Luna Lapin has a Sheepy Friend

After making Luna Lapin and Rowan the Redtail Squirrel I was on a roll. It was a case of can’t stop, won’t stop! I had enough felt for one more adorable doll, this time Daisy the Herdwick Sheep.

I cut my sheep out in natural coloured wool with a green floral print for the ears and feet.

The sewing was pretty uneventful. I worked on her slowly, and I brought her to a family gathering at New Years. They all agreed she was already adorable, even before she was put together. I wasn’t sure about the textural bits at her wrists and ankles, and they took a decent amount of time to do, but in the end I decided they are pretty charming.

Once all the bits and pieces were done I added the facial details and then assembled my sheep.

She turned out like this. I am smitten!! I asked my sisters for naming advice again and we decided on Anita Woolsworth. Stay tuned for some cute doll clothes!

An Accidental Apron

After making Ginger Flufftail, I made her an apron. I put the apron on her and fell in love with it, so I decided to make myself one.

I loved the circle skirt shape of the pattern for the doll. I looked at patterns online, but nothing seemed quite right and I didn’t want to drive somewhere to print a PDF pattern (I don’t have a printer), so I decided to take the doll pattern and size it up to fit me. The Luna Lapin dolls are 18” tall, and I am 64” tall, so I did a little math and found that I could multiply the doll measurements by 3.5 to get a pattern piece that was appropriate for my height. So that’s what I did.

Once I had drafted my pattern piece, I held it up to myself and made a few adjustments. Then I was ready to go!

I found a gorgeous cotton Duck at Hobby Lobby that had Impressionist Watercolour flowers for the body of the apron, and a coordinating quilting cotton for the binding in a blue spruce colour. There was a limited quantity of fabric, so I cut the strap off my pattern and made this a separate pattern piece. I also had to fold back the edge of my main pattern piece to make it fit on the full width of the fabric, so I lost a little fullness in the skirt.

I am always amazed at how quickly construction is completed in sewing. When knitting, construction takes 95+% of the time spent, whereas in sewing construction could take as little as 5% of total time spent. In this case, construction consisted of four short seams: attaching the straps to the main body, then crossing these over themselves and seaming them onto the apron front. I put the apron on at this point, looked in the mirror, and was enchanted by what I was making!

So on I went to the finishing work. I used an overlock stitch to finish the raw edges of my seams. Then I cut a bunch of bias, ironed it into bias tape, and sewed one side down to the apron. Then I ironed it again and pinned the other edge in place and top-stitched it down. Applying bias to this style of apron is so interesting because there is only one edge, so you can apply the bias all in one pass! I guess this is one of those times when I have to admit that geometry is cool.

With that the apron was finished! I was so happy that it was every bit as swingy as the pattern promised to be! I LOVE how this came out, and I low-key want to make another version that is a standalone dress.

So there you have it – you can take doll clothes and translate them into human clothes with a little math.

Squirrel Alert!

After making Dolores de Lapin (Luna Lapin) I couldn’t stop! I had to make more! I had ordered felt for a rabbit, a squirrel, and a sheep, so I chose to make the squirrel next.

I cut the body pieces out of reddish and white felt from The Felt Pod, and the tail pieces from red faux-fur from JoAnn’s that matched my felt surprisingly well (especially since I bought the faux-fur before I received the felt in the mail!). The feet are scraps from making my plaid Bruyere top.

I learned from making my rabbit, and did as much by machine as I could. These animals take a lot of time and can be really hard on one’s hands to make, so any help I can get from the machine is appreciated.

As with my rabbit, I stuffed the squirrel with alpaca fleece seconds. My kitty enjoyed taking a nap on these while I was working.

I had a hard time with the face. There is a lot going on here, and there is not a lot of space to work in. I found it to be very important to leave the back-of-the-head seam open to sew the throat piece on so there would be room to maneuver the piece around in.

After a few days my squirrel was finished! I whipped her up a cute little cross-back apron (it’s reversible!) and giggled with glee about how cute she turned out.

My sisters helped me name her: Ginger Flufftail. The Flufftails are an ancient family of squirrels that are excessively proud of their voluminous and shapely tails, much like the Proudfoots of Hobbiton are proud of their large and hairy feet. I feel like I should write a book on the subject.

My Own Luna Lapin Doll

I first saw Luna Lapin several years ago on The Crafty Creek’s blog. At the time, I thought Luna was cute, but that stitching a doll by hand was too much effort. And what did I need a bunny doll for? Since then, and it came on gradually, I started to want my own Luna Lapin. I recently saw Sarah Peel’s third book, Luna Lapin: Making New Friends, at my local Barnes and Noble, and my sisters got it for me for Christmas. I ordered my felt from The Felt Pod, and got started.

I traced the pattern pieces for Luna and cut out my pieces. I chose a blue floral for the ears and foot-pads. This fabric was a scrap from something my mom made me as a kid.

I didn’t have any sewing thread on hand that matched my felt, so I used a single strand of embroidery floss to stitch my rabbit. I made sure to wax the thread for strength. I stuffed the rabbit with alpaca seconds from a fleece I was given several years ago.

The final touches were embroidering her face and adding her tail. I used a bit of angora fleece for the tail, which felt like a very appropriate choice.

I sewed on my bunny for four days. I would estimate she took 10-12 hours to complete, but the time was very enjoyably spent. The majority of the construction uses whip stitches, with a little back stitch and machine stitching thrown in for good measure.

With my rabbit done, I started on a simple wrap dress. I used the pattern for Luna’s Sailor Dress, but omitted the collar. I used the lace that was already on this fabric panel (another scrap from my childhood) to lengthen the dress, and closed it with a ribbon tie, rather than buttons or snaps.

I am delighted with how my dolly came out. I’m actually rather surprised by how much I enjoyed the process and how much I love the finished product. I decided to name her Dolores de Lapin (although, she goes by D. D. Hare when she’s feeling adventurous). I have felt for a squirrel and a sheep, too, so watch this space!

Learning Peyote Stitch

I have been having a lot of fun trying out different beading techniques project by project. As I scrolled through Pinterest I kept seeing Peyote stitch patterns. I thought I needed special beads for Peyote stitch, so I kept putting this technique off. But once I had beaded a few projects I could no longer get away from the urge to learn peyote stitch. I decided to give in to the urge, but instead of buying the Miyuki Delicas I wanted, I used some size 8 seed beads I had in my stash.

I tested a few design options, focusing on using the colours I had and creating an easy, intuitive design. Once I had a design I liked I dove right in.

The project went quickly enough at first. I chose to do an even-count peyote for my first project, and I found the stitch to be very easy to learn. I had a small number of white beads, so I planned to work until they were used up. It turns out that a small number of beads can turn into a larger piece than one might expect.

I kept working until the beads were gone and I was rewarded by a bracelet that wrapped around my wrist twice. I couldn’t have planned it better if I had tried. I poached a closure off an old necklace, and the bracelet was done.

I really like how this bracelet turned out with regular seed beads. I’m so glad I gave it a try! Peyote stitch does go slowly, though, compared to beading techniques where you can pick up more than one bead at a time.

Learning to Bead

I love learning new things! The possibilities are so exciting, the materials are so beautiful, and the stimulation of learning something new makes my brain so happy!

I recently visited a friend. While we talked I crocheted and she beaded. I was fascinated. So I went home and looked through a bunch of beading ideas on Pinterest and came across this tutorial from Sonysree. Since this was a new activity for me I wanted to use materials I had rather than buying new. I wasn’t sure if I would love the process or not, and I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on materials only to have those materials sit in a box for the next few years. I had seed beads and larger round beads that went together well enough, so I got started.

I had trouble getting the beads to string nicely on my needle, so I switched to a flosser for most of the beading, and it worked surprisingly well!

I made the bracelet with nylon thread from my stash, but when I tried it on it was rather floppy. By this time I had learned more about thread materials, so I went to Hobby Lobby and bought some Fireline and a large eye beading needle. Then I cut the bracelet apart and put it back together again.

With the bracelet re-strung I added a clasp and then made some matching earrings for good measure. Gunmetal/silver is not really my colour, so I boxed the set up for a future birthday or holiday.

I really enjoyed the process of making this bracelet, and I went out and bought some more beads for another project right away! Stay tuned for more beadwork!

Draping a Denim Dress

Earlier this summer I bought two yards of embroidered denim chambray to make a pair of wide-legged pants. But things done always go to plan, and sometimes they turn out better than planned. Instead of making pants I decided to make a dress with the fabric.

I have never draped a garment before, but I have been working on padding up my dress form to my measurements, so it seemed like a good time to try something new. I should have draped on Muslin, but I was anxious to get started, so I used my fashion fabric. How daring!

I sewed up the darts, shoulder seams, and side seams, temporarily installed the zipper and tried the bodice on. I only needed to make a few adjustments before I was ready to move on. Even though the dress form is meant to mirror my body I was still surprised how close I got to a perfectly fitting bodice in just one step! I did make sure to transfer my pattern pieces to interfacing so I could re-use the pattern (I do my patterning on interfacing instead of paper. That way I never have to worry about the paper pattern tearing).

With the fitting done I used my front and back pattern pieces to draft facings. These were meant to be sewn on by machine and then turned out through the shoulders, but I sewed my side seams out of order and ended up slip-stitching the facing down around the arms. At this point the bodice was done (except for the zipper, which I couldn’t install until the skirt was attached).

The skirt would have been extremely simple, except that I wanted to add pockets. The embroidery is placed all along one selvedge, so I used the entire two-yard length of fabric for the skirt. I pleated it to the bodice on the dress form, then made slits in the pleats at each side to add the pockets. I ran out of denim at this point, and ended up using three different fabrics for the pockets!

I seamed the pocket bags on to the slits I made in the skirt, closed the slits with what is essentially a dart, and finished the raw edges. I should mention here that all the raw edges on the dress that weren’t going to be encased were overcast by machine.

With the pocket situation sorted, I finally seamed the skirt on to the bodice and got to try the dress on for the first time! I was blown away by how much I loved it and how pretty I felt in it! I inserted the zipper, sewed up the bottom of the skirt, and sewed the hem. I attempted to minimize visible machine stitching on the dress (except for the zipper), so for the hem I sewed right next to one of the lines of embroidery for an almost perfectly invisible hem (without the trouble of sewing it up by hand).

Then I added a few finishing touches: I tacked down the facings and added a waist tape using 1” cotton twill tape from my stash (this was for peace of mind that the skirt was doubly attached and hopefully for better overall shaping at the waist). And with that the dress was done!!!

I feel so pretty in this dress! I love swishing around in it! if I was being really nit-picky I would say that I wish the bodice was a little smaller at the bust/underarm to prevent gaping, but that extra room makes the dress easier to wear with a top underneath, so I really can’t complain.

I am so pleased with how beautiful this draped dress came out. I already have another dress planned with this pattern, and I will definitely try draping again!

Spinning Sunshine

I have been in a yellow mood this summer. I see it in my spinning and my sewing (but not so much in my knitting). It started last year with this incredible batt made by my very skilled friend Dia of Twisted Urban. I began the spinning not long after (I use a short draw when spinning woolen), but I mostly spun at our group gatherings, so my progress was slow. As I spun I formulated a plan to stretch this sunshiny perfection as far as possible: I would combine it with more yellow.

This is a braid of Targhee top by Deep Dyed Yarns in the colour way: 5 Golden Rings. I bought it a few Christmases below when it was grey and cold out and I needed a dose of sunshine. I fluffed and then split the top into nests. This fiber will be spun worsted, but I will try to incorporate as much loft as I can for a semi-worsted singles.

All this yellow needed something to mellow it, so I dug around in my stash and found a bag of Southdown rolags that I had processed from Top a few years ago. The fiber is from Beesybee on Etsy. This will be spun woolen with a short draw like the yellow Batt.

I am enjoying taking this project slow. The yarn will be incredible when it is finished!

I Knit a Bracelet

I bought Laura Nelkin’s Ribband pattern some time ago. I started a project following the pattern, but found the knitting to be quite fiddly, so I frogged it and set it aside.

As I looked through the Ribband projects on Ravelry I saw one that appeared to be done in Stockinette that I liked the look of. So I knit my bracelet in Stockinette, and I love how it came out.

Sometimes you need to work smarter, not harder.

I Made Jeans!

As Me Made May approached this year, I was reminded of the deficit of options for my lower half that I noticed last year.

I bought fabric for two pairs of jeans over a year ago, but I’ve been intimidated by the complexity of jeans design so it took me a while to find the nerve to cut my pants out. The fabric is 11.5 oz stretch denim from StyleMaker Fabrics. I (once again) riffed on the Cigarette Pants pattern from Gertie Sews Vintage Casual.

I started these jeans in December, got the fronts and backs assembled (including the zipper, which was intimidating and very puzzling), then realized that jeans need top-stitching, and put them away for a while.

A couple months later I pulled the jeans out of their hiding place and did all the top-stitching all at once, even though that was very much not the order it was supposed to be done in (and doing it out of order made it more difficult). Ideally I think you would want to sew jeans with two machines side by side: one to sew the seams with thread that matches your fabric, and one to top-stitch the seams with heavy jeans thread. That way you would save time and avoid the need to rethread your machine after every seam.

I am very pleased with the stitching on the pockets. I free-handed my design with chalk and was so pleased with the first pocket. Since it is a simple design I was able to replicate it on the second pocket pretty closely. Then I ironed the edges in and positioned them on the pants using the highly scientific method of holding the back up to myself, then putting my hand where I expected a pocket to be. I checked the position visually, made some adjustments, then did my best to mirror the position for the second pocket. I waited to sew the pockets on until I was convinced the position was correct for both.

With the fronts and backs assembled, it was time to sew the inseam. I sewed the seam and top-stitched it. Then I did a fitting to make sure the side seams fit well, and top-stitched the top 8 inches or so. This was a mostly uneventful process, but the lower leg is a little bit skewed because I needed to narrow the leg, but I didn’t want to undo my top-stitching. It is unnoticeable in the final garment unless you’re really looking for it.

Next I added the waistband. I cut a strip on the straight grain for a 1” waistband. As usual, I sewed the waistband onto the front of the pants, folded the raw edge under, and top-stitched around it with jeans thread. Then I did a machine buttonhole and added a jeans button. I accidentally snipped several of the buttonhole threads when I cut open the buttonhole, so I went over the buttonhole again by hand. I also had trouble with the jeans button and ended up needing to replace it. There is definitely some technique involved when securing a jeans buttonhole. Finally, I hemmed the pants to length, and they were done.

This was my first time making rigid pants, and the fit is very different than you get with a stretch denim or a ponte knit. But once I got past that difference, I found the pants to be pretty comfortable. I am so proud of myself for making these! There are definitely more me-made jeans in my future.