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One of a kind stuffies

August 14, 2015

For months, the boys had been asking to sew their own stuffed animals.  I’d been slow to respond because I really don’t sew.  I know only enough to limp along, and while its useful to have a functioning sewing machine, I’m often frustrated because my only instruction was a half-semester in 7th grade when we made hideous sweatshirts.  Mine was black with 4 different electric-colored bands of ribbing for the wrists, neck, and waist – pink, green, blue, purple.  It was very early nineties.  I digress.

One cold January day we were searching for a project and the boys again asked to sew their own stuffed animals.  I handed them paper and markers and asked them to sketch their ideas.  Tea drew a Muay Thai-boxing Totoro.  Pea drew a dog.

the plan

They raided the scraps and got started.  They made patterns from newspaper and cut their fabric (“Totoro has brown skin like mine”).  I showed Tea how to hand sew the features on Totoro’s face, while Pea insisted he couldn’t sew his dog’s features until its head was stuffed.  At Tea’s direction, I sewed a simple pair of shorts pieced from some square scraps.

Then it was dinner time and life happened and 6 months passed.  The boys asked about finishing their projects every few weeks, often just at bed time or while we were walking out the door.

Finally we had a free summer day and I relented.  I hovered over Tea as he used the machine to sew up the body.  He only very nearly sewed through his finger 18 times.  He energetically stuffed 47 pounds of fill into the body and hand sewed up the last bit.

Pea’s desgin had multiple pieces to sew and stuff, and he managed well, although sewing the stuffed legs onto the body was tricky so I helped out with that seam.  He finished the rest, and then hand sewed all of the features last.  Not wanting to stop, made a pom pom tail and he scavenged for more scraps to make a coat that fastens with a button, and a scarf.   

Happily hand sewing

Pea wants you to note the detail on Dog’s mouth.


They both had very strong opinions about each detail, which led to some deep breathing on my part, but they ultimately finished and were very proud of their creations.  I’m impressed with how similar the finished products were to the initial drawings, since they did all the fabric cutting and 95% of the sewing.  Is it too wishful for me to think they can handle their next project solo?

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