Sunday, January 15, 2012

Make new friends, but keep the old!

We've got another gator, but this one was way easier to manage than the first one!  I learned so many things making this second gator. 

 First, I turned to Pellon interfacing!  What a life saver!  In my opinion, this made a world of difference!


Pellon is sold in the fabric cutting area at your local craft store.  I got mine at Hobby Lobby, but I know you can get it at JoAnn's, too.  I have never used it before so I experimented first with just a little piece of it on a scrap of fabric from the first gator.  To use Pellon, you find the side with little bumpies and that will be ironed down onto your fabric.  (This pic shows the bumpies, but ignore the stripes!  It's from the light coming through the window.)  


The directions say to cut it just a little bit bigger than the pattern and use a wet cloth to iron it onto the back of the fabric.  You press the iron on it for 15 seconds, or until the wet cloth is dry.  I tried that method, but later decided I liked to just steam it directly on with the iron.  It made a much more secure bond.

After ironing, I lined up the patterns again and re-cut it all out so it would be exact.  This adds a lot of preparation work, but it's totally worth it!  It saves so much time and heartache in the end!  I liked how much heartier the Pellon made the handwoven fabric feel.  It didn't disintegrate right before my eyes, and it also didn't seem as stretchy when I packed it with stuffing.  Sometimes the fabric of the first one would kind of split just a little bit and show stuffing. 

I still sewed around each end of each piece all the way around to really secure those end threads.  Even though the Pellon was there, it still wasn't enough to hold the edge fabric together.  But with the stitches, it made a great combination to strengthen the fabric.

Another change I made was the way I sewed the little claws.  Before, I just left it stretched out like this:


But... I lost 2 claws on each hand on the front paws.  So, I folded them up when I pinned it and the little claws didn't get caught in the stitches!  The substitution of felt seems sturdy enough.  I tested it by pulling on it, and nothing came apart... yet!


Another change I made was where I turned the alligator.  I decided to make the mouth as 2 pieces instead of one.  Being separated also made it made it easier to work with the jaw pieces individually and get all the details right.  It also made it much easier to sew the two sides together and get the matched up.  And it wasn't too hard at all to sew the seem closed in the end.  I used a strong black 10/2 perle cotton to sew it shut.


I also got the jaw stitches done better this time around!  I didn't understand the direction at first, so last time I just sewed the seem around the mouth, but this time I rolled the green over into the pink area and sewed it like she described.  It really does improve the look of the teeth!

 I noticed in the picture that there should have been a seem sewn down the back, and I forgot to do that on the first one, but nailed it on the second one!


Here are my new friends!

 I tried sewing on the eyes like Amy did, but my fabric is just so wild that you couldn't see them in the end.  So I cut them out and sewed on some little blue buttons like the first gator.  I do feel like I got the placement better, and I pulled them into the gator just a bit on this second one.  I'll just have to be careful about little ones playing with this gator... don't want any button biting happening!  I'm going to go back and redo the eyes on the first one.  They seemed to be placed a little high.

They almost look like they are laughing!

Now I just have to finish sewing 2 more gators in lighter fabric!

More alligator facts form Wikipedia:
  • Alligators have a bone-crushing bite.
  • Average adult alligators are about 800 lbs and 13 feet long, but can be as big as 100 lbs and 14.5 feet long!  Chinese alligators are smaller.
  • Even though there is no average measured lifespan for alligators, some have amazingly lived to be 75 years old!
 L8R G8R!