Friday, May 19, 2017

"How do you make... FROZEN?"

The title of this post is due to the Frozen DVD extra "The Making of Frozen" - Lucky (and the rest of us) love this song and will watch it on repeat.  I would still love to see some actual behind the scenes Frozen.  The movie itself is great, too, so if you haven't seen it make sure to check it out!

My neighbor is a super craft mom.  She is super creative when it comes to party invitations and I was THRILLED when she and her soon-to-be 4 year old daughter delivered a snow globe to Lucky to invite him to a Frozen Birthday Party!  As a fellow crafty mom, I really appreciate it when someone goes to the effort to share some handmade love.  I just lamented that my son didn't have any Disney apparel that wasn't Star Wars.  Lucky LOVES frozen so should I make him something to wear to the party?  Yes!

My first idea was to create a more generic snowman (Olaf) shirt by appliqueing three coal buttons to the front of a white T-shirt.  As I was planning Rowdy's birthday party this plan evolved into a complete Olaf character.  I really wanted to try something new, and this would be a great way to practice the complicated, multi-fabric dinosaurs I wanted to make for Rowdy's first birthday party.

I probably could have come up with white and black fabric from my stash, but I needed some things from the fabric store anyway... so why not go pick something out!  When given the choice between sparkly snowflake fabric and non-sparkly fabric Lucky selected the fabric without sparkles (I was shocked!)  I even found some music themed black fabric.  Even though you won't be able to see any complete notes I'll know that the fabric is music themed so I can hear the songs when I look at the shirts.

Why did I buy some Olaf fabric?  I was planning to figure out something for the mouth when I found some licensed Olaf fabric that was on sale.  Why not buy a 1/4 yard?  I realized that there is enough blue space that I would be able to use an Olaf leg to be a tooth on the shirts!  If I cut the fabric JUST right it would work perfectly.  

I found an image of Olaf and traced it with black in Photoshop.  I printed out the outline in a few sizes and picked the one that I wanted.  Using a window, I traced the outline onto two sided fusible adhesive, Pellon Lite EZ-Steam II, and then cut the shapes out of the relevant fabric.

As soon as I cut out Olaf I was in love.  I wasn't sure how the appliqueing would go, but I knew that I wanted to create a little Sneeze Snowman for Rowdy.  Some of the little guys have a tooth, too, so this could be an adorable little mimic.  Olaf calls the little snowmen (aka snowgies) "Little Brothers!" so this would be perfect for Rowdy.

"Mommy, you wear the Olaf shirt, and you can make me a Sven one." - Lucky on the way home from the fabric store.  Sorry kid, you're getting an Olaf shirt.

I ironed the "snow" part of Olaf's body first.  I have some scrap quilting cotton that I use as a press cloth.  When I'm securing this fusible webbing, I soak my press cloth and use the wet cloth to iron on the shapes.  

Next, I ironed on the rest of the decorative shapes.  Look how cute Olaf's little tooth came out!

Before starting any satin stitch, I drew on the approximate boundaries of the snowballs and eyebrows.  I used a straight stitch to mark these lines little better since my air soluble fabric markers can rub off pretty easily as I'm sewing.  

Olaf's arms were so thin that I didn't think a satin stitch would work well.  I decided to use a running stitch to secure these to the shirt and to leave the edges raw.  I reduced the running stitch (#1 on my machine) length to 1.0 and stitched the outlines of the arms and hair. The arms were hard. I really could have used some stabilizer behind the knit fabric because they just didn't want to stay stuck. Maybe a loose zigzag would have been easier.

I used black thread to really highlight Olaf's cartoon nature.  I used a zig zag stitch (#8) with a length of 2.0 and a distance of 0.2.  The needle got stuck a few times (I'm not really sure what is going on but a bunch of thread builds up on the wrong side and I can't move the fabic) but it was much easier than the arms to complete.

I wasn't sure how to feel at this stage of the project.  Olaf looked so clean without the stitching. He is much less clean now. I am glad I am doing this practice before doing Rowdy's birthday shirt.  (Note from future Rebecca:  Ironing out the applique after I was done sewing made it look MUCH cleaner.)

The irises on my Olaf are tiny.  Super tiny!  I used a star stitch (#30) size 5.0 to secure these to the fabric.  I had to practice this stitch on scrap fabric so I could get the pattern down and know where in the sequence I needed to put the needle into my fabric.

For the rest of the face, I used the zig zag stitch (#8) with the following settings (the first number is the stitch length and the second number is how close the stitches are to each other):

  • Nose & Eyes: 1.0, 0.3
  • Eyebrows: 2.5, 0.3
  • Mouth: 2.0, 0.2

I couldn't find what I did for Olaf's coal buttons in my notes, but looking at the pictures of the wrong side of the applique helped me figure it out.  I used the same treatment on Olaf's buttons as I did on his arms and hair.  

I love love LOVE dressing my boys in matching outfits.  I plan to do this as long as they will let me.  I printed out a few different Snowgie (Sneezes) versions so I could get one that would be the right scale for Rowdy's onesie, even if it wouldn't be scale with the applique Olaf.

I constructed this applique following the methods I used for Olaf.  I ironed on the shapes and then with an air soluble marker drew the lines where I needed to stitch.

The eyes are a little bigger than Olaf's irises so I was able to do a zig zag stitch around them.  Here are the zig zag stitch settings I used for the Snowgie:

  • Body: 2.0, 0.2
  • Eyes: 1.0, 0.3
  • Mouth: 1.5, 0.2

I've found that wider zig zag stitches are much easier to work with when I am on the edge between the quilting cotton and a knit shirt.  I really should look into stabilizers and how and why they are used when you are doing applique.

Look at my little frozen buddies!   I can't believe how well these came out.  It is really hard to see the snowflakes on the white fabric, but I don't even care!  These are adorable! I know I am tooting my own horn here, but I am so unbelievably proud of these shirts.  

I think I selected good characters to make shirts with.  Snowmen are much easier to create in a flat drawing than a human based character.  

The boys LOVED their shirts. 

These were some of the last pictures that I took on my trusty Canon SD 70D before the shutter wore out completely.  This happened the week of Ryder's first birthday, so we rushed to get a new camera in time.  Phew!
I have so many great pictures of Rowdy in his shirt, but you can't see the snowgie!  

We all had a blast at the Frozen themed party.  The "real" Elsa was fantastic, although Lucky was terrified and didn't get off my lap for any of the activities.  At the end of the party he started showing Elsa the animals he was playing with and even gave her a hug as he was leaving.  He was sad Anna wasn't there, but she was off "baking a birthday cake for Sven." Carrot cake, of course.

The party favors were awesome!  We got to take home an Elsa cape and some Sven ears.  These are super welcome additions to our dress up box!

These outfits have now been worn multiple times and hold up really well in the wash.  Unfortunately they do require a quick press after washing to straighten the shapes back out.  I'm not sure if a stabilizer would help this or not, but I'm super super in love with how these shirts came out.  

In my next post, I'll share the applique shirts I created for Rowdy's first birthday party.  Here is a little sneak peek at my week of applique:

Sometimes it takes me a long time to post projects here on ChemKnits. I need to edit the images (crop, adjust levels, reduce size) and turn my notes into real words someone can read. If you want to get faster sneak peeks into my work, make sure you follow me on Instagram!

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