Ok so I started this project with a basic size idea, budget and design idea. This client is actually my pup Olive's former mama. I'm so very grateful she was re-homed to me! I cannot imagine life without this little character. She fits right in and is boded to be like glue. Anyway my client has another chihuahua that she wanted a soft sculpture piece made to resemble.
I started but looking at my Olive. Both she and the subject Rio are deer headed chi's, but Rio is stockier and slightly larger than Olive. I always make my own patterns so I started this one at the head. The pink is a low grade felt I use for pattern making.
My Olive next to the prototype. I had to give her a treat to stand next to it. The prototype is smaller than Olive.
Next I started researching day of the dead images and drew up this design for the back of the piece. I can embroider and applique pretty small but my eyes aren't what they used to be so I decided on a certain comfortable size.
Rio has unique color makings and while I knew I couldn't make the piece look exactly like this dog I could add markings and unique features to resemble her.
When I started to make the final I quickly realized I'd needed to add gussets to get the shape I wanted. See the rounded butt? So I made another 3 or 4 prototypes using different gussets. This made the body larger but a better size for the embroidered designs.
Then I worked my embroidery designs around the piece for maximum coverage. Trying to see how it would all work together.
I decided at this point to add an additional gusset in the front of the body. Rio has a barrel type chest so I added that width. Everything is fluid and things always change in the design, prototype, and construction stages. Sometimes the prototype looks nothing like the final.
I started embroidering on the back with the main design. I like to embroider when my pieces are flat I feel like the design comes out better when the designs are intricate, but I do embroider on already stuffed pieces too.
The piece was then pinned together and fitted with the back leg designs. at one point the body was sewn together and stuffed so I could get a better idea how the legs should attach. Then I removed the stuffing and took out the stitches.
If you like seeing my creative process on this project and want to see more and the final finished piece, check out PART 2 and PART 3.
Sign up for my newsletter and get access to a FREE easy pattern to make your own special project. Click here to subscribe!