Jude Landry Store

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Snake Tutorial

I've had a few people ask me to do a tutorial (I don't know why, they sew better than I do...) on the snake I made. For whatever reason, probably yet another lesson in humility and patience (which coordinates nicely with today's Mass readings), my machine was really finicky. But I'll take you all the way through, mistakes and all, so you can see how I salvaged it.

Start with cutting 3"x5" (roughly) scraps of old t-shirt or jersey fabric. I think I used 7 or 8 different colors and I cut out 4 scraps of each color.

I create a pattern that I like and separate the scraps into two piles that will end up being two long panels sewn together. And I always start with a cola. Every good project does.

Using a regular straight stitch, sew two scraps together on one end. 

Open that up so that the seam is down on the table. Grab the next color and place it on top of the second scrap. Sew another stitch along the outer edge, open it up and repeat the process until you make one long panel to your desired length.

Then do it again to create 2 long panels.

Lay the panels on top of each other, making sure that you can see the rough edges of both sides. I loosely pin them together, marking where the shorter scrap's edge is.

Use chalk to outline the snake's body and sew the two panels together, making sure to leave the mouth part open.

I've recently been introduced to the stretch stitch on my machine that I used for the t-shirt scarves, and I'm obsessed. It seems to be more forgiving and allows the fabric to stretch (obviously) better. But you could probably just use the normal stitch the whole time.

Cut out the edges of the snake so it's easier to turn right side up and keep the scraps for the tongue and eyes. Leave extra fabric by the mouth so that you can fold it in and sew the seam closed.

Turn it right side up and stuff it with batting. I just got the cheapest thing they had at Wal-Mart. I like my snakes stuffed loosely so that they bend and move easily.

Ok, here's where it turned sour. I folded the mouth in and placed the tongue where I wanted it and used pins to keep it all in place. Then, using the stretch stitch, I tried to sew it shut.

The machine freaked out and left me with a wad of thread underneath the mouth and all tangled up in the bobbin area.

Sooo, I cut off what I could from underneath and went back to a normal stitch length.

And after trying again, my seam was all over the place. 

So I just ran with that. I kept going over the same areas a bunch to create a thicker seam so that my mistakes would be less noticeable. And the great thing about jersey is it doesn't fray, so I just cut off what I wanted - carefully cutting around the tongue and it came out fine.

Then I folded up pieces of scraps for the eyes and hand stitched them in using some thicker denim thread (but you could use whatever), then trimmed off what I didn't want.

I knotted him up, slapped on a little snake tag that Joan helped me with and he's ready for Oliver's birthday party next week. I think next time I'll do what I did before and use dark thread the whole time because after the stuffing, a bit of the white thread peeps through in certain spots. But I think he's pretty cute!


TheSandersFamily said...

love it! I need sewing machine lessons, please. Ya know, in all our free time;)

TheDearmanFamily said...

Very cute. I love the way you knotted him up for the final picture. Now, I just need a machine and some patience.

Brett & Kelly Aldridge said...

Soooo cute! I just love the snake!!!

Brett & Kelly Aldridge said...

Soooo cute! I just love the snake!!!

Veronica said...

OMG, i love it! BTW, you and I have the same machine I think. Does yours constantly do wrong, with the bobbin and all that? Mine did that once, and I haven't been able to fix it since. :(((