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!

Starlight Mint Ornament – Holiday Ornament Exchange

Starlight Mint Ornament

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Except, well, because of global warming or something my Texas Christmas is more resembling an Australian Christmas. It was 80 degrees yesterday! What’s up with that?

A few weeks ago the lovely (and expecting!) Kelli from True Bias asked me as well as a bunch of other bloggers, many who you also know and love, to participate in an ornament exchange! So of course I was like, “yes please!”

Starlight Mint Ornament

We all made our own ornaments that we’re mailing to each other. None of us know what each of us are making so it’s a big surprise for everyone.

Let me just say that while coming up with my idea I nixed a few others because, as usual, whenever I come up with a good idea someone else has already thought of it and put it on Pinterest. I had to stop Pinterest-ing for a while because I was getting discouraged. No doubt my idea has already been made by others as well, and if by some chance another one of the participating ladies had the same idea for an ornament as I, well, then we’re both geniuses. 😉

Moving on, I don’t really like mint flavor, and I never really eat these things but for some reason my childhood memories are filled with these little Starlight mints. They remind me of spending Christmases with my grandmother and the iconic colors and shapes shout “Christmas” to me. So, naturally, I covered a ball in mints.

Starlight Mint Ornaments

You will need:

  • Starlight mints
  • Styrofoam balls (These are 2 1/2″ size. I don’t recommend any bigger, the mints add a lot of bulk)
  • A glue gun
  • Some kind of wire (I used floral wire)
  • Wire cutters
  • Ribbon for hanging
  • Scissors
  • Clear spray sealant
  • Ziplock bags
  • And maybe a hammer…

This project is pretty simple.

Starlight Mint Ornaments
Starlight Mint Ornaments

Dab some glue on the back of a mint and stick it on the ball.

Starlight Mint Ornaments

They ya go. Not so hard, right?

Starlight Mint Ornaments

Now keep adding mints next to mints you just glued.

Starlight Mint Ornaments

Hold each mint down for a few seconds to let the glue stick.

Starlight Mint Ornaments

Soon you’ll have your ball covered!

Starlight Mint Ornaments

If you get big spaces that can’t fit a whole mint, don’t worry. We’ll fix that next.

As you unwrap your mints you’ll no doubt have a few broken mints. That’s good. You can use those bits to patch spaces between mints.

Starlight Mint Ornaments

If you need smaller pieces you can put them all in a ziplock bag and hammer the mints into tiny bits.

Starlight Mint Ornaments

Glue and stick the broken bits in the empty spots.

Starlight Mint Ornaments

If you’re making more than one ornament you can save this part for last.

Starlight Mint Ornaments

Just fill in all the really big spots, all those tiny spaces won’t be seen from a distance.

Starlight Mint Ornaments

Next cut a length of wire, about 4″, like in the picture above.

Starlight Mint Ornaments

Bend to make a loop on one end that will hold the ribbon.

Starlight Mint Ornaments

Wrap the short end around the rest of the wire.

Starlight Mint Ornaments
Starlight Mint Ornaments

Put glue along the wire and find a nice spot on the ball and stick the wire in.

Starlight Mint Ornaments

Add some extra glue at the base of the loop for support.

Starlight Mint Ornaments

Then spray the whole thing with sealant. I sprayed one side at a time so I could let the sealant dry. The sealant and mints can get sticky so make sure you spray on some plastic like a big ziplock bag, not paper towels. The mints can stick to the paper.

Starlight Mint Ornaments

Finally cut some ribbon, I cut about 12″, and string it through the loop.

Starlight Mint Ornament

Make a cute bow and now hang it on your tree!!! They’re a little heavy but I have much heavier ornaments than these so it should be fine.

Starlight Mint Ornament

Thanks again to Kelli for organizing this! Now go see all the other cool ornament ideas:

Jen at Grainline Studio
Kelli at True Bias
Maddie at Madalynne
Megan at Megan Nielsen
Miranda at One Little Minute
Mika at Savory Stitches
Sonja of Ginger Makes
Suzanne of My Beau Baby

Christmas Wreath and Giving Thanks

Gold Christmas Wreath

I have been sewing this past couple weeks but it’s always those elusive pictures that give me trouble, especially since the sky gets darker earlier – less time for natural light photography. In the mean time I’m posting a project of a different kind and taking a moment to give thanks. For those of you outside of the US you may not know but this Thursday is our big national holiday, Thanksgiving. It’s a time when we gorge ourselves on turkey and pumpkin pie and watch parades and football on TV. But really we’re supposed to spend time with friends and family and think about everything we are grateful for.

So this is my sewing/blogging/creative related thank yous. I’m grateful for all of you! Thanks to the people I’ve met in real life and have become great friends, those who I know only from blogs and email. Thank you to everyone who reads the blog (and whose blogs I read). Whether or not you comment I still appreciate your presence (I know it’s hard to keep up with so many blogs and comment on each). Thanks to all those who have bought/used my patterns. Thanks to those who share them. Thanks to those who design their own patterns and alterations. You inspire me!

Thanks for allowing me to waste hours at a time catching up on reading blog posts. Thanks for always giving me more cool techniques or details to apply to my next project. Thanks for making me want to knit or try something hard like tailoring or sewing pants. Thanks for keeping my sewing-to-do-list longer than the United States Tax Code. Thanks for making me swoon over the most beautiful printed dresses as well as the otherwise plain, but exceptionally well constructed black pants. Thanks for giving me Pinterest overload. Thanks for making me smile when I see your happy faces in pictures of your newest creation. It all makes me feel very connected to this community in a way I cannot fully explain. Thanks for challenging and supporting me.

Gold Christmas Wreath

Ok, enough sappy stuff. Here’s a wreath I made while celebrating and early Thanksgiving with my boyfriend’s fam. When it comes to holidays I’m surprisingly traditional. I like classic colors and motifs. Unfortunately my orange door doesn’t lend itself well to Christmas green and red so I made a gold themed wreath.

Gold Christmas Wreath

Here’s my supplies:

  • One grapevine wreath (they’re the best for sticking picks into).
  • Two bunches of sparkly balls attached to stems. I cut each individual stem off and wrapped it around the wreath. I probably got about 16 individual stems.
  • A package of about 20 wooden sticks, covered in glitter and curled on the end.
  • One bunch of plastic-y, glitter-y leaves that I cut apart into individual stems.
  • Four glitter pine cones on picks.
  • Two glitter birds on picks
  • A package of gold plastic ball ornaments (don’t use glass, that’s a mess waiting to happen!). I used five of each style.
  • Gold wire ribbon for the big bow.
  • Hot glue gun to keep the ball ornaments in place.

I bought everything at Hobby Lobby except for the leaves, bird and pine cone picks which I got for cheap at Joann. I think it’s festive for the winter holidays but doesn’t clash with the orange.

Gold Christmas Wreath

One good thing about making a new wreath – I finally got off my lazy bum and cleaned my door – it was covered in spiderwebs, dirt, leaves and dead bugs, ew.

Ok, I’m off for the next couple days to spend time with my family for Thanksgiving – funny story, last year at Thanksgiving I was jumping on a trampoline with my little cousins (about 5 of them under the age of 12) and my jeans ripped! Like, an un-fixable crotch rip. I’m not surprised, they were old and most jeans get worn out in that spot. The bad part was I hadn’t brought any other pants. I spend the rest of the day in pajama pants. Yeah – no trampoline for me this year…

Announcing the “Movies in the Park” Shorts Pattern!

Movies in the Park Shorts

Big news on the blog-front, readers! I’m very pleased to announce what has been a long time in the making – my newest downloadable pattern for sale – The “Movies in the Park” Shorts.

Movies in the Park Shorts

You’ve seen a previous version of these shorts before, back in May for my Shorts and Shirts Summer Wardrobe (which I’m still working on, hey, it’s still summer!).

Movies in the Park Shorts

This new version is practically identical to the other shorts. I made these in a stretch cotton bottomweight (medium weight fabrics like denim, twill, poplin, corduroy, etc would be best for these shorts) with some good, old fashion plastic buttons and plain, black bias tape for the binding.

As usual the pattern comes in five sizes ranging from hip measurements 35-42″. Like my last pattern this one comes with lots of illustrations and instructions, even detailed steps on how to attach bias binding, stitch-in-the-ditch style if you’ve never done it before.

Movies in the Park Shorts

This time I included metric in addition to imperial numbers for body and finished measurements and yardage/meter-age.

I’d recommend the pattern for advanced beginners and up. You’ll need to know how to attach interfacing; do basic stitching, basting and understitching; finish seams using whatever method you like; sew buttons and buttonholes; and attach bias binding (although I have full instructions on that if you don’t already know how).

Movies in the Park Shorts

I’ll probably do a little shorts fitting post pretty soon to cover some common crotch issues but what is nice about these shorts is that you can easily adjust the fit at the sides by moving the overlapping leg pieces and stitching down your buttons in the place that feels more comfortable (an idea I got after losing weight and I was annoyed by the idea of having to do major alterations).

Movies in the Park Shorts

The shorts have back darts, deep front pockets, an interfaced waistband and bias trim edging. There are six buttons on each leg but only the top three are functional. I found that keeping the bottom buttons non-functioning helps to prevent the fabric from pulling on the open buttonholes.

Movies in the Park Shorts

I’ve been living in these shorts the past few weeks. They are so comfortable for summer weather and being outside. I call them the “Movies in the Park” shorts because they’d be great to lounge around in on a warm summer night having a picnic in the park watching a free movie (or play or musical) put on by the city (does your town do this? mine does).

Having recently done that I am reminded of this super funny sketch from the show Portlandia on IFC. I find that Portland and Austin are culturally very similar.

The new pattern is now available in store for $4 and if you purchase you’ll get an email with a download link almost immediately after you pay. Yay for instant gratification!

All instructions and pattern pieces are in one 16 page PDF. Remember to print without scaling but there is a test square to double check.

Movies in the Park Shorts

Thanks to all of you who buy my patterns and read the blog. I appreciate all the support and comments. Now that this pattern is finished I can get back to normal life like sewing for fun and catching up on my blog reader (I’m seriously backed up, sorry blog friends!). But who am I kidding, I’ve already got another pattern in the works (a dress). It never ends, does it!?