****MODERATOR CHOICE 4/20/10******
IT'S FINISHED! FINALLY! I've been working on this thing nearly every night for a week, and often during the day, too, WHEW. I'm very excited about how it turned out! =D
So it occurred to me to sew a Totoro Hoodie. I sketched up an idea!
I didn't have any grey fleece, but I had blue and white, so a Blue Totoro it is. Hubby demands a grey one by Autumn. ^_^
First order of business was to find a pattern, or something like it, which is what I found over at CraftStylish, here: http://www.craftstylish.com/item/30695/how-to-make-a-mens-fleece-hoodie
it's not so much a pattern as a go-by. It got me rolling!
I cut out some pieces, basted them together, tried it on.
Not bad! A good start. I tore it apart to get the applique and embroidery done.
I cut out the belly and markings pieces, they fit well!
But how to get them appliqued..... I didn't want to do it by hand, I thought satin stitch would be pretty, from my sewing machine. A test was in order.
EWWwwww ok so it really warbled the fabric badly. Satin stitch was a no-go. I experimented with some other stitches...
Oh hey, zig-zag doesn't warble, looks good.
I'd better try this with the right color applique piece...
Yeah! Much better, not too bad. Markings to Tummy piece first:
Then Tummy to Hoodie front! I also cut out the eyes, ears, & Nose pieces, and laid out some black string to plan the face. Note the size and shape of the ears.
I also tried these ears:
And settled on smaller versions of the initial ears. After I sewed the ears on, I noticed that several places hadn't been sewed on that well, and were "popping out":
Then I looked at the Tummy piece, and found about 7 or 8 places that were similarly not really sewed on very good. I got a needle threaded and overstitched to repair. Took forever! =P Repaired ears:
I imagine that after the first washing, there will be more 'popping' repair to do. Needle will be at the ready.
Then it was time to map and plot out the positions of the face items, which I did with blue washable marker.
I hand-stitched these items on/in.
Time to start piecing the hoodie together for real! I decided that I didn't like the way the shoulder seam was way off my shoulder like this:
(In retrospect, I wish I'd left it alone! But I suppose I learned some good stuff about arms from this experience. )
So I figured that I'd just sew the arms in a bit closer to the neck hole, and then the arms would attach right at the shoulder, and everybody would be happy, right?
WRONG. The way It was now pieced together produced some horrible puckering at the upper-arm-meets-hoodie-front area.
The pictures above don't do justice to just how unacceptable the crazy puckering was. Where to turn for help? Craftster, of course! I'm a really beginning seamstress, so I was having trouble visualizing what I should do to fix. I went to the boards, and Nostrum from down under came to my rescue! She said "Your arms are pointing slightly upwards, no! They need to be pointing downwards. Take a section out of the armpit area, etc" and gave me some visual examples. Well, DUH, I should have known that! I knew that the arms pointing slightly upwards was somehow just wrong. SO! I fiddled with this for HOURS, and finally got the arms pointing the right direction, got the arm holes on the hoodie body cut curvy enough,
and serged the arms in. Success! Except somehow I managed to sew in one of the arms inside out. Had to re-do that, and it did leave a 4" section of visible serge seam in black under one armpit. Oh, the growing pains of experience.....
So! It was time for the hood! I had lots of pretty plans for the hood.
I used some jersey fabric to mock up some prototypes, which didn't end up being very helpful to me...
And the first version of the hood looked like this:
Hehe, I just like to slap "FAIL" on stuff
Completely wrong. Perhaps someday I will be able to make a good looking fairy-pointed hood, but this is not the project for it, apparently. Hubby saw my design idea above on paper, and proclaimed he didn't like it, thought it was wrong for the style and subject of the hoodie. I decided to go with a more 'normal' hood, and after several tries, finally got it the way I wanted, and sewed it on.
Oops. The front was supposed to go down into the hoodie, not end abruptly like this. Details, details...
Here was my rather graceless fix, I hand-sewed the end bit down.
Then it was time to hem the sleeve cuffs, and break out the hand sewing needle again for more machine-applique-gone-wonky that needed fixing.
I was finally finished! Beaming with delight, I had my hubby snap some pics. =D
Inside-out to see serged seams
YESSSS Now I can craft OTHER THINGS! XD! I am so pumped to be done with this project, it took WAY longer and was lots more difficult than I'd imagined! But it was good for me, both the bigness of the project and the things I had to learn along the way, it was valuable! Plus now I have a hoodie that I can wear as soon as it starts getting cold! In..... November
! *laugh* really, this hoodie is VERY warm, I think it's Blizzard Fleece, and I get hot just looking at the thing. X) It'll be real nice next winter though.
Two last bits: I'd intended to sew on a white totoro and a soot sprite to the back of the hoodie, near the bottom. Not sure if I'll do it, but I've already made the bits, so here they are:
The white totoro and the print-out I used to shape it. I stole the eyes from the soot sprite for the pic, so they don't look quite right.
Thanks so much for looking! I had so much fun making this, I forced myself to "enjoy the journey" instead of just wanting the final product immediately. I did a LOT of slow-making things, like basting, fitting, testing, pinning, and those things really took a long time, and tried my patience, but I'm so glad I did them! Builds character!