The next project off the bat for the Harry Potter bedroom was Cornish Pixies. Happily, I did not have to draft a pattern for these as a quick internet search led me to Mieljolie’s Cornish Pixie pattern on Etsy. Not having to draft this pattern made it totally worth every cent that the pattern cost, plus I have another idea of what I may be making very soon, also using this pattern.
I went to my local shop and found the perfect fabric for 22 Malaysian Ringgit (about AU$7) per metre. I am not very familiar with knits as I find them very scary, so I couldn’t tell you what it is…. except that it’s shiny on one side, and only has a little bit of stretch, which was perfect for me. I would guess that it’s maybe a thick lycra? I know I should have used a ballpoint needle for this, but I didn’t have one handy and besides, it won’t need to actually stretch at all. This was my first time making a jointed doll and I learned the hard way that you really need to pull the thread tight so that the joints are stiff enough. Two of the poor pixies have very relaxed legs and can only sit down! I wasn’t able to get safety eyes, so I had to make do with shank-buttons for eyes.
For the wings, I had to “wing” it a bit myself. I couldn’t get access to a laser printer, nor could I get the brooch backings. So instead, I got some clear plastic sheets (like you used to use on overhead projectors at school) and traced the design on with a fine permanent marker. Then I used a large needle to punch four holes in the wings and sewed them to the body with black thread. Now I just need to get a cage for them! (This is a lot harder than it might seem!)
Something very sad happened as I was finishing the third pixie. My machine started making a horrible clunking noise, and it wasn’t fixed by any regular fixes! And the nearest service centre is 3 hours away so I’ve been patiently waiting for almost 2 weeks to take it to get repaired. I’ve almost gone out of my mind, but instead I’ve channelled my energy into the worst sewing job of all, cutting out. Now I have 3 projects that I don’t have to do any more cutting for. It should be some compensation for 2 weeks with no sewing… I hope!
The day I have been waiting for since my children were born has finally arrive…. My kids are Potterheads. For about 8 months now, we have been reading “big boy” stories to Master 6, and Masters 5 and 3 when they feel like it. We started with Roald Dahl and then, at Master 6’s request, Harry Potter. And he loves it. We are about to finish Prisoner of Azkaban and his love for the stories and characters is only growing. We have received our posting home for January and we will be moving into a fairly small house, which means all 4 kids will share a room with 2 sets of bunk beds. Like a Harry Potter dormitory. So, to get them excited for it, I offered to make their room Harry Potter themed, and the suggestion was met with epic enthusiasm. Since then, they’ve each chosen a house, and thought of ridiculous (and largely unachievable) decorations they’d like. I do have an ulterior motive here, and it is that I plan to make some of the elements their Christmas presents. See, Christmas with 4 kids and one paycheck can get a bit stressful, not to mention that kids get stuff they never use and it clogs up your house. So, we decided to give them things they would love, that we were going to give them anyway and kill two birds with one stone. So watch this space for a lot more Harry Potter themed sewing!
The very first thing I decided to make was a grindylow. To be honest, it wasn’t the first thing I decided to make, but it was the first thing I actually made. We had an old fishbowl floating around and I thought it would make a cool little decoration for the room. I looked high and low for a pattern but to my dismay, none seemed to exist, so I had to wing it. I started by searching the amazing internet for pictures, and found these horrors:
Using this, and the fishbowl for size guiding, I made a pattern by first drafting the shape I thought I needed, then cutting it out of paper, and taping together to check the 3 dimensional shape was what I wanted. Then I added seam allowance and got to constructing my critter.
I didn’t want to buy any new supplies for this project, so I decided to use some olive “dupioni silk” (I use this term loosely as that’s what it was labelled in my local shop, but I’m 99.95% certain it was not- it was very cheap and nasty) for the body, and some pale pink cotton for the tentacles on the head, and the arm and leg tentacles. Because of the very fragile nature of the “silk”, and the very small seam allowance I was working with, thanks to the small parts, I used fusible interfacing on the back of every piece, sewing pieces together, and then trimming off excess fabric so that the seams were still interfaced.
To make the “tentacles”, I used my free-motion foot and sewed hundreds of little circles onto the fabric along lines drawn with water-erasable marker. To be honest, having used interfacing, I mistakenly thought there would be no need to hoop the fabric, as I thought it would be sufficiently stiff. It wasn’t, but by not hooping it, it puckered in the most fantastic way that really gave the “suckers” the perfect texture. It’s all about the details, right? I also used my free-motion foot to embroider on some shadowy looking eye sockets with little black eyes in them, then I pieced together the head, which I won’t pretend wasn’t a fiddly job. Actually, this whole creature was fiddly.I added felt teeth to the mouth so that I didn’t need to worry about finishing the edges. Once the head was complete, I stuffed it, ready to attach to the body.
Next I made the arms, put a pipe cleaner through them so they could be posed, and then began the mammoth task of doing the tentacles. These were very narrow tubes, and were very difficult to turn. If I was ever to make this again (too fiddly! But I’ve said that before and repeated so…) I’d use either a slippery fabric, or something with a slight stretch, for ease of turning. I started by sewing the tentacle tops and bottoms together, then sewing up the sides of the body, with the arms pinned between the side seams. I had to leave one seam open above the arm as there was too much bulk with 2 stuffed arms and 6 empty tentacles to turn. I turned each tentacle individually, inserting pipe cleaner and then stuffing as each was turned (a straw, chopstick and a lot of patience helped with this) Once all the tentacles were turned, I twisted the pipe cleaner ends together to ancho them and enable the tentacles to be posed, sewed the body side seam above the arm, then stuffed the body. Finally, (and very happily), I sewed the head onto the body, and he was complete!
I now have 3 very happy little boys and one happy girl!