Boy Bunnies and Squirrels…

The eagle eyed amongst you spotted some new additions to my animal softies when you were looking at the updated Folksy store and I feel like a post on them has been long overdue.

Earlier this year…a lot earlier, this one has taken me a while…I decided to re-design my Wool Bunnies, although I love them I think they might be a bit too ‘odd’ looking for some customers and I decided going forward to only make girl versions as people tend to buy linen mice as gifts for boys and not the bunnies.  I had a couple of the original pattern bodies cut but not sewn up so I used them as a startling point to re-design the head, it’s simply the original but with ears added on separately, in this case using the legs as ears (I know, poor bunny I did feel bad cutting it up).  I then ‘jointed’ the arms and legs, this adds a lot of time and fabric onto the making of each one but I’ve decided in this case it’s worth it.

At the same time I started working on a squirrel in tweed, using the same base pattern, above is my first sample and a doh! moment to show that I often make mistakes, I did laugh a lot when I realised what I’d done.  I’ve been planning squirrels since last year, just one of many animals in my head trying to get out.

I then made some waistcoats for the new squirrels, this is again back in the summer holidays, I had envisioned red but the bright green worked better with the tweed fabric, so I made some of both with the plan to make up some plain twill squirrels as well as the tweed version at a later date.

In the end the bunny bodies were made out of the same cashmere wool mix that I use for my bears, I have limited amounts but the texture is so unbelievably soft that I couldn’t resist and I’ve decided to save all the remaining cream for these wool bunnies and worry about what to use when it runs out some other time. I then found myself with lots of flat bodies and finished clothing but not necessarily ones that match.  The same story runs pretty much across the board, I also have loads of fox bodies with no clothing and clothing with no matching body.

So I was now beginning to panic slightly at the sheer amount of work needed to get done, and with the life getting in the way I had to cut back the list, the result?  Wool Bunny boys wearing red waistcoats (you know, the squirrel ones, are you still with me?).  I’m so glad I found this solution as they are so amazingly cute and it works really well, the jackets are  a little big (I made the squirrel body slightly wider so I could fit the tail in when turning them through) but it’s not a problem I think it just adds to appeal.

I only have 5 and it’s unlikely I will make more, I do plan to add a girl version in coming weeks but I probably wont make any more boys.  You can find them here and a couple on Folksy.

Mr Squirrel has also been listed, again this is likely to be a winter only product, I have only made a few.

The waistcoats are lined with Liberty Tana Lawn in Mirabelle print and have real leather buttons, again, these come at a price but I so badly wanted leather and as a finishing touch each has a hand-woven flower.

Job done.

Foxes and badgers coming next 🙂


Bright Little Waistcoats…

I have lots of open projects at the moment and despite my attempts to finish one before starting on another it’s not really working out that way.  There are lots of piles of little clothes without bodies and many naked woodland animals needing clothing.  I was also given a stark reminder of what’s to come when we had a few days of rain last week (hurrah!) and it became so dark I struggled to see what I was sewing, even with all the studio lights on so it really is important that I get all my shop photographs taken in the next few weeks.

My mission, then, is to finish and photograph at least one full sample of each planned item and better still, complete all my early Autumn work ready for listing in September.

I started with some jolly coloured waistcoats.  I am definitely moving into stronger colours with plums and deep reds as I eagerly await colder weather, but I couldn’t resist a last splash of late summer brightness, especially after making a recent waistcoat for the ‘Gone Fishing‘ squirrel (yes, he is a squirrel and not a fox although he does look very fox-like, especially with the original pointy ears in the sample version, which I have changed for the final design in an attempt to make him more squirrel-like).

Each waistcoat is stitched from 7 pieces and each seam is stitched twice and overlocked, it really is important to me that anything I made lasts, especially if there’s a chance it’s going to be played with by little hands and so this is a standard for the softies I make and their clothing.

I raided my hand dyed linen stash for the outsides and already knew I wanted to use some Liberty Tana Lawn in Mirabelle for the lining, it’s a bit light weight for lining, especially paired with the linen so I backed it with some Vilene Supersoft iron-on interfacing, which I buy in bulk as I use it often.  Oh I love this print, which is why it pops up so often in my work, it’s the perfect mix of retro, nature and block colours which works well with my designs.

I splashed out on real leather buttons as I’ve been desperate to use them for a while.  I have quite a few vintage ones but I’ve stopped using these generally, especially from my Gran’s glass jar as I’d rather save them for personal projects and special items, or even just keep them so I can tip them out to admire.

Finally, the jolly little jackets required a little something else so out came my Hana Flower Loom.  I’d forgotten how much I enjoy weaving these, it’s quite therapeutic just sitting working on them.  I had quite a few ‘I’m very tired, please stop now boys’ moments over the last week and so forced the boys to watch Narnia movies giving me an excuse to just sit on the sofa weaving.  It was fun snuggling up together and having a calm moment (my boys, like most boys are mostly in loud crash bang mode) whilst it rained outside.

Now all I have to do is make all the little bodies to go with the clothing!