Tag Archive | flat

Harriet The Big Dragon

After finishing Franklin the black panther, I picked up the momma dragon pieces and decided to make it my next “in process” amigurumi to complete.

I started the crocheting of the pieces for this dragon with the legs. After crocheting the legs and attaching them together, I started crocheting the body. I kept crocheting and crocheting and crocheting. Was this body ever going to end? Was the body alone going to take a whole skein of yarn?

I had crocheted about half of the body when I decided I had better start stuffing the body before I could no longer reach the legs. So, I started stuffing, and I kept stuffing and stuffing, and stuffing. Was I going to use a whole bag of stuffing to stuff the body of this dragon? Even with stuffing the body relatively flat in shape, I was still using a lot of stuffing.

A little flustered by the crocheting and the stuffing of the legs and body, I stopped working on them and crocheted and stuffed the arms, hoping that a break from the body would help me feel better about finishing it when I started working on it again. It did not. I felt like I was never going to finish the body. By the time I finally got the legs and body of this dragon done, I had grown very weary of crocheting this dragon.

And so I put this amigurumi aside and started another one.

Now, the time had come to finish this amigurumi. After all the crocheting I had done to complete the legs and body, it was easy to crochet and stuff the rest of the pieces for this dragon. Assembly of this dragon went smoothly but took extra time due to all the little pieces the dragon had to have stitched on, like the horns, spikes, tail, body spot, ears and wings. I believe the assembly went so smoothly because the the majority of the stuffing was already done and it was fun to see the dragon develop as the the extra pieces were added.

Once the dragon was completed, I fell in love with her. The long slender body was complimented by the small size of the spikes, wings and horns. The combination just looked so cute. This large dragon was not named until the completion of the baby dragon but that is a story for the next post. Stay tuned to read that story.

Until then, crochet forth and big momma dragon on!

Yay Sports! Go Team!

DSCN3421 (1)IMG (1)I am certainly not a big sports fan, and I am especially not a big football fan, but I am a BIG fan of fabric. So, you know, when I saw this football fleece on clearance at Joann’s and I also had a coupon for even more off the already low reduced price, you just knew I was going to buy some of it. And even though I may not be a big football fan, I am sure there is some one out there that is, and would want me to make something for them from this fleece.

In trying to fall in love with fleece again, I did some reading on the internet and I found some suggestions for sewing with fleece. I wanted to try out a couple of the suggestions, so I pulled out this football fleece and a simple pattern, Kwik Sew 3235, for a pullover fleece jacket. In making a pullover jacket, I won’t have to worry about buttons or a zipper, and I could focus on the seams and the suggestions I had read about.

DSCN2561DSCN2797I could not decide which size between a medium or large that I wanted to make, but as I mentioned in a previous post, the fabric decided for me. I would be making a medium pullover jacket. Also as previously mentioned, this pattern was not very easy to cut out due to the fabric. I had to really work to keep the footballs and helmets straight. When I cut out the pocket, I purposely did not match the design because I wanted the pocket to stand out from the rest of the jacket’s design.

With my pattern pieces cut out, I started the sewing process. The first suggestion I followed was to put a new needle in the machine. The suggestion said to make sure it was a ballpoint needle. I only use Schmetz universal needles so that is what I sewed it with and it did great. The next suggestion was to lengthen my stitch length because of the bulk, which I did. When it can time to iron it, I followed another suggestion of using a press cloth so I could iron the fleece a little more aggressively without hurting the fleece.

DSCN3426 (1)DSCN3429 (1)One article I read suggested three different types of seams that worked well for sewing fleece, a fake flat fell seam (sometimes called a faux flat felled seam), a lapped seam or a double topstitched seam. I was not impressed with the lapped seams but wanted to try the other two seams. As I started to sew, I found that I wanted to just sew double top stitch seams so that the seams matched. The double top stitch seam is sewn by first sewing your seam as you normally would, then sewing the seam allowances down close to the edge of the seam allowance, then trimming close to the seam allowance stitching. Since fleece does not fray, cutting close to the stitches finishes off the seam. On the top side, there is a cool double row of stitching encasing the seam. This is a fun look that looks like it took a lot of effort to sew but was really easy and it looks great! Especially if you sew straight, which I seem to have a hard time doing most of the time. 🙂

DSCN3424 (1)DSCN3423 (1)I was able to do the double top stitch seams on the shoulder seams, the sleeve seams and even the hood’s seams, but when it came time to double topstitch the underarm/side seams, I realized that would be impossible. Because the arm is a tube, there was no way I was going to fit the fabric under the presser foot and sew it. I tried to figure out a way to do the topstitching but could not. I turned to the internet for help, but pretty much everyone said the same thing that it could not be done with a normal home sewing machine.

There were a few suggestions on the internet for how to finish the seam but I was not thrilled with the answers. Pondering the possible ways to finish this seam, I stared at my serger and I shook my head. I have the tools, i.e. a serger, why not use it. So I serged the underarm/side seams to finish them. Because this is not a super heavy fleece, no issues occurred while serging it. I also used the serger to finish the edges on the facing. I could have just left the edge unfinished on the facings but that would have really bugged me.

DSCN3422 (1)For the hems, I folded and sewed the hems as usual but with out finishing the edge with the serger or folding the edges over. After completing the hems, I trimmed the edges close to the stitches as I did for the seam allowances so that all the inside seams matched. I did the same with the pockets opening edge.

Looking at the completed jacket, I liked what I saw from the outside. The top stitching looked great! From the inside though, the serged seams looked so much cleaner and finished than just the trimmed seams. But, I was not disappointed that I had done the double topstitched seams for the others. It was fun to try something different, plus I will have a new technique for sewing a heavier fleece that would not serge well in a later project.

This jacket was fun to make and turned out great!

So, am I in love with fleece again? The answer is maybe.

The cutting out of this pullover jacket was a real task, but the sewing was fun especially with applying the suggestions I had read about. I do see more fleece projects in my future so stay tuned.

Until then, fleece forth, and sports on!

The French Box Top

DSCN0651Having successfully completes the box pleat skirt for the little girls dress that I recently made, I wanted to continue practicing by making more box pleats. With that, I picked this box pleated top as my next project. It only had one box pleat so it would be a fast sew, but I would still be practicing another box pleat. Because I felt comfortable with sewing the box pleat, I decided to finish the seams off with French seams. This top would then give me practice on two sewing techniques that I had already tried, but that I could still use some practice in making.

DSCN0661The pattern for this top was a free one that I found online. I had just enough ladybugs and green cotton scraps left over to make this top with. So I printed out the pattern, taped it together and cut it out. As I cut out the paper pattern, I noticed that the facing and the front pieces of the top did not match up. I knew that if I cut the pattern out based on the pattern pieces, I would have a mess with mismatched facings, and I would get flustered while sewing this together and not get good results. Knowing this, I discarded the facings pieces from the pattern and just used the top pieces to cut a facing instead.

Sewing the top started with the French seams to piece the ladybug fabric and green cotton fabrics together. The French seams came out great! They are clean and finished. Since the green cotton is heavier than the ladybug fabric, I sewed the French seams to the green cotton rather than the other way around.

DSCN0212Next came sewing the box pleat. This time, I sewed the seam down the back of the pleat, flattened the pleat and then stitched across the top of the pleat to secure it. I did not top stitch the box onto the pleat like I did for the skirt. I wanted the pleat to open up if needed on this top.

DSCN0250Next up, I sewed the shoulder seams and then it was time to apply the facings. After reading the pattern guide for how to sew the facings, I decided the pattern guides instructions would not work for me. So I threw the pattern guide away along with the facings pieces from the pattern. I decided to sew the facing to the top as I had learned from making the bodices of the dresses that I had made before. I sewed around the neck and down the back, and then around the arms. Next, I stitched the side seams together. Because the side seams were exposed after the facing ended, I did a French seam for the side seams. But, as I tried to sew the French side seam down, I ran into trouble. The French side seam on top of the French piecing seams was just too thick. I broke 3 needles before I gave up and decided not to stitch down the French side seams. I don’t believe that having the side seams not stitched down will affect the wearing of this top. Next, I hemmed the facing.

DSCN0653Once again because the facing did not extend to the bottom of the top and because I had abandoned the pattern guides instructions, half of the back seams were left exposed. So to finish off the edge, I folded the edge over on each side of the back. This gave me four layers of fabric at the top where the facings are and two layers down below the facings. I did not apply any interfacing to the button placket because of the 4 layers, but as I sewed the buttonholes and buttons to the top, I wished that I had added some interfacing below the facing where the top was only two layers thick, especially on the thinner ladybug fabric. The buttons and buttonholes came out fine even without the interfacing. There was no way my buttonholer would sew over the French seams, so I had to carefully measure and place the buttonholes so that I would not have an issue making them or sewing on the buttons. The last steps were to hem the bottom of the top and topstitch around the arms and neck.

DSCN0655I am pleased with the end results of this top. It was great to practice with the box pleats and French seams, but what I am most proud of is that I was able to identify the pitfalls of the pattern and the construction early on in the project. And that I was able to use my sewing knowledge to circumvent them instead of suffering through them, and to find a better way for me to complete the project. Usually if there is a hard way to do something, that’s my way of doing it, but this time that was not true. I hope I can keep up this forethought momentum as I move on to my next project.

Until next time, sew forth and box top on.

A Monstrous Amount of Scrambled Eggs – Part 2

DSCN0150When it came time to add the eyes to my Egg Monsters, my creative mind was totally overwhelmed. The pattern called for a three layered felt eye. I tried this on the first monsters I made, the purple ones. The layered eyes were fun to design but they took a lot of work and time to complete. I am certainly not skilled at cutting circles in felt. As I started to cut out the eyes for the next set of monsters, I thought of the many wiggle eyes that I had stashed away in the closet.

They would work Perfectly!

DSCN0130Over the years I have purchased a larger and larger variety of these googly wiggle eyes. I have many sizes, shapes and colors to choose from. So I grabbed the tape from my desk and started placing different sized and colored eyes on the egg monsters. What fun! I wanted a three eyed monster so I put three small eyes on the pink monster and they looked great. I wanted green eyes on the green monster but even though I had yellow eyes, the blue eyes looked the best on the yellow monsters. I had to have a girl monster, so the eyelashes wiggle eye was perfect for the other pink monster. Of course, the Bronco monster had to have an orange and a blue eye. Cutting felt circles for eyes fell by the wayside as I placed various wiggle eyes on all the rest of the monsters, even though the husband said the felt eyes of the purple monsters looked the best out of all of them.

DSCN0133Now that the crocheting, stitching and designing were done, it was time to party! Well a glue party that is. The husband was nice enough to attend the party and help me glue these monsters together. Hot glueing is another crafting skill I am not so good at. I learned a lot as I glued the crocheted covers on to the plastic eggs. Some of the first monsters glued have some glue spots visible, and I ended up with a few burns on my fingers. By the end though, with the husband’s help, I felt I had a technique developed and I was getting good results with the glueing process, and less glue where it was not supposed to be and fewer burned fingers.

DSCN0127My creative mind was still buzzing as I glued the last monster together. Oh, on the next one I will give it an antenna, or maybe horns, or how about extra arms or teeth? Wow, the designs I could make seemed to be endless! I reached for more yarn and then I stopped myself. I have so many amigurumi’s that I still want to make, and what was I going to do with all of the monsters that I already had made? Could I find them all homes? So, I put the yarn back in the stash, tucked the wiggle eyes back in the closet, and filed the pattern with my others. I will not part with my remaining eggs though. I see more egg monsters in my future. But not until I try out a few other new designs first!

DSCN0118Until next time, crochet forth and egg on!

A Monstrous Amount of Scrambled Eggs -Part 1

DSCN0141I have another pattern that I need to hide today. Like the pocket pal pattern, I have had a blast crocheting these egg monsters, and just like the pocket pal pattern, I am going to have to hide their pattern so I can get something else done.

I found this pattern around Easter time and I thought it would be a great idea to use up those extra plastic Easter eggs leftover from Easter egg hunts each year. So, after Easter when Joann’s ran all their left over Easter decorations for 90% off, I picked up a couple of packages of these eggs in two different sizes.

DSCN0007Because I had two different sized eggs, I had to tweak the pattern a little so that the crocheted pieces fit the eggs I had purchased. It was not difficult to decide how many stitches and rounds I needed to fit each egg size. It just took some time to figure it out at first. Because I have made so many monsters with so many different yarns, in the end, I got pretty good at adjusting the stitches and rounds not only based on the egg size but on the yarn size and stretch. By the end, I could whip out an eggs cover, or a monster’s body in no time at all and have it fit the egg. And with an added bonus to making these monsters is the time and energy saved but not having to stuff them. Plus, won’t the recipient of one of these monsters be surprised when it opens up and there is candy or a little something fun inside.

DSCN0134When it came to crocheting the arms and feet for these monsters, the feet on the small eggs looked too big, so I made extra arms for the small egg’s feet. Each small egg needed 4 arms to complete it. I learned early on that using less stuffing in the arms and feet was better. Some of the first monsters I made have very overstuffed appendages. When I made the yellow monsters, I did not stuff the arms and feet at all. I stitched them on flat. The husband did not like the flat arms and feet, so I went back to stuffing them again but with much less stuffing. Stitching the arms and feet on became easier with each monster that I stitched. By the end of making so many monsters, I knew right where I wanted the arms and feet stitched on at, making the stitching process much easier and quicker.

DSCN0117As I crocheted the pink monsters, I ran out of yarn. Darn, now what do I do? I know. I’ll give this monster a white stripe. And with that my creative mind went nuts. What other color combination can I crochet into an egg monster? I put white and orange together for a dreamsicle monster. I was planning to make blue monsters, so why not add another color to the blue. Ooo, orange would be good with the blue. Oops, I made a Denver Bronco’s monster. Since I was loving the color combos and the stripes, I finally sat down with black and orange yarn for Halloween, and tried a variety of styles of stripes. I made one large egg and one small egg of the stripe variations, black with orange in the middle, orange with black in the middle, and striped evenly with the black and orange. They all turned out great but if I had to pick a favorite, it is the evenly striped ones.

With the crocheting done, it was time  for eyes.

Until next time, crochet forth and egg on!

Jill and Joey

IMG_0028I had never seen an amigurumi kangaroo pattern, nor had I thought about making one until I saw this pattern. I fell in love with this pattern the second I saw it and I could not wait to get started on making a kangaroo from it. So away I went in a furious display of yarn and hook spinning!

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IMG_0024The crocheting of the pieces of the adult kangaroo went smoothly and the pattern was easy to follow, but when it came to stitching the pieces together, I was a little unsure about attaching the legs to the body. The legs were crocheted and then flattened. The top round part of the leg was then stitched against the body. Then the leg was to be stuffed very lightly in the top against the body and then firmly at the bottom of the leg to hold the kangaroo up. The feet were then attached to the bottom part of the legs. This worked out great and I was amazed how well the kangaroo could stand up on its own.

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IMG_0026After stitching the head to the body, the legs to the body and the feet to the legs, I stitched the tail on. Looking at my results thus far, my thoughts turned to making some stubby little arms instead of the nice long arms that I had crocheted for this kangaroo. If I had made stubby little arms and reshaped the face just a little, I would have had a great t-rex. Oh, wow, wouldn’t that be great? But, I was making a kangaroo. I will keep the t-rex in mind for another project though.

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P1040007With the adult kangaroo all finished and looking great, I turned my attention to the baby joey. The joey’s pattern was very simple. It was just a head, two ears and a stick body so he would easily fit in the pocket. And, yes, designed like this, the joey did fit in the pocket easily but I did not like the “head on a pole” look. I thought that the joey needed arms and legs and a tail. My first thought was to just crochet tiny arms and legs, but I could not made the rounds small enough for the size I wanted and still be crochet-able. My next thought was to do a bobble for the arms and legs as I crocheted the stick body, but in P1040195the end, all I got was a lumpy stick instead of what I wanted. Looking at the ears, I decided to crochet some flat arms and legs for this joey. I chained 6 then single crocheted 3 times in the 5th chain then slip stitched to the top of the chain and back down the other side. This looked pretty good on the stick body. It had shape but it was still flat against the body and could be folded to easily fit in the pocket. Sticking with the flat and P1040197easily fitting into the pocket theme, I made a chain tail for the joey, but it looked awful. I tried to think of another way to make a tail that would not be a problem fitting in the pocket but in the end I left the joey without a tail. So, I apologize in advance to whatever child is going to play with the kangaroo that the joey is not anatomically correct.

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Since only female kangaroo’s have pouches, my adult kangaroo is a female, a jill, and therefore I named her Jill. And, of course the baby kangaroo is a joey and therefore I named it Joey. So this is Jill and Joey, my amigurumi kangaroos. What do you think of them?

Until next time, keep stitching!

Thread Joints

P1030815Since I have enjoyed making button jointed amigurumi’s so much, I decided that I would tackle the next type of joints on my to do list, thread joints. Thread joints are actually simpler to make than button joints. Like button joints, the thread joint is made by inserting the yarn through the body to the appendage, but unlike the button joints, the yarn is only inserted into the inside of the appendage then back into the body. The yarn is not pulled to the to the outside of appendage. The advantage of the thread joint is that you can pull the thread through the body and appendage several times in a loop without the limitation of the size of the holes in the button and this makes for a stronger joint. The disadvantage is that you don’t have cute decorative buttons shown on the outside of an amigurumi. But maybe that’s an advantage, since you don’t have to find matching buttons, or have the expense of the buttons added to your project.

P1030816There are many patterns out there for thread jointed amigurumi’s. After reading a couple of these patterns, I decided that just about any amigurumi could be stitched together with these thread joints. All that needs to be done is to close off the appendages when you’re crocheting them and then stitch them on with a thread joint. So, my choice of patterns to try a thread joint was almost limitless, but in the end I picked a teddy bear pattern that was designed to be stitched together with thread joints.

P1030819As usual, I started the crocheting of the pieces for this teddy bear with the appendages. As I completed the first arm, I noticed that the pattern ended the arm with a large stitch count on the last row. The yarn left for sewing was to be weaved through the stitches and then pulled tight to close up the arm. This made the top of the arm flat. I did not really like this look. So I thought about adding more rows and tapering the arm closed or at least stuffing the arm less, but in the end I followed the pattern and made the four appendages with flat tops and stuffed them full and firm.

P1030459The thread joints were easy to make and it made stitching the appendages to this teddy bear quick and simple. When I was done though, I did not like the look of the bear because it looked too bulky to me. Two things were at fault for this bulky look. The first was the flat top of the appendages. If I had tapered the ends of the appendages or stuffed them less, they would not have stuck out from the body so much and looked so bulky. The second thing was the thread joints. Because the yarn is not pulled to the outside of the appendage and then pulled back into the body, the appendage was not pulled tightly to the body. And although the appendages are securely fastened to the body with the thread joints, they are not tight against the body like the button joints of the last teddy bear were.

P1030465Next I had quite a bit of trouble with the face of this teddy bear. The nose and mouth were to be embroidered to the muzzle and then the muzzle was to be puffed up as it was stitched on to the head. After embroidering the nose and mouth, I puffed the muzzle and stitched it on, but I did not like the look. So I decided to use a plastic nose rather than an embroidered one. I attached the plastic nose to the muzzle and then puffed as I stitched it on again. I really did not like the results when it was finished. So, I attached the plastic nose through the muzzle and the head and stitched the muzzle flat to the face. This was still not the look that I wanted, but it was better than the other looks. Because I was disappointed with the bulky look already, I just left the flat muzzle and plastic nose on this bears face.

P1030455The picture of the bear on the pattern is just precious, but my bear just did not turned out to be that cute. He looks sad, and not cute sad, just sad. So I sat this teddy bear on my cutting table and started my next project hoping I could figure out what to do to make him look better. As he stared at me for several days, he seemed to just want some love and he melted my heart and I grew to love his little sad face. I named him Thready Bear, and now he just needs a loving home to go to and for someone to love him.