Saturday, 17 August 2013

Mouse Tutorial

So, I've shown you some of my completed softies, I decided its time to show you how I make them.  My first pattern is for a mouse, eight inches from the top of his, or her, ears down to the pads of their feet.  Isn't he cute!

Now, please bear with me, this is my first tutorial and I shall endeavour to load it up properly, so fingers crossed, here goes ...

Click here to download the pattern

I chose to make my mouse in white felt with pink inner ears and footpads.  Felt is a great material to use as it doesn't fray.  The one thing you must take care with is that you don't over-stuff the felt, otherwise it is liable to thin.  Thinned felt, if its colour is different to that of the stuffing, does not look nice.

So, beside the felt for mouse you will also require thread to stitch the pieces together.  You can use either cotton thread or embroidery thread in a matching colour.  I prefer embroidery thread, but that is because I have so much it is more likely to match my felt than my collection of cotton sewing thread.  To make the mouse you will also need a 5" piece of pipe cleaner for the tail.  If you are using white felt it is best to use white pipe cleaner, otherwise a pink or orange pipe cleaner will show through.  I use buttons on the outside of the arms.  This is my preference, you can choose not to use them.  Finally you will need a filling. I use a high-loft polyester fill, there are organic fillings available too, you should use what you feel is most appropriate.

Step 1: cut out the pieces.  My preference when sewing seams is to use BLANKET STITCH: oversew a couple of times so that your thread is attached to the fabric.  Then, insert your needle into the same hole.  Pull the thread until there is a small loop left, then put your needle through the loop, pull until snug.  Insert your needle a short distance along the seam pull through until you have a small loop. then put your needle through the loop.

Step 2:  Pin two arm pieces together.  Stitch down from one top corner round to the other top corner leaving just the top curve open.  Fill the arm.  I use a plastic chopstick and a wooden skewer with the point cut off to push filling down.  It is a tricky thing, finding the right amount of filling to use, as you want your creations to be firm, but as I said earlier if you over-fill it will pull your felt and strain your stitching.  A common old saying, but truly, you improve with practice.
Step Three:  Now, on to the legs.  My preference is to start at the foot and stitch up to the top of the leg.  Then sew on the foot pad.  Time to stuff it.

Step Four:  Heads up.  Using a running stitch attach the inner ear to the main ear.  Stitch the two heads together from nose to neck, then attach the gusset on one side from the nose to point C.  Fold your first ear in half so A and B touch each other, then place A/B at C.  Use a running stitch, back and forth to ensure the ear is caught and attached to the head.  Then continue to stitch the gusset to the head.  Repeat on the other side.

Step Five:  Place your pipe cleaner on the tail piece.  Roll the fabric around the pipe cleaner and pin.  Then sew the top and down the length.

Step 6:  Take one of the body pieces and, at the centre of the bottom, cut a 1/2 inch slit.  Place the unfinished end of the tail into the slit, then use a running and back-stitch to ensure the tail is secure.


Step Seven:   Place the legs between the body parts (either side of the tail) and pin. Then, starting at the neck join the two body pieces together making sure the legs are attached securely.  Finish the seam up to the neck on the other side.

Step Eight:  Fill the body and head with filling.  Use a chopstick, or similar, to ensure that all corners are snugly filled.  Sew a running stitch around the neck of the head, then sew it securely to the neck of the body.  Make sure to add some more filling if needed as you don't want any gaps.

Step Nine:  Time to attach the arms.  Secure your thread to the body close to the neck.  Set a horizontal 1/8th inch stich 1/4inch from the top of the first arm.  Then repeat the stitch through body and arm several times until secure.  Now stitch the button on top of the stitches.  Repeat with the other arm.

and there you have it! 
You now have your mouse, alright he/she doesn't have any features but that will be the topic for my next tutorial.
I hope you enjoy these mice.
Have a happy day!


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