Hello and Happy Friday! Wouldja look at that, another post so quickly following the last. Amazing. Actually, this is just a quickie post to catalog my experience with a new craft book, Handmade Animal Dolls, by Melissa Lowry. (By the way, I'm not on some kind of promo tour. No one "reached out" or "offered to collaborate" with me. I just had a baby shower to go to and wanted to make a cute baby gift.)
First off, the book is so stinkin' cute. It includes 20 animal patterns, from simple to complex with all kinds of animals such as sloths, koalas, pandas, badgers, etc. I had SO much fun just looking through all the adorable patterns. For the past 7 or 8 years (at least), I've eschewed buying craft/sewing books due to both money- and space-saving concerns. I live two blocks away from a great library, from which I can reserve for pick-up any books I want from the City of San Francisco's collection. However, since this is a new book and I had a party to go to, I went ahead and bit the bullet. I have lots of felt leftover, and it's great for scraps, so I'm hoping to make some more animals around the holidays. Maybe the People's Sewing Army will coordinate a mission for kids in need where I can participate.
The book is divided into three sections, starting from small and simple to larger and more complex. I chose from the middle section. It makes for a small toy, approximately 10 inches, which is a good size for babies and toddlers. Sewing the pieces together was very straightforward, but, man-oh-man, were those 1/8 " seam allowances tough. I was quite happy to return to 3/8 and 5/8 SAs afterwards.
I was delighted to discover that the parents-to-be had chosen a pink and gold theme because I happened to have some small pieces in my stash that were perfect. The body is made from a pink with gold polka dot cotton from Fabric Worm that I bought ages ago. The skirt is made from the softest, smoothest organic cotton lawn with an early Lisa Congdon design. I bought both pieces back before I had really come to understand my personal palette preferences (say that three times fast). I also had bought such a small quantity, that I couldn't really do much with them.
The facial features (eyes, nose, mouth) are created by felting on wool roving so as to avoid any small parts that could fall off, be swallowed, etc. I was a little intimidated since I'd never felted before—and the book doesn't offer any felting instructions—but it's actually quite easy, and kind of relaxing. I worked on this while sitting in bed on a Sunday morning.
While it's not quite perfect (I can see that one arm is longer than the other), I still think it's sweet.
I made a matching sundress/top because the idea was so cute I just couldn't stand it! The pattern is by ShakaLaka Patterns, which can be found on Etsy. There are options for a dress, top, and romper to choose from. I found the instructions super simple and like that there are no fastenings. My plan was to make a pair of bloomers in the leftover polka dot, but I ran out of time.
So that's a little unselfish sewing for you. I can now go back to making tons of clothes for myself, right? :) Thanks so much for reading and if you're off on Monday like I am, have an awesome long weekend!