Just in time for Easter, isn’t this Little Lamb Softie the most adorable creature you ever did see?
I’m going to give her to my almost 3-year-old niece on Sunday. I hope she likes it. This is the first softie I’ve ever sewn, though I have one more (a little girl doll with yarn hair) waiting in the wings – mostly cut out – that will be my niece’s birthday present.
I’ve made a few crocheted amigurumis over the past few years, but I’ve never tackled a sewn doll before. I was very excited to try this. I mean, what kid or parent wouldn’t treasure a hand-made doll? And now that I’ve made one to give away, I have to make another one to keep. She’s so springy- and adorable.
Little Lamb Softie, page 40, in I Love Patchwork: 21 Irresistible Zakka Projects to Sew.
Overall the pattern is well-written. I found myself failing a few times when I didn’t slow down enough to read the paragraph of instructions all the way through. Tsk Tsk. I thought I knew enough, but found myself overlooking small details like, sewing the tail into the back pieces and not sewing the back all the way to the top so there’s an opening to flip the doll right-side out. Silly me.
All mistakes were fixable with a pair of scissors and didn’t seem to leave any visible scars, at least none obvious to my eyes. However I don’t recommend this route to anyone because you can’t rip stitches out of fleece, which means I only got lucky when cutting the seams open and not mauling this poor doll.
There is a typo on page 41 – the first page of pattern instructions – in the Materials list. It gives you dimensions for cutting the various cotton prints int he skirt. Size F is not 2-1/2″ x 1/2″. It should read: 2-1/2″ x 4-1/2″. Big difference, but I’m sure I was the only one fooled the first time. Tee hee. The measurements in cm give away the true dimensions.
I used a faux sherpa fleece but with criss cross patterns in it. It’s a bit of a departure from the original, but I had picked some up out of the remnant bin a few months ago, so you go with what you’ve got. Besides, it’s still super soft! I want to cuddle it with my face. The other fabric modification I made to this pattern was to use cotton Osnaburg in natural instead of linen. The color is lighter than the linen recommended, but this worked fine, looks great, was cheaper, and is washable. So all-in-all that was a good redirect.
Sewing the body – The main challenge of this pattern – and it may be the fabric or my inexperience – was sewing the head, legs, and arms into the body. Everything came out fine enough in the end, but many headaches I’d have rather avoided.
My first mistake with sewing the head on was to sew from the outside of the circle (so the extra fabric is underneath the fabric being sewn and could get pulled under the needle) rather than inside (so that I could see the extra fabric being worked in a round). That made for several re-sews over spots I’d missed that made holes. Grrr.
The legs tortured me. First off, that fleece is twisty or something so I ended up with the seam on the left leg pointing up and down instead of side to side. Then, when I turned lambie inside out, I found that the top edge of one of the legs wasn’t sewn into the body. Oops. I had to cut the seam (again), shove the leg in, and sew again over and over. Again, it doesn’t seem visible that I had to do that repair work, but I think that’s just lucky or the forgiveness of fleece. I figure the problem with the leg being unstitched stemmed from either a) the fleece fabric, b) the super stuffed insides of the body for my bad aim on the leg, or c) a failure of my hand basting.
One thing that made sewing the body easier by reducing the bulk of the legs and arms was to pull them out the gap in the back and run them up into the head. This was far less bulky than folding them over on themselves.
Hand basting was new to me – it was used to secure appendages that needed to be sewn between two pieces instead of using a pin. In theory, very helpful; in practice, slowed me down and the knot didn’t always hold (yes I knotted my hand basting stitches because how else would they hold?).
Embroidering the face – Though you have pictures, you have the diagram, it’s a little nerve wracking to know exactly where to place all the elements. And there was no advice on how to secure the embroidery thread. If I’d put the face on before sewing the head together, which I considered, then I could have knotted the thread securely to the fabric.
I started and ended each piece of embroidery by running it through the back of the head – the hope being that it would get caught up in the stuffing and be less likely to pull out. The french knots for eyes went okay – I knotted twice in each eye, alternating knots between eyes to help secure them. I found doing small stitches at the beginning and the end of the eye brows, for instance, was helpful in securing the thread. I struggled with the placement and arch of the eyebrows. These are the second attempt and I, unfortunately, didn’t hide the short, securing stitches too well. And I think I made the stitches for the nose too tight because they seem to pull in and hide in the “ditch”. I skipped the blush because I, honestly, didn’t want to mess up.
Assembling the skirt – I was tempted to skip this complicated skirt all together (especially after getting half way through the cutting and then discovering the typo when I could construct a simpler skirt in no time at all. But when I finally sat down with a fresh batch of fabric, it only took me 40 minutes to cut it all out. Not bad, really. I sewed up the skirt in less than 2 hours beginning to end – so thankful for my serger! I struggled to sew the ruffled skirt inside the band, and even used the hand basting I was going to skip. Still the first seam didn’t catch large stretches of the back of the band – doh! So there are two seams across the bottom of the band. Who cares? It’s homemade!
My biggest helper in this pattern was my Walking Foot! I will never stop singing the praises of my walking foot. If only I could remember which blogger turned me onto the walking foot – I would give them a big Thank You! It made it so easy to slide over the fleece, which was very slippery.
If you’re in the mood to make a softie – this is a great project to tackle with adorableness as a reward! And perfect for Easter or spring!