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Why Stand When You Don’t Have To – Simplicity 2907 – Part 2 of 2

P1030696Since I didn’t want the little dress I had started in my last blog post to become a UFO (Un-finished Object), I decided to get started sewing again on this project sooner rather than later. My wounds from the collar are still fresh but I wanted to complete the project and move on to something new.

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With the bodice part of the dress sewn together, it was time to sew the buttons and buttonholes. As I looked at the plain yellow front of the bodice, it was too bland in my opinion, so I decided to add a pocket. I dug through the remaining scraps of cat fabric and found a whole cat to use for the pocket. Because I did not want just part of a cat on the pocket, the pocket came out larger than I would have liked, but I stitched it to the bodice anyway. Luckily before I started to make the buttonholes, I noticed that the pocket was in the way of the fronts of the bodice folding over. When P1030755I folded the front over as though buttoning it together, the top front was on top of the pocket. ARRGHH! So, my choices were to unpick the pocket and make it smaller, unpick the pocket and move it to the other side of the bodice, or to fold the fronts of the bodice the opposite way as if it were a boy’s shirt. Since I was quite flustered with this whole project already, I chose the last option and placed the left front over the right and left the pocket alone where it was. I was smart enough though to run the buttonholes vertically rather than horizontally so that the big pocket was not in the way of the buttonholes stitching.

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The next step was to make the skirt. I decided to line the skirt with some black tricot. The skirt was a simple sew even with the lining and it was done quickly and P1030754ready to be attached to the bodice. There were no sewing problems when attaching the skirt to the bodice but after it was done, I realized just how much of a dropped waist the skirt was and just how thin my yellow fabric was. Ah Crap. You would be able to see the top of the little girl’s panties through the yellow fabric because of this. Here I had done so good about lining the skirt to hopefully solve this problem, but I did not even think about the top part. So, my choices were to try and add a lining to the completed bodice, make a camisole to wear with this dress, or just give the dress to the little neighbor girl and let her mom solve the see through problem with a camisole or undershirt that the little neighbor girl probably already owns. And since I just wanted this project to be done, I picked option number three again. I will ask her mom if she has a camisole to wear under this dress. If her mom says no, I will consider making one. But, since I am not really pleased with the whole construction of this dress overall, I am not excited to put any P1030753more time and effort into this project.

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With this dress completed, my first thought is to just throw this pattern out, but the dress turned out really cute and I still like the style of it. So, I have decided to keep the pattern for now just for the skirt portion of it. If I make this style of dress again, I will find a different pattern for the bodice, one that has a “real” lapel collar and facings but use the skirt from this pattern. I will also pick a larger piece of fabric to start with, make the pocket smaller or just skip the pocket, and line the dress appropriately. Yes, that sounds like a plan, but a future plan, and not one I am very anxious to start right away. But with most of my sewing projects I learned a lot and have taken lots of notes for future projects.

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See you next time and don’t forget to Sew forth and Sew on!

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Orion

P1030428I don’t know where I got the crazy idea but I decided it was time to expand my amigurumi making skills and move outside my comfort zone of just following a pattern. With that in mind, I chose to make another pot belly alien but with the changes I wanted to make to the pattern. I would be venturing out into unknown territories as I tried to make this alien not so pot bellied, and yet still have his other parts and pieces match. The end results of these changes is Orion, my latest amigurumi alien.

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The adventure started with me purchasing two skeins of the needed yarn. I decided to play it safe and have two skeins on hand even though I figured with making this one’s belly smaller, I may not need the second skein. But rather than panicking when I ran out of the first skien, I purchased two skeins so that I was sure I would have enough yarn for this project. I started P1030361out crocheting the arms and legs first. Since this alien’s body was going to be skinner than the last one’s body, I debated about making the arms and legs shorter. I knew that this second alien was not really going to be a toy and would need to be able to sit on a shelf, so I decided I would crochet the arms and legs into the body rather than sewing the arms and legs and then attaching them to the body after the crocheting was done. With this in mind the legs in particular could be shorter because they would not need to extend out from under neath the body. The legs would just be attached to the front of the body. I did not want to shorten the legs and not shorten the arms and then have an alien with short stubby legs compared to his arms though. Aliens are supposed to have long thin arms and legs. So, after a lot of thought, I decided to make the arms and legs as the pattern was written. It would be easier to shorten the arms and legs later if I needed to, and I knew I had enough yarn that if I wasted a little undoing the tops of the arms and legs, it would be ok.

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P1030376After completing the arms and legs, I made the head next. I remembered all the tricks that I had learned on the first alien’s head, so this head was not quite as scary to make. Like all crocheting, the type and brand of yarn used makes a big difference to each project and this alien was no exception. As I crocheted the alien’s head, it just kept getting bigger and bigger. When it was time to attach the eyes I could not believe how much bigger this head was than the last alien’s head. I believe the size difference is due to the fact that this yarn had more stretch to it than the yarn I had used for the first alien. Since there is no size gauge to an P1030363amigurumi project, this head just came out bigger. It still has a great shape for an alien head with the flat face and the bulge in the back of the head. But it is bigger than the first one I made. Because I had already made one of these alien heads, I was able to better place the eyes where I wanted them, pointing more to the sides of the head than up to the top of the head. The larger head also helped with the eye placement. (In the end, because of the bigger head and the body changes, I did need the second skein of yarn for complete this alien, so I was glad I had it, and I did not decrease the length of the arms and legs, so that they matched better with the head and body.)

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P1030387So, with the long arms and long legs and a big head done, I got started on the body. I knew I wanted the body much skinner than the first pot belly body I made, but I needed the body big enough to support this big head, but still be skinny like an alien’s body should be. At first, I said 1/2 of the size of the pot belly body should work, but as I crocheted the starting rounds of the body, I decided to go one more round and have the largest part of the body be 54 stitches around instead of 48 as I originally planed. After reaching the round that ended in 54 stitches, I crocheted in the legs on the next round. Then I crocheted 10 rounds of 54 and then started my decent to the neck. I decreased evenly on the next round to 48 stitches, then single crocheted the next round with no deceases. I followed this pattern up to where I thought the arms should be inserted. Unfortunately the place where I wanted insert one of the arms was P1030374right at the finish and start of a round and on a round with decreases. This made the placing and inserting the arm quite tricky. This is where my lack of skill as a pattern designer really showed. If I made patterns all the time and had any skill at pattern designing, the insertion of the arm at the end of one round and the start of the next round and on a decreasing round would not have happened. The body would have been redesigned so this would not be a problem for the crocheter following the pattern. I finally made it past the arm insertion and continued on until I reached 18 stitches in the round and I said this would be the top of the body.

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P1030410I noticed when I attached the first alien’s head that it was a bit challenging to sew the curved alien’s head to the flat round of the neck, so I decided to try and remedy this problem on this alien. To do that, after crocheting the last round of the neck, I did a couple of deceasing rows at the back of the body to give the alien a higher neck in back than in the front. This did make sewing the head to the body easier on this alien.

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Unfortunately, as I sewed the head to the body, I noticed that I had not done a good job of aligning his legs and arms. I guess it was the struggle with inserting the arms that messed up the alignment slightly. Once again something an experienced pattern maker would have noticed and corrected. I needed to unpicked the partially attached head, undo the rows and rounds down to the arms, reposition the arms and then redo all I have just undone. But I just did not have the heart to do this. After much posing and positioning of the alien, I decided that my alignment was not that far off and that the little it was off could be positioned out and it gave him a little character.

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P1030400As I posed the alien, I noticed that because of this big head and small body, that he did not like to sit as well as the first alien even with his legs inserted into the body and not sewn on. The problem was the weight of the bigger head. When the husband saw the problem, he said he could fix it for me. With two wooden dowels, the husband made an X through the alien from the top of the aliens head to his butt. With the X shaped dowels supporting the head on the body, the alien sat nice and straight and tall. Once again, because this alien was not designed as a toy but as a decoration to sit on the husbands computer desk, the wooden X through his body was not a problem. It was in fact a great solution to the problem.

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After having this alien sitting on my sewing room table before reaching his final home on the husbands computer desk, I decided to name him Orion. This not a very original name, but I like it. And I enjoyed my journey in making Orion for the most part, and I learned a lot. I especially learned respect for the talented individuals that make the crocheted amigurumi patterns that I use.

Creton of the Planet Gliese 581c

IMG_7102I know you have probably heard of a pot bellied pig, well, this is a pot bellied alien. While surfing the web, I came across this pot bellied alien pattern several times but I was just not impressed with it. Something about it just did not appeal to me at the time. Because of that I did not download the pattern or pay it much attention until I saw one of these pot bellied aliens completed that someone had made from this pattern on Ravelry. The original pattern showed this alien with a bib on. But the alien on Ravelry did not have a bib on it, and I think that is the only reason why I liked the alien on Ravelry and not the original one. Whatever the reason, once I had seen the alien on Ravelry, I knew right away that I wanted to stitch it up. So, I hunted down the original pattern, downloaded it, and got started.

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I picked an alien green color of yarn that I had picked up on clearance at Hobby Lobby to make it with. I was glad that I had picked this color of yarn because it was a brand new skein and this pattern took most to the skein to complete. In fact, I panicked about half way through the crocheting of the pieces because of how much yarn it was taking and made a trip to Hobby Lobby to get another skein before it was gone. Even though I had bought the original skein of yarn on clearance, Hobby Lobby had more on the shelf but I did have to pay the regular price for it. Thank heavens for coupons.

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IMG_7105The alien’s head was complex to crochet. I had to watch my rows and stitches and do a lot of counting as I crocheted. After I lost count many times, I finally wised up and started putting a stitch marker half way through the row to help me keep count without loosing my place. In the end though, it was worth the trouble. I love the shape of the head. It looks just like you would expect and alien’s head to look, from the flat face in front, to the large bulge in the back of the head. The same is true for this alien’s arms and hands. I had to stay focused and count carefully to get the fingers correct and even. I also decided that I didn’t care for the original patterns fingers, so I just made up my own stitches for them and I love the look. Originally, his legs seemed rather long but I followed the pattern and just made them the size that the pattern called for and I think they turned out fine.

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IMG_7106When the pattern said pot belly, it meant pot bellied. The alien’s body is huge! The middle rounds of the body where belly is at it’s largest are over 80 stitches in length! That is a lot compared to other amigurumi’s I have made in the past. This also explained the need for the long legs. The legs had to be long so that there was still something left of them when the alien was sitting upright. There is quite a space from where the legs are sewn to the bottom of the body to the edge of the body.

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IMG_7112stiSewing the alien’s pieces together took a bit of thought too. Since there was no real bottom of the head to sew the neck to and the pattern did not say where to connect the head and neck together, I was originally worried about the placement. but it all worked out in the end. The weight of the alien’s head causes the neck to fold down a little and this gives it the right look. Also since the eyes are double thick, they had to be sewn to the face before the head was finished being crocheted. This made the placement of the eyes difficult, so his eyes are pointed up a little more than I would have liked.

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I think this pot bellied alien, which I have named Creton, turned out just wonderful and I can’t wait to make another one. But as usual, I have already noted several changes to the original pattern for the next time I make one.

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Stay tuned for Klaatu, my next pot bellied alien with my new design modifications!

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Quiet Down Fish

One of my favorite time wasters is to check out flickr groups to see what amigurumi’s other people are making. I call it a time waster, but it actually inspires me to do my next amigurumi project. Unlike sewing, I am anxious to start my next amigurumi project and need no wandering time to get started.

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On my last look through the pictures, I found someone had made a shark. The picture was very cool and the shark looked awesome, so I went in search of the pattern. I found the pattern on a site of free amigurumi patterns. Some people are so talented and can make up their own patterns. I am not one of those people, but I admire those who are. I decided that my next project would be a shark.

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I printed out the pattern and started crocheting but I started having a difficult time figuring out the instructions. I was off in the count of the rows, first not enough stitches then too many. I muddled my way through the body, but the fins were a whole other story. I crocheted the top fin but it looked so funny that I undid the whole thing and started again, twice. I finally decided to stop following the pattern and just make it up.  The other fins gave me the same grief.

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When it came time to stuff the shark, the hole at the bottom of the body was very small and it took a long time to get the stuffing inside. The details, teeth and eyes, took a long time too, but that had little to do with the pattern. I have been trying to slow down when it comes to the final details to see if, one, I enjoy the process more, and two, if I get better results. Now that the shark is done, I am pleased with the results. He makes me laugh when I look at him.

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My problem is the pattern. Did I just not follow the directions close enough, or did I not understand the directions, or, and I hate to say this, was it written poorly? I believe most of the blame falls with me not being a very seasoned crocheter and not understanding the pattern well enough, but I do give some blame to the author. I am sure in her mind that the pattern made complete sense. On the other hand, how much can I really expect for free? It was very nice of the author to create and post her pattern for free to everyone to use, and for that I am thankful.

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The reason this frustrates me is that I tried another free pattern which is now my first amigurumi UFO. I can’t figure out the arms and I have made multiple changes to the pattern to get it to work the way I think that it should. I have currently bagged this amigurumi and will get it out the next time I see my mom or my mother in law and see if they can help me with the pattern. I am moving on to another amigurumi from a pattern book next. I hope that this will ease some of my frustrations and keep me happily crocheting.

Finishing a UFO

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While digging through my stash, I came acrossimg_0911 this yellow shirt all cut out and ready to sew. It has been at this stage for years. A long time ago, I purchased a denim skirt and wanted a yellow shirt to wear with it. I purchased the fabric and cut it out, but the sewing part just never happened. I don’t remember why the shirt was never completed, so when I found it in the closet, I decided to stitch it up. Unfortunately, it was cut out so long ago that my sloper pattern was not at the same stage that it is now, so as I started to sew, I was very unsure what my end result would be.

 

For the most part, I am happy with the results. The collar gave me some grief, trying to get it to lie flat. I sure like the changes I have made to my pattern since this shirt was cut out. In the day when this shirt was cut out, I was happy with just a plain yellow shirt, but not now with my embroidery machine. I embroidered Mickey Mouse on the shirt because I thought he would would be fun on the yellow, and I need something besides Snoopy in my wardrobe.