Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Yoda Project

At the start of the year I designed an alphabet for Oliver, the new little boy of some good friends of mine, and used the little 'blogalot' characters I drew for fellow bloggers to wear on their tee-shirts for Celebration IV and Celebration Europe.

With Oliver's first birthday fast approaching, I wanted to make him something special, and when I heard that he would be dressing as Yoda for Halloween then my decision was easy. I used the little blogalot Yoda as a starting point and started to make a soft toy version.

This cuddly Yoda was going to still retain the 2D qualities of the drawing, but be comfy enough to use as a pillow, so I began by making a template to create the two main halves - no side panels for this sewingly-challenged man!

The material I chose was a very soft, green blanket material which was strong enough to sew and not stretch like felt.

I then embroidered two small eyes, his mouth and his forehead winkles. I guess I should have used thicker thread, but as you will see, I was woefully ill-prepared for this project.
I then sewed the two panels together, leaving a gap on one arm for stuffing. Small, looping stitches did the trick.

When turned inside out (or back to how he should be), Yoda started to take shape, albeit a rather deflated shape.

I used polyfill to stuff him, carefully pushing the filler up into his extremities with a wooden spoon. I didn't over stuff him as I wanted him to retain his comfy pillow status.
"How you get so big, using filler of this kind?"

I used a simple brown cotton fabric to make a jerkin that would be under his cloak. He looks like a street gang member with his sleeveless shirt, but as his arms would be hidden by the cloak, no sleeves was one less kerfuffle to consider. I hemmed the neck line, crumpling it a bit to look like Yoda's, and then held everything in place with a strip of the same material for a belt. I also hemmed the bottom for a cleaner edge.

The outer cloak was made from a groovy, crimped material that gave it a great texture. I cut two arm holes in it, then sewed a couple of cylinders for his sleeves and attached them, cutting them to the desired shape and restitching them at the cuffs to keep them together. I folded the collar under itself, tacking it in place with some unsubtle black cotton dots (See? Totally unprepared. Brown cotton would have been much nicer). To keep the cloak in place I used a strip of the same material for another cheap and cheerful belt.

I used the same material for a hood, cutting a dart out of it and sewing it back together to give it some shape, then sewing it to the back of the collar.

Oliver loves playing with the tags that he gets on his toys, so I used photoshop to create one for his new cuddly Yoda.

And here's the finished Yoda, complete with brown felt 'gimer' stick for chewing on in times of deep thought and meditation.
And here's Oliver at his first birthday party, tired and emotional due to the fact that everyone wanted to take photos of him all night. His mom and dad, Stephanie and Greg, look on as Oliver contemplates the use for a homemade, cuddly Yoda. I'm sure he'll figure something out.

Thank you to Greg and Stephanie for letting me use their picture in this blog, and thanks to you for taking the time to read it! I hope you enjoyed my blow by blow account of one man's clumsy struggles with a soft toy.
Next week, a life-size, cuddly Death Star.


The Expanded Universe Blog said...

Next week, a life-size, cuddly Death Star.

Haha...I want one. :-)

RJ said...

Very cool! You're a darn fine uncle.

Do your talents know no bounds? Film...comic strips...fiction...plush Jedi Masters!

jediprincess77 said...

Oh my...that is soooo cute!!!!

I'm with RJ. Quit being talented! Some of us are trying to catch up, ya know...


JediPug1 said...

Awww!!! Look at the cuddly wuddly wittle Yoda!!! I love it! Nice job. :o)

Cuddly wuddly Death Star?? Cooooool.... :o)

Bonnie said...

Just letting you know I blogged it on the official blog too!

starthunder said...

More awesome than awesome this is! You continue to inspire nobby. I might have to dig up the old sewing machine and make use of my many piles of scraps!

zachstarwalker said...

for crying out load this is annoying to sign into.

you get all the fame

ketal said...

Yep. You just had to rub it in didn't you. One more thing that you can do that I can't!!!;):D
That Oliver is one lucky little fellow. His Mom and Dad aren't realy going to let him play with it though, are they?;)
Awesome job nob.:)

Bonnie said...

you’re featured on CRAFT zine now:

Gregory S said...

Thanks Uncle Nobbie! Oliver loves his plush Yoda... we'll have to give you some of the pictures of Oliver in his Halloween costume.

Stephanie said...

The plushie Yoda is almost as cute as the kid holding it! (but I'm his mama so I'm a little biased) ;-) Seriously, thanks again Neil for making such a special gift for O's 1st birthday. Wait til you see the new pictures we had taken of our little Jedi-in-training!

Amy H. said...

hmm ... wonderful, it is (said in my best yoda voice - be glad you can't hear it).

I love that you made a tag to go with it. Too cutie. (back to girl talk sorry).

Mathew said...

Can you buy the T-shirts somewhere?

GalacticBabe said...

How adorable!! What a wonderful uncle you are!!!

JediMelindaWolf said...

Absolutely adorable, nobby! You are a man of many, many talents!!!

YODABOY said...

es genial! voy a postearlo en mi blog !

Hannah said...

Haii ! I really love your blog ; you should post more!