Sunday, February 13, 2011

World, meet Willy

Remember back here and here when I mentioned how Matt wanted me to make him an owl like Hooty, the one I made for Christmas gifts? Well, this is Willy, Matt's new Rice owl.
Matt's PhD is from Rice, whose mascot is an owl (apparently named Sammy, but Rice University is named for its founder, William Rice, and we decided "Willy" was a better moniker for Matt's new office mate).
I obviously used the same Melly & Me pattern I used for Hooty. The body is a suiting fabric from Joann's; the eyes and beak are white felt; the ears are gray felt; and the wings, tummy, and legs are Beads in Blue from Free Spirit's Designer Beads, purchased from Hawthorne Threads.

This was the third owl I've made using the pattern, and I've definitely made some changes to the instructions. The original instructions require a lot more hand sewing, which is no bueno for me. They have you stitch the front and back pieces together, enclosing only the ears in the process. The wings are then hand stitched to the sides. I tried this method with less than stellar results on the first owl. For the second owl, I tried to stitch the wings into the sides when I attached the front to the back, but I didn't leave a big enough seam allowance and wound up with a small hole in the wing and the side body, which I had to hand stitch close, again with less than stellar results.

This time around, I left plenty of fabric (perhaps too much, because his wings stick out farther than I'd like), which made the process work perfectly. I then stitched him up along a bottom seam instead of the side, which the pattern calls for. It worked like a charm, except next time I'd use a bit less fabric on the wings so they'd lay a little flatter.

I also basted the body parts to the main body this time instead of trying to pin them in place, which made a huge difference. The pins just get in the way with something this small, and the baste stitches worked great.

The other difference was using the suiting fabric. I was afraid it wasn't going to work at first because I thought it would be too stretchy and would get out of control, but it actually worked great. It had just enough stretch to actually help in some tight spots but not enough to cause problems.
His tummy is highlighted with the signature Rice "R," which my friend Susanne was kind enough to help me apply using the freezer paper stenciling technique I talked about here.
This is where he was when Matt met him, but he'll soon be moving to Matt's office at school.


  1. OMG! I absolutely cannot believe my eyes - I'm SOOOOO excited about this! I went to Rice for undergrad and there isn't nearly enough awesome Rice stuff out there and I LOVE this! (By the way, I'm Baker (hell yeah), class of 2007... if that means anything to you and Matt!)

    I'm about to be your newest follower too - I just got so excited when I saw this that I had to tell you!!

  2. Crafty Scientist, ha -- I'm so glad you liked him! Matt definitely liked how he turned out, and I thought he was pretty cute. The "R" really makes it, I think. Matt didn't go to Rice for undergrad, but we met plenty of Baker people along the way. Thanks again!


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