Thursday, 19 February 2009

Cuddly Cord Mouse

I really enjoyed working with the green cord for my cushion a few weeks ago, but I didn't end up with much left. From the few remnants, I made a quick simple unlined bag out of it for scissors, stitch-picker etc and a little flower for embellishment. Then my heart dropped because it had all gone. 

So off I went again, this time I had a different plan which required light brown cord...

I had been reading a book called "The Crafters Companion" by Anna Torburg. It's basically a compilation of interviews with designers and crafters finding out why they craft, how they started, showing you some of their creations and their workspaces, and then they each give you one of their favourite projects to work on. Most of it is, as you can imagine, fairly tedious artsy stuff detailing their inspirations and lots of phrases like "well I grew up in a creative environment and my creativity was always encouraged". But some of the pictures give you really nice ideas. 

I've always loved making toys, I still have the first toy I ever almost made which was a cat, but as I was hand sewing it, and it was my first project as a child with no one showing me how to sew, I promptly gave up. By the time I had the knowledge to do it, I realised how ugly the cat was, which is why it is still in pieces... But the countless dolls and animals and other such things that came after the cat have been much more successful.

Several of the crafters also made toys like rabbits, mice, dogs and cats. I wasn't too fussed about the cat idea, but I think mice are really cute!

With no pattern, but plenty of enthusiasm I set about making a head. I used some scraps from a floral dress I made for a 1940's party weekend for the ears, and the light brown cord I had recently procured for the rest. 

At first it looked a bit plain, but once I sewed on a couple of buttons and embroidered a nose it took on a real personality! (If you have the deft eye of an unforgiving perfectionist, you'll notice the nose and eyes aren't lined up properly, but if you're a kind unforgiving perfectionist, you won't point it out like a certain boyfriend I could mention!)

I forgot to stuff the ears so they are a bit on the thin side, but it's barely noticable. Next time I would get some batting though. I then had to stop and think about how it was going to come together... I had to make legs, arms and a tail before I sewed up the body because otherwise I wouldn't be able to attatch them the way I wanted to!

I wanted the feet to bend, which meant a lot of faffing around with darts and figuring out a way to include floral foot pads instead of just plain cord. Eventually I got it right... only to realise that one leg was bigger than the other. Nevermind! I made a new (matching) one and decided to keep the other leg for a future toy!

Arms were much simpler. No darts, just little floral pads. The tail however, was a 3 day brain twister. I couldn't figure out how long, which material, how fat, how do I make it look cute, tightly/losely stuffed??? argh!! So in the end I just experimented until I got that tingly feeling deep inside and went with that tail.

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