Saturday, April 28, 2018

Gaston and Paulette Journuy

When I was at the Road to California quilt show in last January I bought these two kits for boy and girl kitties. Gaston and Paulette are made out of a velour fabric that feels like velvet and originated from France. They have an awake and an asleep side. You can read more about them in my January 25th post about the Road2CA show.

I opened up the two packages last week to make them for my two granddaughters, ages four and nearly two who just had a new baby brother join their family two weeks ago. To my dismay, I noted that the instructions were in French. "Oh, no," was my initial reaction. Then a told myself, "Get real Diane. Sure, it has been over forty years since your high school and college French classes, but you have a also been sewing for longer than that. And there are pictures. How hard can this be?"

I laid out the boy panel first.

I cut out the night time side for Gaston. "Nuit." That means "night" I remember. And that "n" on the panel must stand for "nuit" and I do not need to search for "a" through "m" component parts.

The day time side of Gaston was similarly labeled with "j" for "jour" which a long ago wrinkle in my brain revealed to me that this means "day" in English. The bases of the ears were neatly color coded so that an ear would not be put on backwards.

Following the picture, I dutifully made and stuffed the legs first. I used a zipper foot to accommodate the bulk of the stuffed leg when I sewed across its top.

I placed wrong sides of the torso together, sewed all around, and then automatically turned it right side out. The thickness of the fabric, as shown in the next photo,  made it difficult to turn narrow appendages like the arms. I struggled but succeeded. I carefully aligned the legs to the torso and sewed them on, pleased with how well the leg and torso borders had lined up with each .

Whoops, I had sewn the legs on wrong side of the torso fabric. They were supposed to have been sewn on before I'd turned the torso right side out so they were on the wrong side of the body. I was not about to turn those arms wrong side out again they had been so difficult to turn in the first place, but I did need to reverse the torso part. 

With the torso wrong side out again, as needed, it took me three more times to get those legs right! I faced them the wrong way for night and day the second time. The third time, one went on crooked and they were off to one side, not centered. I finally did get it right the fourth and final time. After the the legs were attached, here is the turning right side out process. First one leg...

 then the second leg...

  ... then the two arms - already right side out since I goofed on the sequence for them.

  The head was last and, voila! Gaston was right side out awaiting stuffing.

Stuffing the arms was difficult. I thought I had the perfect tool in this Clover Hera Marker until I broke off the tip on one end. It a tiny piece as seen by the one inch grid in its background.

I now had to un-stuff what little of the arm I had done and hunt for that sharp little bugger. I found it way down deep in one arm near the paw. I could not leave that sharp item buried within. It would not be safe for my grand babies. I finished stuffing Gaston and continued on with Paulette. Here is the Paulette panel.

Paulette is all cut out and ready to sew. Note she has a purse too, there in the center.

I struggled with stuffing Paulette's legs. I did not notice it at the time, but they were even thinner than Gaston's arms. Ooh-la-lah! This time I got the sequence and positioning correct when I sewed her legs to her torso and only had to do it once. What a huge struggle it was to turn the thick fabric of her thin arms and stuff those slender members! I think if Paulette had been a model she could have been called Twiggy. But I persevered and completed both kitties. Here they are with their awake side up. Paulette's purse has a Velcro closure.
Here are Gaston and Paulette as if they are sleeping. They did come out so soft and velvety smooth, just right for cuddling. 

I imagine Gaston and Paulette to be happy to meet their future cuddlers. I plan to give the two year old Gaston since her baby brother is a boy. I will ask her to help mama by turning Gaston on the pajama side when baby brother is sleeping and on the pants and jacket side when he is awake. The four year old, who has a bit more developed fine motor, will get Paulette with her purse.

My guess is that Journuy was not intended to be a French word for journey. Journuy is not in my Google French translator. I think it may be meant to be a play on the French words for Day (Jour) and Night (Nuit). That much I do remember from my high school French and freshman college French, over four decades ago! Linking up with Let's Bee Social #226 to share this finish.


  1. Is it significant that in their awake side by side pictures they are looking away from each other? Are they a couple or brother - sister?

    1. What do you think? Do you have a romantically oriented mind or a family oriented one? Since Gaston has glasses I think he is bit older and would rather hang out with a girlfriend than his sister. I also read somewhere that sideways looks are a kind of flirting. Que sera sera.

  2. Thank you for making these and gifting them to the girls! They've been playing with them quite often since your visit. One big hit for Vivian is Paulette's purse. Thanks, once again, Grandma! The kids are so lucky to have such a talented and loving grandmother!

    1. Ha! Funny you should mention the purse specifically. I was going to skip making it as being too small and fussy. You never quite know what the kids will like. You can only take your best guess. Glad it was a winner and thanks for letting me know.

  3. What an adorable set! And, ugh stuffing doll parts! I did that once, and it was enough for me! But the set did turn out adorable, and I'm sure your step-by-step instructions will save someone else a lot of pain (I found an online tutorial for my doll, which only came with 7 one-sentence instructions. Paulette's purse is adorable, and I'm glad V is having fun with it!

    1. I'm going to be wiser in the future about making toys with long thin narrow parts. The weight of the fabric figures much more heavily in the struggle to invert the parts right side out that do the actual dimensions. and