Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Very Last Creative Piece of 2015.

The very last piece I'm doing this year is a present for my daughter's boyfriend. It's also a sample piece for a new custom I'll be offering in 2016.

It's a felt art piece that can be framed. I'm pretty excited about this and hope you all enjoying seeing it too.
 Here I'm working out the details.


Here is the super simple drawing I did and worked off of.

 I chose a background color and pinned the shapes down and started sewing.

 The main body is done and now I need to add the details.

 It's an applique kind of sewing process. I layer the shapes on top of each other and it gives the piece dimension.

 Looks good but it's still too flat looking. Now I'm ready to add what I call embroidery but is really just stitching that adds character and some details to the head.

 I've started the stitching. It's a little hard to see in this pic. I'll take a better one later. He needs the rest of his details and and banner with his name embroidered on, and that is really embroidery.

Stay tuned for the next post to see the finished piece. PART 2 can be found here.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Felt Gingerbread House Finished



 This is a continuation of a previous post HERE. I added some details to the bushes and a door knob. I stuffed the gingerbread house so it was full and still had some squish. There is a piece of cardboard on the bottom so the house stands properly.

 Side view. I was able to use one of my awesome product tags.

 I added pink stripes to the candy canes and details to the tree on the back of the Gingerbread house.

 Other side. I really like the roof.

 Closer view of front of the Gingerbread house.

Closer view of back of the Gingerbread house.



I may make a new different one each until I have a whole felt gingerbread house village! 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Felt Gingerbread House Madness Part 1 and A Craft Show.

Thanks to everyone who followed along with my process of making the Day of the Dead Chihuahua! Lots of great comments on Facebook. I really didn't realize it would be so interesting to so many people. SO thanks everyone for reading along!

I've been quiet since my last post because I was madly scrambling getting ready for a small local craft show last Saturday and after that I threw my back out, which is why I haven't posted anything. Back on my feet now so here we go!



 Here is my set up for the craft fair. I actually sold more than I thought I would. Lots of people commented on my logo and about how professional my set up looked.

So I had this great idea to do an felt Gingerbread House especially for this craft show I was going to be in. I thought maybe I'd do a raffle for it as a way to get people to sign up for my newsletter, but then I found out that the show was only for 3 hours so I scrapped that idea.

I really wanted to make it anyway so I did and I'll do a quick walk thru of the wips. First, I drew out some gingerbread house shapes: roof, front and back, sides and bottom. Second, I decided on the details, roof style, windows and details. Third, I picked a color palette.
Happy, fun and super girly color palette.

Working out the window shapes.

Sewing on the roof. This would have been so much faster 
if I had machine sewed this part, but I didn't of course.

I did tiny drawings of what I wanted each panel to look like,
then I drew the details larger on paper and cut them from felt.

 All the details and the house itself are hand sewn. Sewing
the details this way gives them a puffy appliqued look I just love.

I sewed the front onto the sides before I finished sewing all
 the details, which in hindsight was really dumb and I won't
do that again.

I wasn't too sure what I wanted to do on the front of this,
so I put the main details on and thought about it for a while.

More details on the front and I did the side window details.
I also put white mini pompom trim on for the frosting.

I'm a fly by the seat of my pants kind of girl so I decided 
to add shrubs to the front. I was going to do candy canes 
but the space was too tight. Then I put on the mini pink
pompom trim around the door, just for the cuteness factor.

The front door was too plain so I added a small window 
and a wreath.

I'll finish this in another post cause this is very photo heavy. Thanks for stopping by and reading!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Part 3 Day of the Dead Chihuahua

Ok so we left off with the head finished. Then I started on the front legs. I saved them for last because I knew they would have to be strong enough to hold the head up so the piece wouldn't tip forward. I designed the front legs several times, beefing them up and making them longer before I added the markings and the embroidery.

I also enlarged the front paws. My chi Olive is super petite with tiny paws but my client's dog has bigger paws. I also needed a very small gusset for the bottom of the paws to what would be a wrist on a human and the bendy part on a dog's leg. I also added the color markings on the legs. On the inner part of the legs there isn't much hair so there is a light skin color to represent that area which you can't see here.


 Checking the size and fit of the front legs. Also checking the coverage of the embroidery. Is there enough? Does it need more?

Sewing the bottom of the front paws on. The entire piece was hand sewn from the inside, like you would on a sewing machine, except the front legs which were sewn from the outside. Teeny tiny stitches are my favorite. The bottom of all the paws have a small piece of cardboard so the feet lay flat and to give them extra stability. Also I added little black paw pads to all the feet. You don't really see them when the piece is sitting but I feel like it finishes everything off.

 I pinned the tail on and felt like the butt was too bare. This is an instance when I embroider on an already stuffed piece. It takes longer and was more difficult but I felt like the piece wasn't complete without it.

 Then I felt like the back of the head was too blank and added to that too. I used this material to embroider over since it wasn't flat and I needed a guide to keep things neat. I usually free hand embroider but sometime do it this way. I carefully tear off the material when I'm done stitching.

 There is embroidery on the front chest that I forgot to take pics of. This view really shows off that under belly gusset with the color markings. I needle sculpted the stomach area to give it that chihuahua look of a large rib cage to a smaller belly. Then I made a collar with a name tag.

 The flower crown itself took about 4 days. It's all hand cut and hand sewn. I wanted to make it removable but needed more time to work out how to do it, so ended up just sewing it on. There are full roses and also rose buds with leaves.

The whole project was about 5 weeks from start to finish. Huge project and such a challenge but I'm so glad I did it. If I do something like this again I'll start with the head and work out from there to keep the size down.


My client was really pleased and posted this photo of the piece with it's namesake.

  Hope you enjoyed my ramblings of the process. If you missed PART 1 and PART 2 of this process, make sure you click those links to see whole whole project.

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Friday, December 4, 2015

Part 2 Day of the Dead Chihuahua

I left off at working on how to attach the back legs. Once I figured that out I embroidered the designs on the legs. You can see my pencil drawings of designs I thought I might use for this project.
 The pads on the back paws were way too small and I ended up changing those later.

The head took the longest to make out of the whole piece. It was 2 steps forward and 3 steps back, scrap everything and start again kind of process. Below is a not quite right head with a too short snout. 
I had to leave it alone for a few days and step away before I decided to start a brand new head. It's really hard to give up so much work and start again, but it had to be done. See how short the snout is? Ugh! Lots of swearing.
 Gussets on the body made them a necessity on the head too for the proper shape and size. I made about 4 heads before I got the proper size and snout length. ( my art tends to have over large heads, so I did that here too) Then I had to figure out how to add the color markings. I made a black head with a tan under the chin gusset and then drew out the markings, cut them from tan felt and wrapped them onto the face. I stuffed the head to get the proper shape and sewed the markings on.

All the markings positioned and held by pins to check for fit.
Most of the markings sewn onto the head. Just needs her nose and ears and some face sculpting.
I gave her a little pink splotch on her nose but later took it off cause I felt it looked too cartoony. The giant needle sticking out of her face is a sculpting needle. It's used for needle sculpting cloth doll faces. I used it to further shape the top of the snout. I also added spots for the whiskers at this time.

Stay tuned for PART 3 HERE. If you missed PART 1 you can find it HERE.

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Thursday, December 3, 2015

Wip of the Day of the Dead Chihuahua Part 1

I promised to show my wips of the chihuahua soft sculpture, so here we go! This will be a couple part series. I hope you find it interesting.

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.


 Once I thought I had the head shape and size I wanted I started on the body shape and legs. My client and I agreed that the dog should be sitting, so I had to figure out how dog's back legs looked and functioned to support the body sitting. I didn't want the sculpture to fall over, it had to be stable.

 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.
 You can see here how the design goes across the back gusset and down each side piece.


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.

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