Sunday, April 14, 2013

Meet Henrietta

After March's quilting insanity I took a break, and packed up my sewing machine. I thought that if I removed the temptation I might even tackle some home improvement projects. Haha. Yeah, that didn't happen. As it turned out, I pieced a gazillion paper hexagons instead, but that's another blog post entirely.

Admitting defeat, I brought back my sewing machine yesterday. Well, I must have been *really* hungry for some sewing because I churned out this charming little lady in one afternoon/evening. It was wonderful to sew again, and this little project packed a lot of instant gratification.

I have never sewed anything like this before, and there was definitely a learning curve (literally, there's a lot of  curved piecing!). I also made things ridiculously more difficult on myself by choosing minky fabrics. I've never done any curved piecing either. Combining minky + curves + first toy was a cruel thing to do to myself. But, it was great practice, and now I'm much more confident in all three. Though, honestly, what on earth was I thinking?

The main body fabric is an old out of print Robert Kaufman minky that I had in my stash. It is has cutest apple green background with yellow, chocolate brown and pink flowers. To offset the main fabric, I chose a mango-minky with ribbed texture. I absolutely love the color and texture combination of the two, though I can't seem to get a shot that's true to color.

The pattern is by FunkyFriendsFactory, and can be found here: Heather the Hippo or on Craftsy. I tripped up a few times (I got confused about the ear placement, but figured it out in the end), but overall this pattern was wonderfully easy to follow -- even for this total newbie. The one thing I wasn't expecting? The three hours it took me to trace and cut out all these pieces.  Next time I'll queue up some good TV :)

The sewing itself went pretty smoothly, though there were a few dark moments. Like this one. I stared at this seam for like 5 minutes in disbelief. I took a deep breath, pinned it, and was still unconvinced. But, my Janome and I pushed through it, and amazingly enough it worked!

I also re-sewed one ear in a record FOUR times. Tricky little sucker. Thankfully my sister called in the middle of round II, so the seam ripping passed by quickly enough.

But mostly there were a lot of highs...

Here she is with her head all finished. After struggling with the ear placement, this was a great victory.

And here she is really starting to come together. I was so excited when she transformed from an amorphous blob into something vaguely animal-shaped. 
And here she is with her head stuffed and freshly added eyes. The felt eyelashes were my own idea, and I'm pretty proud of them. Not sure how they will hold up to a toddler's wear and tear, but I love them!

 And here's the original finish shot. Taken very early in the morning, but ready to surprise a little girl :)

And lastly, a tummy shot. How cute is that yellow?! And the textured minky couldn't be more perfect here. 

In case you can't tell by the photo overload, I'm pretty proud of this project. It was much more technical than anything I've done, and definitely a far cry from the 2D world of quilting. I'm already planning a second (in quilter's cotton this time!) for my niece's upcoming birthday.

And Henrietta's new owner? Well, she is beyond thrilled. On first sight, she declared Henrietta "so huggy" and they played very nicely together all morning. We've since discovered Henrietta loves kiwis and watermelon from the play kitchen. And Henrietta has been given a place of honor during naps/nighttime, directly in the bed :)

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