Saturday, January 15, 2011

No Machine Sewing Project: Fernando the Bunny Stuffed Animal

We might have been a little punchy after 6 hours of sewing, but my sister and I decided that we could do this sewing thing all the time!  We could turn out stuffed animals everyday!  We'd make awesome gifts for friends and family!  We'd be the queens of stuffed animals!  Emboldened by our small kitty bat success, I decided to make my daughter a bunny that same night.

I made my own pattern, based loosely on the one I'd just used.  To make the pattern I took a piece of standard size construction paper, folded it in half and sketched the outline of half a bunny (like you probably did as a kid making paper hearts).  I then sketched around it about an inch for cutting line, using the original sketched line as the sewing line.   I cut it out on the fold and presto!


Yes.  He is pink.  And named Fernando.  Don't hate!

Yeah, he didn't turn out so well.   

Honestly, he looked better at first.  I swear!  But he's had some accidents and has had more then a few emergency hole closing surgeries.  His head in particular has not fared well.  I also got a little lazy on some of surgeries and patched him up haphazardly. Plus, I didn't have any pink thread.

Here's the thing, I chose the wrong materials.  His front here is made from a toddler's stretchy knit sweater which isn't very stable, it wanted to unravel as soon as I cut it.  The back is a soft, thin corduroy which I think would have worked better without the pinto beans stressing the stitches, but even it wasn't really a good choice.  (The tail is a ruffle from the sweater twisted on itself).  Stuffed animals need to be soft, but they need some structure too.  In any event, the pinto beans which had worked so great for our first project failed here.  Fernando needed soft cotton fluff. Beans have escaped on many occasions from where the sweater material has pulled away from the seams. The holes make him a hazard around my two preschoolers.  They aren't likely to try to eat them or anything but they aren't above making a huge mess if given hundreds of beans. 

Evidence of his many fixed holes and an escaped pinto.  Poor Fernando!

Notes on the project:
-pattern making for a simple shape like this is not hard at all.  I encourage everyone to try doing it for themselves.  Just make sure there isn't too much detail, for instance the puffing out at his cheeks didn't show up at all in the final project because I didn't stitch straight enough. 

-again, cut the corners.  I turned him wrong side out a couple of times and "graded the seams" although I had no idea that's what I was doing at the time, in order for his arms and legs to have better definition by trimming away the extra material along the stitches.

-without the right fabrics, don't even bother, it'll be more hassle then it is worth. 

-don't sew when you are tired.  My hands were sore from hand sewing the kitty bat and it showed here. My stitch length was way wider and I'm sure that's part of the reason for all the seam weakness and lost beans.

-cost was $0 and about 3-4 hours. Materials were all recycled. 

Verdict:  Fernando the Bunny might be renamed Fernando the Learning Experience.  Not pleased with how he turned out in the end, but hey, he was only the second thing I'd ever sewn like this and he is kind of cute in a Frankenstein kind of way...  my daughter loved him even if she didn't get to play with him much.

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