My first impressions of the book were that this could be a lovely bonding project between parent or grandparent and child. How lovely would that be to be old and wrinkly, reminiscing about the time you made a rabbit with your mum, dad, granny or grandad? And maybe you still have the rabbit sat on your shelf with pride? So with this thought in mind, I decided to make Luna, a dress for her to wear and the chair for her to sit in on.
I enjoyed making Luna, though my fingers didn’t! I absolutely recommend getting a needle grabber and a thimble if you opt for sewing her by hand, as I did! I kind of wish I’d used my sewing machine for bits of it, mostly because I would’ve got a better shape and finish on the ears.
Another thing I recommend is sewing the arms on before stuffing the body because I ended up squishing the body, which the instructions says don’t do! Also didn’t help my longest needle wasn’t quite long enough to go through the body at the shoulders.
I have dubbed my Luna “Joanna Wayne” because I read the instructions wrong when I attached her legs… I thought it said line up the leg seams with the seams on the body. It does not say that! It actually says to line up the outside of the legs with the side seams, so the legs sit comfortably between the two seams, facing forwards. Joanna’s legs stick out to the sides and strongly reminds me of John Wayne – oops, ha ha!
I made the t-shirt dress because I loved the bow on the front, so cute. I’m pleased with the way it turned out in the end, there were a couple of bits that confused me. The first bit was the back seam, the instructions say to press the seam to the right, then press the left side of the seam back by 0.5cm but there was no explanation as to why. I assumed it was to make a very simple button stand except that it doesn’t lap over. Also, there was no further reference to this seam throughout the rest of the dress construction. So in the end, I pressed the seam open flat.
To finish, it says to sew buttons and a press stud on the back opening but as there was no picture (and no reference to the folded back seam), I struggled to see how this would work. As very visual person, clear diagrams are a must for me, so I decided the best option would be to sew on a hook and eye on instead.
I nearly didn’t put a bow on the dress because I struggled with the instructions to make it. The instructions say to fold at 12cm and then at a further 8cm along the strip that you’ve sewn together. I couldn’t work it out and the bow seemed far too small, whilst the tail not long enough to wrap over the bow to create the middle knot.
What you could do instead is my method of making a bow. I folded the long strip so the bow was large enough and folded each tail of the bow downwards so they looked relatively even. I secured this in place with a few stitches on my sewing machine. I then created a rouleau loop with some scrap fabric and tied this round the middle of the bow for the knot and secured on the back.
Finally, I tackled the chair. And yes, I did have to tackle it because this was tricky as hell!! I’m afraid to say the instructions are unclear for both cutting out the pieces and the construction.
I think there are some pattern pieces that you are meant to lay right next to each other at the ends to create long strips to wrap around the seat cushion and around the bottom of the chair. Not realising this at the time, I cut out separate pieces. So that meant I had to sew those pieces together to continue construction in the method described in the book. I sewed each seam at 0.5cm, which then made the strips too small by 2cm and meaning I had to add more fabric to each strip. These added bits measure more than 2cm which tells me that even if I had cut the fabric as a long strip using these pattern pieces, it wouldn’t have fit anyway. I think it would be better to cut a much longer strip and once sewn on, cut it down rather than having to add pieces.
I found it difficult sewing the strip on as one piece, the corners were particularly tricky and Nome of my corners are neat, even with snipping away the excess. What you could do instead is have 4 separate pieces and sew them on individually, leaving a 1cm seam allowance at each end to then sew together to create neater corners of the cushion. If you did this on the chair as well, you could put piping in and around the ends of the arms too – oooh what about a trim of pom poms?! That was be awesome!
To make the chair sturdy, the book says to use some plastic for the back support. I didn’t know where I could get any plastic, let alone get it cut into the correct shape! So I used double wall cardboard, which believe me is nigh on impossible to bend! I had to use both hands and really push on it to fold it enough to push it into the back of the chair! I’m a bit gutted that it’s too big and has caused serious folds in the fabric across the chair (honestly – you can’t miss them!). I recommend cutting the back support inside the outline of the pattern piece rather than on the line or outside the line.
The book says that Luna looks better sitting in the chair without the cushion underneath her. This kind of made me think why bother making the cushion then?! But of course the other option is to make a thinner cushion. I think Joanna looks fine in the chair with the cushion underneath her (her legs are more controlled too – ha ha!).
I did enjoy this project although I found some parts frustrating. I’m also not sure how much a child would be able to do out of this book, I wouldn’t call it a beginners book and I think a child would need an adult to help, especially if they wanted to make the chair too.
So there we have it, if you buy the book, I do hope you enjoy it! I’m off for a cuppa whilst Luna “Joanna Wayne” Lapin sits on her chair on my windowsill, admiring the garden.
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