Monday, December 30, 2013

End of 2013 Post

As we wrap up the year, I thought it would be good to go over what has happened this year.

Top 5 posts of 2013

The top blog post of 2013 was the End of February post  where I talked about the poll results and the direction I was hoping to be headed. Funny that 10 months later I am in the SAME position, sick, needing to organize my sewing space, and start on those projects! 

Introducing the pattern poll was a very popular post, which isn't surprising as I posted a link to it on several forums.
I posted a who series on pattern formats, but this post on  (paper) Pattern Covers was very popular. I took a look at other patter types in other posts

With slightly less views was this entry on Pattern Envelope Backs.

In fifth place for view numbers was the post where I announced which of the two corset patterns won the poll. The Skeleton Corset came in first place, in case you didn't know.

Now for the 5 least popular blog posts of 2013, Have you seen these? Why not?

The very least viewed post, when I created an image for sharing about the pattern poll.

Balancing Steps was the post right after the introduction of the poll. In this post I talked more about where I was at than any creating happening.

Food, not Sewing, yes I blogged about cooking once, I am not much of a cook, so there will not be many of these posts at all. This was also the first thing I made from something I pined on Pinterest. I eat Gluten Free and this is still a recipe that I use on a regular basis.

My most recent post has not had many views, likely due to the holidays and the fact that not many would be interested in making a pair of wings for a purchased stuffed pony. I am pleased to report that even though Making Twilight into an Alicorn is not a top post of the year, my Child is very happy with it an that is all that matters.

Spiral Ornaments on my Tree had only a handful of views,  Probably due to the holiday season. It was only my second pattern release.

Well Here is to New and Better things in 2014, I think I need to go tuck myself back into bed now.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Making Twilight into an Alicorn

For Christmas I got my children the 7” My Little Pony plush made by Ty. 

I knew they would want Twilight Sparkle to be an Alicorn (winged unicorn), so I made “Princess” wings for Twilight Sparkle out of polar fleece.

 I spent that last few days sewing these wings up, in plain sight of my children, telling them they were dragon wings (they almost believed me) and then attached them on Christmas Afternoon.

In case you too want to turn your Pony into a Pegasus, here is the pattern for the wings.
The pattern is for PERSONAL USE ONLY

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Spunky Hedgie

As part of my market reserach, I purchased Dolls & Daydreams' Hedgehog pattern to make up for a friend of mine.

While I had brown curly fabric like that shown on the pattern cover, I decided to see what my fabric store had. I ended up getting this fake furn in my friend's colors: Red, Black, & White.

I cut my pattern out with the fur direction going UP, in the hopes that this would give a more spiky look when finished.

Now this fur is long, especially for the size of the pattern, I didn't want extra fur in some places, so I cut off the fur 1/2" inside where the tummy and face would be. To do this I printed out a second pattern piece, cut out the sections that would be covered, drew around that on the back of the fur, then stitched using long stitches on the fur side, short on the back, and carefully found my stitches in the fur and cut off a boarder inside that stitch line.

I don't like using iron on bonding products, preferring to sew, so for the tummy and head, I traced the shapes onto my fabric, stitched on the lines, cut out, made a slash on the back THROUGH ONE LAYER ONLY. Then turned RSO, pressed and stitched down.

I added trim around the belly and decorated her belly with some fabric markers. Her face is also done with fabric markers. The scull on the bow is not a charm or button but a motif from a quilting cotton, It was small and fiddly but I knew it was just the right touch.

This was a gift for my dear friend, But she was sitting around my place for several months. I will however miss seeing this happy face around my house, but I can always make up another, I still have plenty of the fur (and no other idea what to do with it!)

Dolls and Daydreams pattern was clear and simple to follow, being a "flat" doll shape. There were clear step by step instructions. I did change things up a bit, besides the fabric choices (she recommends having the fur going DOWN, which is what you normally do with fake fur, but isn't very hedgehog-like.) I do however prefer to use the template method for small pattern pieces like the arms and legs, which is what I did.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Spiral Ornaments on my Tree

Last pattern for 2013 is this set of 4 spiral ornaments.

This pattern was designed back in November. I participated in a stuffed ornament swap with other soft toy designers, while technically I think they were expecting an animal, this was the design that popped into my head.
I came up with at least 6 different shapes, some didn't work out too well, others were to similar. Each pattern has gone through at least 2 revisions, some more than that!

This is a pattern I couldn't have created quickly without the use of CAD, no it wasn't a 3D model build, but it would have taken FOREVER to do with paper and pen.

There are 4 different ornaments, each has enough variations to distinguish it from the others.

Ornament C was actually the first pattern I developed, it is the most difficult of the lot do to the pattern piece doubling back on itself. It is the longest at 6 1/2" (16.5) long

Ornament A, at 5 1/2" (14cm) long, was then created, I essentially chopped off the center section of the pattern, this is the easiest of the 4 patterns, as it doesn't have as steep of curves. This is why it is listed first, instead of Ornament C

Ornament B followed quickly on the heels of A, but was a totally new draft. I was drawing inspiration from traditional glass ornament shapes. 4" (10cm) long.

Ornament D was created while the pattern went through its first round of testing. I decided I needed a sphere shape to round out the set. You saw this 3" (8cm) sphere in my last post.
This pattern has step by step photos as well as a lot of tips on sewing curves. The general consensus of the pattern testers was that this was NOT a beginners pattern, so it is described as intermediate. There is quite a bit of hand sewing involved in this pattern, so knowledge of hand sewing techniques is required.
This pattern is a good use for scraps as the largest pattern can be made from just three pieces, each measuring  4"x16" (10cmx40.5cm)

I have been able to make one up in an afternoon. I love knowing that my children will not be able to turn these ornaments in to dangerous shards, like they have out glass and plastic ones. I am already planing on making a few more up in other colors for other holidays!

Pattern can be found on Craftsy and in my Etsy Shop at an introductory price of just $6.00USD for the next week. Regular price is $8.00, that is 25%!

There is still time to make something for Christmas, don't put it off too long!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Shapes around us inspire us.

Have you ever looked at an object and wondered how you could make it out of fabric?

I find myself doing this all the time. I have studied banana peels, my own hands, boat hulls, the list goes on.

It is winter here in the Pacific Northwest, which means the grocery stores are carrying Satsumas, Clementines and Mandarin Oranges. We like them as snacks, so easy to peel, portable, relatively seedless and sweet.

Of course we always try to get them unwrapped in one piece, it just makes the eating process more fun!

What do you get when you lay that orange peel flat? Why a Spiral of course!
And that is the inspiration for my newest pattern!

A set of 4 spiral shaped ornaments, here is just one of the shapes.
The pattern has been through one round of testing already and having received feedback, I have improved the pattern shapes and instructions as well as added a fourth shape. I will be calling for a second test on Wednesday. Would you like to sign up to be a pattern tester?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Birthday Give Away

I am wrapping up my brat week here with a give away!

I am giving away 3 copies of my Hippo Birdie Pattern AND 1 Pattern Digitization service of up to 5 pages.

You can enter through Raffle Copter

Even if you don't win, I am still running 30% off EVERYTHING in my etsy shop with the code BRATWEEK30 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Hippo Birdie to ME

I am celebrating my birthday this week!
Earlier in the month I was laying in bed thinking about my last birthday party a few years ago. My dear friend had brought Kinder Happy Hippo Cocoa Biscuits (cookies) and I teased her about not bringing anything bird related and then it could have been Hippo Birdie, which many of you will have ran across on the internet as a birthday greeting (corruption of Happy B-day?)

Inspiration struck and I got out of bed and pull out some visual dictionaries and animal drawing books. I found How to Draw Animals by Jack Hamm to be particularly helpful as it covered hippopotamus.

I drew a rough sketch of what my Hippo-Bird mashup should look like with seam lines and then went to bed, having formed the plan of releasing the pattern as a birthday celebration.

A few days later I did a quick internet search to see if Hippo-Birds were commonly illustrated, and satisfied that there wasn't already an obvious plush pattern on the market, I drew up the pattern pieces and made my mock up, using old sheets.

Mock up 1, which I still have, and will not show you the pictures of was a success for the most part, I did simplify a few things. Out of the 11 pattern pieces, only 1 was unchanged.

I then sewed up the second one out of grey cotton, noticed a few minor tweaks were needed (dart length, seam alignment) I then put my pattern into CAD and cleaned it up. I then scaled it down to be 2/3 of the original size and made up the second one in blue.

Monsieur requested a mustache, I couldn't deny him, it being Movember and all.After making up several felt mustache shapes (too fake, Snydly Whiplash, Kaiser), my husband decided on the final shape and I gave Monsieur his mustache and bow tie.

I then wanted to see how the pattern would translate to Polar Fleece, so I made up Prudence.
There are a few differences in construction between the cotton and fleece versions. The fleece, being a knit sculpts better, however being thicker means that the ears have to be single layer. I also used safety eyes on Prudence to check a different look.

Pattern is now available on Etsy. Also available on Craftsy

One of my favorite things about this pattern is the nostrils! They are created using a tuck dart as a starting point so they truly have depth to them.

All the while I was making these Hippo Birdies I was planing how I would stage the photos.

I used Abby Glassenberg of While She Naps' Tutorial on making Mini Felt Bunting, while at the fabric store I looked for cake or birthday fabric but all I found was some ribbon, which I bought since it went so well with the dots I was going to use for the cupcake wrapper. I made felt party hats, and then the girls got aprons. I also made up a cupcake complete with pink icing and a colorful wraper. Decided it needed a candle as well.

The cupcake is not included in the pattern, it will be part of a forth coming pattern for play food.

Know someone with a birthday coming up and have no clue what to give them? The Hippo Birdie just might be the thing.Pick it up on Craftsy or Etsy

Hippo Birdie to ME

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Pattern Digitization Service

I have decided to offer up my services at pattern digitization.

At this point I am only available to do craft and small accessory patterns  that are scanned in and in JPEG format. Patterns must be on regular size paper and with no pattern pieces overlapping.

The rest of my terms are found here

Here is an example of the differences you will see in a hand drawn to digitized pattern.

This is a pattern for a simple doll I made back in 2004. She was a gift and I never got photos for her.
On the Left is the early pattern I shared with words added in a photo editing program as my handwriting is lacking. On the Right is the recently Digitized pattern.

This is a scan of the two printout and there was no photo editing besides cropping!

It took me an hour to do the whole page, a lot was used up in the facial feature details and text.

I can do several line types, solid, dashed, dotted. different line widths, different line colors. I can use several fonts and letter can come in any height.

Adding seam allowance is a breeze in CAD

If your pattern is too large to fit on the page, I will reconnect the pattern in CAD, then break it back into pieces that fit on a page, this will insure that the piece lines up nicely.

More info can be found in this document, Please download and read thoroughly.

If you are interested I have created a listing on Etsy at an introductory price. Price is PER PAGE so order as many pages as your pattern is.

Since I never had good pictures of the doll, I am making her over, with additional wardrobe and hair styles!
Here is a sneak peek.

I hope to uploaded the doll pattern on Craftsy for free, I will includ both the hand drawn and Digitized patterns so that you can see the difference. You will be able to overlay the pages and looking at how they line up or vary. The biggest difference besides the facial details is that the body is now symmetrical! I originally shared this pattern on a yahoo group I was moderating (now defunct.)

I have a mailing list for those who are interested in this service, It will feature patterns that I have digitized and special offers as well as other useful information for the pattern designer.  You can SIGN UP HERE

Bonus image of the CADing process

Again my TERMS and SERVICES can be found here and the Etsy Listing is HERE

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

My Very Own Little Ponies

My children were Ponies for Halloween.
The boys settled on their characters of Doctor Whooves and Train Engineer a while back and I purchased the necessary fabric.
Daughter did not want to be rainbow dash but instead alternated between Kitty and Fluttershy. I told her that if she wanted to be a kity she could wear last years costume, but if she wanted me to make something new it would be Fluttershy.

So back to the fabric store I went to pick up her fabric.

I ended up altering the coat pattern I used last year, Simplicity 2745 and the hat pattern Simplicity 1953 became a hood.

For the boy's pattern I added on pocket, splitting the front into two sections as shown on my original drawing. I ended up liking how it looked when finished and they are pleased with the pockets. I also lengthened the coat by 2" from last year, so as to fully cover their little rears and give space for cutie marks. I made the boys coats the same size, 1 is skinny, the other a bit on the short side, they are wearing 1 size difference even though they are 2 years apart.

For my daughters I cut the next size larger from last year and left out the godets. There is still enough flare in the coat for it to look girly and work over skirts. I also added in pockets on the front princess lines.

For the ears I put the kitty ear hat on the table next to a pony figure and drew a new pattern. I placed a rubber band around the pony's head to mark where the hat would sit, in the last pic you can see the pins I used to denote where the ear would be sewn to.

Patterning the manes was my favorite part, I am very proud of how they turned out.
Train Engineer is mostly my own design, and fairly flat so as to fit under the hat.

Doctor Whooves is a three dimensional design to give that spiky look without using stuffing.  I have made spines for my dragons using a similar method. I loved the way these came out! Would work for doing a dragon or dinosaur as well. made putting the fez on a bit tricky though.

Fluttershy as fun seaming through use of darts to fit around the head, it is so sweet and stuffing free.

The cutie marks were done in a variety of ways.

Since the Train engineer is never seen outside of the train cab, we made our own cutie mark, taking the image of the train and letting my son pick the colors. I did change the order of the yellow and black on the wheels for visibility sake, and explained to him why. The Train was drawn on to plain cotton with fabric markers, stitched to a second piece of cotton and turned right side out, the machine appliqued on to the coat.

The hour glass was fleece machine appliqued on to the coat.

The butterflies were fleece hand appliqued on, the antennas and bodies were couched yarn.

I did not finish the pants, and was up till 1 am the morning of finishing the boy's coats. I made a small train hat from Aesthetic Nest (printed 2 to a page to reduce scale) and a small fez. I was punch at this point so I give you the following pictures.

Fluttershy's wings are made in two layers with laters of batting between the fleece to give the wings some structure. I decided to sew them on to the coat. This means she can't wear the coat in the car, but she shouldn't anyways for safety.

Now for some pictures ON the children

 And some pictures on the dress form (which is about 2 sizes too small and doesn't have a head.) Since children are so wiggly, and I am not keen on posting pictures of my children

Last, but definitely NOT least, here are the pattern pieces for Ears, Manes, Tails, Wings and the mini Fez. You will need the original Simplicity hat pattern 1953 for the hood, though you may be able to adapt this to another pattern.
The PDF is one 2.4mb file and includes all 8 patterns (Ears, 3 Manes, 2 tails, Wings and Fez) Feel free to share this link, but do not share the file. It took me quite a bit of time to format it all nicely.