Stacked in Our Favor

Thoughts about libraries, education, children's literature, writing, art and being connected

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Reupholstering an old friend

One of my favorite children has a bunny. A soiled and worn bunny. The child is now a teen and the bunny is now a senior citizen. I’m thinking that the rules that apply to dogs’ ages must also apply to stuffed animals. The time had come for that makeover which was long overdue. I knew the job needed doing last year, but I couldn’t find the right fabric for the job. When the bunny was new, her fur was pink and fuzzy. She had developed a coffee colored patina. One day as I slipped my Land’s End angel fur fleece over my head a light bulb went off. The fleece jacket was so soft and just the right kind of pale pink for the job. I promised myself that I could buy a new one someday. The stuffing coming out of pink bunny’s feet meant that she could wait no longer.

So the last two weekends I spent giving Pink Bunny a makeover. Why do this? Pink Bunny is a great comfort to her friend. She is also the object of many stories. Stories which are important to not only my young friend, but also to me. Communal storytelling has its own rules.

So on a Friday night I began dismantling Pink Bunny. Carefully I slipped the pointed blades of my German sewing scissors into a seam that was starting to wiggle free. I freed the beginning of a seam and gently opened it to the end. As each piece was detached, I pinned a label onto it as a reference for later. Each label included all information needed “Right leg, right side”. Each piece was then washed by hand to rid it of grime and germs. Though I had planned to iron the pieces, I found that they felted when I did so. In the end, letting them air dry made more sense.

Meanwhile I cut apart my Land’s End sweater and ironed lightweight interfacing to it. It gave it just enough body to make it more manageable. I made patterns of each and every piece (just in case). Then I basted each piece to the new fabric and cut around the edges. It was VERY important that the old Pink Bunny be encased in the new one. Finally, the pieces were sewn together. Sewing through that many layers of fabric was a daunting task for my old sewing machine. The sewing machine had to be cleaned several times. Between the fuzz that shed into the machine during the process and the shear thickness of the pieces, the machine needed a bit of TLC. It took two weeks, but I was able to finish the project. The eyes were a challenge to remove, but easy to restore.

The restored Pink Bunny is much firmer than before. She is soft, solid and no longer soiled. You hear stories of people doing this sort of operation only to have the child reject the item for its lack of authenticity. So with fear and trembling I passed Pink Bunny back to her owner. I need not have feared the rejection, nor the need for the extra stuffing. Pinky is already considerably flatter than when I handed her over. There was a lot of hugging to catch up on.

Pink Bunny is ready to star in many more adventures to come. The stories, whether they are written down or spoken into the wind, will continue to amuse and delight.

1 comment:

Cindi said...

Not sure how I missed this post, but Pink looks great--go you!