Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Making Mice using socks and milk cartons/bottles!

 Meet "Henry" Sock mouse!
Isla decided this morning that she hated a pair of socks, and it needed to be a mouse. No idea what caused this, or where it came from, but I am always up for a challenge. She also said that she wanted to draw it, help cut it out, and be the designer.

One of that hardest things crafting with a nearly four year old is patterns/stencils and so on. It looks like she should be able to do it, but actually its really fiddly - so as I was washing out a milk bottle/carton, it came to me that it would be great to use for durable, re usable templates. Here it is all cut up - these are the bits that went in the recycling bin:

 Then Isla drew a mousey sort-of shape, and I cut round it on paper - we decided we needed 2 pieces (1 piece reversed) for a body, then a bit to go underneath that was mostly straight, but curved front and back:
 Then I chopped up the offending socks, keeping the ribbed ankle for other projects, discarding the toes:
 Then I put the paper templates on the milk bottle, and cut round them. Small bluntish scissors worked ok, so my nearly four year old was able to do some of it :-) Then we laid the templates on the sock, and cut out the pieces.
 Then we chose a good tail. We had ribbon, yarn, string, and this cord, which was the winner!
 Then we cut some ear shapes out of the milk bottle, then cut round the bottle templates in felt.
 Then I assemble the pieces near my sewing machine. Turn both body pieces right sides together, the stitch along the top of the body. Then put the bottom piece on, so that the mouse is completely inside out, leaving a tail and stuffing hole at the back - but slightly to the side, as its easier to hand sew one seam than where the whole lot joins at the tail, plus sewing in the tail. If you are having trouble getting your machine to sew from the edge - its getting tangled and the feed dogs arent moving it forward, start slightly further in, then sew backwards to the end then forwards.
 This is what it looks like inside out (apologies for photo - Isla took it)
Apologies for lack of pics here - Isla got 'very' involved, and I'm new to tutes, and forgot *blush*

Turn right way round, and stuff through end hole. I used sheeps wool, but acrylic stuffing would work fine. Maybe add some beans to make it weighted if you fancy.

When stuffed as you would like it, poke the tail in the hole and sew the whole lot up, making sure you turn the edges under so they don't fray. At this point you may wonder what this blob thing is meant to be, and your little one helping may look a tad disappointed. Don't fret - it will all come together!

You get to do the fun bit - accessorise your mouse however you (or more likely your helper) decides. Isla chose the bits and pieces for hers and Lucas' mice. Sew on the felt ears, and if adding pom pom eyes like these - sew from one through the mouse to the other and back again - it helps line them up, and anchors them firmly. Also, rather than making knots to finish your seams, do what doll makers do - run the thread through the doll (or mouse) and then cut it - holds really firmly and you don't get ugly knots. For dolls you would probably need a big scary looking needle, but not so for these diddy mice.

Thus Henry and John were created by a 4 year old (and her Mum) using milk bottles and old (rejected) socks, based on a 4 year olds sketches, with Isla doing a huge amount of the work herself. Henry and John are now snuggled on their respective owners pillows for the night!


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Love Sarah