Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Meet Whaleford Brimley


Almost exactly a year ago, I made a whale shark in celebration of Shark Week. Well, apparently making plushies of sea creatures with the word "whale" in it is turning into an annual first-week-of-August tradition, because I just participated in the making of a blue whale plushie. My sister just moved into a new apartment and wanted to make a floor pillow for it. And being the cool kid she is, it wasn't going to be just any ordinary floor pillow. 

Just look at his adorably stupid face! And his pathetic beached-whale pose.

She came home with two microfiber blankets from Ross and asked me to show her how to use the sewing machine. And after a quick consult as to what a pattern would look like, a two minute rundown and a single practice line of stitches, she whipped out Whaleford Brimley, named after the actor (unfortunately known for his diabeetus ads for an insurance company). For someone who's only just started machine sewing (she's done lots by hand), I'd say this is pretty darn impressive. I did end up helping her close the gap in Whaleford's side after all of his stuffing was inserted -- I seriously love slipstitching by hand! It's just so satisfying to see the gap in a stuffed animal's side close up perfectly.

This is a sketch of our pattern. In order to make Whaleford a more 3D animal (instead of just a really thick blanket), we couldn't just use a blue piece identical to the white belly piece. By gently curving out the center back seam, it allows for a bit of a dorsal hump.


His tiny eye and flipper.
Summary:
Fabric: Two microfiber blankets from Ross, in lieu of expensive faux fur (which was impossible to find in a short enough pile and with the correct shade of blue). They shed like crazy when cut, so watch out! Otherwise, an excellent solution to the question of finding enough cheap yardage for such a large project.
Notions: Two stuffed animal eyes and EIGHT POUNDS OF POLYFILL STUFFING. This thing is, well, of whale-like proportions.
Techniques used: Imagining how a 3D object should translate to a 2D pattern, slipstitching the side closed after inserting the stuffing
Hours: Two-ish? After my prom dress debacle, it was nice to be involved in something so easy and satisfying.
Will you make this again? I don't need a floor pillow, but gosh, Whaleford has such an adorably derpy face, I'm actually tempted to. No. Resist the urge.
Total cost: Two blankets at $10/each, $20 for the stuffing; $40 is really not too shabby for such a large, "custom-made" floor pillow.
Final thoughts: He's awfully unwieldy, what with his central adiposity and tiny flippers, but oh so cute! And the cats were all intrigued by this large invader. And if I started my sewing journey by making plushies in college, maybe this means that Emily will one day be whipping up garments, too! Then maybe we can start a boutique specializing in ridiculous sewn objects and cat-themed fashion.

Gummy tries to eat Uncle Whaleford's eye.
Walnut plays with on Uncle Whaleford.
Please lose some weight, Uncle Whaleford! I don't want to lose you to diabeetus!!

So that's two years in a row of large whale-y plushies...what will next August bring?

38 comments:

  1. I WANT A WHALEFORD!

    Congratulations to your sister (and to you!)---AWESOME first project.

    No, seriously, I want a Whaleford. Good thing my kids aren't around or there'd be no escaping it. (I also love your whale-shark plushie.)

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    1. Whaleford is awfully appealing, isn't he? I am sad to let him go down to San Jose.

      It's an easy enough project to make -- I'm pretty sure Syo could handle it, even, as long as you're willing to shell out for the stuffing and blankets...

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  2. LOL - yes, the derpy smile is what makes him so adorable! Really cute! I'm glad you did such a fun little project after that dress - you needed it! =)

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    1. Indeed, it was a nice little (large?) project to play around with! And gosh, Whaleford is a satisfying product!

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  3. So cute! Making shark plushies for shark week is such a good idea!

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    1. Thanks! And plushies are kind of like dolls, right?

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  4. that last photo of walnut and whaleford is just too awesome for words.

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    1. Isn't it?? They are just so adorable together.

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  5. This is the best thing I ever read on a Wednesday. It's pretty important that I make my own Whaleford relative for Shark Week survival.

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    1. Awww, that is so sweet to hear! I think Shark Week survival is extremely important :)

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  6. Dude. I seriously need my own Whaleford! I have no idea where I'd put him though...

    So awesome that your sister wanted to start sewing! May she pick up the hobby and whip out her own beautiful stuff! :-)

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    1. That's my biggest barrier in not making my own Whaleford...he's huge! And I really, really hope that my sister gets into sewing; she's one of the most creative people I know, so anything she makes would be all kinds of awesome.

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    2. Well, just keep showing off your successes and she'll come around. ;-)

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  7. D'awwww! He is so cute! And Walnut + Whaleford = unbearable cuteness! What a fantastic idea, and a great sister project! (my sisters idea of a beginners project was "can we make a corduroy corset?").

    Next year a Narwal perhaps?

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    1. I think my sister could probably have tackled a corset for a first project, but she tends toward the quirky and ridiculous and cute.

      A narwhal is an excellent idea for next year, especially since I was thinking there weren't any animals left with the word "whale" in their names!

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  8. Oh, my God, Whaleford is so cute!! I now think both of my kids might need one (because they don't already have nearly enough stuffed animals, including a massive Labrador and a massive Crocodile). Love the name.

    :-) Elizabeth

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    1. Oooh, a massive croc sounds awesome! Whaleford and the croc could have a face-off!

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  9. Bahaha, that is freaking awesome! Beached as bro, I totally want one! Actually I can see a whole zoological family of large loungy plushies popping up at my house, so cool! xx

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    1. Thanks! I would love to have a whole room of these guys for jumping on...

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  10. So cute! My kids would adore it!
    I close all my openings with ladder stitch. It is seriously the BEST stitch ever for this sort of closure. I learnt it as a craft editor when I taught myself to make 'serious' teddy bears, the types with movable arms/legs/head from mohair fabric. The closure absolutely disappears - complete magic. I use it to close up the openings in linings and all sort of things on my dressmaking projects.

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    1. I just looked up the ladder stitch, and it seems like the same thing that I was doing to close up Whaleford's side. It IS really magical, isn't it?

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  11. Saw the posting yesterday, after a rough and tiring day & it made me chuckle. Thanks! Whaleford is quite a wonderful floor cushion too.
    ~Jen (NY)

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    1. I'm so glad that Whaleford could bring a smile to your face!

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  12. those eyes!!! i want to squeeze his face!!!

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  13. OMG. I just love that Whaleford Brimley - he is the most epic floor pillow EVER.

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  14. Oh, what a fine dachshund perch you have made! I love him!

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  15. Wow this is so cute I love it! Walnut seems to adore it too! XxxX http://thesecondhandrose.blogspot.co.uk

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  16. OMG that is SO FREAKING CUTE!!! I loooooooove it! I want one!! :D Love the gratuitous Walnut shots too... fuzzy kitties make everything better, even things as already awesome as Whaleford!! ^__^

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  17. That is so funny! I have no need for a floor pillow but I want to make one anyways. I'm also glad I'm not the only commenter who thought "I'm beached as, bro" :D

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  18. Aaaaaaaaaaaaw!
    Oh my gosh I looooove it!
    I so gonna Need this cutie in my new place!
    Awsome worke really

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