This week I have a tutorial for you on how to make up the Sweetie Petites softy kits I introduced last week & at the end I will give a short review.
For this tutorial I chose Freddie; no particular reason why, they are all very cute & I would have happily made up any of them.
What is a ‘Sweetie Petite’?
Sweetie Petites are the creation of Sydney (Australia) based Lisa Tilse – www.theredthread.com.au . There are 5 designs available; Molly, Freddie, Ginger, Daisy & Mimi. I currently have all these excent Mimi available ….. —–>——>——>——>——>——> Each Sweetie measures about 15 to 17 cm (6 to 6.7 inches) when made up. They are a great beginner’s project or a fun project for an adult to do with a child. Lisa says … ” The design of these little cute little dolls has been influenced by vintage and Japanese kawaii styles. They appeal to all ages, from toddlers to pre-teens and even adults who like to collect fun and quirky things.”
What’s in the kit?
Each kit comes with everything* you need to make up one softie & 1 little friend for your softie. In the picture above you can see Freddies little acorn friend in the top left corner. There is also 2 pieces of ribbon which can be used to create a loop at the top of each softie if you wish – this is optional.
*You do need to supply sharp scissors, sewing thread, a needle to stitch up the base & a sewing machine. If you don’t have a sewing machine, the Sweetie Petites can also be hand stitched together.
How to make Your Sweetie Petite.
After you get your kit & have opened it – felt the fabric – poked & squished the polyester fill & marveled at the clarity of the printing on the fabric, the first step is to make sure you
have everything you need; scissors, thread, needle, sewing machine (if you are machine stitching it together.
1. Cutting everything out: With good sharp scissors cut out each piece around the black dotted line.
Place the back piece on the table with the printed side facing up. If you are going to put in the ribbon loop, fold a piece of ribbon in half & pin it to the top in the centre. The piece of ribbon needs to face down as shown in the picture above. Now place the front on top with the printed side facing down & carefully pin around the edge to hold the 2 halves together while you sew.
My sewing machine is a Bernina 1090s, I have had it for quite a few years, but it is a very good machine. The needle has 5 positions, centre is the default position, but I can move it 2 places to either the left or right. This is very handy when sewing toys as you usually use very narrow seam allowances – 5 to 6 mm.
Moving the needle position to the furthest position to the right allows me move the fabric over, this means the fabric will be covering both ‘feed dogs‘ . What does this mean? More control over your fabric & a better – neater finish. You can also use the foot of the machine as a guide to keep the seam allowance equal.
2. All stitched up: At the bottom of each softie, you will see 2 little black dots, these are the start & stop positions. Because they are printed on the front you may find it easier to transfer them to the back using either tailors chalk or a light pencil. Starting at the mark on the left, sew around your softie until you reach to other mark. If you are using a sewing machine, don’t forget to back stitch a couple of stitches to secure each end.
3. Clip all the curves: On convex curves you can cut tiny little ‘Vs’ into the seam allowance by folding the fabric in half & snip a little ‘V’, be careful not to cut the stitching. By doing this you are removing a little of the fabric which will bunch up along the edges once you have turned your softy to the right side. On concave curves you can simply clip the fabric, again being careful not to cut the stitching. This allows the fabric along the seam allowance to stretch out a little when your project is turned out to the right side. At sharp corners, such as at the tops of the ears, it is best to cut away some of the seam allowance as it can become too bulky. See the picture above.
4. Turning out your softie: Once your Sweetie is all stitched up & the curves & corners are clipped, it’s time to turn him/her out to the right side. Before you do that though it can be very helpful to quickly stitch the seam allowance at the opening into place. Now we are not talking anything pretty or neat here, just a few quick stitches in any thread you like, here I have used a nice bright colour so you can see it easily. This stitching is taken out after you have stitched closed the opening. It helps keep the seam allowance neat while you are stuffing & is very helpful when stitching your softy closed. It is optional though.
If you plan to make softies a lot, you might like to invest in at least 1 pair of hemostat forceps. You can usually find these on ebay fairly cheap or some craft stores carry them, especially if they sell a lot of doll & toy making supplies. They have little ridges on the scissor like ends & the handles can lock together. They are very handy especially on very small pieces with tiny openings. Alternatively a cheap disposable wooden chopsticks is also a handy tool for turning our softies.
5. Filling: Now it’s time to fill your Sweetie. 🙂 YAY! Start by putting filling into the ears & top of Freddie’s head & work your way back. And don’t forget to save a little filling for Freddie’s little friend. 🙂
6. Closing Act: Almost finished! 😀 When I’m closing up my softies I used gutermann heavy duty polyester thread. As you can see from my (slightly out of focus ) picture above this thread is a bit thicker than regular sewing thread. Using polyester thread, for both sewing your softie & closing it, is better than cotton thread as it is stronger & less likely to break. If you don’t have or cannot get the heavy duty thread, the regular thread will still work just fine if you double it over.
There are 2 methods you can use to close your Sweetie. The first is called Ladder Stitch. You can find tutorials on Youtube for this. Click here to see one by ‘Stitch Lab Sewing’ Ladder stitch is the stitch of choice for most professionals including myself. It gives a very neat & almost invisible finish … just like this …
Alternatively you might like to do a simple whip stitch … click here for a Youtube tutorial by Wendi Gratz.
Whipstitch is visible, but it is very quick & easy. When it’s finished it will look something like this.
Leftovers! There are a few other images printed on the panel which you could use in other projects, such as applique or covered buttons.
Well that’s it, Freddie is all made up & finished. 🙂
So what do I think of the Sweetie Petites kits? I think their GREAT! They are very easy to use & make up. I particularly love how the filling is provided. These kits are aimed at beginners & I think Lisa has done a fab job of making it very easy for even a beginner to create for themselves or as a gift for someone else a soft toy that they will not only be very proud of but also have a lot of fun making it. With 5 different designs, there is something for everyone including boys. Well done Lisa, I look forward to trying out some of your other kits in the future 🙂
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. If you have any question, please leave a comment & I will do my best to answer them for you.
But for now pizza bases are waiting to be made, so until next week … have a super weekend.