Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Heeeeere's Clucky!

I know, I know, it's been ages since I announced this one. I took way too long getting it done. Fabric selection* was a big part of that, (choose the main fabric, and then let that dictate the rest of the color choices) but once I'd settled the question, it should have gone together pretty fast.
Melly and Me does great patterns. I especially love how she did this beak! At first, I wondered why you'd want the weird shape you get when you sew together two of the beak pieces, but once I set it against the face, I could see where she was going with it.
see how it does that little pointy bit on the sides? and how the seam makes it look like she could open her beak? LOVE it!
I started the sewing up by doing the little chicks first. I sorta felt like I wasn't getting anywhere, and I was still puzzling over how I was going to do the tail and comb (I didn't want to use fusible interfacing on this for the stiffness, because I have my own method for that - I use a layer of thin batting, sewn in when I sew up the two pieces). On pieces like the wings, that's just one layer, because the inner side of the wing doesn't need the padding, so that's easy. But on the tail and such, it needed to have it on both sides. I finally figured out that I could sew it together with one layer of batting on the bottom, and then flip it over and sew it again, following my stitching, to attach the second layer. Worked out well. 

I was a little confused at how she did the chicks beaks, because it wasn't quite looking like her drawings. I finally figured out it what she was getting at, and it's pretty clever. Here's how my pieces looked when I folded them up:

And then when I inserted them into the opening:
That's the raw edges sticking out to the right, with the folded bits inside, so they'll be on the outside when it's turned right side out.

And here's some pics of how I do the layer of batting sewn in:
When I work with smaller pieces, I don't generally leave an opening along the stitching line, like you would with larger pieces, because it's really difficult to turn them and then get that opening sewn up just right. If this had been a piece you would see from both sides, I couldn't have done it this way, but as these would end up being sewn directly to the chicks body, I could hide the sewn-up slit easily.
You sew it up all the way around the edges, and then cut a slit in ONE layer (the batting is on the other side here). Clip your curves as usual, and then turn it right sides out through the little slit.
Then you just overcast the slit closed. I didn't need to put any stuffing in there because I'd already sewn in a layer of batting. Make sense?
I did the momma wings almost the same way, except I turned them through an opening left along the side, because they're much bigger.
I elected to use a little pouch of poly pellets to keep my chicken upright, instead of the cardboard insert she suggests. I like that it's washable and flexible. I used the base piece again and cut out two layers of muslin (any fabric scrap will do - you won't see it) and stitched those together using 1/4" seam allowance. I left a small opening, which I then put a funnel into to fill it up with the pellets.
Stitch up the hole, and that's it. No need to turn this, as it will be totally enclosed in the chicken. Just slip it in through the opening in the base (after you stuff the rest of the chicken), settle it into place so it's where it should be, and sew up the opening.
FYI, not all the pieces have the seam allowance included. You have to pay attention to her (4 page!) directions, because some of the pieces will be cut out and then sewn together, and others are to be drawn on the fabric, sewn on the line, and then cut out. That's not unusual, exactly, but I finally labeled my pattern pieces because I was getting confused.
The directions for this one are so long, at one point, I considered checking off the bits of directions as I'd done them. It doesn't tell you that you've left off working on the momma when you start up the chicks, it just starts up with the little baby beaks, so I got a little lost.
Although, I suppose, if I'd done this in the right order, it would have made more sense.

Anyway, she's done, and I think she's pretty cute. I'm dying to use this beak on something else, too. So very clever!

*main fabric is Free Spirit by MoMo, wings are Rosemarie Lavin for Moda,  the rest were just whatever, all from my stash


Daffodil Fairy said...

I am just about to make this cute mother hen and chickens for my granddaughter for Christmas and I have read your blog about how you made your Mother Hen. As I am a fairly new soft toy maker I am going to bookmark your comments as I am sure I will be needing a little bit of help along the way!! I hope my creation turns out as nice as yours .....

bookette said...

Just take it slow and it should turn out fine. And don't overstuff. Overstuffing is a common problem when you're first starting to make soft toys. My first attempts could hurt people, they were so hard.
feel free to contact me if you have any questions along the way!

Daffodil Fairy said...

Thanks for your advice I will let you know how I get on and will contact you if there are any questions.