Sooooo, everyone, I would like you to meet Gerald Giraffe, a recent school project for my youngest niece, Evie.
Her project was to make an African animal. So, I wracked my brains trying to think what I had patterns for and then remembered that issue 58 (April 2014) of Sew Mag had a giraffe in it. Cue me talking Evie out of her 'idea' of making a cheetah (I was NOT making a cheetah!) and talking her into the giraffe. I got there in the end and downloaded the pattern and dug out the relevant magazine (good job I hoard my sewing magazines eh?!).
Naturally, my bright ideas always backfire. Cue me having to find appropriate giraffe fabric, because apparently, the giraffe had to be the correct colour. I ask you, what is the point of that if you can't have a multicoloured stripey giraffe?! Anyway, I managed to source some online but it was quite expensive, so on the off chance and not expecting to find any, I went into Boyes. Of course, I was in there for another reason really - namely materials for making a solar system for the other niece.
Anyway, to my great surprise, there was indeedy giraffe fabric, and slightly furry, rather than just plain cotton, so I grabbed some of that, along with some coordinating felt for the nose, feet, tail, ossicones and inner ears. I also grabbed some pom pom trim, as I thought this would do quite well for the giraffe's mane, rather than trying to make one out of felt as per the pattern. I also bought some wooden buttons as per the pattern to attach the legs. I already had some toy stuffing, as I do, you know, so I didn't need to buy that. This was thankful as it turned out to be an expensive Boyes trip in the end and I got nothing for myself!
Construction of Gerald was relatively easy, if a little time consuming. After I cut out the pieces (I wasn't letting Evie loose with my fabric scissors) we set about sewing. This was the first time Evie had used a sewing machine, so I taught her how to thread it and how to start of the sewing and about locking your stitches. I controlled the pedal (I wasn't letting her loose with that - even if she could have reached) while she sat on my knee and guided the fabric through the machine, including enclosing the pom pom trim using a zipper foot.
I also taught her about clipping corners and curves and between me, Evie and her friend, Joe, who had come to help, we turned out and stuffed all the legs - a harder job than you would have thought. We also stuffed the body and I slip stitched it close - Evie watched me do it but decided that it was too hard!
We then (rather wonkily) sewed the legs on between us, withe the buttons, together with the eyes, ears, ossicones and tail.
I don't think we did too bad a job and now the other niece wants to make a giraffe - but she doesn't want to make a giraffe coloured one - she wants to use the left-over giraffe fabric to make a cushion!!!!
Most peeved that Gerald did not win a prize - apparently there were no prizes and the kids just got their pride. I ask how these children are going to survive in the real world where pride will only get you kicked (probably) - a bit of healthy competition is what they need to teach them how the world works (and I hate it when I don't get to play I win).
Anyway, rant over! This did end up a small learning experience for all involved as we learned that the giraffe's horn thingies are in fact called ossicones - so now we know that should it ever come up in a pub quiz and I can add it to the ever growing pool of useless information in my brain - no room for useful information or a memory as the pool of useless information now takes up about 95% of the brain.