Sunday, August 7, 2016

Eloise Elephant - an adventure in mohair!

I took myself off to the Melbourne Craft & Quilt Fair last week with a view to buying myself a kit to make a mohair animal.  After Umming and Aahing over the hedgehogs, meer cats and teddies, I decided on a kit for a performing elephant, named Eloise; and wasted no time at all in getting my mojo on...

The pattern and kit came from Teddy's Bits and I intend on making a couple more once I replenish my supplies.  I did make a mistake when I attached the body and limbs together, I had the body facing in the opposite direction which meant that I had to make a dart in the back so this little lady doesn't have a lovely wide tummy as the pattern called for... she would have looked a bit strange if she had a lovely round back, which is why I had to take it in!  Never mind... only I (and now you) know, and I'll remember for next time as I do rather like her cuddly tummy!

So, I have a question to ask you - have you made any bears yourself?  Jointed critters?  Mohair mayhems?!  As I was making this little cutie it brought back memories of when I first made a jointed mohair cat... some 12 years ago now when I was living in England.  I didn't own or even know how to use a sewing machine back then so it was all worked by hand, and after asking for advice from the lady I bought the kit from, I winged it.  So this got me to thinking... if you have never made a jointed bear but would like to give it a try - would you like me to write a blog post on the basics?  The tools of the trade?  Little tips to help you on your way?  I'm not an expert by any means, but I remember the questions I needed answering back then!  Let me know...

Here are a few progress shots I took along the journey:

Getting all the pattern pieces on to the mohair was a really tight squeeze.  It would have been really helpful to have a pattern piece layout, similar to those you find in dressmaking patterns for cutting out.  You need the pattern pieces running in the correct position depending on the direction of the fur pile, and I couldn't quite fit them all so had to have one pattern piece (the back of a leg so it wasn't conspicuous) with the fur direction off at an angle.

Eloise is half-sewn... I managed to do it all by machine which really surprised me, even the tiny head gusset behaved nicely!

Semi-stuffed... and all without breakfast!  Here you can see the pattern in the background... and you'll know what I mean about that gorgeous squidgy tummy!

The original Eloise is coloured with a dark brown Copic marker to give her that vintage, aged look.  I didn't have one to hand and to be honest, was a bit nervous about using such a dark ink, simply because I've never done it before and any mistakes would be permanent.  So I opted to use my Prismacolour pencils so I could build the colour.  I used three shades in khaki brown, nut brown and peach.

This last pic shows how I blind-stitched the hat on top of Eloise's head.  I use fine curved beading needles manufactured by John James when I'm sewing irregular shapes together. They're a bit of a bugger to work with initially, but you get used to them given time. The thread is a silk one that I use for applique and blind-stitching bias binding on to quilts.  It's so fine that it's virtually invisible.

I fell in love with a family of mohair meer cats designed and made by Bears by Annie, and bought the pattern for making the adults, it's called Sascha and Dimitri.

I have the mohair for this already and plan to make it as a surprise gift for my little Rosebud this Christmas!  She loves meer cats and we are regular visitors to The Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne where there is a whole family of meer cats residing - it's always a highlight of our visit!

I hope you've enjoyed reading about my little 'bear' romance!  What have you been up to this past week?

Till next time!
Vikki xoxoxo


Deb said...

Hi there Sweetpea. I am in love with Eloise, she is totally adorable. You are so clever but then I knew that. Miss Rosie is going to adore that meerkat at Christmas time-not far away hun, better get moving.
I must say also that I adore your profile photo. I didn't notice you had changed it and you haven't got your glasses on in this one. Are you now wearing contacts hun? Anyway its such a lovely photo but then so was your old one.
hugs xxx

Laxmi Rai said...

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Christine M said...

Your little elephant is very cute, Vikki. Can't wait to see your meerkat. They are a favourite of mine. xx

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