Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Single Sock Dog Tutorial

I love these little guys and think I should spread the love. They are quite easy and are soooo soft and cuddly when they are done its ridiculously difficult to give them away.
You will need:
  • one stray sock (OK! so, technically, this isn't a stray since I bought a whole lot on ebay just for this purpose, but go with me here)
  • some fleece for the foot pads and the underside of the ears (a really small bit will do, no larger than an A5 sheet is needed, and it can also be cotton or another sock or and old t-shirt etc)
  • two buttons for the eyes and a third larger one for the nose
  • a bit of brown felt for the eye surrounds (this is optional and can also be any other type of material you can scavenge, you could probably paint both these and the eyes on if you're worried your sewing may be dislodged by a baby etc.)
  • some stuffing (I used fibre fill but really any old scraps are fine, try an old lumpy pillow for example)
  • a pair of scissors
  • some thread in a co-coordinating colour.
To begin get yourself a sock. I like the way that these argyl socks look on the puppy but it really can be any kind.

Then cut the sock like so:

The portion to the left is the legs, the middle is the body and head and the right is the tail and ears.
Take the middle section, turn inside out, and gather and sew the right most side closed (the non-stripey side in this photo).

The easiest method for me is to run some medium stitches all the way around then pull to gather and sew some stitches across the opening to secure shut. Flip right way around and secure on the larger button for the nose.
Notice how the heel of the original sock is going to be the forehead of our puppy. Stuff with filling. Because I'm using fibre fill and I don't want to make him too firm I softly sculpt the filling in my hands before I place it inside him. This way I can make three distinct balls, 1 for his nose, his forehead and his body. This is important a bit later when we create his neck.

Gather the bum end closed using the same method as above. Don't worry too much about hiding your rough edges as we'll sew his tail over this area later. Right! Thats the body done. Have a cup of tea and congratulate yourself on a job half done.

When you're ready, take the remaining bits from above and cut to look like this:
(Note, the remains are in the same order the first cuts we made above if you are uncertain). The sections marked back legs, front legs and tail are tubes and the section called ears is a pocket.
Next, cut like so
Each of the back legs and front legs is folded double. The tail is two pieces and the ears are single pieces to show the shapes.
OK-slight shortage of photo's here but do this
  • Placing wrong sides together, sew along the outside of the tail leaving the bottom open, turn right way.  (Note, tail can be made out of fleece too if prefer). Sew the bottom edge of the tail around the gather of the bum of the puppy, hiding the gather edges.

  • Cut 2 pieces of corresponding fleece for ears. Taking a piece of fleece and a piece of sock- turn right sides together and sew leaving only a small hole for turning right way. Turn right way out and slip stitch hole closed. Put aside
  • Sew down the long sides of the back and front legs to make tubes. Cut circles out of your fleece that will cap the ends of these tubes and sew 1 onto each of the four legs. To sculpt back legs, fold "foot" up to "leg" section and stitch v closed. In the photo below the yellow lines are brought together and stiched together and the red line is the crease that is folded into the leg.

The photo below shows the effect you're going for with the back legs.
Take assorted body parts and stitch to body. Like so:

To make the eyes cut a circle of felt slightly larger than your buttons and sew behind the button when attaching. I like to put one or two stitches from the eyes to the ears to permanently sculpt the forehead but I'm not sure its absolutely necessary. At this point sew a row of medium stitches right around the neck and gather slightly to add definition between the head and the body.

 And that's it! Love your puppy and look forward to stray socks in the future!

(P.S. Don't feel like sewing? Click here to buy them in the Little Black Teapot Shop )

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Dragonfly Designs 

Some lovely people sent me photo's of their versions of this project. View it at Single Sock Dog Update.
Happy crafting!

Every Boy is a Super Hero

Whipped this up (love using this phrase- makes it seem so effortless and amazing instead of the heartache sweat and tears that actually accompany a creative endeavor!) for my Godson. He seems to be really into super heroes and space this week. And since his last birthday kinda snuck up on us and we shamefully gave him money in a card this year I am totally justified in making another present, albeit months late.

Whilst this doesn't justify a full tutorial they are so simple that with a few pointers you can be on your way!
First I started with some very cheap and simple cotton as the base, cut the shape on the fold to get it symmetrical and hemmed all around ( I actually toyed with the idea of lining it and then remembered it was for a rough and tumble boy.) Next I added the ties which were simply long strips folded like bias binding then top stitched.

I fused interfacing to the letters since I didn't feel like using a close satin stitch would be appropriate (read: it takes too long and I'm lazy). This way the logo bits won't fray and the stitching is for placement only.
Here is a closer look at that stiching from behind:

Notice how my machine had a small hiccup with the bobbin thread that resulted in some super odd zigzag. I'm sure he won't care (well, I'm hoping he won't).

I then made him a mask which was just a single layer of cotton, trimmed in red bias binging with a bit of elastic sewn to the sides. I had to use some red embroidery thread around the eyes to stop the fraying becoming too ridiculous and I suspect that I should have used felt for the entire mask instead. This would mean absolutely no seams to worry about. But it wouldn't have matched perfectly. Sigh. maybe next time I'll come up with a genius plan.
Anyway, for all my self doubt, his mum told me that he loves it and wore it to the cinema today so I count this as a success!

Sunday, 18 July 2010

My reconstructed shirt

Wow I'm afraid of making clothes. Especially tops. Its ridiculous but I'm terrified. And its not unjustified too. Just before dh returned from Peru I attempted a black jersey knit top that failed so horribly i can't bring myself to open the plastic bag that I stuffed it and its sorry remains into. It will just continue to live in my material stash accusingly till it drives me out of my mind. (see? Irrational.). I'm not sure what I was thinking but the jersey knit was the thicker "I should be shorts" type and not the "I'll drape beautifully and cover you sewing mistakes" type. The joys of buying fabric on ebay are never more apparent than when a package arrives and it is nothing like you were hoping for.
To make myself feel better I found a tutorial for reconstructing a men's formal dress shirt into a pretty peasant top. In theory this would be better since it was mostly gathering and shapelessness anyway right?
So with the help of this tutorial, and a visit the a Help the Aged charity store, I give you my peasant top.

I replaced the buttons with blue ones and edged the sleeves in a patterned cotton. Its not a great fit and still a bit starchy and not nearly as soft and flowy as I imagined but it gave me hope for my clothes making future.

And hope has led me to follow some great web advice and cut out a top using one I already love that fits perfectly. Surprisingly (for me!) this simple idea worked and I know have a great black top that has proven to me that I can do this! Will get dh to take pics tomorrow so I can prove to the anonymous internet that I can do it too! Now if I can only stop myself from buying vast amounts of fabric for all these clothes that teem in my imagination...

Make me famous!