Thursday, August 2, 2018

Goldilocks and the Five Bears

My two-year old granddaughter was visiting for a week while her dad, my son, worked a local renovation job. It gave us some one on one time which was great. Before she left with her dad to return home to her mom, older 4 year old sister, and younger 3 month old brother, I wanted to whip up a toy for her to take with her. All I managed to eke out was the Goldilocks and Baby Bear from a Stacy Hsu panel. I had no spare time to blog about it. The morning before she left to go home, Lillian, Goldilocks, and Baby Bear intently watched the video Frozen together. I would not have enough free time to sew Mama Bear and Papa Bear until after Lillian left. Hmmm ... can't imagine why... This post is about the remainder of the menagerie, hence the title Goldilocks and the Five Bears.


Lillian and her dad left on a Thursday and on Friday I completed the set. Papa Bear's bow tie is as cute as can be. After its completion, I decided it was well worth the royal pain to manipulate the three tiny pieces that make it up and add a minuscule strip of Velcro.


The designer Stacy Hsu has produced several of these doll type panels. I have bought every one and have made most for my grandchildren: Lil Red - red riding hood (3 times), Coral Queen of the Sea mermaid (3 times), Howdy Lil Lady and Howdy Lil Cowboy (1 pair made, 1 pair pending),  Lil Superheroes (1 pair was enough), Hansel and Gretel dolls (1 pair made, 1 pair pending). This panel is of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. These are not complicated but do not assume you will whip one out in an evening for a gift the next day. Cutting out Goldilocks, each of the bears, and all the clothing took me well over an hour. Sewing, turning, and stuffing the dolls plus hemming and gathering the clothes took about six - eight hours. True, I took breaks, but still making the whole set is a bit time consuming.


My post for March 8, 2016 described my process when I first made these dolls, starting with Lil Red. Turning and stuffing those long slender legs is a challenge but I finally settled on the easiest way for me to do it. My current array of tools has consistently boiled down to these: The turner tongs on the far left work best for roughly turning the dolls right side out after sewing. Tweezers and a hemmer ruler work well for the clothes. The feather shaped white tool, a Dritz point turner and seam creaser, is good for smoothing out the doll seams before stuffing. The paddle end of the white Clover Hera  Marker is great for manipulating the stuffing into the legs and arms. Rotating that paddle puts the stuffing exactly where you want it. Do not be so aggressive though that the point pokes through. I had no accident that way but I could easily see it happening. Also take care not to stab your palm with the pointy end.


A glutton for punishment, I decided that since Lillian and her sister Vivian were going to be visited this weekend by their out of state cousin Autumn, Autumn needed a Goldilocks set also to play with  at the same time and side by side. I used to make a set for each girl but that got tedious and Lillian and Vivian's mom insisted the sisters could share when they played together. My new rule: one set per household not one set per child. I had made three each of the Lil Red and three each of the mermaid but they only had one doll per panel. The cowboy panel pairs and the superheroes panel pairs had two dolls to share. I wanted Autumn's Goldilocks set to be distinguished in some way from her cousins' set. I chose to do an extra line of stitching along the ears of the bears and the hair bun of the doll. This detail is not obvious enough to make the toys different or better, but distinguishable enough to tell whose is whose.


On the removable clothing items I also did an extra line of stitching along the waistlines of the skirts and shorts.


The completed set of four figures looked cute perched along my baseboard outside my sewing room. They lingered there only long enough for me to snap a photo. Then they were unceremoniously stuffed in a box with the other Mama Bear and Papa Bear to be shipped off to Southern California in time for the cousin get together. The girl cousins are 2, 4 and 5½ years old. I had better sew up whatever other panels I have in my stash before they get beyond the playing with dolls age. If they are already beyond that phase, please do not tell me and break my bubble yet.


When I cut out these panels I save the outer edging and some of the illustration from the instructions. You never know when those images would look cute in a doll or baby quilt and the edging might make coordinating sashings or block borders. Linking up to share with Let's Bee Social #236.