Monday, 25 February 2013

Making the Buchanan Foxes - Part Two

Well, hello there - after a few days away from Heytesbury, during which a family memorial was attended - I'm now back again at base, and ready to pick up the action once more.  (It was so cold here that Philippa (elder daughter) decided she would accompany me and drive me there. although I had been prepared to travel by train).

 Despite the best laid plans - to draft this post, and some others that are brewing in my mind, while away from home - this is the first opportunity I've had to compose Part Two of the Buchanan Foxes' story, so here it is:

Having collected all the various pieces of each Buchanan Fox and "collated" them, the next step was to dress the calico torso.  The order in which the items are put together is - pantaloons (which have their legs gathered at the ankle and attached firmly to each leg):  followed by the waist being gathered and sewn in place, with the gathers evenly arranged around the body.  Then the skirt is attached.  As this is the first time I've made a skirt with a woolen fabric, and because we are dealing with a plaid here, I decided to pleat the skirt first,  and then gather it to fit (reflecting the traditional use of plaid for kilts).  This actually worked rather well, as it enabled the skirt to get some bant and hopefully to result in the toy becoming a stand-alone (if needed).

Then the bodice, to which the arms had been sewn first, was pulled over the gathered waist line of the skirt and sewn in place in it's turn.  Having worked with the first Fox, the other two soon followed.

The printer (under the orange cloth - originally a curtain), which usually performs the function of being the photographic platform while I'm making up the Cuddlies, proved to be a bit small on this occasion, but you get the drift!.  At this stage, all three of the headless torsos did stand alone.

Before going any further, we thought you might like to see the name of the mill from which these offcuts originated.  This label was attached to one of the pieces I originally discovered when opening up the off-cut haul  received earlier this year, and which was alluded to in my previous post (Part One). The reverse of the label, indicates that the cloth in question is the Buchanan.  I did take a picture of that side, but for some reason or another it has got mislaid between camera and file!  Not concentrating - in the rush to get at least one post published before leaving on my break is the reason, I suspect!

The next step in the fabrication process was to sew on the white felt collar.  Now usually I decorate the edges of the Cuddlies' felt collars with some embroidery;  but on this occasion felt that the RicRac around the hemline, together with the multiple colours in the plaid, were sufficiently eye-catching - and that a plain collar would actually make the wholedressed toy stand out better.  Accordingly, plain white collars were each stitched in place - and then the three Foxes got their heads.

Their bonnets are made with some felt material (again an off-cut from my Frome, Somerset source) which is lime green on the outside with a white lining.  (The fabric first was used late last year as the body for the Green & Orange Frog - Etsy Listing #116285186).   The bonnets are edged with  primrose seam binding attached with a machined zig zag stitch in the same green cotton used to sew the dresses and shoes.  They are now tied under each Fox's chin with a primrose yellow satin ribbon (used for baby layettes normally, but equally applicable here, don't you think?)  Each Fox has a different length of ribbon - just to differentiate them from one another - as well as the different RicRac decoration on each toy's skirt.  Another departure:  the bonnets are detachable.

( Normally, all dressed Cuddlies have their entire outfits attached to the calico body.  Apart from the fact that the pattern calls for this, I do feel that it confirms the concept of the Cuddlies being Collectable Toys, as opposed to just being a plaything:  although, of  course, playing is the primary reason for their being made.)

The Buchanan Foxes were about to be listed, when I suddenly discovered that none of them had their tails!  Now that would have been a criminal omission:  so, without more ado, three tails were cut out, sewn up and stuffed - and rapidly attached. with the following result:

Etsy  Listing # 65456642
This multiple approach does have its drawbacks!  However, the longer I am involved with the Cuddlies, the more I am finding it is easier in the long run to cut out and work with more than one model.  That's for now:  one never knows how things will develop, because this is not how I was originally taught to make toys or how the process was carried out until recently!

That's all for this post:  another will follow shortly, and this time Cy Bear will take over.  His custodial performance while I've been away, has been impeccable, and deserves to be rewarded:  he does like to take the limelight whenever possible!

Good night and God Bless!  Isobel