Friday, January 29, 2010

Amigurumi Friday! -sewing

I can't believe it's that time again! Yep folks, time for the second installment of "Amigurumi Friday"- the series that's all about our favorite crocheted toys!
For this installment, I wanted to talk about everyone's least favorite part of making amigurumi. The sewing together of all those little pieces. I want to offer a few tips that make it a little less arduous and a little more successful using a project I just finished: Lion Brand's Pond Friends Stacking Toy.

As you can see, this little toy, has a LOT of separate parts and pieces, even facial features and antennae to sew on! So, lets get started!
(I'll be using the bee ring as my example)
Here are the tools you will need:

That's right! Safety pins and a yarn needle (which you can find at a craft store in the same section as knitting needles and crochet hooks, normally right next to the stitch markers!) I recommend a round yarn needle because they seem to go in smoother than the square ones. If you have a knifty knitter, you'll have a square needle, and those just don't seem to work as well for such tight crocheting. 
Tip #1: Once you finish an individual part (say a wing for the bee), finish off the end by pulling the yarn completely through your last stitch, and leave a good amount (10-12inches) of yarn on the end to sew with. This way you don't have to attach any extra yarn (extra work!) and you already have the right color yarn to sew with ready to go! You will be left with only one end of your yarn to hide after sewing as well. 
As you can see here, I finished the white wing, then left a long tail to sew with.

Tip #2: Saftey pins are your friends! How many times have you crocheted up everything perfectly, but after sewing it all together the amigurumi just looks wonky? I know I've had that experience, so now I always safety pin on all my pieces and parts before sewing them on. This has several advantages, the first being that you get some idea of what it is going to look like after you sew it on. If you start sewing without holding things in place, the pieces can slip and adjust their position-ending up in a completely incorrect or weird place. That leads me to the second advantage- You don't have to struggle to readjust and hold the dang piece on while you're sewing! It's marvelous! Lastly, if you have a lot of pieces that need to be balanced out with each other -lets say an arm looking even with another arm and not to far from the neck, or in the case of the bumble bee- wings that are even and a head that is directly across from a stinger- then you can check the balance and get everything proportionate before it's too permanently affixed. 
Tip #3: Use the stitches you have to sew evenly. If you try to match up stitch for stitch in what you are sewing on (assuming that you've kept an even gauge in both pieces) you will have no problem in spacing out your stitches evenly and making sure that your piece is sewn on in a sturdy and even-looking manner. I normally go into the piece I'm attaching the new piece onto before picking up a stitch on the piece I'm attaching. (Sorry if that doesn't make sense) For example- here I went down into the bee ring with the white wing yarn, then up the wing. 

Tip #4: Hide your ends within the amigurumi! Once you've finished sewing, take the extra end, and pull it through the amigurumi to another side. Then just stuff in the extra yarn. No need to tie knots. Your piece is secured by the stuffing. 

Wa-la! You are done! There are no visible knots because one end came from the piece you just sewed on, and the other was hidden within the amigurumi!

Here are some more pictures of the process with the head of the bee: 
My last Tip #5: is that sometimes is best to stuff as you sew. In this case of the head, it was hard for the head to stay on, even while pinned with the stuffing in it. So I approached it as I would a pillow. I went around 3/4 of the way, then stuffed the head in the finger sized hole left to sew. 
I know that it can still be a rather tedious process, but hopefully with these tips your toys will come out marvelously! 

Happy crocheting!


Sarah said...

so apparently I'm working on an amigurumi right now. I planned on making three ducks for the girls' christmas gifts. Well I finished all the pieces for one... :o) so they're getting February presents! They didn't really seem to care all that much and I figure a present is welcome any time of year.

Thanks for the tips, this is my first one and I haven't yet sewn any pieces together so the help is very welcome!

Hope you're having a wonderful weekend. Miss ya!

emosback said...

Hey Sarah!
you are so welcome for the tips :) You should definitely share the results once you get them sown up! I'd love to see how it turns out