Sunday, September 29, 2013

September Stashbusting: Better Late Than Never?

This almost doesn't count; it's the end of September and I've been so caught up in school that I haven't even mentioned the theme this month! It's like that three-quarters-of-the-way-through-the-school-year slump in March, you know, when Presidents' Day is a distant memory and Spring Break seems forever away, and nobody's been doing their homework and a mental health day pretty much becomes mandatory for normal function...yeah, that's me with this Stashbusting Sewalong. Thank goodness EmSewCrazy is on top of things! Anyway, here's the only thing I've done this month that relates to kids:


If you were in a high school chemistry class, you may remember learning about Avogadro's number6.02214X×1023, aka the mole. Because of this one number, the mole has been adopted as the official animal mascot of chemistry. Chemistry classes tend to celebrate Mole Day on October 23, which is still a few weeks away, but I decided that I would take a break from sewing pants muslins and try out some of the mole stuffed animal sewing patterns out there. Since I'm planning on giving away a couple of them to my top students, I need to get a head start! And teenagers still count as kids, right? And because this is about stashbusting, I used leftover bits of fleece and wool in my stash to make these little guys.

Look, it's like he's an officiant conducting a marriage ceremony! All together now: awwww...

There are two main mole sewing patterns out there: a simple one and a more advanced one. I remember my sister making the former when she was a chemistry student, but this is the first time I've made one myself in my eight years of teaching chemistry -- what a shame! I don't know how many people are interested in a review of such a niche sewing pattern, but in case anyone is interested, here are my thoughts:

Look, it's giving the other one a massage!

Simple Mole Pattern: This pattern is easy to sew even for someone with relatively little experience sewing, since it's made for students to do in class from felt and such. The resulting mole is smallish (7.5"x3" not including any tail one might add) but is easily recognizable as a mole. It is easier to add eyes before sewing the body pieces together, but there are no marks on the pattern for where to do so. I found the feet really fiddly to cut before sewing them to the body, and if they're not exactly the right size and placed just right, they get caught in the other seams and then turn out all warped when you flip the mole right side out. For my second mole I actually cut out tiny little rectangles and just cut the claws once I had sewn and flipped the mole body. I would've liked to have an actual tail pattern included and sewn the same way the paws are attached, instead of having it tacked on as an afterthought after it's all sewn up. Still, for the ease of sewing, you get a decent, recognizable animal.

This guy is ready for a hug, but there's no one there for him to hug...sorry dude, but I don't feel like making you a pal.

Advanced Mole Pattern: This pattern is definitely trickier, even for a sewist who's made plushies before. This pattern was designed to be able to sit up like a teddy bear, and the engineer in me really appreciates the thought that obviously went into the design (go check it out -- it's quite clever and probably adaptable for other similarly shaped animals). That said, I think the resulting mole actually looks less mole-like and more cartoon-like, which perhaps was the goal? I did really like the paw design and the cute little stub tail. It took me a little bit to figure out the odd directions (I'm too used to reading "official" sewing directions like "right sides together" and had to mentally adjust to "fur side in"), especially for sewing the neck area. If I were to make this pattern again, I'd actually change up the base/butt area to be wider than the top so that the mole would sit more stably.

Just to give you an idea of scale: here's Walnut posing reluctantly with the two matching moles. 

So there you have it -- start preparing early for Mole Day! And if you're not so inclined, you can always show off your other sewing-for-kids projects in the return of the link party...

October is sewing for others month, which means it's time for some SWAG unselfish sewing! My sister has asked for a Slytherin bolero for herself, and I should probably try making Mr. Cation a better-fitting button-down shirt...we'll see if that actually happens!


  1. It looks like that mole is giving the other one a shove :P

  2. Yay mole day! I love the smaller moles- they look so happy!
    Fab stashbusting, you rad teacher you!

  3. Those moles are adorable! I must admit the easy ones are my favorites! Thanks for putting up the link party!

  4. we had the opportunity to make moles for extra credit. i still have mine! we also could write our mole's life story, so mine was filled with science puns. unfortunately it's been lost to the ages, but i remember that my mole was a secret love child of antonium banderas.

  5. When I saw this post I was just confounded! I totally made that 2nd mole pattern in Home Ec in grade 8! One of our elective projects was to choose a stuffed toy creature fromthis catalogue that sold kits with pattern, instructions, and materials all in one package. I still have my mole too! And I also made a little mouse from the same pattern kit company.

    Though I made mine entirely by hand, instead of with a sewing machine, and I embroidered the nose as there was no pattern piece for that. So weird.

  6. Adorable! The chemist in me really really wants one.

  7. I love the moles! What a fun way to visualize information for your students. (I wish my chem teacher had been so fun!) And I love that Walnut does not look very amused with his mole bodyguards.

  8. I love your darling little moles. When I took high school chem, we got extra credit for making one of the simple ones. Unfortunately, I was swamped with other work, so I didn't get to sew up a mole for the mole of moles. :( Mainly I just remember my teacher writing "602 SEXtillion" on the board to get us to remember the number. Which was definitely not as cute as the moles.

  9. Hehe. At my school, students decorate the moles as puns. Last year, there was a Hannah Mole-tana, a Guaca-mole-e, and other fun things like that. I'm blanking on some of the others right now.

  10. Heeee! Just adorable. And Walnut approved. All good.

  11. Hilarious! I totally got extra credit from making a mole for mole day in chem I!


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