I heard on the radio yesterday that it’s only 6 months until Christmas!! So, for all of us endearingly optimistic lets-make-all-the Christmas-gifts project people, it’s time to get started! Here is one project I actually finished on time last year: A giant polar fleece penguin from the book Wild and Wonderful Fleece Animals: With Full-Size Patterns for 20 Cuddly Critters.
I have never actually seen a penguin this large (my dog, Kiwi, is about the size of a golden retriever), and it might frighten a small child, but the grandchild I gave it too was delighted and it seemed an excellent size for a 12 year old to hug.
Here are a few tips from my sewing experience:
– I wanted the pattern sized up from the fairly small pattern (which fits on 8.5 x 11 paper) from the CD in the book. I got help with this. The pattern was scanned and saved as a .pdf, then sized up using Gimp 2.0. That image was saved as a.jpg, which was inputted into a blue print capable machine, similar to this. This location was suggested to me as a place around Boise that might be able to help with this. We ended up with a pattern slightly larger than 3 times the original. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but think about if YOU were 3 times larger in all dimensions!
– The directions in the book were easy to follow. I did choose to make the eyes from polar fleece, instead of a button that is more prone to come off. I simply cut a circle, and made it puff up a little by stuffing that other small piece of fleece under it when I sewed it on by hand with a blanket stitch. This should be done before the two sides of the head are sewn together (instructions for sewing on the button eyes are given later in the book) Here is a photo of the eye circles just laying on the side head piece. You can see the dot where it will be placed.
– In the second picture, you can also see how the zig zag stitching looks when attaching the white sections to the main side head pieces.
– The directions for the beak were the only part that didn’t make sense to me. I decided to sew it on before attaching the head to the body. I used a straight stitch across the open and widest part of the beak piece, just catching the yellow tongue flap. Then I top stitched on the outside, with the upper beak to the top to keep it from just gaping open all the time.
– For the stuffing, I used mostly polyester fill for the head, but recycled many otherwise unusable scraps of polar fleece to stuff the body. This probably made it a little harder and lumpier than the store bought fill, but it should be very water resistant!
The book has patterns for 20 different animals, including ones for things like a gorilla, a spider, a snake, and a frog, that little boys might like. The walrus and hedgehog are on my sewing list, but size is yet to be determined.
If you stay with the smaller sizes, this should be a great way to use up some fleece scraps and make Christmas gifts inexpensively. It would be fun to see pictures of what people come up with!