One Thimble Issue 16 Blog Tour
My daughter has been asking for a hipster bear from Issue 15 since she first spotted it in the look book. Unfortunately she's still waiting, but when I looked at the patterns in Issue 16, I thought that this beautiful little mermaid would help to ease the pain.
Isn't it gorgeous!
And this is where I confess that I opened up the pattern, and started to feel worried. You see, I didn't realise that the doll would need to be sewn completely by hand. And as I read through the pattern, I came across a many items that I didn't have sitting in my sewing room ready to go. Also, I'm not too confident about my hand sewing and embroidery skills.
Not to be deterred I hopped online, and popped some orders in straight away. I grabbed a felt sheet of each colour (one for the body, one for the fin and one for the shell) from Rose Petal Collections (I ended up with camel, turquoise and apricot), and some Thread Heaven and Sulky Solvi from an online quilting store.
I had no idea what Thread Heaven was, but have since discovered that it's a thread conditioner, that helps preserve your thread, and is helpful when stitching through the adhesive of the Sulky Solvi.
I bought printable sheets of Sulky Solvi. The packet says Stick 'n Stitch. It comes in precut sheets that you can pass through you inkjet or laser printer. As well as providing markings for your stitches, the Sulky Solvi stiffens the fabric making it easier to hold while stitching. The mermaid front (on the right) below has the Sulky Solvi attached ready to start sewing.
If that all sounds a bit daunting, then don't despair. It is possible to sew up a mermaid with standard acrylic felt from your local craft store, with the design copied on with an erasable marker, it's just a little trickier, and there's more potential for wonky stitches (at least in my case there is).
I had a crack at a trial version while waiting for Australia Post to get a wriggle on. It's the version above with seaweed hair and slightly wonky stitching. But if I was more patient, there would be less wonkiness, and as far as my daughter was concerned she's beautiful anyway.
Honestly, there was no need to panic about this pattern. The instructions have great detail, and include links to tutorials on the stitches used. I even managed to master french knots (they seemed so hard last time I tried that I managed to avoid them for 30 odd years). Other stitches used are buttonhole stitch, satin stitch, lazy daisy, chain stitch and back stitch. My mother and great grandmother had taught me most of those as a child, so I was able to pick them up again pretty quickly, and I was impressed and how nicely they turned out.
There's something soothing about handstitching. Taking the time to sew something by hand is calming and quite relaxing. I would usually pop the project in my handbag, and pull it out to work on when I'd otherwise be knitting - I great way to get a sewing fix while on the go.
I was worried when it came time to remove the Sulky Solvi, but after a bit of a soak in warm water, and gentle rub with a cloth, it came away nicely. I found the cooling racks I use for baking were just right for drying the felt.
The pattern includes a little clam shell pocket/sleeping bag for the mermaid. Which is a breeze to stitch up after the intricacies of the mermaid and her flowers.
I'm always on the lookout for handmade items to use as gifts for my children and their friends. This is definitely going on the list. I have enough felt left over for another shell, and plenty more mermaids.
This is just one of the many amazing patterns in the e-zine. Make sure you check out the other stops on the tour, and see what else there is to discover. And don't forget the giveaway below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Blog Tour Kickoff
Sewing with Sarah
Pear Berry Lane
Needles to Say
House of Estrela
Made by Sara
Beri Bee Designs
Once Upon a Sewing Machine
Sew Haute Blog
Lily Shine Creates
Lulu & Celeste
Adventures with Bubba and Bug