Thursday, February 7, 2013

For a swap: Wizard of Oz Scarecrow Dotee

First up, there will be no update on my paintings today because my car is in the shop so I didn't go to painting this week.

OK, now. . .

Another day, another dotee.

Instead of painting last night, I finished the Scarecrow Dotee for the Wizard of Oz series of swaps I'm currently in.

I was going to just show the whole Oz set (I made and received) once the series was over but I changed my mind.  I forgot to take pictures of the first in the set (Tinman) but I did get some from the woman who received him but I have to download them from my phone and all that (and I don't have time to get that done just now).  So I'll show off the Tinman I made maybe tomorrow.

Today is for showing off:

The Scarecrow.

I freely admit, I'm abusing the gingerbread man shape I have.  It's just necessary for some designs.  Yes, I could have made this dotee in a more classic dotee shape (like a bowling bin shape) but I wanted more detail.  (I plan to make more "classic" dotees for some of the other characters in the series).

I also freely admit that this dotee is more than a little bit creepy.  Creepy wasn't what I was going for (I was aiming for "neutral" vs my go to of "cute") but I'm not upset that creepy came to the forefront.

It's hard NOT to be a little bit creepy when you have an exposed brain.  Funny how that works out.

I had to have a brain element to this dotee.  That was a HUGE thing for me.  The need for a brain is what drove me to use the gingerbread man outline again.  It was easy to make a brain on the top of the gingerbread head.  Ok, not "easy", it took a ton of steps but it was easier than using an original shape.

This dotee took a lot of time.  I knew it would since I had high expectations for it.  I wanted a visible brain, I wanted embroidered elements, I wanted different fabrics for the body and clothes.  I was asking a lot so I had to give it time to come together.

I mucked up the first few stabs at it as I figured out the right combination of fabrics and techniques.  At first I thought I could do it as patchwork.  Just sew a piece of shirt fabric to pants fabric and then cut out the body shape (sans hands, feet, head).  Then patchwork on the body fabric and go from there.  But that quickly proved to be the wrong method. 

Then I moved on to heat and bond.  I figured I'd bond each element (body colors, shirt, pants) and then fuse them to a base fabric.  That was closer to what I wanted but I didn't really need to make body color pieces.  Instead, I could just add some fusible bond to linen and let the linen color be the body color.  Then heat and bond the clothing fabrics (and brain fabric) to the reinforced linen.  That worked well.  BUT. . .

I wanted a "jaggy" edge along the neckline.  So I had to make the head pieces separate from the body then re-attach them to the body pieces after I had all the embellishments on.

So that's what I did.  I fused the brain fabric to the tops of the head pieces and then added the facial features and brain squiggles (all embroidered).  This is where the re-inforced linen was a good move.  It was super easy to embroider the facial features with a bit more structure to the fabric.  Once all the embroidery was on, I sewed the two head pieces together.  Actually, I embroidered the face then (as I was adding the brain squiggles) I used the pink floss to sew the pink edges of the brain/head together and attach the hanger.  Then I switched back to the ecru floss and sewed the back head piece to the back body piece then sewed up one side (attaching the back head to the front head).  As I sewed around I ended up attaching the front head to the front body then could just sew the two bodies together.

The brain fabric is flannel.  So my scarecrow has a fuzzy brain!

Before sewing the body together, I added the buttons on th shirt (easier that way).  Then I sewed and stuffed the body, completey forgetting the tail as I went.  So I had to add the tail after the fact.  But I managed to attach it neatly enough that it doesn't have big visible stitches.  I used my tried and true jingle bell for the tail.  It seemed right that a scarecrow would have something noisy on him, you know, to scare crows.

After it was all stuffed I also added the rope style belt, which instantly turned my scarecrow into Jethro Clampett.  The belt does have a stitch or two on each side to keep it attached to the body.

Then I thought I was done but realized my poor scarecrow needed a hat to cover his exposed brain lest the birds eat it.  So I had to improve a hat from some felt.  I like that it kind of doesn't fit his new, fuller thanks to his new brain, head.

All in all, I'm very pleased with this dotee.  My right ring finger is not.  I tend to push the needle through with the edge of my right ring finger (near the nail) and it's sore today.  Stitching through the fused fabric took a bit of effort but it was worth it (and I should invest in a thimble!).

I'm excited to have this one done.  It was bogging me down creatively but I'm very pleased with the final result and I got to play around with some techniques I haven't used much (like fusible web on the linen and the heat and bond stuff).  I also LOVE making stem stitches so stitching the brain was very fun.

Next up is the dotee I've been looking forward to making.  HAT DOTEE!!

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