Well, that sleeve pattern is still eluding me. But in my defense, have you seen this?
It's been a bit of an obsession this week. a) i wanted to get it done since my friend has been waiting for this and b) i wanted this *#@&))!* fur out of my studio. You know, two years ago i made a monkey costume for my son that was a similar fabric, and i vowed on all that was holy (that being kahlua and girl scout Thin Mints) that i would NEVER, EVER, NEVER, NOT IF THE DALAI LAMA ASKED ME DIRECTLY, work with this material again!
And then there it was. While searching for the right fabric, and failing, it gleamed and beckoned, like Excalibur being held by the Lady of the Lake. Ok, so strange women, lying in ponds distributing fabric is no system for baby blanket creation. But still, look at it! I mean, how perfect is perfect? (and it was on sale!)
This piece was work, don't doubt me on that. I used the Sew Baby pattern for Towel cover-ups, modifying the bear pattern. modifying...let me think...let's change that to completely altering and then creating from scratch. Ok, i used the eyes. And the method for attaching the hood. But the rest of it is mine all mine.
First was the fact that i was not using towels and washcloths as the pattern indicates. I had to create my own with the fur and flannel. I tried first, like a n00b to just sew the fur & flannel right sides together and then turn. WRONG. I must mention here that not only does this fur deposit little fuzzies EVERYWHERE, but it's a stretchy material with a heavy nap that will shift and stretch. That first piece sewn together and turned looked like a jr. high home ec. project. So i had to come at this different.
I cut a piece of flannel the size i wanted for the "towel" and then turned in and pressed the edges as if i were going to hem it. Then i cut a similar sized piece of the fur and laid in on top--wrong side to wrong side. Then i carefully turned the edge in and pinned it to the flannel. Little by little until it was all pinned and turned in. Then i brought it over to my economy model machine and sewed a straight line--slowly and methodically. Luckily the nap of the fur pretty much hid the seam.
I should mention here that i chose to use my economy machine because my machine that also does embroidery was otherwise occupied. I did try to bring in this machine later for the embroidery on the face but had to go back to the economy machine because my fancy schmancy machine couldn't handle the materials...friggin machines!
Anyway, as far as the hood goes, I tried to use the bear pattern and "modify" it to make it like a lion, but in the end, it looked like a rabbit. The cheeks were too big and round. So i have to look at some lions and figure out the whole snout/nose/cheeks layout. Once that happened though, it came together fairly easily. I did use the eyes for the pattern, and just made the ears smaller.
the mane. I tried three or four different methods until i realized that i would have to do this by hand. I need to mention here, i hate hand sewing. If there is a way to do it with my machine, i will find a way. I always feel like hand sewn stuff looks sloppy--probably because my hand-sewing is sloppy. But i sat down with the hood over my knee and wound the rayon ribbon back and forth, tacking it down on each turn. Then i covered that with some ric-rac to cover my ugly hand stitches.
Once that hood was done--which is what took up most of my week, the rest came together fairly easily.
This was definitely a challenging project. But it was good for my creativity. It forced me out of my box a little, and challenged my patience. But it was also good for me to get into my studio this week and quit wallowing in my own issues. I had just been discussing with a friend yesterday that it was a good thing i was a musician through high school because it served as an outlet for my anger/frustration/confusion/ISSUES. With all that is going on with Ben and the school district, i needed this project to force me to get back to work and get back to life.
Lessons learned this week:
- I need to embrace my Monty Python sensibilities.
- I never want to work with this material AGAIN.
- Simpler sewing machines will always get the job done.
- Creative outlets are more than just a hobby--they can be therapy as well.
- I need to charge an exorbitant amount for this next time, so no one will want it...
- I NEVER WANT TO WORK WITH THIS MATERIAL AGAIN.