Wednesday, October 15, 2014

I don't know what I'm doing...

... but I'm going to just jump in and figure it out as I go.
That is pretty much how I tackle any challenge, this one is no different, so here it goes:

Twelve days ago my husband was diagnosed with cancer. He's had some very painful sores on his tongue for a while when he finally went in to get a biopsy done. Now, a few years earlier he had a biopsy done on some similar (though not nearly as sever) sores in the same spot and it came back clean. I honestly expected the same result this time,but that was obviously not the case.

 At this point in time we still have more questions then answers. We know our lives are about change drastically, we know there are tough roads ahead, but we don't know when or what or how. Not knowing is exhausting, but we're doing our best to take it one day at a time and trying to savor this calm before the oncoming storm.

 I do plan to continue to work on patterns, they are a very necessary therapeutic outlet.

Also, If you would let me, I'd love to share this journey with you all.

Thank you

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sweetie Bear Part 3- Stuffing, Sculpting & Stitches

Sweetie Bear Part 3- Stuffing, Sculpting & Stitches
Start by stuffing the head firmly, fill the around the edges first. What I do is spread the filling from the center out with my fingers as I stuff, using smaller pieces also helps keep your stuffing even and smooth.
When the head is stuffed to you liking, wrap a length of extra strong thread around the
neck tightly several times and double knot.

Next mark my face with an erasable marker and get the cardigan buttons (if you choose to embroider the eyes do so now with a satin stitch).
To attach the buttons as well as sculpt start by threading your doll needle with extra strong thread. Push the needle in at the bottom of the head, near the now closed neck, then up through the face & out on the inside corner of the eye.

Thread the button, push your needle back in at the outer corner and back out at the bottom of the head.
Pull both ends of the thread until you achieve a shape you like and then double knot the ends together. Trim you thread and repeat for the other eye.
* If you embroider the eyes follow the same steps, but ignore the button part.

Next embroider the nose and mouth. I start with a standard teddy bear nose, then I fill the "V" in with a satin stitch. Little back stitches or a stem stitch works perfectly.

Now look at that cute face!
Set the head aside while you stuff the body, you don't need to stuff the body as firmly as the head, you don't want the filling pouring out the neck when you are trying to attach the head.

Attach the head to the neck opening with a ladder stitch, it doesn't have to be pretty (you will be doing a second round), but you do want to make sure you get a good hold. Now go around a second time, with smaller stitches and you are done!!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and I can't wait to see all your Sweetie Bear creations!

If you want some extra help with stuffing and sculpting the NimblePhish YouTube channel has a few helpful videos for you.
Thank You

Friday, August 29, 2014

Sweetie Bear, Part 2- Construction & Applique

Part 2:
Before you sew the pieces together, you will want to get your applique pieces attached. I decided to use a different technique for each of them. You can choose either one, just remember to take into account the type of fabrics you are using.

I used "Wonder Under" (aka, fusible webbing) for my little cotton heart. I cut around the edge with pinking shears because I live in a constant fear of fraying. 

I decided to do a simple back stitch by hand around the outer edge of the heart, partially to make sure it was really stuck on and partially because it's just plain cute.

For the muzzle I used felt. I traced the pattern piece with an erasable pen on the right side of the felt and I cut  it out with extra space around my mark. Then I sewed a straight stitch directly on the line and trimmed around the edge with a pair of small sharp scissors.

Now we are ready to start sewing our pieces together. Remember that the freezer paper is still attached while you do this. In Part 1 we already prepped the ears and arms, now sew the pieces together, leaving the top of the arm and the bottom of the ears open. When you are done trim the edges. I used pinking shears & I recommend using them for trimming the seam allowance on any fabric, not just woven ones.
Once your edges are trimmed remove the freezer paper. It should be pretty easy, but be careful around your stitches, you don't want to pull them out.

Turn the ears and arms right side out and pin the ears in place, sandwiched between the right sides of the head. Sew around the head, leaving the neck open. Remove the freezer paper on both sides and sew around the edges a second time, I noticed a lot of skipped stitches and pulled quiet a few when I was removing the paper, so better safe then sorry.

Follow the same steps for the body, keep your stitches small and remember to pivot on those smaller corners.

Again, don't forget the double stitching around the body after you remove the backing.
Now I chose not to stuff the arms, you can if you want to, you just need to leave the top 1/2" completely unstuffed. Sew the arms to the body, across the side seams, on edge of the neck opening. The arms should lay flat at the sides of the body the seams facing front to back.

Yay! All your pieces are ready for stuffing. Tomorrow will wrap it up with Stuffing, Sculpting and Stitches in Part 3!

In the mood for some more plushie making? Check out the big 1/2 off Labor Day Sale over at the NimblePhish Etsy shop!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

DIY Sweetie Bear, Part 1

First I want to say thank you to all of my wonderful customers, your support is what keeps my little shop growing and I am so grateful for you.

This little bear is so sweet it'll make your teeth hurt, his name is Caramel Bear and I'm going to show you how to make him. First download and print the Sweetie Bear.

First this is what you'll need:
Printed (and cut out) copy of the Caramel Bear Pattern
Minky Fabric - you'll need less then a 1/4 yard, scraps are awesome for this project
Scraps of felt, knit, cotton...really what ever you want
Polyfill (you can use wool if you want)
Embroidery Floss
Cardigan Buttons
Extra Strong Thread
Embroidery & Doll Sewing Needle
Sewing Machine, Scissors...sewing staples
Basting Spray
Freezer Paper

* Optional:
Iron On Backing
Pinking Shears

Okay, gather up your supplies, print you pattern and we can get started.

As you can probably tell minky is super soft, it is also slippery, stretch and a general pain in the booty. That is where the freezer paper comes into play (if you do not have Freezer Paper any iron on/tear away stabilizer will work). Trace 2 copies of the Head, Body, Ears and Arms pieces and cut them out.

Using a warm iron (polyester setting) fuse the Head and Body pieces to the wrong side of the minky and cut them out. Next fuse the Arms to the minky, but do not cut it out completely, make sure you leave a good amount around the pattern piece. Finally fuse the Ears to the secondary fabric, also leaving space around the edge.

Next you need to assemble the rest of the Ears and Arms, now there is a couple ways to do this, but first you need to cut out pieces of minky to match (if not slightly bigger) the Ear and Arm pieces that already have the freezer paper attached.
Now, I like to used Basting Spray, it is sewing machine safe and it only takes a small spritz on the right side of one piece of the fabric to keep those slippery little pieces in place. You can use pins, with the extra around the edge, the little pieces will be easier to control.

Tomorrow we are going to tackle applique and sewing all out pieces together!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Ginger and Dayton

Ginger and Dayton

Ginger and Dayton, the newest sewing pattern to join the NimblePhish family. This pattern is a double dose of fun! Not only are you getting both a gentle giraffe and a daring dinosaur, you are also getting the option of choosing between a petite 7" or giant 14" without having to fiddle with you printer settings.

This new pattern includes:
Materials List
Illustrated instructions for both Ginger the Giraffe and Dayton the Dino

Pattern templates for both the Petite and Giant sizes

Not only is it a great bundle it is also easy to make. Your house will be filled with these long necked creatures in no time at all!
Find it in my Etsy and Craftsy shops!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Fun by the Sea

 It was a magical weekend exploring the wonders of the deep at the Monterrey Bay Aquarium.

This was the first visit for the boys and the last time my daughter was here she was still being pushed around in a stroller (she's just about 10 now). It was also my youngest little monkey's 4th birthday and I think it's safe to say, he had fun.

All of the wonderful sea life has inspired some new design ideas, keep you eye out for cuddly otters, a new tiny turtle and fun fuzzy sea "spikies" ( what my kid's called sea urchins)!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

DIY Magnetic Pacifier Tutorial

I need to start this tutorial with a little disclaimer:
The magnets used are small and very powerful, use care when handling them and keep them away from certain electronic equipment as well as individuals with pacemakers. Always supervise your children when they are playing with a magnetic toy, if swallowed they can be very dangerous. I also do not recommend they be used in toys for children under 3 years of age.

Now that that is done, magnets really can be a fun way to add an interactive element to soft toys and it is really not difficult at all.

First gather your supplies:
2 Rare Earth Magnets (3/8"-1/2")
Pacifier (I like the generic Walmart brand)
Rubber Cement type glue
Scraps of Fleece
Needle, Thread and Scissors
A plushie in progress

 Start by cutting the nipple off the pacifier, creating a smooth surface to place the magnet on. Place a nice dollop of glue where the nipple was and put your magnet in the center of it.

Wait a little to let the glue set up, then add another dollop on top of the magnet and place a scrap of the fleece on top. The fleece needs to be bigger then the magnet so it can cover it completely, I went with a little heart because I thought it would be cute.
Now set it aside and let the glue dry completely.

Next we need to make a magnet in the mouth. Cut a scrap of fleece in a circle, use a running stitch around the edge, place the magnet in the middle and pull tight, making a little pouch. Before you go any further, get the pacifier (hopefully it's dry enough by now) and test the magnet's direction, you want them to want to go together.  Have the "attractive" pole facing the smooth side of the pouch because it will be the part facing out.

Your doll's head should be almost completely before you place the magnet. Slide it in just under the "skin" to about where you'd like to have the mouth end up. Use a pin or another magnet to keep it in place. When you embroider the smile on make sure you catch the fabric from the magnet pouch, this will be all you need to do to secure it in place. Now finish the head, sculpt like normal and you have a paci loving plushie of your very own!!

The new Tiny Monkey pattern will be available later today in my Etsy store!!

Thank you for creating with me.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Lanky Lily Hair Tutorial

I wanted to expand on the hair tutorial that is included in my new "Lanky Lily" doll pattern for you. I realize the one in the tutorial is a little vague and I hope this gives you all a better idea of the process. I promise you it is very easy, once you get the feel for it.

To start you will need to place your pins, it'll look like your doll has a pin mohawk.

Now leave a good length of tail at the side of the head and begin wrapping a single strand of yarn around the pins.  

I like to go back and forth in a figure 8, wrapping each pin along the center part at least twice, but that will differ depending on the yarn thickness.

It's a good idea to tack down the sides at the half way point as well as the end. I don't use any particular stitch to do this, but it's important to make sure you catch all your loops with your thread. This area will be covered with the pigtails so it doesn't have to be perfect, but the neater you are the easier it is later.

To start sewing down the center hide your knot behind the hairline.

Sew down the center part using a back stitch, making sure to secure the loops as you go. When you come to the end knot your thread and tuck your ends behind the hairline.

Repeat the process on the other side. 

When you are sewing down your center part try to overlap you new stitches with the ones on the other side to avoid gaps forming.

To make the pigtails, first wrap your yarn around a book (or piece of cardboard, whatever's handy) several times, until you are happy with the amount you have. This will be split between the two sides.
Cut down the center of your bundle of yarn, lay it out and split it up.

Knot a length of thread tightly around the center of each bundle of yarn, making a long "pom-pom".

Sew the pigtails to the side of the head with small stitches securing the center of each to the side of head.

Trim the yarn to your perfect length and you are done!!!

If you'd like to give the Lank Lily pattern a try go check out the NimblePhish Etsy shop!!

Thank you and I hope this is a helpful tutorial.