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About>Odds & Ends>Stuffed Lobster

Ever have one of those days when you are restless, wanting to be creative, but you've got a big project looming on the horizon and you don't want to get involved in something that you can't finish in a day?

It's happened to me many times. Before my son was born, I used to spend these little snippets of creative energy on small projects such as accessories or embroidery. I've since discovered, however, that making things for kids is a good way to spend pent-up energy and the project is almost invariably done in one day. The picture to the left is a wall sculpture that I did for my son's room before he was born. It was a one day project based on a piece of gift wrap. The scales were fun; they are all individually appliquéd on. The top and side fins and the tail are slightly stuffed and machine quilted.

After my son was born, I busied myself with making his clothes and other things for him such as blankets and toys. Most children's clothing, blankets and toys only take about a day or so to run up. One of the best books I can recommend for this kind of project is Soft Toys for Babies by Judi Maddigan. This book features toys for children from birth to 18 months. It contains full sized patterns, a range of developmental toys, play guides, and recommended age guidelines. I purchased my copy at Powell's Books in Portland, OR.

These days, my son has shown an interest in the Halloween costumes that I make for him. If you'd like to see him in action during last year's Halloween, click here.

Once my son got to an age where he could articulate his wants and desires as far as stuffed toys were concerned, I found myself taking on more elaborate and stranger projects. This last Sunday, after spending most of the day on the couch trying to think of something to do, we came up with the following project; a stuffed lobster.

Step One: The Pattern

Funny enough, none of the major pattern makers carry stuffed lobster patterns. So, I sat down and sketched up a side, top and bottom views of a cartoon lobster. I then developed what I thought would be a good pattern, cross checking everything to make sure it would fit or at least be close enough. For a look at my pattern, Click here.

I then hunted through my stash of fabric. The hunt for suitable fabric has been considerably easier since the introduction of big, see-through bins to my work area. I should also put in a shameless plug for Ikea since that is where I got my shelving unit.

Once I wrestled down the bin containing my cotton fabrics, I searched through it and found a lovely scrap of red flannel. It was too small to really do anything with but too big to throw out (I've got a great many of those types of scraps). I consulted my son, who pronounced the color "good". I then developed the carapace pattern and the tail pattern as shown in the pattern link above. I also used a heavy canvas for the shell, upper and lower tail, to give them that stiff look.

Step Two: Sewing The Lobster Together

I started with the three sections that were to be interlined with heavy canvas. Once they were together, I machine quilted lines across the upper tail section and fin lines in the lower tail section. I then moved on to the legs, which were really just eight little tubes of material. I pinned the legs onto the body and sewed the body together.

I stuffed the body with fiber fill and closed it up. I then sculpted the face and added the eyes and mouth. After this, I hand sewed the completed tail sections and the body shell onto the body. Once that was done, I moved on to the claws. Last came the eyes, which were really just two little black beads sewn on to the tiny tubes I had made for the stalks.

Step Three: Play Testing

I started the project at 2PM. It was finished by 5PM. At the time of this writing, it is 8PM. The lobster has not been out of my son's hands since 5PM. In the last three hours, the Lobster has been the subject of much rough and tumble play. It has starred in many fantasies, both as the villain and as the hero. It's been sat on, squashed, thrown, and pulled around. So far so good... nothing's come off...

Click here for a large aerial view of the lobster.

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