Monday, July 16, 2012

GRRR! Meet a scrappy girl.

Yeah, yeah.  I have things I should be finishing (the tattooed boy doll, the cylindrical robot) and things I have somewhat planned out (the egge laying hen, monkey doll) but what did I go and make this weekend?



Her name is Kenneth.

Yes, you read that right.  HER name is Kenneth.

When I was working on her the name just popped into my head but the fabric pattern and colors just weren't classically "boy" to me and, well, I tend do make to many "male" critters so I needed another girl.

She's definitely a girl.  So I'm thinking her parents named her when she was still an egg and they were convinced she'd be a boy, so. . .Kenneth.

You can call her Kennie (if you'd like--but she really enjoys the "huh?" looks folks get when she tells them Kenneth).

Kenneth is (yet another) pattern from the "Wee Wonderfuls" book.  At this point I'm pretty much resigned to the fact that I'm going to make pretty much everything from that book.  (side note:  there are only about three patterns in the book that just do ZERO for me--one is the dolls made using wooden spoons *yawn*, the little felt train *yawn*, and this one doll/blanket combo where the blanket doesn't interest me and the dolls are kind of *yawn*, too--I might make that one someday but it's not high on my list).



I was worried this pattern would be annoying but it wasn't (well, one part was but I'll get to that in a minute).  It's two side pieces with one long gusset/middle piece.  I was worried it would be too wrinkled/bunchy but there are only a few gathered spots that aren't super bulgy or distracting to the overall quality of the item.

NOTE:  This isn't a flaw of the pattern but more my sewing skills/patience.  My skills have gotten better so the body construction went better than they would have a few months ago (I would have thrown a hissy fit).

The only part of the pattern that gave me a hard time (and it was due to my lack of skill) was attaching the bottom.

(Poor Kenneth, she has to show us her bum now--she's such a trooper).




It's not a complete and total fail but it's not very nice and neat, either.  I should have just hand sewn the bottom but I went balls to the wall and put it through the machine.  When I got to the junction where the leg seams hit the bottom piece, it got ugly (and a thread ball was born when the machine got a fabric wedgie and. . .yeah, it was ugly).

I managed to get it stitched up in my own half assed way.  I only had one seam issue (where I had to stitch closed a bit of a gap/hole after turning).  I was worried that I had caught the edge of the leg seams (the seam allowance/extra) and it wouldn't turn properly so I took my embroidery scissors and cut it apart (in the tiny space between the leg seam and the butt/body seam).  Tha's what resulted in the one little gap/hole (you can see it in the bottom of the two pics).

It also didn't help that I altered the materials called for and used felt for the underbelly piece.  The pattern calls for two pieces of cotton stitched together on the wrong side then turned.  I thought I was all clever using felt (only one piece needed, no sewing and turning!) but I forgot to take into consideration the built in 1/4 inch seam allowance.  So when I cut my felt directly from the pattern, it was set to be too large for the finished product.  So that's why Kenneth has as rather large underbelly.  It took me about an hour to realize that's what the problem was (and felt like a super genius when I did).

I'd probably make this pattern again but NOT just for myself (I don't really want another of these dolls for my own collection).  The pattern isn't overly complicated and now that I've done it once I know where my weaknesses are so I can work around them to make an even cuter (and neater) finished product.

This being my third project completed from "Wee Wonderfuls", I have just ONE critique.

The patterns aren't frugal when it comes to fabric NOR do they mention how to be frugal with fabric.  I understand that it's better to over estimate fabric needs in the supplies list (and sometimes you have to use more fabric for fabrics like fur or corduroy where you have to worry about the direction of the nap).  But there is no mention of how to be more conservative with fabrics.

Examples?

The diagrams for the mermaid dolls show how to trace the pattern onto a double layer of fabric then sew on the line.  Yes, this is an easier method for the small pieces (and a great tip) BUT the diagram doesn't show the pattern put up close to the edge of the fabric to conserve.  Nor is there any mention in the book about how to place pattern pieces to get the most from your fabric (without skimping on the final product).

And in the case of the dinosaur pattern, there is no mention that you could use plain fabrics (not corduroy) which would mean you could use LESS fabric.  (ok, I'll admit, that's a nit picky critique--but a quick "if you don't use corduroy, less fabric may be required" would be nice).

Since I didn't use corduroy (which made the grain of the fabric less of an issue) I was able to make Kenneth with just a large scrap of fabric I had on hand (it was about 18 x 44--that's a guess, I did measure it but don't remember the numbers now).  I got both side pieces, the three tail pieces, and the butt piece out of a scrap about 10 x 22 (all followed the grain).  Not quite enough to get the long gusset piece from the bottom BUT I had enough width to get that long strip from the other "half" of the scrap and STILL have decent "scrap scraps" left over.  (I didn't follow the grain for the long gusset and had no issues with fraying or weird stretch or any of that--probably because the piece was wide enough).

Again, it's just a nit picky critique but I'd love the book even more if it mentioned how to be frugal (since I'm a cheapskate when it comes to fabric).

Oh, and for the record, the fabric came from one of the JAQs fabric scrap bundles.  So Kenneth is now the fifth item I've made from JAQs scraps (other items:  shh tiny pillow, two mermaids, and small bag).  Kenneth is also the largest item made from scraps, too.

Lets hear it for scraps!!

Up next? 

Yeah, I should get to those lingering projects but I kind of want to try my hand at patchwork.  There's a really cute alligator and tortoise in another book I have but you have to patchwork fabric together to use for the pattern pieces.  Could that be my gateway to making quilts? 


11 comments:

  1. Seriously! This is sooo stinking adorable I can't stand it! Thanks so much for sharing with the Pink Hippo Party.. I am your newest follower~
    Hope you hop on over tomorrow for my under 300 followers blog hop!
    xoxo
    Amie @ Pinkapotamus

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  2. How cute! Kenneth is an adorable little girl! Thanks for sharing.
    Quilting at the River Linky Party Tuesday

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  3. This is precious! I want one! :)

    You could seriously sell these.

    Thanks for linking up at the Happy Hello this week!

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  4. Really cute - the fabric really makes her stand out. And I know what you mean about conservative cutting - can't count how many patterns I've used that have called for way more fabric than is actually needed (which really bumps up the price too!). Thanks for linking to Craftastic Monday at Sew Can Do:)

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  5. Such clever use of fabric and design. Congratulations and Whoop! Whoop!

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  6. What a fab dinosaur, she's so cute! And Kenneth is the perfect name for her.

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  7. Kenneth is adorable!!! I love her and just want to cuddle her! Hehe :)
    Consider me your newest follower from Cass Can Sew! I'd love for you to stop by sometime :)

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  8. Adorable! and I love the name!

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  9. What a super adorable little huggy guy Oh I mean gal, Lol! Love the fact you named her. All kids (and even so of us adults) love dinosaurs. Great job!
    Thank you for sharing at Freedom Fridays.

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  10. Kenneth is so cute I want her to come live at my house!! I may just have to get the book and make one of my own. Whoop whoop!!

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