2014 appears to be the year of polyfill (the stuffing, not the code) here on Sew Well. Dragons, pillows, and now bunnies. I miss sewing garments, but how could I pass up making these cute little bunnies out of nice well behaving cotton after my failed experiments in silk the last few weeks?
Just like last week, this post needs a bit of backstory. In honor of March being National Craft Month, I was sent a review copy of Sew Fun: 20 Projects for the Whole Family by Deborah Fisher thanks to F+W Media Distribution and Interweave.
It’s a sewing-for-children book, and I wasn’t sure what to expect being new to this whole having-children-to-sew-for game. But, I was very pleasantly surprised at what I found inside. The book begins by discussing ways in which you can make sewing fun for the whole family, including ways to introduce the sewing machine to young ones and ideas to keep “sewing space interlopers” busy while you’re working on a project. It also details the tools and techniques that are used in the book, from basic sewing supplies to embroidery stitches (I finally know how to make a French knot!) and more. Then it launches into five chapters devoted to different themes: wear, play, celebrate, love, and rest. Each chapter has four different projects associated with it. For example, chapter one, Wear, describes how to go about making capes, slippers, bags, and chenille boas. And, to help you get started, full-scale patterns for the projects can be found in the back of the book.
My favorite chapter was chapter four, Love, which is all about making dolls. The author, Deborah Fisher, grew up making dolls, and it shows in this chapter. She teaches you how to make a doll from all those scraps you’ve been saving over the years, then she steps it up a bit with a pattern for a 28″ tall doll with a sculpted nose and a hand sewn wardrobe (including instructions for how to make matching capes, slippers, and boas to those found in chapter one!). The third project in this chapter is the lion seen above on the cover. What a mane that guy has! And, finally, there is the Little Smiles Bunny.
This little guy seemed right up my alley. The perfect amount of cutting and sewing for my busy schedule these days. I ended up making two since I thought it would be sweet for my baby girl and my niece (who lives a block and a half from us now that we moved to Seattle!) to have cousin bunnies.
The instructions have you cut then embroider then sew, which means you have a lot of control when you’re making the cute little bunny face. They also suggest how you can involve young ones. For example, for these bunnies the book suggests little sewing helpers could pick out the fabrics or add some of the stuffing. My little one is too little to do either, but I imagine those are more than reasonable tasks to encourage a bit of family fun while sewing with older children.
I cut the fabric for both bunnies at the same time, using left over fabric from my husband’s shirt for the body of the bunnies and choosing different but similar quilting cottons for the ears. But, instead of sewing one them at the same time, I sewed them up one after the other. I’m glad I didn’t assembly-line sew them since I was able to use what I learned while making the first to improve the second.
For bunny number one (above) I took tight turns around the legs, arms, and neck, which resulted in lots of pulling away from those spots once they were stuffed with polyfill. For bunny number two (below) I took the turns more gently where I could. Bunny number one’s ears were stitched on, ripped out, stitched on again, ripped out again, and then stitched on a third time. Bunny number two’s ears went on correctly the first try. Bunny number two was also stuffed to the dickens since bunny number one didn’t end up quite a full as the bunnies in the book. Even when I didn’t think any more stuffing would fit into bunny number two, I shoved more in anyway. I also used two different hand sewing techniques to stitch the two bunnies closed, both of which were detailed in the book, and the second of which is more invisible.
I think the two bunnies are really cute, and I’d actually be excited to try out the majority of the projects in the book, even without a young one old enough to help out. It’s definitely not super glossy wardrobe sewing, but it is cute and fun!
If you’d like to make your own Little Smiles Bunny or have a little one you’re excited to sew with, you’re in luck! F+W Media Distribution and Interweave are giving away one copy of Sew Fun: 20 Projects for the Whole Family to one lucky reader (retail $26.99)! If you’d like to be entered into the drawing, just leave a comment below letting me know. I’ll pick a winner at random next Friday, March 28th at 7 am PDT. Good luck!