Your local fabric store is probably beginning to stock wool plaid and wool crepe in rich autumn colors right about now, along with fall sewing patterns for tailored jackets and long skirts. Here in our part of the world, though, we've got 100-degree temperatures as the midsummer dog days begin for real. If you're not quite ready for serious fall sewing projects, consider something more whimsical--sew stuffed animals for your favorite infant or child, or create an art doll for yourself. It's a great way to use up scraps, you won't have to spend too much time with a hot steam iron, and you don't have to worry too much about fit, precision, or colors that match.
Last week, we wrote about Heidi Boyd and her adorable stuffed elephant and other toys designed for small children. For a completely different but equally charming style, pick up a copy of Sew Me Love Me. Author Hsiu-Lan Kuei created twelve endearing animals from scraps and old socks, such as the Scrappy Lion, at right, and Beatnik Bob, at left.
If you're sewing for kids that are very young or infants, avoid using buttons or objects that can be pulled off and swallowed; use embroidery stitching instead to create features. Natural fibers are best for babies, too, as they're less flammable.
If you've no children to sew for, stitch up an art doll for yourself as a way to explore embellishment techniques and personal expression. A good reference is Cloth Dolls for Textile Artists, by Ray Slater, shown below right.
Sewing toys and dolls are perfect projects to work on with a child before heading into back-to-school mayhem, or a way to creatively use up some fabrics. Most of all, they're fun projects that go together quickly and simply can't go wrong. So celebrate the dog days by making a sweet creature or a stylish art icon.
Next week we can all get back to thinking about fall fashion and wool fabrics and sweater knits, but for now, stay cool and do something whimsical and fun.