Sew You by Erica Sue: Crocodile Project

I’ve been so busy with photography, that it’s been a while since I’ve done a Sew You by Erica Sue post!  This one is extra special, because it wasn’t my project.  My eldest son had to create an endangered 3D animal for a school assignment, and he chose the American Crocodile.  We could have done clay, but he had done that for his last project.  Paper mache would have been really messy, and using recycled materials would have worked, as well, but we decided it would be fun to work together to sew the croc.

The first decision was whether we should create our own pattern or buy one.  I figured buying one would be easier, so we went with Steve the Croc from Funky Friends Factory.  It turned out to be a very advanced pattern, with just a list of directions and no photographs, so making our own might have been easier, but in the end, we got it all assembled and our croc looks great, so it’s all good!

I encouraged sewing the croc, because it was a really good excuse for me to expose him to sewing.  I think he now appreciates the work that goes into creating a sewn item, and got a taste of the geometry involved in turning something 2D into something 3D, and really creating something from nothing.  Following the pattern is like a more advanced version of assembling a lego set (minus the step by step pictures for this particular pattern)!  There are also some projects I was going to create for him but never got around to being made.  I told him he can start working on cutting the pattern pieces and fabric whenever he wants!

The first step was cutting the pattern.
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Second, he traced the pattern pieces onto the fabric.  We found a printed cotton croc fabric (Tim Holtz Eclectic Elements Worn Croc Black) instead of an adorable snuggly green because it was supposed to be biologically representative and accurate. 
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Then, he cut the fabric.
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Next, we created our own reptilian eyes, rather than the cutsey eyes provided in the pattern, and appliqued them onto the fabric before assembling the animal.  Another modification we made was cutting the mouth from a light pink (the closest we could come to croc’s tongue), and using ric-rac for the teeth.
Click here to see a video of him completing this step.
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He clipped the threads after every step…
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and removed the pins as he sewed.  Mommy helped by reading the directions and pinning the pieces together.  And even with my expertise, we still had to bust out the seam ripper a few times.  It really was an advanced pattern.
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Here’s the croc all assembled, inside out ready to be turned.
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Here he is being turned right-side out.
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Then he was filled with stuffing, and the turn hole was sewn shut.  Dad helped with this step, b/c he is more skilled with hand-sewing a ladder stitch, whereas mom loves to use the machine.  Here’s the proud project leader with his finished croc! 
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