Simplicity 8441 – Stuffed Llama

Simplicity 8441 - Stuffed Llama
I sometimes sew gifts for the holidays, but not regularly. I’ve sewn dresses for my cousins before and a quilt or two. Usually, time constraints keep me from finishing my ambitious projects.

Luckily my sewing group scheduled a retreat last weekend which was the perfect time to complete this stuffed llama!

I used Simplicity 8441 although the designer also has her own PDF version. The Simplicity pattern includes the pillowcase as well.

I bought the fur and face-fleece from Joann. They have a big faux fur selection in the winter. The other pieces – the mouth, ears/tail/base, and blanket fabric were all leftovers from other projects.

Simplicity 8441 - Stuffed Llama

I was able to cut the fur from the wrong side with tiny snips in the fabric without cutting the hair itself. When I sewed the fur I brushed it away from the seam so I didn’t need to trim the fur from the seam allowance.

I made one slight mistake, however. The pattern is well designed in that the neck and body are cut in such a way as to make the llama’s face turn slightly to the side. But attaching the face and neck to the body was a little tricky for me. I wasn’t using a walking foot so my face and neck ended up a little off-kilter. In the end, though, it just looks like my llama’s face is tilted a bit. So if you’re making this llama, be sure to match the head and face up just right when sewing!Simplicity 8441 - Stuffed LlamaMaking the yarn wig was difficult. I found it helpful to wrap the yarn around a longer piece of cardstock. With the original three-inch-long piece of cardstock, the yarn kept sliding off the cardstock as I sewed it. You make the little wig separately then hand-sew it to the llama’s head. I used chunky yarn with a metallic thread to match the metallic in the blanket but I think I used too much yarn as the wig is very full.

Simplicity 8441 - Stuffed Llama

There’s quite a bit of hand sewing/embroidery on this project. I chose to blanket stitch around the mouth applique piece.

Simplicity 8441 - Stuffed Llama

The hole for the stuffing is not large (it’s at the base of the body near the neck) and I used the kind of stuffing that comes in little tiny pieces of fluff. I had to jerry-rig a paper cup into a funnel to fill the llama.

Simplicity 8441 - Stuffed Llama

The only significant change I made was to tack down the blanket rather than attaching the string ties that wrap around the llama’s body. I wish I had stuffed the tail to make it stand up better. The ears stand up just fine without any stuffing.

Simplicity 8441 - Stuffed LlamaHe’s super cute! If you like sewing stuffed animals and can deal with fur I’d recommend this pattern.

So that’s it, I’m now going to end this post with a series of choice llama gifs. Enjoy!

Gift Wrap Scraps

Christmas Cards using Gift Wrap

If you’re like me then you hoard even the smallest bits of leftover gift wrap because some day, some time you know you’ll need them for all those super tiny boxed gifts you’re going to give (only I never have small boxed gifts! ugh!).

Here’s another way to use up those scrap pieces instead of dumping them into the recycle bin.

Use them as background for Christmas cards! I made these cards to resemble wrapped gifts with tags. Inside they’ll hold gift cards. And since gift wrap is already holiday themed you don’t have to buy fancy Christmas card stock.

I think the last day in the US to mail cards for on time delivery is tomorrow so if you need a quick last minute card (I’m raising my hand!) grab your gift wrap supplies and make one!

***I’m leaving town soon but I’ll be back next Monday to start the Sew-a-long! So grab your PDF pattern while you can!

Peppermint Candy Pillow DIY

Would you like to make your own holiday peppermint pillow? Well, you’re in luck! Mandi from Make it Dear was sweet enough to ask me to contribute a craft for her Holiday Time Tuesday series. A new festive craft project each Tuesday until the 20th. Check out her fun tinsel wreath and another contributor’s awesome chalkboard paint mugs.

I made a this pillow with fleece and tulle. Even my boyfriend thinks it looks pretty awesome (and he’s always a critic).

***Oh, and if you’re looking for more crafty holiday inspiration I did a whole series last year called Dixie DIY Christmas. Some of my faves include the Santa face cupcakes, glitter glue ornaments and the muffin tin advent calendar.

Holiday Gift Guide For Those Who Sew

A couple years ago my boyfriend’s mom (also a sewer herself) smothered me in awesome sewing supplies for my Christmas present. It was awesome!

Remembering that got me thinking – what are some good gifts to give to someone who sews? Especially if the gift giver isn’t that familiar with sewing?

I hope this little guide might be helpful to those who want to wish a very inspirational and creative Christmas to someone special!

Let’s lay some ground rules first – like buying clothing, personal style and preferences of the recipient can be hard to predict unless you know the person really well. So I don’t recommend buying fabric, trims or patterns for the sewer on your list. Neon green floral poly satin may not be her preferred fabric choice.

But every sewer will love useful tools and refilling her stock of supplies!

(source: zipit)

Try parking yourself at the notions aisle of your local sewing store and create a grab bag of items like multi size packs of universal machine needles, packages of elastic, zippers in different lengths and colors, snaps, bias tape, all purpose thread, etc.

Some supplies she may already own but it never hurts to have more than one around – especially when you’re knee deep in a project and you just cannot find that darn seam ripper! A magnetic pin cushion, rulers, thread clippers, really nice scissors, and of course, seam rippers make great gifts.

But wait, all these utilitarian products aren’t making you excited about shopping? Trust me, sewing enthusiasts would love to have all of those little things but if you want to go above and beyond here are a few ideas that will really make her happy –

  • A top of the line cordless iron. Sewers are always ironing and having a great one can really make the process easier.
  • Ginghers. This company makes very nice (but also expensive) cutting tools. The dressmaker’s shears are a classic.
  • A gift certificate to her favorite fabric store. Sure, gift cards aren’t the greatest but if you get one to a local indie store rather than the big box places it will be more special.
  • A gift certificate to get her machine serviced. You’re supposed to get your machine serviced and cleaned up once a year but I know that I often don’t get around to it, partially because of the cost. This is a thoughtful idea for the budget sewer.

Want some more creative gift ideas?

“How Much Fabric”? Reference cards. These pocket size cards are on a ring and are easy to carry around in a purse. The charts estimate how much fabric you might need for a given style of garment. These are especially useful when a sewer is at a store, spots the perfect fabric for that pattern she just bought but can’t remember how much fabric the pattern called for.

Mind Your Own Beeswax Thread Conditioner. This company molds its conditioner into fun little shapes. You run your thread across the little beeswax shapes to make hand sewing smoother. Good for hand basting, slip stitching, catstitching and more. You can order it here but you can probably find it cheaper from other websites. You might also find it in independent sewing stores.

Vintage Patterns and notions. If the recipient likes vintage style this could be an option. Check out estate sales, antique stores, ebay, and etsy. You can often find patterns for under 3 bucks a pop. Don’t know her size? That’s ok, it is expected that the sewer will have to make adjustments with old patterns. Just pick a few that you like for some instant sewing inspiration.

Hey, what about books?

Books are a great idea for gifts and are easy to find. Here are options for different levels of sewing experience.

Well, that about sums up my little holiday gift guide for sewers. Please, help me add to this list by commenting with your own ideas of what sewing presents you would want for Christmas?