I turn 36 in a few weeks, but I still find it very difficult to think of myself as a grown-up. It seems that other people don’t agree though, and I was hugely honoured and moved to be asked to be godmother to my friends’ baby girl back in March. I’ve known A since I was a kid – we’re not entirely sure when we first met but it was somewhere between the ages of 10 and 13 – and I met his lovely wife K when I moved to Edinburgh 13 years ago.
There was a blessing / naming ceremony a few weeks ago, and I knew I wanted Little Lion to have a gift that she could keep for a long time, an heirloom. I looked around for ages, and discovered there are some really tacky baby gifts out there! K and A have impeccable taste, so tacky wasn’t an option….. I’m not sure why it didn’t occur to me to make something, but once someone suggested it I realised it was the perfect solution. K is a really talented maker, and has trained A well, so I knew that even if what I produced was imperfect, they would appreciate the effort.
I’d purchased a kit to make this lovely felt rabbit as a total impulse-buy at the regular quilt show held in Edinburgh. It’s from a company called Cool Crafting who have lots of lovely kits – I’ve got my eye on the fox as well, maybe for Little Lion’s brother…..and I love the Mae doll as well.
The rabbit is made out of some gorgeous wool felt, this is high quality stuff, and is entirely hand stitched. The foot pads and ear linings are Liberty tana lawn, all provided in the kit along with matching thread, embroidery floss for the face, buttons for eyes and shoulder joints and grey wool for the fluffy pompom tail.
Here she is without her dress on, you can see the leg and arm seams, and the buttons joining the arms to the body. The buttons mean this toy is probably not for playing with just now, but hopefully in a few years time she will become a favourite. The ears and lining, the base of the body, and the foot pads are all sewn in back stitch, right sides together, and the rest of the seams are overstitched wrong sides together. I really like the detail of these exposed seams.
The button shoulders mean that the arms are moveable, which helps when putting her clothes on, and is another nice detail. I wasn’t sure about the pompom tail, but once I’d sewed it on I was convinced – it’s very cute.
The dress is also Liberty tana lawn, also included with the kit, and was pretty fiddly to make. Mostly sewn on the machine, some finishing touches hand stitched. Worth the effort though, it also has some really nice details. I changed the construction order slightly from the instructions, the main change being that I hemmed the sleeves before setting them in – I didn’t fancy wrestling these tiny tubes on my machine!
The bow is designed to be detachable, but I was struggling to sew the brooch back on, I wasn’t sure how secure it would be for small fingers, and I thought the neckline and collar didn’t look quite right without it – so I just sewed it on permanently in the end.
As per the instructions, the legs are stuffed until they’re quite firm, so she does stand up – as long as she’s leaning against something. The tiny button on the back there is decorative – the closure is actually a couple of poppers.
I really enjoyed making this toy – I do like a bit of handstitching as an alternative to knitting when I just want to sit on the sofa. I also have a pattern and fabric for a different dress and a gorgeous wool felt coat, and I might try knitting some tiny jumpers or making some other clothes as well. I thought that building up a little wardrobe for this bunny would be something I could do for various birthdays etc as Little Lion gets older – a bit like buying charms for a bracelet only with more fabric. I still feel slightly gobsmacked that I’m considered godmother material, but I’ve decided I’ll do my best to encourage an appreciation for the handmade, cricket, tea and gin. Possibly not all just yet…..