A Pair of Lovey-Doveys: Thought’s on Sewing Up These Baby Gifts

So, in my last pattern review, I made a teddy bear for my sister. I also whipped up two of these little Lovey-Doveys, also designed by Abby Glassenberg.

(I swear I sew patterns other than hers, but I have been in full on ‘baby gift’ mode.)

While I made these on Sunday after making my Teddy Bear, I wanted to post about them separately, because they are a totally different pattern.

And now, onto the review…

All the pieces cut out and waiting on the table to be sewn up.

Time to Complete: About 2.5 hours (I made two and did them over three days, so I’m not positive on the time investment.)

Number of times I pulled out “Jack the Seam Ripper”: 2

I made a bunny and a bear “Lovey-Dovey” or “Blanket Animals”. I bought a set of Lovey Dovey patterns from Abby Glassenberg Designs like last year in the deluded belief I would make them for a co-worker’s grandchild. Obviously that didn’t happen.

When I was at Hancocks for their clearance sale, the pattern (Simplicity 1681) was on-sale (Abby licenses some of her designs to them) for a very reasonable price. So, I picked it up for the bear pattern and also used it for the blanket animals rather than printing out my pattern, because I am lazy and was out of printer ink.

Clear as mud? Lovely.

Picking out fabrics and cutting out an ear. I live dangerously and cut out my tissue paper patterns.

So, anyway, since the parents have decided not to know the gender of the baby, I picked up neutral fabrics for the ear linings. I probably could have raided  my stash, but why waste a good excuse to buy fabric, especially sale fabric?

I didn’t want to do a classic white bunny, since that seems like a bad idea given that babies are messy little creatures, so I instead I went with some grey fleece for the bunny and light brown fleece for the bear. I didn’t want to make both critters out of the same color fleece.

I love how the bunny and the bear turned out. 

The back of one bear showing off his tail and my bunny with his adapted tail.

When with cutting the back of my first teddy bear and then inserting the tail, I somehow didn’t catch all the layers when I sewed it up again afterwards and had to fix it by hand. However, it worked much better the second time I tried (practice works!) and so the Lovey-Dovey bear tail came out well. The pattern called for using pom-pom for the bunny tail, but since I don’t like pom-poms, I gathered a circle to make the tail.

Uses of Jack:

Jack came out twice for this set. First, I attached one of the bunny ears to the wrong side of one of the head pieces and it had be to removed to re-attached. I also messed up while hand sewing on the bears ears and out came Jack once more.

He’s a good little seam ripper.

But, all things considered, Jack hasn’t gotten to spend much time out of his box this time. I say this, but I know that soon enough Jack with make a reappearance. (He always does.)

Final Thoughts:

According to Abby’s blog, While She Naps, her Lovey-Dovey patterns are her best sellers. I can see why.

They are fast and so cute. I want to make more of them. I want to make a whole menagerie of little blanket animals for every baby I know and possibly for babies I don’t know.

And I love that by just switching out the head and the tail, you can make a new creature. Once you figure out the process, it’s pretty fast.

I did all the machine sewing for both creatures and then sat down with some Netflix to embroider the faces and attach the the heads to the bodies. I tend to work tyhis way, doing the machine work and then in the evening or the next day, doing the handwork. It’s funny, when I create paper dolls I work the same way. I ink a bunch, than I scan and bunch, than I color a bunch. I guess I just like working in batches. 

So, I highly recommend this pattern, but I would buy it direct from Abby Glassenberg Designs (unless you too have a Hancock that is closing near you), because I think her photo instructions are SO much better than the ones in the Simplicity package which confused me in a few places. (Ear attachment, for one.)

My finished bear and bunny. By the time I got this photo, it had gotten dark.

She also has this great video on how to ladder stitch that I watched before I started. Technically, I have ladder stitched before, but it was a nice reminder and I think I did better after watching and it was linked in her pattern, or I wouldn’t have known it existed.

Has anyone else made a Lovey-Dovey?

Next, I’m working on some cloth dolls by Jess Brown. Also a gift, so taking notes while I sew and I will share them once they have been mailed off.

And after that… Well, I haven’t decided, though there is a replacement bear to be made.

Paper Doll Studio Issue 114

So, kinda a belated review of the latest issue of Paper Doll Studio. It arrived in April while I was on my Hiatus, but I knew I wanted to talk about it upon my return. For those of you who don’t know, Paper Doll Studio is the magazine of the Original Paper Doll Artists Guild (OPDAG) and comes out four times a year. Each issue has a theme and artists submit paper dolls relating to that theme for the issue. For example, Issue 114’s theme was “Holidays.”

Once I get an issue of Paper Doll Studio, I immediately read it.

I really enjoyed it, of course, I always do. I mean, it’s like getting a surprise in my mail box when it arrives. I don’t usually check the mail (mail-checking and garbage are my boyfriend’s jobs), but I always get so excited when he comes up the stairs and hands me the distinctive package from Paper Doll Studio Press.

The featured artist for Paper Doll Studio was Cory Jensen.

Each issue has a featured artist and this time it was Cory Jensen. While I very much enjoyed Mr. Jensen’s article on his work (and his art is quite compelling), the amateur copyright scholar in me wondered about the legal ramifications of drawing paper dolls of other’s intellectual property and the ethical ramifications, as well. Not something he touched on in his article, but I rather wish he had. I think its a serious question that anyone who draws fan-art should be considering.

Along with Jensen’s article, there was a fun piece by David Wolfe on his tradition of creating paper doll cards for Christmas, but I’d have liked some more advice on how someone could do a similar project, rather than just a recap of what he’d done. My favorite articles are always the ones that talk about process and are a little practical, so I enjoyed very much Judy M Johnson’s article on Paper Doll Methods and Materials. (Judy is a dear woman who, after I cold called her once while I was working on a conference paper on World War 1 and 2 paper dolls, talked to me for over two hours on the telephone.)

Julie’s St. Patrick’s Day paper doll got a full page spread which made me cheer for her. She deserves it and you can print out her paper doll here. I always try to pick a favorite paper doll from each issue. This time I struggled a little, but I settled on two. Karen Hunter, an artist I was not familiar with, did a fantastic Halloween paper doll and Larry Bassin had four paper dolls in the magazine. I have always, and probably will always, love Bassin’s work and he was a big influence on the flat color style I use in my own paper dolls. I mean look out at that fantastic line-work.

Karen Hunter’s paper doll is on the right. Larry Bassin’s work is on the left.

Every time I get an issue of Paper Doll Studio magazine, I swear that “next time” I’ll get my act together and submit something. Well, menswear is up next and I am going do it this time! I just… you know… need to get my act together.

Jenny, editor of the Magazine, was interviewed on this blog a few months ago. By the way, if you don’t already subscribe, I highly recommend it to anyone who loves paper dolls. It’s under 30 dollars a year and you get four issues of fun paper doll content. Here’s the link to subscribe.

My First Teddy Bear: A Review of Simplicity 1681

Time to Complete: 3 hours

Number of times I pulled out “Jack the Seam Ripper”: One

I wanted to make a quick fun baby gift for my Sister and Hancocks was closing. So, I popped in to check out the sale and picked up Simplicity 1681, designed by Abby Glassenberg, at a pretty good discount. I’ve always admired her soft toy design and her blog, “While She Naps.” So, I was really pleased to get the pattern and get to try it out. Plus, I wanted to see the differences in directions between her self published work and her licensed work. That way I would know in the future if I wanted to buy the Simplicity versions or directly from Abby.

Confession- I finished this guy in April, but didn’t want to post about him until he was in the hands of my Sister. Nothing worse than your sibling learning about her baby gift from a blog before the gift arrives.

I’ve never made a bear before, so I was pretty nervous. I think the small size was particularly challenging. Somehow, I didn’t notice that the pattern said the bear was only 12 inches tall. Tiny little guy.

I picked up some dark brown fleece and some quilting cotton to line the ears with. Since my Sister has decided not know the gender of her baby, I picked out fun striped fabric that could be for a boy or a girl.

Brown and colorful striped quilting cottons for the teddy bear I made from Simplicity 1681.
Picking out gender neutral baby fabrics is actually pretty tough.

There’s a step in the pattern where you fold in all the limbs and sew on the back of the body. That would have been easier if I had noticed that the directions said to “lightly stuff” the limbs. Opps.

After that, you tuck the head into the neck-hole and sew around the neck to attach the head. I looked at that and thought, there is no freaking way I am managing to sew that on my machine. I am just not that good.

So, I hand back-stitched the head to the body instead. I hope it’s secure enough. This is for a baby after all… but my sister can sew so I’m sure she can fix it if there is a head related mishap. Teddy bear decapitations ruin everyone’s day. (I wrote this before I found out what eventually happened to the bear… I can proudly say the head did not come off.)

Also, working with polar fleece is a dream. I’d never done it before, but it has no grain. It doesn’t ravel and it is pretty resilient to seam ripping. The only problem is that Hancock had a 2 yard minimum on their fabric cuts (since they were closing). Now, I’ve got A LOT of brown fleece. So, much that I could make an army of bears. Since I mostly sew doll clothes and dolls, I don’t know what I’ll do with 1.5 yards of left-over fleece.

Occurrences Of Jack the Seam Ripper:

Just one actually, which was kinda shocking. The first time I tried to embroider the face, I was copying the design on the envelop. It’s cute, but I wasn’t keen on how it looked when I did it.

I am not a smiling stuffed toy kinda girl. (Not shocking to anyone whose seen my paper dolls…)


A photograph of the embroidery on the face of my teddy bear head.
My redone face and my messy dining room table where I sew.

So, I tried to take out the embroidery with Jack, but ended up cutting a hole in the fleece. It wasn’t hard to stitch up a new face and try again though.

While I didn’t use Jack much, I did have to actually secure a fair number of things by hand. So, I used my sewing needles and thread more than Jack this time.

A back and front views of Simplicity 1681, a teddy bear pattern designed by Abby Glassenberg.
Here’s my finished bear and look, he has a cute tail. And I really should have given him a once over with the lint roller before photographing him.

Final Thoughts:

Pretty much all my problems came from the small size and my errors- not issues with the pattern design. Despite a few struggles I still ended up with a pretty darn cute bear!

I’d recommend this pattern to others who have never made a bear before. It was a bit more complex than I was expecting, but not absurdly so. That head attachment though… you gotta be kidding me.

I’ll also admit that I judge a good pattern by how much I want to make it again. I don’t think I’m desperate to make another bear, but if there’s a baby shower I need a gift for, a bear would be an easy one. I’m pleased with the results (though he is a little wonky) and I am so glad to get to send him off too my Sister.

You can pick up the pattern direct from Abby Glassenberg or from anywhere Simplicity patterns are sold. I would buy it from Abby, since I did decide I liked her photo directions better than the Simplicity directions.

An Epilogue:

Poor bear.

So, I wrote up this post, scheduled it and then got a phone call from sister informing me of “horrible news.”

My mind immediately went to family disaster of some sort. Fortunately, no one human was in the hospital.  It turned out that her Sweet Dog and the Other Dog she was house sitting got their paws (or teeth, really) on the bear while she was showering. When she emerged, the dogs had torn up the teddy bear beyond repair.

After I finished laughing at the image of Sweet Dog enjoying the bear and she finished blaming it all on the Other Dog, I promised I would make another bear for her as soon as I could.

So, I guess I’ll be making my second teddy bear much sooner than I thought. Time to go cut some more fleece.

Also, I can safely add to my review that while the teddy bear was enjoyed by the dogs, it did not fair very well structurally, so I would not recommend it as a chew toy.