Following fast on the heels of my last post about robot fabrics and sewing projects, I have a completed robot softie ready to go on the robot rampage. In posting, I was really just bookmarking Jenny Novinsky's 'Geared up robot' from issue 8 of Fat Quarterly on the to-sew list, but before I knew it, I had a whole robot leg in front of me.
Issue 8 of Fat Quarterly is all about paper peicing, and although I've done English paper piecing for years, I've never tried foundation paper piecing, or freezer paper piecing before. If you're interested in giving any of these techniques a try, then this themed issue will give you lots of small projects to have a go at (next up for me is Kerry's fancy teapot cosy block using the freezer paper method). I also found this useful youtube video, Paper Piecing Made Easy which I wish I'd seen before getting started.
I'm not saying I didn't have to unpick the odd line of teeny tiny stitches as I went, or that I didn't sew right sides and wrong sides together once or twice, but I really loved making this little robot! The little flying geese on the arms and legs were a bit of a challenge due to the small scale and curve of the limbs; I made life more difficult for myself by making this as a bona fide tiny scrap project - the pieces I used for most of the triangles were the little offcuts you get from slashing your quilt binding strips at a 45 degree angle prior to sewing them together, on the small side even for the scrap bin! You give yourself a much bigger margin for error if you use scraps that are bigger than you need rather than trying to make small scraps fit. It's a very satisfying feeling to make something out of such tiny bits and pieces though, especially when that something is a cute and cuddly robot.
One caveat only - I belong to the school of stuff-your-softie-like-there's-no-tomorrow which made assembling the robot a trifle difficult. Those bulging biceps don't half get in the way of your sewing machine foot, in spite of me trying to push it well down the arm. Next time, rather than compromising on stuffing quantity (I do loathe it when a softie goes flat), I am resolved to pack it down even more firmly into the limbs, then to keep it an inch shy of the open edges with a couple of tacking stitches to be removed when the robot is fully assembled, letting the stuffing expand back into those flattened underarms. Alternatively, I could have handstitched the whole body, or even just finished the leg and arm openings by hand just to make it that bit less awkward.
I made just one tiny change, which was to introduce an antenna made from jumbo ric-rac. That was mainly because I happened to find a 6 inch piece of red giant ric-rac on my sewing desk crying out to be used. I like it though; it's jaunty.
alas it's too wet for robots to go outside to pose
I foresee a future filled with robots. But then, that was how I ended my last post too.