Flashback Friday – Craziest Beastie Accessories EVER!

Hey there Beastie friends! I hope you’ve all been having a good week. For the last while, a couple of big commissions have been keeping me super-busy… So many accessories! I’m really looking forward to being able to share the finished projects with you all very soon, but in the meantime I thought I’d use this Flashback Friday post to revisit some of my most challenging Beastie accessories EVER!

Weekes Album Cover, 2017

Beastie-sized Vinyl, by CrawCrafts BeastiesI was reminded of this when I looked back at “Definitely Maybeast” in last week’s Flashback Friday post. This project predated the arrival of my magic magnifying lamp, and I’m still wondering how I managed to see to do those stitches in the dead of winter. You can read more about the creation of this Beastie in the Gallery – she has some pretty cool stuff!

Carcassonne Board Game Box, 2016

Beastie Carcassonne Board Game, by CrawCrafts BeastiesAnother bit of teeny sewing that somehow fell into the BMML (Before Magic Magnifying Lamp) era. I look at these now and wonder how I’m not blind! This appliquéd felt and embroidery board game was an important part of the accessory lineup for a wedding commission though, so it was totally worth cutting all those tiny felt pieces and stitching them in place.

The TARDIS (x2!)

I made my first Doctor Who Beastie for a Christmas order in 2015… And how can a little woolly Time Lord travel the galaxy without a specially-adapted old-style police phone box?Doctor Who Beastie heading off to his Home Planet... CrawCrafts BeastiesThe Beastie TARDIS was made of felt, and reinforced with foam and interfacing so it didn’t collapse in like a woolly tent! I lined the inside with shiny silver material for a space-age feel, and embroidered on the window panes and lettering. The doors also close with velcro so the Doctor can travel in safety.

And when I posted about this make, despite the fact that my photos back then were hardly top notch, one of my regular blog readers decided that the man in her life would appreciate a Beastie Doctor of his own! So…
The Tardis, Inside and Out! CrawCrafts Beasties… I made a second one! And I took more photos that time. You can see the original posts about these commissions here and here.

From what I can remember, the trickiest part was cutting out the square panels under the windows. I invested in a rotary cutter, mat and metal ruler to help, but it was still slow going. Beastie Doctor Who seemed happy enough with the results though!
Guess Who! CrawCrafts Beasties

A Beastie-Sized Camera, 2018

A Beastie-Sized Camera, by CrawCrafts Beasties

Oh, I had fun with this one! It’s got it all – teeny sewing, a bit of embroidery, and I was able to incorporate a knitting pun to boot. I made this for Laura from A Pict in PA  – she’s a keen photographer, and, like me, she still likes to use a proper camera for her pictures. That’s worth celebrating! So I copied the shape of her DSLR as closely as possible…
Beastie Camera Features - CrawCrafts Beasties… And only went a bit overboard by making the lens and strap removable.
Taking the Beastie Camera Apart - CrawCrafts BeastiesOh well, sometimes you just have to! Laura’s little monster left Beastie Towers with a whole heap of other accessories too – check them out here!

And then finally… Sometimes Beastie accessories take a while to get right. But this one stands out as the most challenging ever – even now! Paws up if you remember…

The Beastie Dragon, 2015

Beastie Dragon, by CrawCrafts Beasties

This was one of those projects that just wouldn’t behave. I’d get one aspect sorted, only to have something else start causing problems! But I learned a lot about prototyping and materials choices from making it, and despite many, many discarded templates…
Test Run Dragons - CrawCrafts Beasties… I did end up with the ferocious-looking gold and silver dragon that my customer asked for! You can relive the entire, um, interesting experience here.

Well, that’s it for this time… But don’t worry if your favourite accessory didn’t make the cut this time around! I so enjoyed putting this together that I might do a second Beastie Accessories Roundup in a couple of weeks. Suggestions welcome, if you want to pitch in your two cents in the comments!

Have a monster weekend!

How to Slay a Dragon

Dragon Slayer Beastie by CrawCrafts Beasties
Sometimes, projects take longer to come together than you expect. And sometimes they take a lot longer. I thought Beasties with dogs were my big crafting leap forward this year, but that was before I met Dragon Slayer Beastie! I first did the sketches for this commission back in April…
Dragon Slayer Beastie Sketches y CrawCrafts Beasties
…and back then I thought sketching up the dragon in the first place would be the hardest part!

Dragon Slayer Beastie was requested by a Beastie enthusiast who already has quite a family of little woolly monsters at home. They had attracted the attention of her young neighbour, and when the offer of a birthday Beastie was made, she decided (without any hesitation, apparently) that she’d like a Dragon Slayer Beastie, complete with dragon. As you can see from the sketch, the dragon had to have a golden body, and a silver head and wings. “Hmmm,” I thought. “Could be tricky, but I can probably manage it!”
I figured that seeing a few Shrek and Harry Potter films, plus my current enthusiasm for Game of Thrones, combined with more than a couple of years of experience in sewing my own critters from scratch, would all be ample preparation for the crafting challenges ahead.

You can probably tell where this is going.

It started out normally enough… Making the Beastie herself was a breeze!
Dragon Slayer Beastie, by CrawCrafts Beasties
As you can see, she’s ready to face down any dragon who dares to cross her path! She’s got a chain-mail top, and she’s armed with a lethal felt sword. Over her shoulder is a quiver of deadly felt arrows, to be used for long-range dragon-slaying missions…
Dragon Slayer Beastie's Quiver and Arrows, by CrawCrafts Beasties
So she had her outfit, and her weapons (in a range of suitably ladylike colours) were complete…
Dragon Slayer Beastie's Weapons, by CrawCrafts Beasties
…But where’s the dragon?

Uh-oh. Still stuck in what was proving to be a troublesome prototyping stage.
Rejected Dragon Body Templates - CrawCrafts Beasties

You see, the nature of the beast meant that I had to step out of my cosy felty comfort zone and use different, unfamiliar materials. And it was only when I started sewing pieces together that I found out how completely different and unfamiliar they were! Fortunately, I had the good sense to reject the gold and silver lycra I had originally planned to use – when I subjected them to the all-important stretchiness test in the shop, they proved themselves to be more suited to making eye-popping party clothes than dragons. If I’d gone with my first instinct, it’s more than likely that this post would be coming to you from within the padded walls of my nearest mental health facility.

So, I went for some less temperamental satin fabrics instead… but even these proved a far cry from the wholesome, homely materials I normally use. First of all, I had to allow for fraying – something you never have to deal with when you use felt! Another of their less charming characteristics is that they show up every little detail, meaning that any slight variations between component pieces are magnified tenfold. Even doing a “rough work” dragon with some leftover calico I had at home didn’t prepare me for making the real thing… Satin fabrics, I have discovered, are designed to drape elegantly, not hold in stuffing. If you’ve ever seen someone wearing a satin dress that was a size too small, you might have an idea of what I was up against. In my quest to tame this dragon, I took on lumpy body parts, misbehaving limbs that stood out at unnatural angles from their joints, twisted tails and floppy spines. I cut, trimmed and rejected heaps of templates…
More Rejected Dragon Templates - CrawCrafts Beasties
…Made a few false starts…
Test Run Dragons - CrawCrafts Beasties
…But at last (and we’re talking absolute eleventh hour, down to the wire, seconds-to-spare-before-the-deadline here) I managed to wrangle the various bits into something vaguely dragon-shaped. Here he is snacking on the remains of his vanquished predecessors.
A Beastie Dragon is Born - CrawCrafts Beasties
And here he is doing his nicest smile for the camera.
Beastie Dragon, by CrawCrafts Beasties
I’d be the first to admit that he’s not perfect. But it’s a long time since I’ve had a craft project flummox me so completely… Every spare moment I had (and some less spare moments… sorry, workplace!) was spent trying to figure out what was going wrong with the templates, or how I could force the wilful satin to do my bidding. The end result may not accurately reflect the late nights, early mornings, miles of unpicked and restitched seams and lungfuls of inhaled satin dust (seriously, that stuff gets EVERYWHERE) that went into making it, but as a learning experience it was hard to beat. I know I have a long way to go before I can claim to be anything other than a paddler in the vast ocean of sewing skills, but I figure that’s a great excuse to go back and perfect some of the basics with simple, fun projects. So, if you have any favourite sewing patterns that would be good practice, I’d love to hear from you! Please share them in the comments… especially if they’re for little critters! I’ll be sure to post the results on the BeastieBlog as I go 🙂

As for Dragon Slayer Beastie and her dragon… the last I saw of them, they were heading off into the sunset to find their new home!
Dragon Slayer Beastie Leaves Home! CrawCrafts Beasties