I wasn’t sure what to make for Anne that would be specific to her likes and interests. I was hesitant to go with what seemed like obvious ones such as her love of dinosaurs or books/the library because I wanted it to be a little different and maybe unexpected. However, I ended up not doing that at all and went with BOTH of those ideas instead! : ) Am I a cop out? Perhaps, but the result was so incredibly adorable that I don’t really care!!
In coming up with the sketch for my dinosaur, I intended to use a stuffed animal that I purchased earlier this year as a model. I figured if I could render it well enough, I could possibly use that drawing as the basis for how I wanted his character to look in a children’s story I wrote. But, when I sketched him without the stuffed animal in front of me, it came out looking nothing like him. It actually ended up looking like a water dinosaur, and I liked the result so I decided to go with it. He’s no longer a water dinosaur, however, because when I actually cut out the pattern for his flippers and attached them to his body they ended up looking like feet. So the water dinosaur came onto land!I made the pattern small because Anne is crazy over tiny things. I knew I’d never be able to pull off making him incredibly tiny, so I used the sketch I drew as the pattern since it was definitely smaller than most plushes but big enough that it seemed doable. This one required a little bit of thought on my part given the fact that there was a head, a body which was curved, and a tail. I wasn’t sure exactly how to do the pattern. Do I do it all as one shape or do I do it in sections? If I did the former, it seemed like an incredible undertaking to try to make it all one piece to then work with and turn inside out. However, if I did the latter I’d have to mentally cut each part of him down the middle and then lay that flat to use as my pattern. That is something I’m not at all good at doing!! In the interest of making things less complicated for myself as well as not creating more work, I decided to give the one-piece pattern a try. I inked my original sketch to keep and then traced over it. I then cut that out and laid it on another piece of paper to outline the outside shape. I flipped it over and laid the reverse one a little space apart from the first and outlined that shape . I now had a possible pattern to use for the entire dinosaur as one piece! I tried it out in felt first to see if it would work, and it actually came out spectacularly.
Let me tell you, stuffing something as small as his feet and tail was definitely not easy. When I purchased another bag of stuffing, it came with a “stuffing tool” which was essentially a wooden chopstick. Believe me, I used the heck out of that thing!!! I worked on the feet first and then sewed them to the body. (I wouldn’t notice until after I finished him that they were a little too low on the body to splay out separately from each other.) I then turned it inside out and sewed him up, leaving a section open to stuff. I reversed him, stuffed him and sewed him up. That was where I made my second mistake. I forgot to do the eyes and mouth before I sewed him up, so the knots would now be on the outside rather than nicely hidden. I finished him by putting the needle for the eyes and the mouth on one side and pushing them through to the other side, lining it up the best I could to match. I also pulled the thread tight when I did the eyes to give an indented look to them.
Once I was done, I wasn’t completely happy with him but I thought she’d probably like him and quite frankly I was tired and couldn’t bear the notion of starting all over again. One morning on the way to work, I told Shawn I was trying to come up with a clever name for my dinosaur. We went back and forth on it, working off each other’s ideas, until finally Shawn came up with using biblio and thus Bibliosaurus was born. It was sheer genius and I loved it immediately!! It was the perfect name for Anne’s gift. With that name, I then wondered how we could find or make tiny glasses to perch on his nose. Luckily, I found some on Etsy that looked like they would work. (My dinosaur’s head is considerably smaller than most dolls, so I didn’t find any that seemed to fit on doll/miniature sites.) I thought I was finished with the whole thing, and just had to wait for those glasses to come in the mail. However, that nagging feeling of dissatisfaction with him kept haunting me. The glasses came, and it was then that I decided to do the Bibliosaurus over again from the start.
This time, I changed the pattern a bit so I could have one side of the legs as part of the body pattern. I pinned the leg pattern to the part of the body one where I thought a leg looked best, cut out the body and leg then did that over again for the remaining three. I then cut out four more legs to place on top of those and sew together. I hoped this might make the process easier as well as creating a less cramped look to the legs. I also drew dots to outline the eyes and mouth on both sides of the head and sewed those before I even stuffed it. I wanted to make sure I didn’t repeat that mistake again.
By this time, it was a Friday and I determined to finish the whole thing that night because I really wanted to mail them out the next day. (Unfortunately, that didn’t happen so I had to wait until this past Monday after work.). Around midnight or so I completed him by sewing the little glasses onto his nose, placing them down far enough so he’d have that stereotypical librarian look.
I’m not sure I pulled off the less cramped look to his feet, but it did give it a slightly different appearance. The first one though could actually stand without being propped up. By doing the eyes and mouth the way that I did on the second one, I wasn’t able to achieve the indented look of the first one and they ended up being bigger which I’m not sure I liked. However, the mouth synced up perfectly on the second one. I also ended up liking the tail better on the first one but the stomach on the second was more rounded. All in all, I’m not sure I improved upon it but instead just made two different versions. I definitely wasn’t going to try it again, so sent the second one to Anne and kept the first sans glasses for myself.