Upon arrival, there was not much wrong with him, other than that he required a good wash and brush up, which involved him being de-stuffed, taken to pieces (so that I could then create a template for future use as a ColdhamCuddlies Family member - I’ve already got a commission for a Black Plush version, even before one has been made in White Plush fabric!) Must confess, it was originally my intention to just wash and re-stuff Sleepy, but when the order came through, I changed my mind pretty rapidly!
Here is SK fully made and ready for his journey back to Nottinghamshire:
Taking him apart was in the end not an option, because whoever had been responsible for making him in the first place - he was an original hand made Toy - had clearly got a little lost when finishing the body and sewing on the head. The seams were all over the place, with the result that he had ended up somewhat smaller than he now is. His seams are now under control and he actually does not look as tired as he did. That resulted in my calling him Sleepy Kitten. Any ideas as to what he should now be called?
The head could only be taken to bits as far as the muzzle - because both eyes and the nose were original safety backed items, which once fitted, never come out. However, even I could make a pattern with the head in its shape (seen in the right centre of the next picture) with both the fabric pieces and the cardboard template arranged on my ironing table, set up in my work room. This also acts as the second bed-room when guests overnight with me. The stripey background that has occasionally featured in my previous tutorials is the mattress of the fold-away bed!
|Here is a close-up of SK in pieces|
Once washed, SK is now a definite White, rather than a grey-white figure, and his stuffing has been thrown away. It was nylon based material which was used to replace Kapok in the latter years of the 20th Century by toy-makers looking for a material which allowed toys to be washed. Whilst Kapok did not allow such action, this nylon stuff seemed to be answer to all toymaker’s prayers (at least to me, anyway). However, it was highly inflammable if exposed to heat, so thank goodness polyester fibre has now replaced it! I don’t use anything else, and find the resulting firm, but soft, feel is a much more acceptable result than I was able to offer previously. SK now is softly springy and really cuddly: previously, he was rather rigid. He is made in a wool fabric, rather than a plush one. It's going to be interesting to see what he will look like made up in plush versions.
Here are the prepared cardboard templates, with instructions for me to follow the fabric nap, and the number of pieces required, ready for use in future versions of SK, whether Black or White Plush, or even, White Fleece - which could well be another option for this little fellow.
This photograph shows SK with his newly sewn head, complete with floppy ears, stuffed and ready for attaching to the newly sewn up body, with its tail sewn in place, but waiting to be turned inside out.
Next, the head awaits the body being stuffed, prior to being attached firmly in place - on a slightly side-ways slant.
Now the head and body are together, and SK is ready to join the rest of the gang waiting to return home.
There are just two more Toys to be treated - Loppy Ears, the Arm Puppet, who is next on the list,, and Blue Teddy Bear, who will just get a wash and brush up (which means a complete re-stuff - as he has polystyrene balls inside him, and I’m not a fan of that kind of material either!).
Blue Teddy Bear is not going back to Nottinghamshire. Instead, when he has been treated, he is going to be a Raffle Prize - in support of The Journalists’ Charity. Dear Peter was a life member, and we’ve been helped by them several times in the past. So, he and another Cuddly (who that will be has yet to be decided) will be going to help raise funds in return - hopefully in time for various Christmas events being held for such purposes around the UK.
I’ll keep you posted on both the upcoming treatments before the two toys go their separate ways, but meanwhile, must end so that I can get on with taking Loppy Ears to pieces. Goodnight all - hope everyone is well, and look forward to our next meeting soon. Isobel