Cy Bear back again, as promised last time around - this time to tell you that, indeed, the Cat Puppet we were asked to do using the alternative Cat pattern did indeed prove possible.
Isobel set about cutting out the pattern using a similar fabric to the one used for the Ginger Sitting Cat in our previous post, and then did a lining. Whilst having a lined puppet might seem a little over the top, Isobel likes to do it because so often the canvas backings which are used in plush fabrics can be a bit scratchy. So if the operator has his/her hands inside for too long, she feels it's very uncomfortable for a puppeteer to cope with. Here's the prototype before it's stuffed.
Here, you see it - from the other side,
And now on his back - with the Coldham Cuddlies label discreetly sewn in place and before Isobel attached the felt pads to all the legs. The back legs, tail, and head/neck will be stuffed, leaving the tail end open for the operator's hand to be inserted, and the front legs are left "as is", so that they can be manipulated by the puppeteer as required.
Isobel then went in search of one of her fellow residents to "borrow" his hand to demonstrate that a man's hand could fit in comfortably so that MrJS could rest easy on that score. The puppet still needed to have his ears attached, as well as the pads for the back legs. These deliberately had no pads on the back legs, because the stuffing of each was the next step.
Normally, one would do the stuffing of such appendages AFTER the pads had been sewn on. However, as this project is a Puppet, Isobeldecided to close the leg on the inside of the body, and stuff the legs from the feet upwards - and than attach the felt pads. (That way, the stuffing can be kept in place while the operator moves the Toy around).
In the case of the tail, she did the thing - retaining the integrity of the inside of the puppet - and filled in the tail by stuffing it from its tip and then sewing the seam up with a ladder stitch. The same thing happened in the case of the head - before the ears were attached. (A cardboard tube, covered with calico fabric was inserted into the neck before that cavity was closed. Then the head was stuffed, with the polyester fibre fill being carefully arranged around the tube so that it was held in place while the head gets moved around by the Puppeteer)
This is a better view of the almost completed puppet, waiting to have legs and tail filled in.
The rear view (seen here) with the required components in place and ready to be deployed as a Puppet.
In this prototype's case, though Isobel discovered at this point that she'd made a mistake when cutting out the puppet, and on one side the fur pile is going in the opposite direction to the other! It's not noticeable unless one knows about it, but if - or when - it is posted to our Etsy shop (www.COLDHAMCUDDLIES.Etsy.com), it will not be offered at the full price a properly constructed Activity Toy would be. While it won't affect the mobility of the puppet, the "look" will not be to the standard to which COLDHAMCUDDLIES aspires.
Here is the finished Puppet, just waiting to have some whiskers added. I can tell you, it's very difficult to take a photograph of a hand puppet - without the operator's hand inside it. But, Isobel did her best here.
Lo and behold - the prototype Cat Puppet ready to be operated by whomever wants to do so! Having proved that the original Cat pattern can be converted, Isobel set out to make MrJS's version of his Cat Puppet - which has been completed satisfactorily, and I'll be telling you all about her, next time around. (She's been packed up and is currently en route to Tulsa).
In the meantime, have a good week everybody. It's turned mighty cold, and a bit threateningly grey this afternoon, after a week of lovely sunshine. All the flowers are coming out in the garden which surrounds where we now live and if I look out of the windows in the flat, there are some lovely sights to be seen. Hope you all have equally nice views.