Hillarys Blinds Country Crafts Competition

Hillarys Blinds have been running a Country Crafts Competition which challenged designers to use one of four Hillarys fabrics to create a piece of craft design.

I chose their “Patina” houndstooth fabric, a very sumptuous fabric with a slight sheen to it. Well-suited for cushions, furniture covers or upholstery, its pattern is quite a large-scale dogtooth design and it’s a heavy-weight strong and sturdy fabric.

At first I sketched a few ideas in my notebook to figure out what kind of item I’d like to create. I looked through plenty of photos of cute dachshunds (more commonly known as sausage dogs) for inspiration. The name of this breed comes from the German language meaning “badger dog”.

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After admiring all the cute dogs I made a few full-scale drawings on a piece of paper to establish the final shape and proportions.

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I then placed the cut out drawing on top of the fabric to use it as a template.

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I had to account for the fullness when the dog is stuffed with washable polyester fibres, so I kept adding extra allowances around the initial silhouette to achieve the desired result. When I was happy with the shape I set about cutting out the 2 pieces to create the body of the dog and a couple of ears too.

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I decided to line the ears with contrasting fabric, so I used a nice red and white organic cotton gingham fabric to add a highlight to my creation. Using an overlocking stitch I secured the edges of the fabric to stop them from fraying and carried on.

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So, having stitched 2 main pieces of fabric, I left an opening for turning it inside out and for adding padding too.

Then I stitched the ear details together – Hillarys “Patina” fabric and the gingham fabric – face to face, leaving an opening to turn them inside out. The shape of the ears was free-sketched as I went along to suit the shape of the dog.

After that I stitched the nose and the eyes of the dog using a strong woollen black embroidery thread. I added some polyester fibres inside the dog’s ears for volume and using a ladder-stitch I finished the ears and then attached them to the sides of the head of the dog. Then it was a case of stuffing the rest of the dog’s body with filling with a help of a tailor’s awl that I was given for Christmas (thank you Morag!), a very useful tool to have for reaching narrow places like the nose and the tail of the dog or for turning the corners inside out.

Using a ladder-stitch again, which helps to stitch the opening almost without any visible traces, if you are accurate of course, it’s not magic, I finished my piece and decorated it with a gingham bow on the neck. I hope you like my creation and it will now be sitting on my sofa. :)

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