Sunday, January 18, 2009

Silk Critter Ornies!

"What's Cookin" doesn't necessarily have to refer to food does it? Because I thought I'd share a fun project for any of you that might be inclined to immortalize your sweet critters in an ornament.
A couple years in a row I made Christmas ornaments for family and friends...this was to be the 3rd year's design. Alas, only a few people sent me photos of their babies and I lost interest. I did manage make some great ones of all our kids though and also a few for family.
Sadly, a dear friend's Chloe-pooch passed away this past year and I found myself making her memorial ornament recently. Thought I'd document the steps in photos and share.

The photograph is printed on specialty silk paper (silk adhered to 8 1/2 x 11 paper) that feeds right into your printer. Just peel the paper off the silk after you've printed and you're ready to go for any number of projects. I printed several different sizes on the same page not wanting to waste the rest of the paper and not being sure which size I'd want, but you can really get up to 4 different photos on one page if you're feeling ambitious.

After you've printed the image and removed the backing paper, cut a piece of fusable webbing to about 1/4 inch smaller than the piece of fabric. Place the rough side of the webbing face down on the back side of your silk image. Place damp towel over the webbing paper and press using an iron on the "wool" setting for about 10 seconds.

Peel paper backing from webbing and trim around the pet's face.

Place pet's trimmed face on a square of muslin or other white/light colored cotton fabric.
Now press with the iron again, image side down so that you're iron is only touching the muslin, for another 5 seconds or so...until the muslin has adhered to the image.

Holding the fabric up to a window, on the wrong side of the fabric, draw an outline of the pet's face ~1/4" from the edge of the image so that there will be 1/4 " of the muslin showing once you've sewn the face to the backing fabric. I used a fur-coordinating marker and it bled through.

This is to help minimize the distortion of the image when stuffed. I forgot all about this step when I attempted to make this ornie intially since it had been at least 2 years since I'd made these. Here's the dog beak that resulted. ;-)

Select a fabric that will coordinate with the animals fur if you want, or just any nice complementary fabric. Preferably one without too much give. I tend to use dupioni silk most often, since it's a nice weight and comes in a lots of gorgeous colors.

Cut this into a square to match the size of the muslin. Face right sides together. (Note that these pix were taken of the first failed attempt...make sure you leave a 1/4" edge of muslin before the seam in yours.)
Select your hangdoodle ribbon (Erin-speak for ornament hanger) and make sure you pin the loop of the ribbon to the inside of the ornie! You don't want your hangdoodle on the inside of the ornament once you've turned it inside out. :-) I've made this goofy mistake several times.

Pin the fabrics together now that you've gotten your hangdoodle placed and now you're ready to sew.
You'll be sewing along the outline you traced on the back of the muslin. Use fairly small stitches and leave the opening at the bottom of the neck. Now time to trim the excess fabric off. Make sure to trim close enough that you won't have a bunch of seam fabric inside the detailed ears, etc., but not so close that'll the ornie will spring a stuffing leak.

Once done sewing/trimming, unpin and turn your little guy right side out (use a pencil for ears, etc.) and press flat with a warm iron.
And, you have a whole stash of wonderful markers left over from design school right?? You can finally put them back into use coloring in the muslin edge if you wish. :-)
Stuff with polyfill fiber and sew the bottom closed. It doesn't matter what that bottom seam looks like since it will be hidden by the collar ribbon.

Now comes the fun part. Decorate your sweet critter with beautiful wired ribbon for the collar (I just pleat and affix with a low-melt hot glue gun). Add any other details you wish...you can spend WAY too much time and money in a craft store finding goodies for this part.
And done! You'll have a wonderful representation of your furry kids for years to come.

1 comment:

debbie said...

Chloe would have been honored to be featured on your blog......good instructions.