For all of my DIY adventures, I am still not much of the crafting type, but I get all nostalgic around babies, and think about how many great homemade dolls and stuffed animals I had growing up, and how those are the ones that all meant the most to me. (Though my cornsilk hair Cabbage Patch Kid "Mildred" was pretty much the bomb, too. And in first grade I was inseparable from my store-bought stuffed bunny that I named Easter... ah, childhood.)
For readers who go way back with me, you might recall the first stuffed animal I attempted, about a year and a half ago -- a blue, twisty-armed monster who was later named "Sully" by his owner, my nephew.
Sully is a little scary looking, both because he's baring those sharp, scary teeth (ha!), and because, well, he looks like the first stuffed animal that someone ever attempted. His eyeballs are totally crooked, and the whites of the eyes are slightly different sizes. Whoops! At least I can report that he's holding up extremely well considering the rough treatment that two-year-old boys tend to give their toys.
So I decided to give it another go, this time for a girl baby named Lucy. Since this one would be a she-Sully, let's call her Sally.
Sally started out as two flat pieces of fabric cut from the same pattern kit as Sully, though with shorter, pigeon-toed legs, shorter arms and different ears. I was going for a smaller, girlier toy, so those choices made more sense. Didn't hurt that they also required less fabric.
After cutting everything out, the next step was doing the face. I tried out lots of different arrangements for the eyes, whether to have a nose or pink cheeks (in the end I decided yes and cut out a little heart nose from pink felt), and then had to decide on the mouth.
A smile for sure, not a scary, teeth-baring grin, but how big? The pattern gave me some choices...
I decided that the smaller, more sharply arced mouth was the cutest, and picked that one. Unfortunately, with this heavy fur fabric I used, it's much easier said than done embroidering something as simple as a little mouth. But I got it to mostly work, and the end result is... acceptable.
It's a little crooked, but hey, what real person's smile isn't a little crooked? I also reinforced the felt appliques with a few stitches of clear polyester thread, so that little prying hands wouldn't make quick work of removing Sally's face.
As for the sewing part, I did discover that sewing it together with the presser foot raised instead of lowered made it much easier to get the thick fur through without continually jamming the machine (which happened last time), but it also meant that the result was a little more freehand looking.
Yeah, those feet are different shapes. And the arms just might be slightly different lengths too. Sigh.
So, even though I think that Sally's face is a big improvement over Sully's, I'm clearly still a beginner at this. But here's hoping that Sally doesn't have a face only a mother could love. She's still soft and uber snuggly, so if an almost-one-year-old can love her too, then it's all worth it.
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