Sunday, January 04, 2015

Xmas present 3 - the squid

 This was the big one. The one that was going to the person whose opinion as a crafter I care about, and a person who has had a bit of a rough year.
Thankfully, by some miracle, it all came together, although this was NOT without disasters.

I bought the material for this back in August time. The fleece is a shade of purple from Calico Laine (after a couple of samples pointed out that the shade I thought I wanted was actually far closer to blue than purple) and the quilting cotton came from Threads and Patches in Fenny Stratford, and was bought with the approval of the recipient (we went on a fabric shopping and charity shop raiding day... I have a car, it's amazing how popular that can make you).
I got the quilting cotton cut fairly quickly, but the fleece was a 3 meter piece (I only used about half of that, possibly slightly less, but it was cheap and I'll use it for other stuff) and required the paste table in order to have enough room, so it had  to wait. Until about late October. Not my best plan.
It all got cut out, and then I discovered that I'd done something weird when I cut the cotton compared to when I cut the fleece, and the fleece pieces were about 5mm larger than the cotton. This made sewing them together an interesting experience of holding and pinning and trying not to get my fingers caught in the machine.
Turning the long tentacles is always a pain in the backside on these, and the quilting cotton turned out to not have anywhere near the stretch of the fleece. Consequently, by the time it came to stuff them, the seams were having none of it, and the cotton split all over the place.
This meant that I had to recut the long tentacles all in fleece, which thankfully proved much easier to turn and stuff. Hurrah!
 This was one of the worse splits that happened, there were several other smaller ones.

 A pile of tentacles and the side fins, waiting to be stuffed.

 And the pile of stuffed tentacles. Off to the side, you can see the body with the stuffed side fins attached.

 Tentacle skirt! This is an arse to do, because the tentacles cause it all to flop around when I'm trying to feed it through the machine.

 Obligatory tentacle hat photo (colour co-ordinating with my Welcome to Night Vale t-shirt)
So, tentacles were sewn on, and the tentacle bit was sewn on to the main body, then I decided that the tentacles looked a bit scruffy, so I neatened it all up by hand while watching a bunch of episodes of Gotham.
THEN I realised they were all on the wrong way round.
Cue a lot of being massively pissed off and trying to work out if it would be possible to stitch them so they faced the right way (it wouldn't) and then if it would be possible to take them all off and re-stitch them. I wasn't fond of this plan; that was a layer of machine stitching and a layer of hand stitching, and the fleece was prone to ripping when stitches were removed. I tried to work out if I would be happy handing it over with such a glaring mistake; I knew I wouldn't, but barring ripping the tentacles off, or starting from scratch, I didn't see a way through. I put it down for the evening, poked some other stuff, stuffed the body and then changed my mind and went to town with the seam ripper.
I got lucky (and I am practiced with a seam ripper).
There were no major tears, and only the short tentacles had to be removed. Sadly there was no way I could get it back in the machine at this point, so it all had to be hand stitched. There went that Sunday morning.
 But it ended up ok! They look neat, and while they're perhaps not quite as strongly attached as if they were machine sewn, they are pretty firm.

 Then the plug had to be fitted. I think I'd started doing this before I decided to remove the tentacles, but it has to be done by hand anyway, so while it's fiddly, it was fine.

 And there it is, taking up the paste table. Just the eyes to do at this point, which meant finding wherever I'd left the felt.

 Black bits sewn on to the whites, and then positioned, waiting to be sewn on.

 And it was done!

 The two squids. My one (the blue one) has less definition because I cut an extra seam allowance when I was making it, I suspect by mistake. It means it's a bit more droopy, and the tentacles and body aren't as well defined, but it was a first attempt.

And there you have it. A squid. It was incredibly well received, and is probably now a bit tipsy, as it's new owner spilled rum and fanta on it at new year (but it was hastily mopped up)

4 comments:

Crystal Lattice said...

I think I must have missed something somewhere so please forgive me for asking this. What are the squids for? Cushions? Cuddly toys? Draught excluders? Costumes??? LARP related???!!! (excuse the excessive punctuation) I'm glad that they both turned out alright.

Would it be fair to say that your flat-bed sewing machine is not ideal when making 3-D items such as the pouches or bags?

I love your honesty when writing about your making experiences.

Xtal
http://vapourphase.blogspot.co.uk/

Beth said...

I use mine as a cushion (it lives on the couch) but they're good for hugging, conversation pieces and weirding people out.
I'm half tempted to make a semi-realistic one for LARP purposes.

It's a good basic machine, but not great for 3D stuff. The pouches I suspect would have been fine if they weren't made from stiff material, and we'll see about bags as that is the next project.
I probably could have got the squid through it if I'd really wanted to, but it would have been awkward.

This is as much a record for me for my making, so there's no point in being anything but honest.

Crystal Lattice said...

Ha ha. Predatory mollusc tentacles lash utterly bewildered mage for 347 damage. (OK, LARP probably doesn't work like that but the thought of it makes me smile)

Beth said...

Nahh, that sounds about right for some LARPs.

One of the events I go to, one of the groups there would possibly appreciate a squid mascot.