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.

Fitting woes

I had some denim left over from my grey cargo trousers, not enough to make an adult garment, but far too much to throw away. I’ve made simple elastic waisted trousers for my little boy before which were successful, so I set to and cut out Burda 127 03/2018 in what I thought was his size. These are pretty detailed: slash hip pockets, a fly front, welt pockets on the back and one of those useful adjustable waistbands with buttonhole elastic.

Obviously I wasn’t going to do back welt pockets or belt loops in such tiny trousers, and I noticed that my son’s similarly styled ready to wear trousers don’t have a zip inserted in the fly front, so I planned to skip that too. It sounds odd but the fly is so short that it works.

And then life got in the way and the cut pieces sat in the sewing room for a few months. You can probably guess what happened. I finally made them up last week and they don’t fit; he’s obviously grown a lot since I cut them.

They have a strangely short back crotch length even accounting for being a size too small. I think they also run long in the leg which is why they’re rolled up.

So not my most successful piece of sewing. I definitely made the wrong size, but I’m not convinced the pattern is quite right for my son either. So he got new ready to wear trousers instead, and I’m going back to making dresses for me! I’ve finished the black Burda dress with all the gathers, and am well on the way with the project after that. Just need to find time to take photos.