Selfless Sewing Extravaganza! Pt. 2 (aka A Girl and Her Shark)

As promised (or threatened–however you want to look at it!), here I am with Part 2 of my holiday sewing binge. This one is a riot!

For my birthday last year, Tom got me nice gifts. (But don’t ask me what they were–I cannot remember!) And because he is a total dear, he remembered me going crazy over a stuffed shark sewing pattern that had been released by McCall’s right before my birthday: M7103. He bought me the pattern! And then I let it sit for over a year without using it, because that’s how I roll. But I always knew that I’d come back to it someday.

“Someday” turned out to be Christmas 2015, when I decided to follow through on a vague threat I’d made to my friends with a baby–to sew a giant stuffed shark for their 1-year-old baby. I am sure they thought I was kidding, but I would never joke about something this awesome. I decided to sew View A, the Great White, because it is the biggest shark of the 3 and therefore the best. (Have I mentioned that “JAWS” is one of my very favorite movies? It is.) I bought fleece, giant rick-rack, one square of felt, and some craft-weight interfacing–all of which was a first for me–and got down to it. Within one Saturday (plus cutting out the night before), the shark was complete. He needed about 3-4 pounds of Poly-Fil fluff. O_o

The pattern was actually pretty easy to put together, despite my lack of craft sewing experience. The pattern suggests shank buttons for the eyes, but since this was for a really little kid, I felt that was a choking hazard waiting to happen. I used some of my felt instead, and am really happy with how the eyes look. I just put my big washers on top of the felt, traced the center hole with chalk, and ta-da! Instant shark eyes that are perfectly round and the exact same size. The pattern also recommended decorative stitches–of which I am generally Not A Fan–for the gills and for topstitching around the fins. I used more felt for the gills, and those turned out beautifully, if I do say so myself. The fins just got topstitched with a regular straight stitch. If anyone out there wants to make this pattern, be sure to grade your seams, especially where you’ve got craft interfacing; the pattern says nothing about that, and I think that’s an oversight. That stuff will get bulky REAL quick. I did my best to cut the interfacing out of seam allowances and then graded everything else with pinking shears.

Would you all like to meet the shark (aka Sherk, which is what we called him)?

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Landshark vs. Dog

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Belly up!

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His beautiful gills!

Now, when I asked for this pattern last year, I didn’t do so intending to be selfless with it: I wanted a stuffed shark. I thought it would be fun to have around in a weird, whimsical-stuffed-toy, refusing-to-grow-up sort of way; I thought maybe we could mount it on the wall like a real fish or something. After I finished this gift shark, I realized how bummed I was that I still didn’t have one of my own. So to commemorate our brief time together, Tom took a series of photos of me and Sherk goofing off:

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He’s a big boy!

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Watching TV

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Shark body pillow

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Sharks don’t need cavities or gingivitis!

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Story time!

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So young, and already reading at a 12th grade level!

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Sherk LOVES fancy chairs!

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“How’d you get up there, silly Sherk??!?”

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“Get down!”

Obviously these are very tongue-in-cheek–we thought they would be funny. And they were! We also had fun driving the shark to his new home: he rode shotgun, with his seat belt on, and we turned the front dome lights on so people driving by could see him!  And then we said goodbye to our shark buddy:

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Making the drop-off at shark’s forever home

His new human is 14 months old and took some time to warm up to this big thing that some weird lady brought to his house. But once we left, I got a photo from his parents of him going in for a full-body shark hug, so I think this was a success! Bonus: one of the family cats has also taken a shine to him! His family has christened him “Dunuh,” after the well-known sound humans make to mimic the iconic “JAWS” score, obviously; we love the name they chose for him, and I am so glad he is enjoyed. All kidding aside, that was the entire point: he’s a great, giant, fluffy cuddle-buddy for a sweet little child (and a cat). And just in case–because I may not be a parent, but I know enough to have been concerned that a giant 5-foot shark may not be most parents’ idea of a wonderful gift for their kid when it comes to finding somewhere to put it–I also brought a carrot cake for kiddo’s parents to get back in their good graces. All that remains now is to make one for us to keep!!

Thus ends my selfless holiday sewing round-up for 2015. I did make all the Sewaholic Stanley Trees I intended to make, but never got photos of them before they were gifted. Oops! But that is a great little craft pattern, too: I love my tree, and (thank goodness!) my family members really enjoyed theirs, too. The hand sewing parts take a while, but once you get into the rhythm of it, it’s not bad.

Did you do any gift or holiday-related sewing this year? 

Shark Supplies

1 3/8 yds fleece (body), Joann’s
1 1/4 yds fleece (belly), Joann’s
1/8 yds fleece (mouth), Joann’s
1 1/8 yds extra-firm craft weight interfacing, Joann’s
1 1/4 yds 1 1/4″ rick-rack trim, Joann’s
4 lbs Poly-Fil, Joann’s
1 pre-cut felt square, Joann’s

Miscellaneous “Mads”ness

Well hi!

I disappeared for over a month, and here’s what I have accomplished:

-My new machine is HOME and amazing and I am head-over-heels in love with it.

-I bought a serger. A Motherfucking Serger. Holy crap, you guys–who am I?!?!?

-I took a paper piecing class and finished the project, but haven’t done anything useful with it (like turned it into a pillowcase front like I plan to do)

-Bought patterns (duh)

-Bought fabric (even bigger DUH)

-Mostly made a pair of JEANS. JEANSSSSSSSSSSS. Out of real denim and everything. They’re just a fitting mock-up with no waistband, but I am pretty self-satisfied on account of this one.

-Broke my first needle sewing said jeans; having never used a zipper foot before (LOLOL I KNOW RIGHT?), I forgot to change the needle position and it smashed into the zipper foot, which escaped with a battle scar but no other damage. Luckily, no eyeballs or sewing machines were injured in order to bring you this moment of schadenfreude.

-Embarked on the 2015 Handmade Xmas Gift saga, which includes CRAFT ITEMS this year. (Lest you all think I have gone completely mad, the crafts are a stuffed shark for a friend’s child and some Sewaholic Stanley Trees for my siblings and parents, and not even out of xmas-themed fabric. And no, those aren’t their only gifts from yours truly.)

-Made about a thousand other plans for my sewing adventures to round out this year and begin the next, as one does…

-Decided to host Thanksgiving for friends, which requires the tearing down of most of my sewing area in addition to planning a meal for 5.

You may have noticed a distinct lack of progress on the sewing front up there^^^^. Things have been weird. Mostly, my lack of execution has been the result of a bit of very troublesome family news that came through a few weeks ago; I won’t go into detail out of respect for my family member(s), but suffice it to say that the lot of us are struggling to come to terms with what we’ve been told and figure things out as we try to keep plugging along and be supportive. I am trying to push myself past the motivational brick wall (not least of all because as stunned as we all are, things could have been much worse) and keep my mind busy by planning sewing projects, doing pattern work, or reading. It helps that I am committed to a once-a-week gathering with some friends for sewing and drafting stuff, and we’re all trying to psych each other up about jeans. So that’s mostly why I’ve disappeared since the last post; I’m not sorry, but I have missed blogging! I am sure that those of you who have had similarly difficult things going on can agree that it can be very hard to focus on anything else, and that’s about where I am at the moment. But I am trying.

I have nothing fun to share today, guys. I just wanted to check in–I haven’t been commenting around too much, but I’m here, reading your blogs and hoping I will have something good to post very soon. Fingers crossed! ❤