Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Replacement Koalas under way

While I wait to get the pricing information I've requested for the two patients currently undergoing treatment in the Soft Toy Clinic (Etsy Listing #79124185) - Brr Bear and Tommy Teddy - decided to get the replacement Koalas (or Tree Bears - Etsy Listing #55190188)  underway.

So, last night I prepared enough patterns on the selected fabric for four more examples.  Using a permanent Ink Pen (which I normally use to label my chutneys, jams and other provisions I store for our future needs) I drew round the template I've used for some time.  The resulting picture is not as clear as some I take in daylight, but it was raining cats and dogs last evening, it was jolly cold as well, so curtains were drawn, and the electric light switched on.  The resulting slightly yellow tone of the photo is thus explained - but you can see the layout.  I'm making all four with all white chests.

This is the reverse side of the very furry plush fabric I use for such toys - which come to me as off cuts from a local upholstery factory in nearby Frome, Somerset - about eight miles away.  I found them when we first arrived in Heytesbury in 2008 by using the local Yellow Pages!  Not only do I get these off cuts, but they are also my source for the polyester fibre that I use in all my toys (both in the shop at but also for those I renovate in the Soft Toy Clinic (Etsy Listing #79124185) so they are a very vital, useful contact for the Cuddlies enterprise.

The material is extraordinarily furry and once the scissors get going, fur flies everywhere.  I find the only way I can cope is to shut the door (so it doesn't go all over the house), cut everything out and then organise them in piles.  I'm currently using my ironing board as a sewing table, when it's not being used for it's legitimate work!  The trouble is that ironing is not possible after cutting out - unless, and until, the "Dustbuster" hand held vacuum has been used to clear up the resulting fluff.  Here is a photo of the "organised" piles of four Koalas, already for the needles and thread to be applied.

Having done this I usually begin by creating the head first.  One needs to sew the ears first, slot them into each side of the head piece and then sew through all the layers.  Then one sews the seam which results in a completed head.  Turn the completed piece inside out and voila!  one has a Koala head, minus the stuffing.  One then gets the white furry fabric, place the brown fabric right sides together and sew all round the body, leaving a two inch (5 cm) gap in the back seam to allow for stuffing.  This pattern has a circular piece that fits into the neck area once the side seams are complete - and I have, in the past, placed a hole in the middle of this so that I can put a joint in and allow the finished Koala's head to swivel around.  However, I'm not a fan of such mobile limbs for toys that I believe to be suitable for babies from birth to, say, two years old.  A firmly fixed head is somehow a completed, not to mention a safer, toy.  Of course if a buyer has other ideas, I'm more than happy to accommodate them!

Last night I managed to sew one and a half  Koalas - this evening, because there are actually some television programmes I'd like to watch, I'm going to stop blogging, transfer the piles to the sitting-room, and get on with completing as many of the remaining toys as possible, while also watching/listening to the entertainment on offer.  The photo below, was taken today (in daylight - hence the different lighting!) shows the completed efforts to date.

The completed Koala is on the left of the picture, with nose and eyes to be added:  the second head is just next to it, with the bits to be sewn in front. 

Till the next time (tomorrow, maybe - but definitely the next day!) I'm signing off.  Isobel