Sunday, 19 February 2012

Getting back to normal - for a start: Treating Madame Lapin: Part I

What with the BESTeam feature for February and the unexpected Versatile Blog Award, I have not been able to concentrate on my normal posts for as much as I have wanted to.  However, I can now do so:  but before doing so, thank you all who so kindly sent congrats on the latter!

Madame (Mme) Lapin, having returned from her "Before" imaging procedure at Outsphere UK & Ireland a couple of weeks ago. has spent the time since languishing in the Soft Toy Clinic (Etsy Listing # 79124185) in company with Mons. Reynard,  However, last week-end, her rejuvenation treatment began in earnest - beginning with a thorough attack by me with my "Quick un-Pic" so that I could remove her Kapok stuffing and clean up her clothing and plush fur fabrics.

Everything original, except the carrot, was kept for ongoing treatment
Thus, here we have all the components for her head, including her original glass eyes.  The body, for the most part did not need to be washed, as it had been well covered by her clothing.  The carrot, although useable, was discarded.  After over 30 years, I felt Mme deserved to have a fresh one to hold, in due course!

In this picture, you can see (from top to bottom) her skirt, pantaloons, top of dress and arms (with paws attached), her brown felt shoes, apron and the body prior to being unstuffed.  The brown shoes were in really good condition, so, once unstuffed and re-filled, they can be used again.

Having separated all useable parts, except for the body, everything spent the night soaking in cold water in the kitchen sink.  Last week-end the temperatures here in the UK were pretty icy, so that must have been a shock to the fabrics involved.  However, over the years, I've found a long, uninterrupted soak in cold water is a great way to begin removing surface dust and dirt, prior to the washing process.

Next morning, before breakfast, I removed each piece - one at a time - and using a washing up bowl with lukewarm water and a delicate soapy detergent added, I gently rubbed them to remove the remaining surface grime. The soapy water was an "interesting" shade of light brown when I had completed that delicate task!  Having carefully rinsed all the pieces, I gently pulled them into shape and hung them individually on an airer, which I then suspended over a convenient radiator.

Hanging up to dry!

The fabrics involved are all seemingly made of cotton or a washable, man-made material, so did not take that long to dry.  So later that day, when my latest batch of ironing had been finished, I set out  to to flatten and prepare each piece ready for the next stage - putting Madame Lapin all together again.

Ready to be sewn together again - different colour eh?

Decorative ric-rac  sewn on with  - what else? French knots!
While waiting for the items to dry, I had de-stuffed the body and replaced the kapok used 30 years or so ago with the more modern, and infinitely more tactile, polyester fibre that I use nowadays for creating all the Cuddlies forms. 

Then comes the really fun bit - re-making the original toy.  The pantaloons got some new lace edging; and the apron was decorated with a Christmas theme.   Because Mme Lapin originally was a Christmas present for my sister-in-law, IvyM, and she also is one of those less fortunate folks who also has a birthday very close to that festive date, I felt it was appropriate that Mme Lapin should now  reflect the Christmas seasonal colours in her new apparel.   ( Incidentally, Mons. Reynard was sent at the same time, destined originally to my nephew (and her son).  This was because both our daughters and a neice who lived - and still does - in Canada had already got their own versions,  and I didn't want him to feel left out.    However, somehow, Mummy got to keep him!  (Now, does that sound familiar to any of you folks, I wonder?) 

This post has now gone on long enough, so I'll continue with the Rejuvenation of Mme Lapin in my next post.  Good night for now ... God bless too!  Isobel.