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Topic: Cuttlefish / cuddlefish softie -- image HEAVY, including semi-tutorial  (Read 23239 times)
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tigerita
« on: January 10, 2009 02:24:07 AM »

I live in Egypt.  This is relevant in two ways:

1) My parents came to visit me over the summer, and we went diving in the Red Sea and saw a cuttlefish.  We were all fascinated, but my dad seriously fell in love.  When he got back home, he saw a TV documentary about cuttlefish and how amazing they are, and fell even more in love.  It became a major obsession.  He was even using cuttlefish examples in presentations for work.

2) I can't really sew here since I have no machine or access to fabric.  Actually, I can't really sew anyway, but I like to play around with it as if I knew what I were doing.  My aunt has an amazing fabric store in her town and my parents have none, so I emailed her before heading home for Christmas, with the question: "don't judge me for this... but does your fabric store have the zebra print minky in neon colors?"  She tattled to my mother, who asked me what on earth I wanted neon zebra print minky for, then became even more confused when i replied "oh, it's just for dad's christmas present."

My aunt's fabric store didn't have the minky, so I ordered it online, which worked out for the better anyway because the pass was snowed over and I couldn't get to her town.  Anyway, I spent the better part of the first week of my visit making my dad's present while he was at work:



I modeled it after these anatomic diagrams and this picture:
http://www.tonmo.com/images/content/thumbs/basiccuttle1_sm.jpg
You'd be amazed at how many squid stuffies and toys are labeled as cuttlefish. You'd also be amazed at how many recipes and how few stuffies turn up when you google "stuffed cuttlefish".

I don't have the sketches that I made of how I planned to make it, but here are the "pattern" pieces I cut out of newspaper.  I made two each of the body and tentacles, one in minky for the top and the other in white cotton for the underside.  The eye pieces and top of head are in minky only, and the one off to the right (the underside of the tentacle attached to the eye) is in white cotton.  You need two, one for each side.  Remember to make them mirror images of each other!


I don't have any pictures of the making of the ruffle, but it's basically a really long rectangle, one in each fabric, and sewed right sides together along one long edge.  Then I turned it right side out, and since you can't really iron minky, put it under a towel and blasted it with steam from the iron so that the seam would lie flat.  This picture is after it was turned, so the seam is along the right, this is the right side of the cotton, and the right side of the minky is face down on the floor.  You can see here about how long it is, as i'm pinning it to one body piece and making the ruffles.  The non-sewn side goes along the outside of the body, and the minky side goes against the right side of the minky body.


I then sewed the ruffle like that to the minky, and pinned the cotton body piece right side together with the minky and sewed it all together (ie the ruffle is inside the body in this picture since it's wrong side out).  This is a lot of layers of fabric!  My mother's sewing machine is older than I am and is a serious workhorse.  I love it.  If you don't have access to a 30 year old sewing machine for this step, you may want to cross your fingers first.  There's no way my machine would be able to sew through that much fabric.

(The handbound "happy anniversary" book in the background was my present to my parents for their 30th.)

That's the body.  For the face, I hand-sewed felt eyes, then sewed them onto the eye pieces. 


Minky is a serious mess to work with.  I've never made such a fuzzy hurricane in my life.  Between most stages, I threw what I had in the drier on air fluff (NO HEAT) to knock the fuzz off the seams. 

Assembly order for the face was sewing the minky to the cotton for all 3 pieces, turning the tentacles, then sewing the pieces together.  The top of the head was sewn on after this picture was taken, but it should be pretty obvious where it goes.  I stuffed the tentacles at this stage, figuring it would be much easier than trying to do it later.


Here's the whole, unstuffed cuttlefish.  I left a space for turning and stuffing on the underside of where the head joins the body.


And an action shot.  The cuttlefish was definitely the hit of Christmas, and my brother tried to steal it several times.  I'll refrain from posting the (many) shots where he was wearing the cuttlefish on his head, just in case he decides to run for public office one day.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2009 10:05:00 PM by kategirl - Reason: Please do not hotlink to an image that you do not own » THIS ROCKS   Logged
KiwiQ
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2009 02:59:24 AM »

This is probably my favorite of all crafts I've seen on crafster.  I love when the bizarre unrecognized things of this world are immortalized in stuffie form!  You did a ridiculously amazing job with this!  Your dad had to be just thrilled when he opened that present  Shocked

And I think you'll need to remove that bit about not being able to sew.  'Cause I'm quite certain you disproved that comment when you finished this project
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nicolatte
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2009 03:16:03 AM »

 That is super cute!! Cheesy
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tigerita
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2009 05:03:25 AM »

he certainly was thrilled... he normally shakes presents and tries to guess what they are, so i had considered adding either something rattly or heavy to the box as a decoy, until my mom pointed out that he was NEVER going to guess it anyway!  and of course he didn't...
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spicytaco
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« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2009 06:08:29 AM »

So so so coool!! I can't even explain how impressed I am with this project. Invertebrates rock my socks. (errr....thingys without spines) Octopi are my fav animals, and cuddle fish are pretty similar and closely related. I always feel bad when I'm in the pet store and they have all those cuddle fish bones for sale for birds to scratch their beaks on. (not actually bone by the way, it's actually more of an internal shell)
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Ms Jameson
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2009 06:49:08 AM »

That is one of the coolest things ever!
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erikau
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2009 08:31:06 AM »

What a great job you did!  I would be proud to own that cuttlefish.
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othersideofthecrash
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« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2009 11:05:56 AM »

OH MY GOSH, that is SO CUUUUTE!

I have a friend who really LOVES cuttlefish (she even calls them cuddlefish  Grin) so I might have to make this for her!  This totally rocks!
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Next year I'll have room for a sewing machine in my SINGLE ROOM, but this year I share, so I don't.  So all I can do now is wish and plan.  And maybe use my connections to the theatre costume workshop... Cheesy
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« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2009 11:54:29 AM »

Love it!   Shocked
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« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2009 12:39:07 PM »

It's great to see how much handwork is being put in making an object. Good job!
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