Friday, February 11, 2022

Chickens (and a Pattern Revamp)

Here's a funny story.

Last month, I needed to sew a concert gown for Emily. I will tell you more about that in a separate post but I'll say here that it had slightly ambitious sleeves so I took some time to work out how to construct them. 

"Ah," you're saying, "that's a euphemism for 'she procrastinated'."

Hangs head.

In her defence, they were fiddly sleeves.

But yes, procrastinate she did. 

First, she made a chicken

Her small nephew was turning two, and she rationalized that all small children needed a chicken, so she resolved to make him one. Plus chicks, because obviously all stuffed animals have to have offspring to make any sense at all.

Then, because it had been twelve years since she'd last made chickens, she had to print out her Chicken Pattern for the templates and to have her memory aided by the instructions therein.

Then, when the chicken was made, she realized she was now a much better pattern-writer than she was twelve years ago and, having now beheld all the ways in which that 2010 Chicken Pattern could use a tune-up, entertained the idea of revising it.

Then, for the purpose of re-photographing and testing out the construction process for the rewrite, she made two more chickens. And six more chicks (see earlier logic re: adult animals and offspring).

And then wrote the second edition of the Chicken Pattern.

After which she remembered, as if waking from a fevered dream, that she was supposed to be sewing a dress, and hurriedly measured the child in question and drafted a sloper. And went panic-shopping for fabric, returning with (as if to overcompensate) enough fabric for two dresses and several muslins.

Then left her common sense at the door and, in the name of "testing out the sloper" and "getting the old brain warmed up for the Real Thing", proceeded to sew an entire Other Dress (with its associated muslins). That's right - an entire second gown that the child didn't actually need. 

Then, in the strange hollow silence immediately befalling (you know the kind that often greets one in the aftermath of having eaten an entire quart of ice cream all by oneself and in a moment of belated clarity wonders why one thought it seemed like a good idea at the time), she realized she had run out of ways to procrastinate further.

And sewed the dress.

And it didn't take nearly as long as making three chickens, nine chicks, re-photodocumenting and rewriting a sewing pattern, and making another dress.

So. How's your sanity been holding up this winter?

Mooooooooving forward now, I have two bits of news to share.

One is that I have indeed revised my Chicken Pattern. I should probably disclaim that I don't think the original 2010 version was a disaster - I was quite easily able to make a chicken (or three) from those instructions, after all. But it was written 12 years ago and I approach sewing instruction much more methodically now than I did back then. 

I don't know if it's even a thing - pattern designers returning to old patterns to revise and release new editions of them, I mean - but it seemed irresponsible not to incorporate improvements when they were now obvious to me, and pass those on to you guys. The construction sequence and methods are still essentially the same but I reworded some instructions which sounded awkward, added more photos and annotations, and redrew all the templates so they were more effectively spaced out on the page. 

If you bought a Chicken Pattern in the past and would like the new version, send me an email with
  • your name 
  • the email address you used to buy it, if you can remember it, and
  • the year you bought it, if you can remember it,

and I'll send you a link to download the new one for free. I can't promise that I'll respond to your email right away, especially if I receive many requests, but give me a couple weeks or so, and I should be able to have a new link for you.

Second, I now have two sets of chicken-and-chicks to send to new homes! You can find them in my Etsy store here

I don't think I've ever had a chicken in my Etsy store before - my children inherited all the prototypes and samples I'd made when I first wrote the pattern. Snuggling and cuddling aside, I imagine they'll be good fun for classrooms and preschool rooms and anywhere that kids want to set up a pretend farm or co-op, and just in time for spring, too.

Each set comes with a hen 

which lays eggs,

and three chicks.

Each chick fits in one of these plastic eggs (also included).

You might notice that the eggs are a bit festive-looking; my apologies if you were hoping for more realistic or at least solid colors. These are what I was able to obtain at this time of the year, and I thought I'd include them with your purchase so you could start playing with the chicken and chicks right away. I'm pretty sure that in a couple of months, the stores will be full of easter eggs and you can replace these with ones more to your liking.    

Go to my Etsy store here to buy the chicken & chicks,

and go to my pattern shop or pattern page on my blog to buy the revised Chicken Pattern.


  1. So, you've made chickens. And you've made pigs. But after having read your "Mooooooooving forward now..." sentence, I'd like to know when you're making cows. 😂

    Oh wait, you did make a cow, if you count the bovine triangle toy that you made for your friend all those years ago...

    1. I remember that pyramidal cow! That was our first collaborative project, if I remember right. What a fun memory. And yes, I have made a cow that wasn't all corners. Here she is

    2. Oh i forgot about the menagerie cow!!! so cute!!!

  2. Me encanta el detalle de las patas de la gallina

  3. Has it been 12 years?? I have popped in here and there over many years, mostly late at night after littles were in bed and admired your work and even replicated some of it. I remember the original chickens though never attempted them. I don't come by as often now, but I do love seeing what you are up to. You amaze me!


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