Henry likes bunnies, as I believe I’ve mentioned in the past. Last summer, I made him his first homemade bunny (known as Crazy Purple Bunny):
He’s not a particularly advanced effort, though he is two-tone. His face and tail are drawn on with a Sharpie.
Well, three snow days this year had me itching to do a new project. How about a different bunny? I started with Bunny Prototype Number 1 (here wearing an “aftermarket” sword and belt, because he was immediately conscripted into piracy):
While he has a very cute little face, there were many places where I could improve upon him. First of all, I could embroider him on the correct side, so the yellow marker I used to trace him wasn’t showing everywhere. Secondly, he has a rather substantial neck, and his arms and legs are too skinny. And finally, I wasn’t happy with the “stand” of his ears, which are very floppy.
So today I made Bunny Prototype 2. I started by revising my template to have a shorter neck, and shorter and fatter limbs. I picked a more forgiving fabric combo of the same pink 40’s print that lined Bunny Prototype 1’s ears, plus a darker pink print for this bunny’s ear lining.
I have a huge box of fabric. Not only have I purchased fabric for many projects over the years, but I also like to collect “fat quarters” at quilting shops even when I don’t have a project.
Whenever I sit down to sew, I grab my grandmother’s sewing box. It has two lift-out trays and can hold all my goodies. I used to covet this box so much as a child. My grandmother taught me to sew, and this box held all sorts of laces and trimmings and bits and bobs that I used to dress dolls and those wee rabbit-fur mice you could get at the toy store. When my grandmother died, I asked for the box, but my mother insisted she wanted it, despite not being a big seamstress. Eventually, I weaseled it out of her. It’s had a bit of an overhaul, with all the crappy old thread thrown away, but I still have all the laces and bits and bobs!
Anyway, once I had traced out the bunny body front and back, and four pieces for the ears, it was time to embroider the face. This has to happen before the bunny is cut out, so that I have enough fabric to put in the embroidery hoop. I went through a brief embroidery phase when I was in my 20’s (I know, when other people were out drinking, probably), and so I have about 2,000,000 different colors of embroidery thread, neatly wound around little plastic bobbins and organized by color in a box. Seriously.
Since I have little memory of any of the fancy stitches I learned at the time, I used a simple satin stitch and a simple back stitch to make the bunny’s face. Instead of the garish yellow marker, I used my fabric pencil to outline everything, which means the bunny looks like he had a long night out from the leftover gray shadow, rather than jaundice.
I then cut everything out. Because I’m hand sewing the bunny, there’s a rough quarter inch seam allowance cut around the edges.
Despite being ironed just minutes before, all the cotton has cleverly rewrinkled itself.
First I pinned the ear sides together and sewed each one up, leaving the bottom open. Then I turned them right-side out. To make them stand up better, I sewed the bottoms together into little tucks.
As is the advantage with hand sewing, this is now happening on my lap, under an electric lap blanket. Yeah baby! This is living…
Here are my tiny stitches in progress.
Once I had the ears done, I pinned up the bunny body.
The ears have to be pinned inside the bunny body, with the contrasting lining facing the face, so they’ll be correctly placed when the bunny is turned right side out.
I know, the complexity is mind-boggling. Here’s the bunny’s body, all finished and turned right-side out. I find that the non-hook end of a small crochet hook helps push out the arms and legs nicely. I left the bunny’s flank unsewn, as that’s a good spot for turning arms and legs and also because it’s less obvious when it’s whipstitched up later.
I then stuffed the bunny with a shocking amount of polyester stuffing. First I stuffed the legs until they felt like sausages, then the arms, then the head, and finally the body. This way I’ve got all the tough extremities done first. A quick whipstitched seam and the bunny was nearly finished.
The only thing he really needed was a pompom tail. I have several old skeins of cream yarn that work well for this sort of thing.
Here he is, all done.
Next to Bunny Prototype 1:
The only thing I would change at this point would be to make the eyes on Bunny Prototype 2 a bit closer together, and to make his mouth and nose a bit smaller. Otherwise, I think he’s pretty darn cute! And most importantly, he too has been immediately conscripted into the pirate army.