Saturday, March 26, 2011
I Still Sew!
I am one of those uncertain, insecure people that sews, but still can't quite fully admit: I sew. I usually focus on the skills I have yet to master... button holes, tailoring, following written directions. Outside of Robotics Season, my blog actually has more posts about things like sewing, quilting, embroidery, and also chickens, and cats.
Anyway... from about January through April, my sewing ambitions are mostly put aside, unless I am making Maria a new apron for FRC. Or, dabbling in alliance gifts, and mini-mascot fun, like my finger puppets. I made those to amuse Maria when we were in Atlanta. But right before the robotics competition in San Diego, Suki asked me to volunteer to revitalize/resuscitate Perry-Parrot-Ox, the team Mascot... this small request propelled me into one, big sewing project.
Our original mascot was lovingly made, and a good likeness of the ever evolving Parrot-Ox. It was also care worn, very, very heavy, and even a bit dangerous. Ask anyone who was ever accidentally gored on the dance floor by one of Perry's horns! As Suki and I looked over the mascot suit, it became apparent that repairs and improvements might mean as much, or more, work, than starting from scratch.
So. I began from scratch. Incidentally, there are no patterns for a Parrot-Ox. Working from a pattern for footie-pajamas, I began formulating a plan to create a lighter, softer Parrot-Ox, with action wings! Suki mentioned something about getting our human hands Paradoxed. And we both agreed the perilous weight of the motorcycle-helmet-mascot-head had to go!
The wings, to have movement and form, I decided would need to be attached to the sleeves... from the shoulders, and partway down the arms. The torso and legs are the brown ox. The head is feathered parrot, with ox horns. The head was the part that was freaking me out, so naturally I saved it for last, and let it torment me for as long as possible.
I wish I had taken more photographs of the process of making the head.
Gee, why didn't I take more pictures?
Oh, yeah because I was freaking out, severely burning my finger, and also freaking out!
I don't make patterns. Well, actually. I DO make patterns, but I am not trained in this skill, so it's hard, and stressful. I found an old ball cap, hot-glued foam to give it dimension. (Burned my finger. Strangled the hot glue gun, then buried it in an undisclosed corner.) Basically I was sculpting-sewing-gluing soft materials, and trying to create the impression of a parrot. Not a chicken, which was an issue.
Honestly, I did cry. I was convinced that I had taken on an impossible task, and I would have been happy to be relieved of this one... Isn't it gnarly, to be faced with something that utterly confounds you, and yet must be accomplished? Totally gnarly. I could not give up. So I just kept tweaking, tucking, stitching and sort of sucking my breath when it looked like it might, possibly be coming close to reality. And I cannot forget my helpers: Max stuffed the ox tail, and it looks perfect. Maria stuffed and fluffed those ox horns. They are outstanding!
Challenging myself was a bizarre mixture of stress and fun, which when finally completed, was even satisfying. The part where I thought I could be letting down the team was painful!
But... I think... it kind of... sort of... worked.
It's made to fit many sizes. It closes with Velcro, and feels comfortable, soft.
Marketing vp, Lonnie, and Outreach vp, Sammay
And it looks something like those Paradox plushies marketing made last year.
Team president, Nathan, never wanted to take it off. Which, I took as a good sign.
Suki demonstrates the clever sleeves that make even human hands look and feel Paradox!
And no matter how crowded the dance floor was, no one could claim that the Paradox gored them.
I love the wings... they fly! I love Suki's gratified expression... she soars!
I love that everyone is proud to wear their Paradox colors, and cheer for their team. Lonnie's spirited attitude is so beautifully, quintessentially yellow, red, and blue... so Paradox!
Wow. I can't believe I got through the whole post without making a single pun. I am sew pleased.