 20, 2012

Soft Felt Toys Made of Wool, Felt, & Even Leather!

Here are a few more of the lovely toys from Naomi Tabatha's book "Felt Friends from Japan: 86 Super-cute Toys and Accessories to Make Yourself "

When you make your stuffed toys, be certain to use enough stuffing, and to put the stuffing in the tiny places first.

I used the blunt end of a bamboo skewer to stuff small amounts of fluff into the feet & arms first, before moving on to the legs & body.  This gives definition to the parts & helps to draw apart & therefore flatten out the stitching.  Be extremely careful, however, you don't want to accidently poke right through the felt!

It also helps to keep the picture around of the original, or else you might just have an eye-emergency glue-over-do-over.  Yes, here, you can see that the pink bunny's eyes are somehow different than the blue bunny's.   ....Hmmmm~ I wonder why the pink bunny would want to be straining her eyes behind her in that creepy sort of ~Exorcist~ way?  Thank goodness for more little black felt pieces & some glue, she can now look forward instead of backward!  ;-D

"Hey, Little pink Bunny Friend, where the heck do you store the carrots around here?"

Meet Mr. Sausage Dog.  He has his own orange silk velvet ribbon.  (How cool is that?! I finally found a use for that piece of ribbon!)

Since he is so loooong, leave an opening in his back, stuff his hind legs first, then stitch up the rest of his back,  progress onto stuffing his sausage-y body 1/2way, stuff his front legs, & then finish up stuffing the mid- to front half of him right up to the top of his neck. 

Mr. Sausage Dog is a proud poser.  ;-D

Here is Victor Giraffe.  He is from the book "More Softies Only A Mother Could Love: 22 Hapless but Loveable Friends to Sew & Crochet", by Jess Redman & Meg Leder.

Victor is made from re-purposed leather.  I went to a 2nd hand store & found several different colors of fine leather suede skirts (all you could stuff in a bag for $4), cut them up, & voila! ~ Enough leather to make 4 or 5 good-sized toys with!  I really love working with the leather too, as it looks sooo nice when it's finished, plus, it will last forever.
Victor Giraffe was a trial toy, to see how the leather worked out on the machine.  And I am happy to report, it works AWESOMELY!

This is Elsie the Little Dog from the same book as Victor Giraffe.  She is also made from some re-purposed clothing ~ this time it was a pair of Pendleton Wool pants, a black pair & a plaid pair (from the same $4 bag).  I just stripped out the waist, zipper, pockets & seams, cut off the lining as well, & popped the resulting pieces into the washing machine with soap & a hot wash cycle.  That felted the fabric nicely so that either hand-stitching or the zig-zag machine stitch could be used on it.  I added a black felt nose & an embroidered mouth.

This is a pear felt needle book, from the very awesome felt book by Laura Howard, "Super-Cute Felt".  I just love this book!  I don't know that I will make a ton of the items, but there are a few that, in my mind, make the book worth purchasing.  This needle book is one of them.

Very cute ideas & shapes, simple, easy, & really cute.  For someone that enjoys stitching, there are a few really adorable & useful items.  One ( which I am still making & will post a pic of when I finish) is an apple tart pin-cushion.  A helpful hint for the pin-cushion ~ if you stuff the cushion with a steel wool pad or two, ( put a bit of fluff around it to soften the edges), your needles will always be sharp & clean.
I added the floral embellishments, but they are easy, just start cutting some shapes out of your bits of left-over felt scraps.

AAAaaaaahhhh ~ and here we have "The Kidnapper" from Aronzi Aronzo's  The Cute Book!!  Bet you can't even GUESS who made him!  Yup, that's right, the 13 yr.old son who decided he really HATES the sewing machine.  I did have final pity on him, though, & let him hand-stitch the head & the hat.....much mmuuuuuucchh better.  (He does not love this home ec course for homeschool particularly overmuch....however, he WILL appreciate any future wife's attempts from here on out, I am certain.  ;-D)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Felties, Softies, Soft toys & Wool Felt Delights

For those of you who know me, you may likely be shaking your head, thinking: "NOW what are you up to?"

Well my friends, I will tell you!  SOFTIES!  FELTIES! Lovely wool TRIFLES!!  WAHOOO!!
I blame my sisters for this one ( Ang,  Hester, you know who you are.....;-D). 
My dear sweet sister made the most awesome fawn & tree for a family Christmas gift exchange.  It was made of felt, and cute beyond belief.  Then along came my birthday, and my other sister gave me this cool gift of an gift card.  And I was browsing along, and wanted to find some small sewing projects for the kids for a home school home ec. assignment.  And THEN, whooooaaaaaaa.......  I found some reallllllllyyyy cooooolllll  feltie & softie books.......the fawn, the tree, the books... it all started to CLICK!

The first books we started with were the Aronzi Aronzo books ~ Fun Dolls, The Cute Book, & Baby Stuff.  These books are totally awesome!  The projects really are simple & fun & yes ~ CUTE!

This little piggy went to market....

and was branded by my 16 yr. old non-craft-loving daughter.

I am rather proud of her efforts, especially since she is not really into crafting at all.  However, she DOES have a serious talent for perserverance, as you can see.  She was determined to learn how to use a pattern & sewing machine to complete a project, & here it is!  Impressively,  the "Fun Dolls" book was fun enough that it actually inspired her to give it a go.  She used a $ store t-shirt, a $ store baby's bib, & some thread & stuffing that I already had.  So this adorable little piggy (which only took up about 1/3 of an adult-sized t-shirt) only cost a whopping $2 to make!  And, she had fun!  AND, she was successful enough to be inspired to try another project.   That's a win-win in my book.

Here we have a few little sheep from the "Baby Stuff" book.

These bunnies came from "Baby Stuff" as well, although I personally think they would be a bit easier to manage if you either enlarge the pattern a bit, or actually handsew them.  (Which I did not, call it laziness, an instant gratification issue,  etc, etc, etc..... they were my first ~tester projects, what can I say?) 

Now this little sugar actually came fomr one of my many awesome Japanese crochet books, in particular, a vintage "Hello Kitty For Your Baby".

It's made out of those little set of 4 baby washcloth's you can pick up at the $ Store.  And since it only uses one, I'm saying it cost a quarter to make.  Time, effort & skills are extra. ;-D

Ahhh.... and here we have a smattering of the lovely works of my dear 15 yr-old daughter, who sort of has a worse ~instant-gratification~ issue than I do. (Gee, I wonder where she gets it from?!)

Yes, she whipped out these awesome & yet hilarious dolls (oh yes, she was also inspired by the very fun & cute "Fun Dolls" book, but perhaps speed overtook quality...maybe... I don't know.....) in ~ get this~ 1 day.
Yup, this is the child who knows how to use a sewing machine just fine.  She also pretty much knows how to handsew just fine.  (Clearly not a master-seamstress, & yet, she DID copy the patterns, pin, cut, sew, & stuff all by her onesie.... never asked for help once....though that might have been a benefit to her softies if she had.....but hey ~ she ~got-'er-dun~.) ;-D

Awww, garsh, see what homeschool home-ec. can produce?  It's a little scary, isn't it? ;-D

Now, I had to save this special bunny for last.  Bet you can't even GUESS who stitched this hummer up!  And yet, for all her quirkiness, I probably like this one the best.  After all, who can take a bit of lime-green felt, a purple $ Store fleece baby blanket, some wAAAAAYyyy tangerine silk embroidery floss, a few buttons, & some stuffing, and come up with THIS bad boy???!? 
You have to hand it to her, no matter the medium, she has a certain ~ artsy~ flair.
I LIKE it! ;-D
(And, I might add, without even knowing it, apparently there is a Japanese Manga character that looks very similar to this creation.  Soooooo.... I'd call that inspired!  mmmHHmm.)

Now then, these little dudes came from one of the very best feltie books I have ever seen.  I just LOVE this book!  It's called Felt Friends from Japan: 86 Super-cute Toys and Accessories to Make Yourself by Naomi Tabatha.   This has to be THEEE best feltie book out there!  Seriously, I want to make almost EVERY SINGLE TOY!  You can't just say that about any feltie book.  It's a serious keeper! 
This book is awesome on SO MANY levels
 ~ 1st ~ it's CUTE!  Ok, I know, I know, I've said it a few times, but it IS!!  It's so cute, it's THAT cute.   ~2nd~ The toys, coin purses, bags, badges & key-chain guys are worth making.   I could see giving these out as gifts to everyone I know, except maybe my dad, who doesn't really go for the bompy-wonky key-chain dealio.  On the other hand, he might not mind a funny character sitting next to his computer.  (I'd call it his "computer mascot".....hahahhaha, and he'd almost have to accept it anyway, because he's my daddy. ;-D)
~3rd~  The instructions are very CLEAR.  You can't mess these up, unless you happen to stretch the felt a bit on the rabbit & fawn heads. ( And there is a pretty easy fix for that ~ just start at the nose each time, and if you end up with a bit of a tail in the back of the head, just stitch it up into the neck hole when you are attaching the head to the neck.  Easy -peasy.)  And, if you actually hand-stitch every seam, you are not likely to have this problem.  See, I sort of cheated.  I found that if you use the #4 or wide zigzag stitch on your machine, & sew close to the edge ( the edge of your felt should hit the center of your machine foot).  Sew slowly, picking up the foot periodically as you go around the curves.  Every toy I show from this book, I have machine stitched all the pieces that can be.  Of course, attaching heads, arms & legs, tails, & ears requires handstitching. 
~4th~  This is an awesome Japanese book, but it's written in ENGLISH!  I love me a good Japanese craft book, BUT, I have to say, it's pretty cool actually knowing what the words say. ;-D

This is Kenji, the cat.  She stands about 6" tall, & she was my very first project out of this book.  I highly reccomend stuffing it quite stiffly, as her neck needs the stiffness in order to support her huge head.

Plus, a stiff stuff really brings out the shape of the character.  I also reccomend a chopstick & an orange stick to really get those small bits of stuffing into every nook & cranny.  If you have machine sewn the parts, the stiffer stuffing tends to draw apart the stitches, making them look far more handsewn. 

This is Hana Hood.  My daughters thought she looked like the little gal on "Hoodwinked".  That might be partially true, but I think these little characters by Naomi Tabatha are even cuter.  They remind me of the little 60's characters floating around at the time.  They have an innocence that toys now-a-days seem to lack.

See the seams on the back of the hood & the dress?  See how they aren't quite drawn apart enough, & therefore still look a bit machine sewn?  If you make this doll, I reccomend hand-sewing those two seams, it will look better, trust me.  ;-D
I have finished a couple of rabbits, a fawn ( I made that one out of leather), a needle-book, & an elephant, but I haven't up-loaded the pics for those yet.  Perhaps I will put them in the next post.
oooo... felt.. it's so FUN!!! (Yes, I'm sure you can just see Wood Genius in the background, shaking his head.....wondering how long THIS fetish will last....)