(a long-winded) process

May 1, 2009

i always enjoy reading about how other people create their work, and what processes they go through. today, i thought i would share mine.

when i start a new toy, i usually start with a drawing. sometimes it’s just a quick sketch. sometimes it’s something i have been drawing over and over for a while. it’s a great way to see how the details work out and what kind of attitude the little guy is going to have.

then i sit down to draw a pattern. i have never duplicated one of my patterns, and in fact, they get used up as i make a toy. the end result being, things are never the same twice. (all my foundlings are from different patterns, and as a result they have a similar but different body shape. it keeps things interesting.)

i lay out my felt, cut out the pieces. (i confess, Ii really detest this part. my hands only want to cut felt from a certain angle and i get frustrated at the felt flopping around! and then trying not to waste any felt! it just plain irks me!)

and i enjoy making the most out of my fabric.  i have a large collection of vintage felts, and i love all the different weights and weaves of it. sometimes i add in recycled felt (100% water bottles!) and of course, a tightly woven wool felt for the main body. that stuff is nice and strong!

then assembly. this is the fun part. and i do love making the face. change the angle of a stitch just slightly and the face has a whole different look. it’s always fun to see who is going to come popping out of the fabric. after i get all the details finished and i think the toy feels complete, comes the long task of sewing the body together. this is the part that makes me feel like a mad scientist. (i confess, i am thinking of switching to machine sewing for this part. just to speed the process up a hair! thoughts?)

poke all the little parts right-side out. (check out this video for a great tip). stuff, stuff, stuff. (sometimes just fluff, sometimes rice if it wants to be a little floppier. jasmine rice has a really nice smell.) a few more stitches and i’m all finished.

then i troop around the house looking for the perfect nook to tuck the new little toy in so i can enjoy him until he’s sold! (i actually feel very lucky that bernard hasn’t sold yet. i have a huge, huge crush on him!)

and here’s a sketch i am working from right now. trying something a little different by layering felt on felt rather than assembling different pieces. we’ll see how it goes!

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