Cuddly K9

I am the proud possessor of a copy of the wonderfully 1980s Doctor Who Pattern Book. My mum bought it for me as a bit of a joke because I’ve always been a Doctor Who fan. And now it seems my offspring is following in my footsteps. A couple of months ago he was looking through the book and asked for the cuddly K9 toy. For those who don’t know Doctor Who, K9 is a robot dog who was a regular in the programme in the late 70s and early 80s. He was and is hugely popular with small children.

I didn’t have any fabric of the right weight for the original K9 pattern from the book, but then I found a free fan-made pattern on an old Livejournal post that would work with what I had in stash. And we’ve been very slowly putting K9 together ever since. My son is still too young to use a sewing machine, but he likes to watch the process and helps by passing me things. We only worked on K9 when he was in the mood so it took a while. We started shortly before lockdown and have only just finished.

The main body of K9 is very heavy grey denim left over from my trench coat. The letters are scraps of silver foiled denim (originally a skirt and a pair of jeans). The tail and ears are scraps of the metallic denim I used for my quilted coat. The tail is meant to be black so I used the wrong side of the fabric for that.

I think the face has come out really nicely. The head is perhaps a bit too heavy for the neck and droops slightly but he’s still cute.

I didn’t stuff the body enough. I’ve opened him up a couple of times to try to cram more stuffing in but try as I might it all just seems to vanish inside him! So he’s slightly more squidgy and rounded than he ought to be. The tv screen is more of the silver quilted coat fabric.

I don’t have much of a button stash so his control panel is a bit random; I only just managed to scratch together nine buttons of approximately the right size. It amuses me a great deal that one of them is marked Vivienne Westwood.

The pattern says it’s for advanced beginners. The trickier bits, like the soft sculpting to pull in the sides of the body, are very well explained. That’s a fearsome process involving a six inch long needle and ending with very sore hands.

I had a few problems with making the pleated overlay for the neck sit nicely. The neck is meant to be very curved and that makes the pleats open up. I still haven’t worked out a good way to do it. I resorted to lots of hand sewing and making the neck a straighter shape than the one in the pattern. I think if I ever made another I’d probably just skip the overlay as it’s not very visible and a more curved neck will make his head stand up better.

Anyway we had a lot of fun making him and I think he’s come out quite well. I haven’t got any contact details for the author of the pattern, but if you’re out there Clarice thank you very much!

I haven’t forgotten about the method for making french seamed welt pockets but I’m finding it so hard to explain clearly I may have to make a sample. Which is probably more fun in the current heat wave than working on a boiled wool jacket.

17 thoughts on “Cuddly K9

  1. This is great. I am now pondering how to make those neck pleats and where to source a pattern – I would have to pretend I need a doorstop to by pass the no more stuffies rule atm….

  2. What a cool project. I’ve been a Dr Who fan since the Dr preceding Tom Baker, as I started watching in the ’70s, when each episode ran for 25 minutes before the news at 7pm over 4 nights. My daughter bought me a Dr Who mug and pen one year, and I inherited the Dr Who opening music as the ringtone on her phone when she passed her old phone down to me (this seems to be the main way people over 50 get fancy phones). When that phone wore out I saved the ringtone onto my replacement phone.

  3. He’s adorable! And what a lovely thing to create together with your son. I wonder what his memories will be of this pandemic time later when he’s all grown up. I bet K9 will be in there somehow. I greatly enjoy hearing the various things parents do with their children while self-isolating, My son is a teenager, so for us it has been more gardening and cooking. Thoroughly enjoyable too. 🙂

  4. I knew nothing of this book! I need to investigate.
    Both myself and my daughter are Who fans and I know she would love this made as a doorstop. Definitely feeling a Christmas gift growing here. Thanks Catherine 😁

  5. What a fantastic toy. I find stuffing just disappears into these things too, to increase the weight and firmness I find fabric scraps work quite well, as long as you have the stuffing around the surface it’s not lumpy but bulks up well.

  6. Amazing! I love K9! I’m definitely late to the Doctor Who fandom (I didn’t start watching until I was almost done with grad school… I’m pretty sure I binged most of the modern shows the year between the 11th and 12th Doctors… and I took an online “Who Class” where we did a deep dive into the Classic Doctors and the history of the series as well…). Anyway, love your version of K9 and I will definitely have to check out the book!

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