Wednesday, 7 March 2012

The Tale of Mons. Reynard - and an update or two

Greetings everybody - welcome to 140 Followers of www.!  What a great feeling it is to have got this far, and there are still a few more days before the first anniversary of the start up post! Wonder if we can make it to 150 before that date arrives?

Before going on with the tale of Mons.R, just a quick update or two.  The enlargement of patterns from my early  Mothers' Day present from daughter, Clare, has been solved!  Our local Newsagent/Post Office is able to do it, provided each small pattern piece is cut out.   I now have a complete pattern for Owlets, together with one I discovered among my old collection for an Owl Hand/Glove Puppet (call them what you will!)  These will form part of a new Cuddlies Section (yet to be labelled) at Shop in the near-ish future.  The Beaver and Owls will be the first members - to be followed, hopefully, by  Badgers and Seals.

I've also received a message from JS,  a.k.a. Mesatron  - an Etsy Buyer from Liberty Township, Ohio, who is now the Forever Friend of the Golden Plush Bear Glove Puppet.  He's sent me a selection of beautiful pictures of the Puppet, which  will be used as a separate post very soon.  Not much writing involved and a lot of great photos - as well as being the first of several promised tales of his proposed travels around the USA!

Now, to carry on with the tale of Mons.R - as promised:
The beginning of the upgrade

After sewing up the newly-washed body pieces and stuffing them firmly with the polyester fibre, the arms - with paws attached - were slotted in and covered with the rejuvenated tan felt coat sleeve pieces.  Having found some golden yellow ric-rac braiding in my sewing store, I thought Mons.R would look rather modern and smart with this addition so added it as a cuff before pulling the felt on to the stuffed arm.

Then the brocade trousers, which have  responded well to the washing, were put on and sewn in place at both the legs - where the boots get sewn on - and at waist level.

Next come the boots - and although I really do feel they look good (once they're finally fixed on), I really do struggle.  It's one of the times I do realise my fingers are not as agile as they once were.  Plus, there is a tendency to sometimes overfill the boots with stuffing (difficult to get the legs on) or not put in enough (and then the toy becomes wobbly on his pins and thus incapable of standing alone).  Many of my toys don't, in the end - but carefully propped up against a book, shelf or by the tail - as in Mons.R's case - they do.  In any case, when being played with, it doesn't really mean much to the Forever Friend in question.

When it came to the waistcoat, after ruffling through my scrap collection, I came across this bit which seemed just right, contrasting well with the tans and gold already being worn by Mons.R.  Those of you who have followed this blog since the very beginning, may recognise this material as being that used  to cover the appliances in my kitchen, which formed one of  the early posts in March/April 2011.  While  cutting out the waistcoat this time around, I found this label which provides an imposing provenance, doesn't it?  Before it covered my appliances, the material had formed extra long curtains for one of our near neighbours here at the Hospital of St. John.  We do claim to be environmentally friendly here at ColdhamCuddlies - think this just proves it, don't you?

The waistcoats for the gentlemen toys can be made from felt, in which case I don't usually line them.  However, to avoid them fraying over time, when making the waistcoats from other materials, lining is part of the package, even though it doesn't show on the finished product!

The re-made head was then added, together with ears - with a brown nylon lining, rather than the dirty cream felt one he arrived with, new eyes and a more prominent nose than he originally had, followed by his stock - which I decided should be green to co-ordinate with his new waistcoat.  Having done that, and because I was still not happy with the boots, I decided to add a green felt turnover (which also serves to hide the stitching involved in attaching boots to the legs!) to add a bit more colour.  (The boots had been stitched, and unstitched, several times by then, and the self-colour turnovers were looking just a little "tired " by then!)

Then, having added the yellow braiding to the rest of the jacket, I attached the coat over the arms and waistcoat, and arranged the stock  so Mons.R.  looks smart all round the top half!  I did not finish the jacket at this stage, because, of course, his tail needs to be attached and the jacket arranged around it before everything can be sewn in.

The jacket is now ready to be stitched in place.  The arms are attached with a ladder stitch, the collar pulled round to settle nicely round the neck, and finally his gold button is sewn in place - hopefully keeping the stock where it should be!

Presenting Mons.Reynard - in his 2012 outfit!
He now awaits the return of Mme. Lapin - expected any day - from her 360 degree imaging session at Outsphere UK & Ireland in St. Albans, Herts. after which they will be both wrapped up and sent back to IvyM in France.  Before they leave, however, they will be accompanying Cy Bear and I to the Heytesbury Spring Sales Day on March 10 - showing the visitors just what happens when patients arrive at  the ColdhamCuddlies Soft Toy Clinic (Etsy Listing #79124185).

Until the next time - a new Bear is going to be stuffed later this evening.  So, there will be some more toys to show off than expected at the Sale. Bye for now.  Isobel