Sunday, 22 June 2008

Terry the Tarantula

Meet Terry the Tarantula. He will soon be posted to Mikes for their Softies for Mirabel appeal. I decided to make a spider because when I was getting inspiration for my little creation, I found so many patterns for softies for girls. Flicking through pattern books, I kept finding instructions for dolls, kittens, fluffy bunnies... and the softies I did find for boys were all made with pastel colours and weren't very boyish at all! And there's nothing more boyish than a big, black, hairy spider! I also figured a spider would be quite straight forward to make. The best part about working with the medium pile fur fabric is that most of your stitching and seams can be easily concealed. I documented how I made him in case your want to sew your own spider toy. He's about 25cm in length.

A disclaimer: I'm not well practiced in writing instructions so if there are any questions, please ask me! Also, apologies for my dodgy diagrams. The photos were of poor quality (black fur fabric + black thread isn't a great for photos) and Illustrator keeps crashing, so I have resorted to making the images with Paint.

How to make Terry the Tarantula

You will need:
  • Medium pile black fur fabric, 30cm x 110 cm
  • A small square of white polar fleece
  • Black cotton thread (good quality, as you will be doing some gathering and cheaper cotton may break)
  • 2 x 25mm white safety eyes
  • Small scraps of fabric for the fangs
From the black fur fabric cut:
  • 2 large circles, the size of a dinner plate (~30 cm diameter)
  • 1 small circle, the size of a tumbler rim (~10 cm diameter)
  • 8 strips of fur fabric, 15 cm x 4 cm
When cutting fur fabric be careful to only cut the backing material, not the pile. Make small cuts into the backing fabric using the tip of the scissors. I do not recommend doubling the fabric when cutting out your pieces.

Make the head/body (a.k.a. 'cephalothorax'):
  1. Take one of the large circles and make a running stitch right around the edge, approximately 1cm in from the edge, and .5 cm stitch length. Pull tightly so the edges gather up to create a ball, being careful not to snap your thread. Tie off. (The fur fabric will not gather up completely, so you will be left with a hole in the bottom that will later be covered over with the smaller circle of fur fabric).
  2. With each of the 8 strips of fabric, fold them in half with the pile facing outwards. Do a whip stitch along all 3 sides. The depth of your stitches should be small (~3mm) and closely spaced. You may need to brush the fabric pile downwards to expose the edge of your fabric and to prevent any of the fur getting caught in the seam.
  3. Sew each leg securely to the side of the body, 4 each side, using ladder stitch, about 3 cm from the edge of the hole in the body piece.
  4. Insert the safety eyes at this point. I like to half stuff the body so I can see how the fabric and eyes will sit when the fabric stretched out. I place the eyes, carefully remove the stuffing, insert the eye backings and then re-stuff the toy. There is a tutorial here on how to install safety eyes. When you are done with the eyes, finish stuffing the head/body.
  5. With the small circle of fabric, place it over the hole and the edges of the legs. Stitch it down with ladder stitch. Make sure that your stitches are small and catch all of the fabric underneath so that it is secure.
Make the abdomen:
  1. Take the second large circle and gather as per the head/body. Stuff.
  2. Attach the abdomen to the body with ladder stitch, making sure your stitches are small and tight as possible.
Attach the fangs (chelicera):
  1. Cut two triangles out of fabric scraps, 4 cm wide and 5 cm tall. I used old, green curtain fabric.
  2. Fold in half, stitch down the side. Turn out.
  3. Turn the top edge in and ladder stitch closed so you have a closed, triangular shaped fang.
  4. Ladder stitch to the head, just below the eyes.


Louise said...

Beth that is hilarious - I LOVE it!! And I'm sure some little boy somewhere is going to adopt that gorgeous hairy critter and become very best friends. So true about the boy's softies - that's why I am doing a robot!

CurlyPops said...

He's so cool! What a great idea for a little boy who loves spiders.

kt mac said...

hehe I love Terry, even if he is hairy (and a tarantula)!

and that's so great you uploaded the instructions and everything and made the pattern you clever duck you!

I'm sure he will be the most loved spider on the planet!

Jenaveve said...

That's so cool - funny, but I would've loved that when I was a kid.

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