Sunday, February 22, 2009

Pattern Making - a favorite part of the process

In the handwork group's shop, a customer asked if one of us could try a pelican. I love a challenge, and this has been great fun so far! I thought I'd share a bit of the process with you.

I start with a sketch, and try to work out scale. I've looked at books and the internet to view pictures of real pelicans - all different sorts. My customer didn't specify a particular species of pelican, so I'm doing a black and white one. I think they are a bit more aesthetically pleasing than the common brown pelican :)

Next, I look at photos of stuffed animals - mainly birds for this little pelican - to get ideas on construction methods - where to put the seams, what the shapes the fabric pieces might look like flat, etc. Then I start to cut up my drawings into little makeshift patterns. I fold them and tape them and try to form a real 3-d animal. If a piece doesn't work, I take it off the model and trace it, making modifications, a snip here and there, and try again. And that is the point I have reached with the pelican ~ I think he's coming together quite nicely so far!

Next, I'll try him out in craft felt (not using $wool until I know the pattern works LOL)! This will give me perspective on what is too hard to make, what works great, and where I can consolidate pieces. I like to sew as few pieces together as possible. Also, at this point I'll look for feedback from my other handwork group artists. It's already been sugggested that perhaps I could make the beak a single piece instead of a 3-d beak, but I'm not sure.... I kind of want to emphasize the beak since, well, it is a pelican.

Our school is on break right now, so the handwork group is meeting at my house in the morning instead of the usual cozy fireplace room at the school. Hopefully I can make my home feel cozy enough that we will all be comfortable there (and productive).

On that note, I better go and give the toilets a good scrub, tidy up, and make sure the coffee pot is ready to roll...


  1. hello! thanks for stopping by my blog...looks like you have yourself up for a challenge...:)

  2. Hi Jamie! So fun to see your blog and the link to the Handwork group here! Did you see you were in the e-mail Etsy sent out today about Twittering? Yay for you! Hope you make a pelican for the next sale at school.

  3. you're such a brave soul! bless our pattern makers for there are sewers out here who don't have the knowledge or nerve! ;-) thanks for sharing!

  4. amazing post..I am facinated with the whole patternmaking skill..this was so inspirational.Thankyou!


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