About>Odds & Ends>Stuffed
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?
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
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
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
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
Step Two: Sewing The Lobster Together
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
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...
for a large aerial view of the lobster.