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Topic: Quetzalcoatl... The Massive Stash-busting Snake o' a Thousand Pieces! Avec tute!  (Read 2928 times)
Tags for this thread: tutorial , felted_sweater , snake , craftsters_10th_anniversary_cross_category_challenge , rrr_cross_category_challenge_entry  Add new tag
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"Be yourself, everyone else is already taken." Oscar Wilde
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« on: August 12, 2013 07:41:25 PM »

Craftster means SHARING! How many times have I been amazed at an awesome project on here and then seen a free tutorial showing how to make one myself? I must have 30 gigs of files stored just from Craftster alone, never even mind my bookmarks here and links to other stuff. The generosity of this community is astonishing. It makes me want to share how I do things and I figure that's how this place keeps itself so wonderful. The giving begets giving begets giving Smiley. Good life lesson that...

I've been making tons of stuff out of ugly, holey old sweaters rescued from various junk piles because, hey, that's made outta WOOL! Or angora or merino, or alpaca, or even silk and cashmere, wow. I felt them up in the wash (learned how to do that here) with natural homemade laundry soap (learned how to make that here) and make up patterns as I go, cutting without measuring of course (learned that here, lol!), and don't waste even the teeny weeny tiny little left over bits because I'm sure somebody will suggest something fabulous to do with those, right?
I've got a lot of scrap. Precious, precious scrap. So when my friend mentions a passing interest in having me help her make a snake my mind goes berserk! I need something for my new apartment and I can make it in the form of a snake and bust a whole lotta stash while I'm at it. Practical things can be amazing to look at because Cute Doesn't Need a Reason Wink. And if it gets really complicated and requires a tutorial to show my friend how to do it herself well heck, I get to share that with all of you while I'm at it and maybe somebody here will take this idea and make something amazing that I get to see. That's how it works on this fabulous site and that's why we love it so Smiley.

Don't be scared, this is a long process but not all that complicated. I really hope somebody will try it and post some pics of their creation. It could be a snake or a dragon or a mermaid or a fish or a monster or whatever. Get crazy with it y'all Cheesy.

Here's my snake!

It's made from the tiniest bits left over from projects I made out of these but you can use whatever you want so long as it's fabric that doesn't fray. That means felt, fleece, and some knit fabrics. If you really want to use woven fabric you'll need to use fray check on ALL the edges or fuse it onto a fusable web that will hold it together when you cut out the scales.

My lil' bits. The couch was full of this mess for 2 whole days, we had nowheres to sit down! LOL!
You can see how I pieced together lots of little strips for the body, That doesn't really show on the finished product, just peeks through here and there.

And here's the HOW
Cut two snake shapes, it's ok to piece together bits of fabric to get the right size and shape if needed. Mark off where the mouth will be (see the black marks I made?).

Fold the mouth open at those marks, put the fabric you're going to use for the mouth underneath and cut two pieces in that shape, I used black. Make sure you've added a little bit of extra fabric to the straight edge for a seam allowance.

Cut a tongue shape, sandwich it between the two mouth pieces (the straight edge) and sew them all together. Set that aside for later.

Sew the two pieces of the snake body together along one side from the narrow end of the tail to the mark you made to show where the mouth will be.

Open the pieces up with the right side of the fabric up.

Now gather all your scraps up and cut out some strips. They can be an inch to 2 inches in width. They should overlap by half, that means if the strips are an inch in width they will overlap by half an inch. Cover the whole body of your snake starting at the narrow end up to wherever you want the scales to end on the neck of the snake. Now trim the strips so that the edges width-wise are just smaller than the body of the snake, this means that the strip will be as wide as the snake MINUS the seam allowance. If you look at the pictures this will be more clear.

If you have small scraps that's ok, you can join them together to make strips that are long enough.

Or you can join pieces just because you want an interesting colour combo.

Now you are going to shape the strips into scales, like so...

Keep the strips in the same order they were laid out on the snake.

This is what the strips that were patched together out of little bits look like trimmed.


Sew the first row of scales on, center it like so.

Each row will overlap by half the width and will be staggered as in the photos below, do NOT sew past the seam allowance on the snake's body. Look carefully at this picture and let me know if you have questions about this step.

Once you get them all sewn on it's pretty much inevitable that they will be smaller than before you trimmed them into scales, you'll need a couple more rows to make this up.

That's ok, now you get to use up even More scraps, yay!

It looks great if you use lots of single scales at this point but they'll have to be pinned on individually.

This looks really nice, it's an interesting feature detail close to the snake's head.

At this point cut a strip with scales on both sides to finish.

This makes a neat sort of ruff.

Turn the snake over, if you were careful not to sew past the seam allowance it might look like this.

Sew on some eyes!

Fold the snake body in half and tuck all those sticky outty bits of scales inside out of the way and pin the sides together.

Sew along the side from the mouth notch right to the bottom, notice how the end is not pointy but blunt? That's a good trick for turning a pointy end Wink. Be very careful NOT to catch any of the scales in the stitches. If you do you'll have to pick them out and do that part again.

Turn your snake right side out (feels pretty cool sticking your arm into a tube of inside out snake scales, lol).
All your hard work staggering those rows of scales means that, if you did it right, when you look at the side seam you can't even tell where the stitching is.

Now you'll need to go row by row tacking down the loose edges of the scales. Do this by hand, it's pretty quick. If the scales overlap too much you can carefully trim a bit off of the scales on both sides or even just squish the fabric up to make it fit better. Same if they are a bit too far apart, this sort of knit fabric is stretchy so... stretch it!

Turn the snake back inside out and pin the mouth part in place.

Sew around the mouth leaving a small opening for turning and stuffing purposes.

Turn right side out again, stuff and sew closed.

It's so fantastic! Oh my gosh, can you believe you made this wonderous thing? Let me tell you, my friend is pretty pleased with hers. I love mine too. Can you guess what I made it for? Here's a hint, it wasn't a scarf, too itchy!

I filled mine with a tube of sand and it's a draft stopper. Awesome, right?

I just want to mention that the eyes on my snake are from here (this was a happy/sad project).
and part of the neck ruff was waste trimmed off this recent item.

some serious salvaging in that project, oh man... Cheesy
« Last Edit: August 22, 2013 02:23:50 PM by craftylittlemonkey » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2013 08:14:57 PM »

Cute!  I think I've seen the same idea with fish and owls before.
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« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2013 08:28:46 PM »

Yes, yes! Absolutely! Owl, mermaid, fish, snake, dragon, monster, wings, scales, hair, whatever!

When my friend said "snake" I got on here and looked up things like this http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=413338#axzz2bh9ukPbj and this http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=424637.0#axzz2bh9ukPbj and this http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=311610.0#axzz2bhCczWoN and this http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=310770.0#axzz2bhCczWoN and even this http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=404567.0#axzz2bh9ukPbj and this http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=336194.0#axzz2bhCczWoN because you guys are OMG awesome!

« Last Edit: August 13, 2013 05:03:19 AM by craftylittlemonkey » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2013 01:50:06 AM »

I love what you have done with the old sweaters, turning them into fashionable home dcor. Great job Cheesy

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« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2013 05:02:18 AM »

Thanks Lady Smiley. I can't pass up an old sweater at the thrift store or toss one out from our closets just because it's getting worn out or is out of fashion. The fiber is so precious, it's natural and versatile and just so wonderful to craft with. I'm always happy to recycle those into something else, especially if it's a weird and wonderful something else Wink.


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« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2013 02:36:11 PM »

Soooo cute! And an amazing use of scraps!

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« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2013 06:12:20 PM »

WHat a thorough tutorial!  Cheesy Your snake looks very squishy & huggable!

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« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2013 05:13:15 AM »

Snake is gorgeous! Thanks for the tut...gotta try this one day.

um,   yay?
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« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2013 02:25:25 PM »

Thanks all! He's sure to be a fearsome draft keeper awayer when it gets chilly out Cheesy.

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