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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.