Friday, March 25, 2011

Bitty Bunny Pincushion

A couple of weeks ago, I took a class at Pinwheel Fabrics and made Bunny Hill Designs' "Bitty Bunny" pincushion. When I saw an adorable version of the pincushion in the shop, I knew I had to make one! I signed up and held out hope that my attempt would actually resemble the adorable little rabbit posed on the counter, charmingly greeting patrons as they purchased much-needed layer cakes and jelly rolls.

The very talented Gwen Rogers taught the class, and five women attended. One student hailed from Vermont. She'd lived in Arkansas for a few years and had returned to visit a good friend. We worked steadily in order to complete our projects in three hours, but we also enjoyed getting to know each other and sharing ideas.

I learned a lot from taking the class. Gwen often sews creative projects, so she offered helpful hints along the way. I especially appreciated Gwen's suggestion to employ a hemostat, similar in design to a pair of scissors but fitted with a narrow clamp on its tip, in order to grab hold of the seam allowance when turning the diminutive body parts inside-out.

The hemostat was also useful for strategically placing bits of Polyfil in just the right places when we stuffed the bunny's body components. My husband found, at a sporting goods store, a $3-tool used by fly fisherman that is almost identical to a hemostat. I promptly added the tool to my cache of sewing notions.

The "Bitty Bunny" pincushion pattern includes full-size pattern pieces and detailed instructions. Gwen supplied pieces of wool, which she'd cut from clothing purchased at Goodwill. Students had a choice of milk chocolate, dark chocolate, or strawberry cream, and the wool pieces she'd cleaned and prepared matched those delicious-sounding colors.

Students traced off multiples of pattern pieces printed as "cut two or four" onto freezer paper and cut them out. That way, we were able to iron the clearly marked pattern copies onto our fabric. One student, a seasoned doll maker, suggested sewing the fabric pieces together without first removing the freezer paper. I, however, peeled away the freezer paper before seaming because Gwen had suggested reusing the pattern pieces traced from the original patterns we'd each purchased with our supplies and tuition.

The wool was easy to sew, and I used my Featherweight to construct my project. Gwen suggested taking a very small seam allowance, so my finished bunny is likely larger than the pattern specifies. Students had available jars of beads, yards of vintage trim, and other decorative bits, so we could embellish our bunnies. Gwen had even made tiny corsages for each of us to affix to our bunny's neckband. It was exciting to watch each bunny take shape and acquire personalities.

Anne Sutton, of Bunny Hill Designs, created the pattern. Visit her blog Bunny Tales soon because visitors who leave a comment have an opportunity win fabulous scrap bags! Hurry, because Anne will draw winners early Monday, March 28.

I am proud of my completed pincushion!