Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sock Monkey pattern

Sock monkeys have been around for a long time and a quick Google search will land you a huge selection of patterns to make your own. A few years back, I wrote an article for Good Magazine that included the pattern I use to make my sock monkeys. The pattern is no longer on their website and a friend has requested a copy of it, so here it is.

How to make a Cotton Kiwi Sock Monkey.

You will need:
1 pair of socks, the brighter the better
Sharp scissors
Tape measure or ruler
Marker pen or tailors chalk
Needle and thread and/or sewing machine
2 matching buttons or embroidery thread for eyes
Toy stuffing
Chopstick or similar to use as a stuffing tool
Red embroidery thread or wool to embroider mouth

1. Turn one sock inside out and lay it out flat with the heel facing upwards. Using the tape measure, mark a central point on the cuff of the sock and draw a line from the cuff to about a finger’s-width from the bottom of the heel. Starting at one edge, sew along the cuff and then up 1cm away from the centre point to the top of the line. Back stitch at both ends to secure your stitching. Do the same on the other side. You should have a gap between the legs where you will turn and stuff the monkey. Cut up the centre line and turn the monkey right side out.

2. Stuff the monkey firmly and evenly using the chopstick to push the stuffing into hard to reach areas. Leave about 2cm at the top of each leg free of stuffing to allow the monkey to sit more easily. Once you are happy with the shape of your monkey, hand sew the hole closed. The toe of the sock will become the monkey’s head and the heel of the sock will be its bottom.

3. Using the cutting guide below, cut out the other pieces of the monkey. 

4. Using  and needle and matching thread, create and attach the body parts as follows:

·         Tail: Cut the tail from the side of the ankle and along part of the toe. Fold in half, right sides together and stitch along long edge and then curve around at the bottom to create a point for the tail. Turn and stuff lightly. Using your finger, tuck in the raw edges and pin the tail to the point you want it. Hand sew to attach. When you have completed your stitching, push your needle through to another part of the monkey’s body, pull tight and cut. The thread will then be secure and hidden inside the body. Repeat this step with all other body parts.

·         Arms: Cut 2 wide pieces from the other side of the ankle. Fold each in half, right sides together and sew along cuff and down long edge. Turn and make sure both arms are even. Stuff lightly and stitch to the sides of the body about half way down the torso. When you have stitched one arm, pass the thread through the body of the monkey to the other side and continue stitching.

·         Ears: Make an ear template and  draw around it to create 2 ears from the sole part of the sock. Sew around curved edges, turn and top stitch around outside edge. Fold in raw edges and stitch closed. Put your forefinger in the middle of the ear and fold the ear around it to create a crease. Put a couple of stitches in the ear to secure it in this position and attach it to the sides of the monkey’s head. Repeat with the other ear making sure they are at even heights.

·         Mouth: Cut out the heel of the sock. Tuck in each corner and pin just below the ears. Lightly stuff and then hand sew it to the monkey’s face, turning under the edges as you go.  Using the red embroidery thread and back stitch, give your monkey a smile.

·         Eyes: Decide if you want button or embroidered eyes. Use pins to decide on placement for your eyes. Experiment with different eye positions. It can really change the expression of your monkey. Add eyebrows if you want to. If you are making this toy for a child under 3 years old, you should embroider the eyes instead of using buttons to make sure the toy is safe. Have a look at the monkeys below for some inspiration for your faces and added decorations.

Monday, March 23, 2015

A Big Little Coat

Last month I was lucky enough to be chosen as a pattern tester for Big Little's new Pixie Hood Coat for both the kid's coat and the ladies coat. The pattern was really easy to follow and made up very quickly. There are no tricky button holes (which I was very glad about!). What I love about this coat is the value for money with the pattern. You can get kid's sizes 1-14 in one pattern. There's the Pixie Hood Coat or the Pea Coat option (with a cute little collar) and you can download the round hood pattern (which is what I used on E's coat) for free from the Big Little Facebook Group.

What's even more value for money is that this week (from Monday 23rd March), you can buy the pattern for just US$8.50. Be quick though, the discounted price ends on Sunday.

The Ladies Coat pattern is being launched next week. Watch this space for links to that pattern then.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Miss Mouse

I do it every year. There are dozens of other things that I really need to do before Christmas, but I can't help myself. Quite often, it hits at around 9pm, the night before I'm due to travel to meet family. My husband now just rolls his eyes. He knows the futility of suggesting it's not the best idea. This year I'm feeling very justified in indulging my urges. It's not chocolate and it's not sex, drugs or rock n' roll. It's making last minute gifts. Pretty weird I know, but I can guarantee that there will be at least one of you reading this blog who will be nodding their head in recognition.

I made this gorgeous wee mouse from a pattern by Jodie from Ric Rac this morning and I'm totally in love. The pattern was so easy to follow and make and I know that Miss E will love her. 

This particular pattern was featured in Australian Homespun magazine in November. You can order a download a digital copy and get the pattern from there. I made the little mouse a bed in a craft suitcase. The mattress is a lightly stuffed rectangle of fabric, a smaller one for the pillow and I made the sheet/blanket by turning under and stitching around a square of fabric. I then cut out a square of minky the same size and zig zag stitched the two together around the edges.

Jodi has lots of other gorgeous animals and dolls to make in her shops and I highly recommend you read her blog. She writes stories for the toys she designs and is utterly hilarious.

Now I just have to make another of these for my other daughter. Or maybe I'll have a go at this fox instead.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Bees, Butterflies, Flowers and Frogs

Miss E's class is doing a little play in assembly next week. The other Mums in her class and I have been busy making costumes for the kids.

We're using the basic pattern from Emma Hardy's cute and easy Costumes for Kids. I've used this book for so many of the kid's costumes in the past and can't recommend it highly enough!

Can't wait to see them all do their performance!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Hello Again

It's been a long time since I've posted anything up here. I'm sure you've noticed ;) I'm slowly getting back on board with Cotton Kiwi after a long break to organise our wedding.
Happy on our wedding day

It was a fabulous day and just what we wanted. It's taken me several months to get back into the swing of things post wedding and I've been busy with managing three markets and the children and all the rest that comes with life. I made the tough decision last month to stop organising Devonport Craft Market. I was spending so much time on the computer at home that my girls were starting to question my availability for them. Luckily, I've been organising the market with Sarah McLeod of Songbird Designs for the past 5 years and she happily agreed to take it over full time.

Our daughters made wonderful bridesmaids
The girls are growing up so quickly and although they are well able to look after themselves in the conventional ways: getting dressed, staying clean, doing chores and getting themselves something to eat if they feel like it; I feel like they need me to be present more than when they were younger. They need me to help out at school and to be there to listen with both ears and answer questions. Have you found that as your children have grown older? This'll be the first month that I haven't managed Devonport and it's been lovely not to have all the extra work involved, but I know I'm going to miss it. I'm still going to be selling there. It would be too hard to say goodbye completely! I'll be there at the next market on 6th October and I can't wait.
Flower Filled Fairy skirt

I've also booked a stall for myself at tomorrow's Craft Harvest market (I'm the manager there so the application procedure was quite straight forward!). I've got flower filled fairy skirts, kids aprons, girls' dresses, boys shorts, sock monkeys, bibs, nappy covers and my new Waldorf inspired dolls. The market runs from 8am-11.45am in the Jubilee Hall at 545 Parnell Road, Auckland. The Farmer's Market runs at the same time just outside the hall which is great for coffee and treats as well as being able to do your weekly shop. Hope to see some of you there!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Our Creative Spaces and Elsie Marley KCWC days 2 and 3

So super efficient and organised am I, that today I can lump 3 posts into one. Fantastic! What a time saver! This is very lucky as time is not something many of us Mummys have these days. Actually, I don't think Mummys have ever had the luxury of time on their hands but that's a whole other post.

So back to the main reason for this post, the one hour a day sewing challenge set as part of the Elsie Marley Kids Clothes Week Challenge. Tuesday's hour allowed me to applique a little dinosaur onesie for a friend who is going to be a Grandmother soon.

 I am quite sure dinosaur experts would have a fit and criticize the non specific nature of  my dinosaur, but I like him.
The little zigzags on his back were created with ric rac if you haven't already guessed.

 And this was yesterday's creation much to the happiness of Dora's number one fan (who admits, even to me, that she has more Dora stuff than any little kid could ever need.)
 It's a bubble skirt made using a pattern from Making Clothes for Children by Emma Hardy . I've raved about this craft book author before. I love her simple and straightforward method of making really cute things and this was no exception. It took me 1 1/2 hours (including the time that it took me to unpick a whole bunch of lining fabric that had folded over double under my machine) to make the skirt and she loves it.
You can see where the lining meets the skirt outer to create the bubble effect in this photo. You can also see one of the many plasters currently being worn as an important accessory by Miss E. Does anyone else need to take out a second mortgage in order to keep their children in plasters? I believe she went to kindy wearing 4 plasters this morning. I hasten to add that most of the injuries that the plasters are protecting are weeks old or absolutely miniscule but they are important to E so I tend to just give in and give her a plaster! 

Back to the skirt... it has an elasticated waist so no buttons or zips. Super quick and very cute. One thing I would change next time is to make the skirt out of a less crushable fabric. I can imagine this skirt is going to be a nightmare to iron (when that ever happens... hah!)  and the pure cotton creases like you wouldn't believe. E is happy so that's the main thing! She has worn it to kindy this morning so I am expecting it to be covered in paint and playdough and mud by this afternoon.

There are some fab outfits being shown off on the Elsie Marley KCWC flickr group so go and grab some inspiration there. And while you are at it, pop over to Our Creative Spaces and check out everyone's Creative Spaces. I can guarantee that you'll be glued to your computer for hours.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Little fairies

I've been taking a break from my Cotton Kiwi shop for a while but I've been taking the odd commission. I've just finished a very sparkly little flower filled fairy skirt for a 2 year old which will be off in the post tomorrow. I sent one off to Australia a few weeks back and this little fairy's Mummy was kind enough to send me a photo which she said I could share with you.

Isn't she adorable?


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