You know the saying, never work with children or animals? Well this post is a caution as to why… introducing my latest make, a very poor version of Jodie from RicRacSews Cockatoo pattern. I just love all the amazing variations that she created using the same basic bird pattern, so I had to give it a go!
You might remember from a blog post last year that I bought myself a parrot! Kira (the boy) is a Crimson Bellied Conure which is a South American parrot. Lots of personality and a bit of a pest some days, but aren’t we all? Actually, if you go back and check that old post of 14 months ago, you will see how much he’s grown and filled out. He took a few months to grow in the traditional crimson belly, that’s for sure.
These conures are incredibly colourful birds, with everything from deep Maroon through crimson, and all the cool colours of khaki, turquoise, teal and royal blue leading into navy wings. Add to that their beautiful white and grey neck and bib, plus that tiny fringe of dark maroon over the top of their cere (nostrils).
It was a little challenging to show all the variation and colour in this make, I got DS1’s artistic girlfriend to help me narrow it down to about 7 different colours of felt! I’m a massive perfectionist, so I am not happy with the job I did, it’s more like a cartoon of a conure than the real thing, but everyone else in the family loves it! Except Kira, who is extremely cautious of new things in his environment and isn’t sold on it.
Even getting these photos was so challenging, he doesn’t sit still for long! But I want to talk about the pattern!
Ok, so soft toy makers have my incredulous awe. I can’t believe they come up with these 3D creations, and then make them – over and over. I love seeing Jodie’s process on her Instagram Feed as she shows how she remakes and tweaks designs until they fit her vision. I love sewing, but no, I’m not giving up the quilts for a career making soft toys!
The pattern was well written, showing all the different options and variations she included – those crests are INSANE and I wasn’t disappointed I didn’t have to make one. I wasn’t expecting how big the finished product would be – when the time came to stuff it, there was a LOT of stuffing in there! I’m not sure how to describe the construction – some sections were easy, others were more challenging but taking it slow and reading all the steps before you start is a must! My machine really struggled with stitching through all the layers of felt, even though it’s a semi-industrial machine. I kept trying different needles, tension settings etc to find the perfect balance. I think I actually need a stronger hi-speed needle because the majority of skipped stitches were when I was pausing with the needle down to change directions or rearrange a bulky seam. But I digress.
This sort of soft toy sewing would not be for someone who has never sewn before, or had only maybe sewn simple flat objects, however if you are patient, and have time and fabric to experiment, you can get some amazing looks out of this one bird. Ask anyone of my family, my patience is only expended sparingly. Fundamentally I’m a very impatient person, which makes my huge English Paper Piecing quilts such an anomaly!!
Will I make another one? Probably because I bought all that felt and a lot of eyes. DS1’s Girlfriend loves Kira, and I would like to make her very own conure to cuddle. Will I open a shop and sell these bad boys? Not a chance. I think I’ll file this one under a fun experience but not a long-term hobby.
So tell me – have you made any soft toys? What are your tricks for bulky seams and how to stuff them evenly?
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