Monday, November 24, 2008

How to..., design a softie, step two,

From pattern to prototype,

Apologies for the delay with this post, I fell behind with everything last week, poorly boy and poorly car.  Anyway, on with some more tips on progressing with that softie.  Next, you need to begin visualising your sketched design as a three dimensional object and identify the different shapes of fabric required to sew together, to build it up.  It is at this point decisions need to be made regarding the structure...,

...for instance, are you going to add in a gusset?, the image above shows a gusset added to the underbelly.  Gussets can be tricky to sew, but are worth persevering with as, I think, they do contribute to a more successful body shape, particularly with animals.

One vital point to remember is to add a seam allowance to all your patterns where needed, otherwise, your softie will end up a lot smaller than intended.  This is a mistake I have made, many a time!  The depth of seam allowance will depend on how much the fabric you are using frays, you don't want seams coming apart once your softie is stuffed, and also the thickness of the fabric, bulky seams will spoil a nice smooth body shape.

Going from paper pattern to fabric, is really just a case of trial and error.  It is very rare that I make anything that is right first time, there is usually quite a bit of ongoing pattern development.  For example, the cotton reels,  I drew out a basic pattern on paper, began to sew it up in fabric as a tester, but it wasn't quite right, so I re-drew the pattern and tried again.  Still, it wasn't quite right, so went back to the begining...

(my first 3 attempts at the cotton reels, there were more!)

Here (below) is something new I have been working on, the bees.  The first (the yellow one) looked more like a mouse to be honest (all it needed was a tail!).  I was really struggling with the wing size and shape in relation to the body, the wings looked more like ears.  With the second, I settled how and where I wanted to add stripes, but was still not happy with the wings (too big), and most definitely not happy with the larger eye!

With softie design, or indeed, anything three dimensional, designing can only be taken so far on paper, after that, you've just got to get the sewing started.  When it comes to fabric choices, I am a bit of a believer in the 'anything goes' philosophy.  After many years of working within the constraints of the textile manufacturing industry, it is great to be able to express my creativity with fabrics now.  I love mixing old and new, felted sweaters as a base with newer fabrics as an accent are my current favorites.

When I'm working small, I tend to make any prototypes in my already chosen fabrics.  If it doesn't work, there is not much wasted, and personally, I find it helps me work out the finer details, embellishments, buttons, embroidery I want to add, which I will talk about more in part three of this 'How to design a Softie' series.

Part three will be along later this week, and after that, I will finish off November with the christmas robin tutorial.  Its a busy week ahead, but Thursday is being kept free, Thursday is special, Thursday is the day I am meeting up with some other UK craft bloggers, more on that after Thursday!

(am praying my car doesn't break down again, please, please, pretty please!)

15 comments:

SewAmy said...

love the bees.

Kitty said...

Cute buzzy bees! I love seeing how you develop your softies - it's so ... interesting. I think I must be a sewing nerd or something.

x

ethel and edna's tearoom said...

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!! Can't wait for Thursday. In the meantime, glad you've made this second post in the series. I have been commissioned to make some softties for a company based on there designs. A bit panicky so your hints are VERY welcome. :o)

Lucy Locket-Pocket said...

More brilliant advice! Thank you!!!! Lucy x

PatchworkPottery said...

Thanks for sharing your process. I really enjoyed your post! I love all your creations :o)

Hugs, Laurraine

tam said...

Aww very cute lil bee's! And a helpful post thank you! I shall return on Thursday!
~Tam:D

Susan said...

The bee's are very cool.

Good luck with your car.

susan

Things Hand Made said...

Love the bees, looking forward to the robin.

rosyscrap said...

queste api sono stupende come ogni tuo lavoro

Marie Greene said...

Ooh, you just make me want to get out my basket of felt and start playing! What sweet ideas. Love the bumblebee.

mandapanda said...

The bees are very cute. Ever thought about matching them with your flower pots? That'd be adorable!

cbdeoro said...

I love these little guys - very clever.

josy26 said...

Hello, your blog is very nice and interresting ... sorry I am french , I don't write very well ..;
I have put a link on my blog for idea ...
Thank you !

Ginger said...

Please don't break down in your car! Get there safe and sound.
Love your bee awesome you have been so busy working on your blog showing us so many great things lord bless you.
hugs ginger

Moogsmum said...

What great tips - thank you for sharing :)

I love those little bees. The smallest one looks like a little bandit bee!

xxx