Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Work in Progress: Giant Squid

I have a new commission in the works and I've been dragging my feet on one key element.

Drafting a rather large pattern.  (based on THIS free tutorial)

I was a bit worried a mix of things would happen.  Either I'd manage to do it but it would be such a hassle it would sour me on the whole project OR I would just plain out fail.

I'm happy to report I was wrong on both fronts.

And I'm also happy to report I got the whole thing drafted in about two hours and I'm really pleased with the result.

The pictures are rough, I know.  It's an awkward thing to photograph (but I'm happy to report I now have better lighting in my living room--amazing what having a good bulb in all three fixtures will do for you, huh?)

For reference, that line next to it (above the white sheet of paper) is a three foot long metal ruler.  So this bugger is BIG.

That's just the head portion.  It's three parts.  The head, a bottom ring (that attaches the legs to the main head portion), and a fin that attaches to the top of the head (the finished product will have a fin on each side of the head).

I'm very pleased with the overall shape of each element.  The only two parts I need to give a little more attention to are the easier elements.  The bottom ring (pictured) is a bit too small.  I measured it wrong.  But it's only a rectangle, so re making it won't be hard (and I could always just cut the fabric directly given the measurements I don't really "need" a pattern piece for a big rectangle).  I also need to re work the circle piece (that closes off the head/ring portion).  The one I cut is more oval than circle.  If I use a compass to make the next one it should turn out better.

I'm also pleased that I remembered to add a 1/4 inch seam allowance to the measurments given in the tutorial.  The tutorial doesn't give much instruction on the pattern drafting and has the dubious advice to "cut around the pattern leaving extra on the sides".  Uh, no, that's not a true seam allowance.  (but in defense of the tutorial, they used felt for their squid so you can get away with more fast and loose pattern cutting when working with felt, especially if you're going to sew and turn felt, not sew on top).

Now that I have the pattern ready, I'm super excited for the next step.  FABRIC SELECTION.  I'm going to give the buyer the choice to either buy what they want and ship it directly to me or I'll provide a set fabric/supplies quote and I'll buy the fabric I want.  I think they'll prefer I buy what I think is best which makes me very happy.  I'm toying with a brightish green batik for the main parts and a complimentary circle print for the undersides of the tentacles (to mimic suckers).  I've estimated the yardage at 5 total, so I think a fabric/supplies budget of $50 is resonable (that covers fabric with shipping and the five pound box of stuffing needed--I already bought the stuffing when I was able to get it half priced using a Joanne's coupon--even if the project falls through I'll eventually use it).

A question for anyone reading:

What would you charge for the construction of a item this large?  (not including the aforementioned supply budget and shipping).

I'm not looking to make a "living wage" off this but I do want to be fairly compensated (I have a number in my head but I'm curious what others think).


  1. a squid? so unusual! great! I neeeeed to see that!
    ana-marija@carpe_diem via pinkapotamus

  2. I just had to come over and have a look at your squid! I am curious how it will turn out in the end! Love all tentacled things ^^

    How much to charge is always a very difficult question because most of the time you won't be able to really get what all the work is worth out of it... but also don't make the mistake to sell your work (and therefor yourself) too cheap!

    Take the material you need, calculate the shipping and add your working hours... most people tend to cut down their payment for working hours... Think about how much somebody would have to pay you per hour so you would work for him. That will give you a rough idea how much you should charge.

    If you had a look around my blog and found my tiny green monster named "Grummelchen": There is a lot of work which goes into such a tiny plushie, because it is all hadstitched, the pattern is always a one-time-only and also I made the eyeballs and teeth by myself. These little monsters start around 50 euros (comission work only, I am already having some for christmas :))... the more details, the prize goes up. Even this small the heavy felt (Walkloden) is quite expensive but a great quality and it takes a lot of time to get everything together. And even that is a cheap prize to be honest... but this kind of comission work I only make for some persons :)

    Hope that helps you :)