I have an amazing sewing machine that also does embroidery. It's one of my favourite possessions. I was on the lookout for things that I could use the embroidery unit for - and came across a number of "In The Hoop" projects. In particular, this site. Gerda creates some wonderful patterns at Embroidery Outlet, and I have purchased quite a number of them.
Having time to sew them up is another matter! I will warn you - the patterns basically stitch together two sides of a piece - e.g. an arm, but everything else is handsewing. A lot of handsewing. Most things you see on a toy are a separate stitch out - nose, ears, eyes, etc. There is a large amount of creative freedom here - you can decide where/how to attach each piece. Gerda gives a finished photo as an indicator - but other than that you are free to place the pieces as you wish.
This was the first one I did...for my daughter's 3rd birthday
I googled instructions to do her hair as I was at a bit of a loss. I ended up cutting numerous lengths of the yarn (double the length I wanted to do her hair), sewing across the centre of it with my machine to secure them. I did about three sections (which meant 6 hair layers as you fold them at the seam), and hand sewed through my machine stitching to secure to the head of the doll. Then when you fold it down - the seam is hidden. Does that make sense?
The dress was made for her using the pattern as a template for size only. I prefer to sew with nice seams and hems rather than using pinking shears which is what the In The Hoop pattern calls for. It is actually leftover fabric from my daughter's bed quilt!
Next up was a set of toys for my niece and her new baby sister. I made what I call Scary Dolly for my niece (she calls it Aunty Shelley!). The eyes are a bit strange!!!:
And cuddle bunny for her new baby sister. He/she is the strangest bunny you have ever seen:
The fabric choice was determined by the minky I had left over from making a blanket for my new niece to go with the bunny, just in case you were wondering what possessed me! It is super soft and cuddly:
After that, I thought my wee boy needed a toy, so Hippo joined the family. He is another super soft cuddly toy. I really like Hippo - he is just so snuggly:
I love the results of sewing with minky fabric - just not the complete mess I/my house gets in while doing it!!! Fluff everywhere.
To finish off, along came my son's first birthday - so Giraffe was my most recent creation:
Yet another "finish in the middle of the night before" project! Why do I do that??? Giraffe is currently awaiting some surgery to re-attach one of his hind legs. Victim of a tug-of-war between my children... Poor Giraffe.