Is it a mouse, a cat, a bear…?

For those who know my work, The Linen Cat started with, in fact, a linen bunny which quickly progressed to a cat and these are still my favourite things, I especially love the mix of linen against the bright cotton prints.  The cats/bunnies are, however, one of the most expensive things that I sell as there is a lot of work and fabric involved (all the tweed trousers and dresses are removable and lined) and although I go to every length to make sure they are hard wearing and washable the buttons mean I have to state they are unsuitable for children under 36 months.  I have thought for a while about making something that mixes the same combination of fabrics but is a bit smaller, simpler in construction and young child friendly and also has a hint of my mouse egg cosy.

Some designs are very organic and ‘just happen’, others I think about, draw down and tweak a lot before I am happy.  In this case my starting point was the linen cats/bunnies, the mouse egg cosy and existing patterns (as I have written before I like to try and keep some continuity with shapes and sizes – the latter to make easier packaging and posting!).

Pattern one is based on the one used for the Wool Bunnies, and it’s passable but not right.  The head doesn’t work, I quite like slightly weird shaped heads but I know from sales, not to go too abstract.  By the way, the cute owl fabric is from the new additions at Fabric Rehab and was an extra sent to me on my last order (thanks Sally), I am rather smitten and will have to buy more.

Apart from the head shape, I struggled to stitch up the body, there wasn’t enough room to tuck the arms and legs in (the legs in the corners of the triangle dress were a nightmare) so I have made pattern two wider at the top and I’ve moved the legs in a bit.

I am also trying out new heads in cotton, so I can draw on them and not waste good linen and also because the shapes change so much once stuffed.  I think the cat is the winner but I am worried about making my lovely full size Linen Cats redundant if there is a cheaper smaller more ‘young child’ friendly version.  As always any opinions greatly appreciated.

Hummm, plenty to think on, in the meantime I am waiting for fabric ordered for the project and I need to pre-wash and dye some existing linen.  Little mouse has gone to live on the shelf with some of my other samples…she may get buttons on her dress, just for fun, at a later date.

Folksy Upcycle Competition – Foxy Twins…

I have finally finished my entry for the Folksy Christmas Upcycle Competition which is being run to raise money for the Sue Ryder Care Charity, with all the entries being put into an auction to run from 7th – 13th December.  I had hoped to make something different to my ‘usual’ work, such as re-blocking and decorating an old felt hat or making some new/old clothes (I don’t get to use my millinery or pattern cutting skills very often), I even considered making a corset based on a period pattern.  Could have, would have…but didn’t.

My final decision was largely influenced the materials I found in our local village charity shops plus I have foxes on the brain at the moment as they keep wandering around our garden.  So, here we have the Foxy Twins, Florian and Florence.

They started life as a polyester fleece shirt, a rather lovely floral cotton lawn shirt and a blue cord skirt all from the ‘Heart of Kent Hospice’ charity shop, bought especially for the occasion (£5 + £3.50 + £3.50).

To this I added some floral fabric bought last year from the ‘Mind’ charity shop  (£3.50…I think most things are priced £3.50!), polyester stuffing from an old cushion, which meets safety regulations I should add and some wool on the tail from my scrap box.

Florence has a cute dress with straps and blue shirring running along the top and a cape with collar made from the cord skirt, lined with the floral fabric and old Laura Ashley ribbons stitched together for ties.

Florian has smart trousers made from the cord skirt in a sailor style, with shell buttons taken from the shirt (the popper fastening came from a stash belonging to my Gran so must be rather old).  He also wears a top made from the lovely (honestly, I didn’t really want to cut it up) blue floral shirt with bias binding trim.

There was a lot of morphing along the way, the original foxes were front facing and I had planned a skirt for Florence with a shirring top, but I am happy with the result.  It was a fun project and it is after all for charity!