Tag Archive | monkey

Applying The Lessons Learned

IMG_0016After being so pleased with the construction process of the dinosaur vest, and then so flustered by the construction of the ant jar vest, I wanted to make another vest. And in the process I wanted to apply the lessons that I had learned and to end the vest making process on a more positive note.

So, I grabbed some more bottom weight scraps from my pile and some monkey printed flannel and I got started! As I laid out the fabric to cut, I spied some pleather that I had waiting to make its way it to the stash. Oh yes! I would give this vest a pleather collar and welt pleather pockets to step up the style!

DSCN3956With the design completed, I started to cut out the fabric. Because I was working with scraps, I did not have a single piece big enough to cut the back of the vest on the fold, so I would need to add a back seam to this vest. A back seam would not affect the wear or the construction of the vest so I saw no problems in having a back seam. Applying the lessons learned from the previous vest constructions, I remembered to cut the extra inch for the buttons on the fronts of both the top fabric and the lining. I also remembered that I wanted to add some interfacing to the pleather the next time I used it. Soon, I had all the pieces cut out, interfaced, and I was ready to start sewing.

DSCN3957The first step in the sewing process was the embroidering of the monkey design. Remembering the lessons learned from before about placement, I thought long and hard about the placement of the embroidery design versus the size of the design and the collar before I finally hooped the fabric and stitched the design. When the design was completed, I saw that I was not going to have an issue with the collar covering the design. If fact, I had over compensated and I was wishing that the design was a little higher than it was. Even though, the monkey design is the best placed embroidery design I have done on these vests, I still have a few placement lessons left to learn.

DSCN3700The next step was to sew the pleather welted pockets. As I debated about the placement of the welts, the husband peaked over my shoulder to see what I was doing. When I showed him the pleather welts, he said no, that I should make patch pockets like on the dinosaur vest from the pleather. I explained to him that I already had the welt pockets cut out and interfacing applied to the pleather welts, but he insisted that I should cut new patch pockets from the pleather instead. Since I know that the husband has a good eye for design I followed his lead and cut out some new patch pockets from the pleather and sewed them on the front of the vest. The pockets came out great! The pleather was easy to sew and the pockets look very good on the front of the vest. Plus, the monkey embroidery design sits at the top of the pockets so it is now not too low.

DSCN3702When it came to the pleather collar and the pockets, I remembered lessons learned about using a press cloth to iron the pleather. I top stitched the edge of the collar so that it would match the stitching on the pleather patch pockets. The rest of the sewing process went smoothly, even the stitch in the ditch seam of the band.

When it came time for the buttons and buttonholes, I applied the lessons learned from the previous vest’s buttons and buttonholes. I decided not to have a button at the top of the vest, but to place the first button so the vest was open as I expected the vest to be worn. I then spaced the other buttons appropriately. The buttons looked like they were in the right place and there was no seam issues when sewing the buttonholes.

DSCN3963I am super pleased with the end results of this vest! It is just adorable!

And as much as I hate to say it, the husband was right and I just love the pleather patch pockets!

The pleather patch pockets are just perfect with the monkey embroidery design and the pleather collar.

Plus, I am super pleased with myself for remembering and applying the lessons learned from previous sewing projects.

I hope some little girl will enjoy wearing this vest as much as I have enjoyed making it. With the success of this vest, I am ready to more on from vest construction to other sewing projects, but I will happily make more vests at anytime.

Until then, sew forth and apply your lessons learned on!

George And The Alien

sewing cartoonRemember back when my hobby was mostly about sewing and I used to post wonderful blog posts about all the fun stuff that I had recently sewn up?

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Yes, I do too.

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But it seemed as though my sewing mojo had left me over the holidays. I am not sure where my sewing mojo had went to. Perhaps it went to see some creative relatives, or visit some friends for the holidays or something like that. But I do know that it was definitely gone and that I had no desire to sew anything, no desire start any new projects and especially no desire to finish any previously started projects. I did not even want to sew that last minute Christmas gift that I see every year and think that I can quickly get made up in time. The fabric stash all sat nestled quietly in its boxes, hidden away in a winter slumber. My cutting table sat empty of all fabric and patterns and my sewing machines just rested in silence, waiting patiently to be turned back on again. Luckily now that the holidays are over, my sewing mojo seems to have returned and I am excited that it has found its way home. Its time to start sewing again!

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P1030564Months ago, I altered the husbands shirt pattern and made one new shirt from the altered pattern, the purple and black striped soccer shirt with a Snoopy embroidered on it. The fit of the shirt was good and the husband has wore the shirt several times now and has had no complaints about the alterations that I made. Because wearability depends on so many factors, the fabric, how it was cut, how it was sewn together, etc., I did not want to say that my alterations to his pattern were correct until I made a couple of more shirts from this current pattern and they were wear tested to be sure of the fit.

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P1030567So, this project started with a trip to the stash where I retrieved two pieces of fabric. I picked a green knit and a brownish pique. The fabrics were different enough from each other in stretch and feel, that I thought they would give some variation as I tried out the altered pattern. I asked the husband which one he liked the least and he picked the green knit, so I started with it first. The green knit was easy to work with. It was quickly cut out and sewed up nicely. The most difficult part of working with this green knit was in picking what design to embroider on the shirt. After wasting way too much time looking at designs, the UFO and Alien cow abduction design was picked and stitched to the shirt. And it turned out great!

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After finishing the shirt, the husband wore it once and asked that I take a little of the blousey feel out of the back and shorten the shirt a bit. This green P1030560knit has quite a bit of stretch so I hesitated on taking anything out of the back on the pattern. If I took it out of the back of the pattern, then the next shirt could it be too tight with a less stretchy fabric. This back problem was not there with the Snoopy shirt so maybe I stretched this green knit fabric too much when I cut it out. Shortening the length was no problem. That was an easy fix, and yes it was a needed fix, so I did alter the pattern by shortening it a small amount. I cut off the hems I had made on this shirt to shorten the length and re-hemmed it, but doing this took out most of the side slits that I had put in. I thought that this might make sitting a problem while wearing this shirt, but the shirt is large enough that it did not seem to make much difference.

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P1030562One day at work, my coworker was telling stories of how much her 3 year old grandson loves Curious George. I thought of the husband’s shirt scraps of the green knit sitting on the cutting table and decided this little guy needed a shirt with Curious George embroidered on it. I used my pattern for a cut out tab front shirt and made a size 4 so there was a little grow room in it. Just like the husbands shirt, the green knit was fun to work with. The stretch of the green knit caused me a little bit of an issue when embroidering the large Curious George design on the small shirt but it all worked out. I used some of the web interfacing on the back of the design to help keep it flat after laundering and to make the design smoother on the back so it wouldn’t be itchy or scratchy. I gave the shirt to my coworker and P1030556the little guy’s mom took a picture of him in his shirt. He was very cute in his shirt and the fit looked good. The word is that he likes to wear the shirt everywhere. I just love to sew for kids.

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With the return of my sewing mojo, I have had a great time sewing! And I am ready to start my next project, but what will that be? I had better pick soon to keep my sewing mojo here and happy.

Our Brother, He’s Special

P1030454Do you have a list of projects that you would just love to do? I most definitely do. Do you ever look at the list and pick something off that list as your next project? I rarely do that, but I did it this time. Hopefully you will remember back to the post about the fun monkey pattern I purchased on Amazon and I made a girl and a boy monkey from it and I had a great time making them. And also at the end of that post I stated that I wanted to make more monkeys in different colors? When I made that statement, I doubted that I would ever make another monkey from that pattern in any color but when it came time to chose my next project, I peeked at my ‘want to do list’ and a purple monkey from that pattern was decided on.

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P1030452The first step was to pick the colors to use. I was going to use all shades of purple but then I dug out this variegated purple and blue out of my yarn stash. It matched the purples I had already picked very well and it would work great for the sweater look of the monkey too. The crocheting of this monkey’s parts was a lot of fun. I followed the same crocheting process for the purple monkey’s arms and legs as I did when crocheting the first monkey. I also did the purple monkey’s pupils the same as the first monkey’s were, but using 4-ply yarn and a smaller hook and just leaving off the second row. When I was picking the yarn color for the eyes and ears, my first choice was of aran, the same color of the other monkey’s muzzle, rather than the white yarn, but I switched back to the white color in the end. I can’t decide if that was the right change in color or not. The white in the eyes and ears really stands out but then it is a purple monkey and should stand out. The white in the eyes and ears really catches your attention when you see the monkey. The aran color would have been softer. P1030450The white color made this monkey look a little more mischievous looking which made naming this purple monkey easy.

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As I completed the purple monkey, he took on male characteristics. As he sat next to the other two monkeys, he became younger too. So, this purple’s monkey’s name is Jimmy and he is the younger brother of the other two monkeys. You know, that younger brother that is always getting in your way and touching your things and you yell and scream at him, but he doesn’t care cause he is the younger brother. Yep, that’s the one!

Monkey See! Monkey Do!

IMG_7123So, I did! I fell in love with this monkey pattern the minute I saw the e-book on Amazon. I could not press the purchase button fast enough. It took forever for the e-book to load. I could not wait to start crocheting this adorable monkey with the big eyes.

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This is a great pattern. It is well written and easy to follow. Most of the parts of the monkey were fun to crochet. The feet were a little tricky but easy enough to figure out but the pupils of the eyes were the real challenge. The pattern called for the black pupils to be made from embroidery floss or crochet thread and crocheted with a small hook. I tried this but didn’t like the results. So, I went back to regular 4 ply yarn and an F hook, a step down from the G hook I crocheted the other parts of the eyes with. Because of the heavy yarn and the larger hook, after I crocheted the 1st round of the pupil, it looked to be the right size so I did not crochet the 2nd round.

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P1030136The arms and legs had to be stuffed as I crocheted them up. The more amigurumi’s I make the more I like to stuff things as I crochet. I dislike the stuffing part of the process so stuffing as I go helps break the task up for me. Sometimes you have to stuff as you crochet the rounds because of the size of the parts, but even when I don’t have to stuff as I crochet, I am finding that I am going ahead and stuffing as I crochet any way. As you know, the stitching together of the parts in my next least favorite part of the process and I always learn something from the stitching parts together as I did with this monkey.

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IMG_7132After learning what I did from the stitching together of the parts of this monkey, I wanted to make a second monkey from this pattern, but I wanted to change it up a little, so I decided to try something I read in the Complete Idiots Guide to Amigurumi book and give this second monkey a skirt and make it a girl. So, on the first round of the shirt, I crocheted in the back loop only, leaving the front loop for the skirt. The book really did not give instructions for making a skirt so I followed the pattern from the Bride of Frankenstein I made several years ago. I did two single crochets in each front loop for the first round of the skirt. Then just single crocheting in each crochet, I did 5 rounds which looked IMG_7131like a good length for the skirt. At this point the skirt was kind of boring, so I crocheted a scalloped edge around the skirt like I do on the fleece blankets that I make for some variety. This added just the right touch to complete the skirt and I am pleased with the way it looks. Another option I found for crocheting the skirt was to add single crochets to each round as I crocheted. This would make the skirt wavy. I could also add the single crochets at the end of the skirt to make a ruffle on the bottom of the skirt. I may try these ideas on another amigurumi project, perhaps another monkey.

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IMG_7135I crocheted each of the monkey’s tail exactly the same but they turned out so differently. I am not really sure why. At first, I was upset and started to make another tail to see if I could get it to match one of the other two that I had made. Then I decided that every monkey is different and that differing tails were actually ok. Differing tails gave each monkey a unique personality.  

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I just love these monkeys and I just love this pattern. And I do want to make more monkeys. Maybe the next time I will use different colors and make a blue or a pink or a yellow monkey. That would be fun. The ideas for more monkeys are abounding so it’s time to start crocheting again!

It Does the Heart Good


I gave the coco-dot jacket to the little neighbor girl and she loved it! It was way too big for her but she looked so cute in it anyway. After the fact of course, I wished I would have asked her mom for her measurements or had her try it on as I was making the jacket so I knew what size to make next, but I did not. I wanted it to be a surprise and a birthday gift and I did not want to spoil the surprise by asking for sizes. The nice thing though is that the jacket seems to be too big all the way around, not just in width or length. Hopefully, this will help as she grows into the jacket’s size. Hopefully, she will get plenty of wear from the jacket as she grows. Her mom was excited about the jacket and said not to worry about the size because she is growing like a weed and it will fit soon enough. I now know better what size to sew for her so I am excited to try some other little girl patterns I have collected over the years.

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I also gave her the mixed up monkey that I crocheted awhile back. When I handed her the monkey, she completely forgot about the jacket. The monkey was a big hit with her! She immediately gave it several big hugs and would not let go of it. A couple of days later, her mom said she insists on sleeping with the monkey and will not go to bed without it.

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It does my heart good to see my sewing and crocheting labors loved and enjoyed so much. It sparks my creative mind and gets me excited to sew and crochet more great things in the future.

Mixed Up Monkey

I found this monkey pattern on Ravelry.com and fell in love with it. I printed out the pattern and it quickly made its way to the top of my to do list.

Excited about crocheting this monkey, I went to the yarn stash but could not find the correct brown colored yarn that I had pictured in my mind for this monkey. Flustered, I checked out the local places I have to buy yarn but I really did not find what I was looking for. Then I ran across this variegated yarn and decided it would work ok. I was not thrilled about it, but it was better than anything else I had found. For the accents, I picked the cheap tan brown yarn I had used to make Calli the bear,  a while back. I did remember that I really did not like this yarn as it has no stretch, but decided to use it anyway. Boy, I could not have picked two different acting yarns. The variegated Vanna’s Choice yarn stretched quite a bit as I crocheted, and the cheap tan yarn did not give at all. In fact, the variegated yarn gave too much. When I stuffed the monkey, the variegated yarn showed larger holes in the crocheting than I like.

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As far as the pattern goes, it is very well written. I had no problems following the instructions, and the body parts turned out just like the picture showed. I did make one modification to the pattern. Row 1 started with 8 sc in the ring. I knew this was going to make a large hole at the start of each body part, as I learned from Blue, the giraffe. So, I made the first row 4 sc in the ring and row two 8 sc, increasing each body part by one row. I am pleased with the end results using this technique and will try to remember this lesson on other amigurumi’s I make later.

I think I overstuffed this monkey though. As I crocheted the body parts, I pictured this monkey being a rag doll monkey, his body hanging in a floppy lump as he is carried by his arm. I stuffed the body and the head firmly but only stuffed the arms and legs at the base. I got the effect I was looking for from the arms and legs but the body and head is too full to hang flopply as I had envisioned.

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As usual, I was not happy with the results as I sewed the parts together, partly because of the stuffing problem, but as he reached completion, he turned out as cute as could be. His ears made all the difference. When I attached the ears, he took on his own personality and his cuteness really popped. I want to make another monkey though and see if I can get the rag doll look I was going for. This monkey’s pattern came with a banana pattern. I have not tried it yet but I will. He needs a banana. He also needs a name and a home. Any suggestions?

Outgrown

Does anyone remember the monkey applique blog post I did several months ago? Well, the mother of the little girl who received the shirt with the applique on it, told me the other day that her little girl was quite distressed because she was unable to wear the shirt any longer. She said that not only is it getting too hot to wear a sweat shirt, but that she is starting to out grow the shirt and it will definitely not fit her next year.

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It tickles me to find out that something I have made is being worn and liked, so I went home and found some fabric to make a summer monkey shirt. This yellow piece of fabric has been hanging out it the stash to be made into sleepers, but I had plenty for t-shirts as well. I cut a size larger than I think the she is but cut it a little shorter. I wanted to make sure it would fit her well.

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I chose a different monkey applique for the front of this shirt than the last one. I learned a lot from the first monkey applique I did. I applied those lessons to this applique, and then I learned a couple of more things along the way. The thing that I learned the most was that I needed to practice doing appliques, to perfect the technique. Good thing I have more monkey appliques to try it out with. The applique turned out too cute. The rest of the construction of the shirt was very straight forward and I am pleased the the results. I am so excited to give the shirt to the little neighbor girl.

Unlike sleepers, I do believe that if you are making one kid’s t-shirt, it is just as easy to make two, so you can sew from one to the next. With that in mind, I cut and made a second yellow kid’s t-shirt. I put this Woodstock design on the second shirt because it is one of those designs I have always wanted to try but did not have anything to put it on and it is a summer design. I did not have enough ribbing for the sleeves in the particle blue color I used for the neck, so I just hemmed the sleeves instead. I wish I would have known this when I cut out the shirt. I would have just cut the sleeves a little longer for the hem. All in all, the second t-shirt is just too cute too.

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I love to sew kid’s clothes. They are just way too fun to make and I can be as creative as I want with them, plus fit is generally not as much of an issue as clothes for adults. Making these two t-shirts has me excited to sew more of them.