Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Meet Whally

My apologies for getting you all excited and then delaying the update. I was waiting on a decent camera with which to capture the squeal-worthy loveliness of my new friends. I have been busy since last we spoke, sketching and designing and stitching and such.

Here is the first of my menagerie:

Meet Whally! Whally enjoys poking around the arctic waters with his ivory horn, making friends with fishies and sometimes eating them accidentally. He propels himself through the icy sea with his powerful tail and likes to flap his stumpy fins when he’s happy.

I couldn’t have imagined anything better would come of my little sketches when Whally finally came into being. I still can’t look at him without squealing. Surprisingly, it looks like the first pattern I drafted for him won’t need any changes at all. He was surprisingly simple to make, although he did take a few hours.

I searched my fabric/old clothes stash and found some hefty grey twill for his body that went perfectly with some striped upholstery fabric for his belly, both of which I bought at the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse (a place I will probably mention quite a few times in this blog) a while ago. I was sort of planning on making pillows or curtains out of this, but Whally was definitely a superior choice.

After choosing fabric, I looked at my sketch and drafted a pattern on some of that paper that comes in shipped boxes sometimes…I like that it’s big enough for pattern-making and also recycled and free! I haven’t made many patterns of my own, but I have learned a ton from making stuffies from patterns and tutorials I find online. For instance, I could see that Whally’s shape could use some of the principles of these fabric birds from Spool’s free pattern. If I were to give some advice to people who want to start making their own stuffies, I’d say make several from others’ patterns first. That way you acquire valuable skills you can apply to your own designs!

The horn was probably the most difficult part, as I knew I wanted it to be sturdy enough to stand out from his head like, well, a horn (apparently on Narwhals they’re called “tusks,” but we all know that since they’re the unicorns of the sea, they have horns). I decided to roll up some felt into a cone shape and sew that together, and it was fairly simple once I figured out what shape to cut the felt so that it would roll into that cone shape. Next time, I may add some ribbon in a spiral pattern to get a different effect.

Overall, I think Whally is a great success, and I’m happy to have a new friend around to cuddle. I plan on updating you on the other friends I’ve made very shortly, so check back soon!

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