So here's how it all began.
I was languishing in the bleak midwinter, minding my own business, finishing up my sweater dresses and planning my next tutorial series on zippers and bags and such, and suddenly felt I needed to sew a new softie.
So I consulted with the smalls who live with me. Because I was too lazy to think of one myself, especially when those children are foremost authorities in the area of handmade toys. Their suggestions were enthusiastic but overwhelmingly varied (and thus not very helpful in and of themselves).
I detected, however, the seductive possibility of mass-producing, which I always like.
Although it did seem a bit more insane than usual if that mass-production was required to produce completely different animals.
Unless I sewed them the same way I sew garments - from a universal sloper, adapting that base template to create different looks.
All we needed was a good, versatile base pose that would work for most animals. And an upturned face. Children love upturned faces. And open arms. Upturned faces+open arms say, "I am forlorn. Pick me up and hold me." At least, according to Kate, passionate advocate of the upright variety of stuffed animals (read her theory of the Puffy-Flat Softie Dichotomy here).
So . . . featureless prototype . . . tweak. . . stuff . . . unpick. . . redraft . . . rebalance . . . mark . . . mark . . . mark. . . pin . . . pin. . . pin. . . (repeat) . . . etc. etc.
It didn't take as long as it sounds, friends. Drafting softies is not like drafting clothes. They don't have to fit custom contours. They only have to not fall over, and they need cute faces. Easy. Two days later, we had the base template and we were all set for evolution.
This is the first species I made - a king penguin.
and left his bill entirely black.
The true test would be the children: I'd make the animal without telling them what it was, and if they could identify it, it passed. If it also scored high on the cute factor, it was a bonus. In other words, natural selection, ikatbag style. We all have our ways for coping with winter, right?
And now you get to see the ones who made the team - a species a day, till you've met the entire menagerie.