Here's the birthday present I alluded to previously: a stuffed hippo! Not just a stuffed hippo, though. This hippo was made for my friend JJ who has lost over 40 pounds! The hippo is made out of her favorite pair of chinos, which she shrunk out of and can't wear again. She asked me to make her a softie out of them, and I was happy to oblige.
The fabric is fabulous. It's a little heavy, but really soft and wasn't too hard to work with. Finding a pattern proved to be difficult. I was at the point of trying to design my own when I found myself at the library looking at a bunch of vintage books on making stuffed animals! Lucky me, one had a hippo in it--the book is Soft Toys to Sew by Family Circle Books, but looks like it was recently reissued as Creative Soft Toys to Sew by Sally Milner. Check out the cover here--the hippo from the pattern is that green felt creature on the bottom left.
I didn't really change the pattern pieces, but I moved stuff around a lot. I did button eyes instead of making stuffed eyeballs (which were not cute on the original), I folded the ears in half and pieced them in to the head (instead of appliquéing them on), I made a completely different tail, and the biggest thing I did was to sew inner seams instead of exposed seams with a zigzag stitch. I am loving the Denyse Schmidt plaid accents on this guy! They were perfect.
It was hard to give this guy away. He is so soft and has so much personality, even though his butt is a little crooked. So, yeah, I fell in love. I am making more, and hope to be able to keep one!
I gave JJ a couple of other softies, too, so look for them in an upcoming post.