Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Creative Space - Ladybug, ladybug...

Meet my first machine-sewn softie (i.e. not involving a sock!)

I wanted to make something special for Softies for Christchurch so this took a little while. I really liked Cotton Kiwi's post the other week about design, and how handmade projects develop, so this is what happened...

Looking for something with a basic shape, I was inspired by my daughter's turtle - he is so cute and I love how his little legs flap if you shake his body. A friend gave me some textile samples a while ago so I had this velvet-y green and beautiful Royal Doulton gold for his tummy.

On closer inspection, I decided that it would be important to get his head right, and it looked a bit complicated for my first try. So I needed a flatter animal, like a ladybug! (and yes, I did always call them ladybirds until my children started watching American television...)

Fighting the urge to go out and buy some gorgeous red material, I embraced our re-design theme and remembered a red tea-towel I had used to back some coasters at Christmas.  I figured it would be soft and practical for washing. I kept the Royal Doulton gold tummy because it is so pretty.

I needed to break up the red to show two wings, so I used this spotted ribbon that has been waiting for a project for ages. After sewing down the middle of the ribbon I realised it would have looked tidier to sew down each side of it, but now little fingers will be able to ruffle it a little.

The black cotton is from Aimee's lily pad offcuts, I just sewed a piece to the tea-towel, perpendicular to the direction of the ribbon, and then cut out a big oval to get the body (and a matching oval from the gold).

I actually made some little cardboard circle templates for spots but at some stage I decided hearts would be cuter, and I think they have made a big difference. And I was about 95% done before I realised red and black are the Canterbury colours, so that was just luck (and ladybugs are lucky too!)

The legs were just black rectangles sewn and stuffed, and then pinned between the front and back (right sides together), so I could sew it all up in an oval, leaving a little gap for turning. Then I just had to turn, stuff, and handsew the opening. The hardest part was getting the little fat feet through the opening when I turned it, next time they won't be quite so chubby!

I was going to leave it without eyes until Miss 4 found it, fell in love with it, and then asked "Mum, where are my eyes?"  So there will be eyes tomorrow before it is posted off.

Softies for Christchurch is collecting handmade toys to distribute to children that need something to cuddle. You can find out how to donate one here.

('My Creative Space' is a game we play each week at


  1. Oh that ladybug/ladybird is so cute! Love the hearts instead of spots too, i am sure it will make someone very happy!

  2. how cute! and excellent repurposing too!

  3. Love your ladybird! The heart shaped spots are really cute and very appropriate for a gift of this kind :-)

  4. can't go wrong with a ladybird! Lovely

  5. Love your ladybug! I have been wanting to try one of these for ages, but had the time. Yours is great!


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