Sometimes small fingers (and old fingers) find small projects to be tricky— tying a shoe, handling scissors, zipping a zipper, buttoning a button—they all require precision and a steady hand. As does hand sewing. Sewing not only demands dexterity, but also requires patience. On top of this, it adds the threat of a potential finger prick. Followed by little watery eyes. Yowch!
This is incredibly unfortunate, since small people frequently like playing with small friends. Dollhouse people, finger puppets, Lego people, tiny wooden animals—they are all good company and don’t seem to eat much. My small people have been captivated by my friend Charlotte’s small friends for quite some time now. This has been a challenge for both them and me since Charlotte’s small friends, remarkably sweet and delicate, are very very small. They are hand-sewn mice—reflective, contemplative furry friends with strikingly large personalities. As well, they have microscopic eyes and noses, giving them extra bonus points.
Tortured by the opposing forces of teeny, wild fingers and the love of all things small, my design team and I made futile attempts at replicating Charlotte’s mice. In the end, we designed a simple, slightly larger pattern with exposed stitching that is just perfect for small fingers.
For this project, you will need a small collection of 100% wool sweater scraps. Solid, striped or patterned. As with the Tiny Birdhouse and Swittens projects, add your wool sweater to the laundry batch and wash and dry on normal. This project also requires a needle, thread and some stuffing like organic cotton stuffing, hemp fibers or wool. We are renowned for borrowing (well, stealing, really) synthetic filling from retired threadbare elderly friends. Those of you who are fancy may opt to insert a small rice or bean-filled fabric bag in the base of the mouse to provide some weight.
Pattern: Size is up to you. I recommend that you size your first mouse on a slightly-larger-than-life size (dare I say, rat size?). As with the Swittens project, I have found that there is a significant positive correlation between successful project outcome and project size, when measured by various indicators, such as big smiles. Don’t start out too teeny.
Cut the sweater as below. In addition, you will need a tail. It should be a long, skinny rectangular piece (that will later be folded and sewn).
Sewing Instructions: Fold the tail in half and secure with a blanket stitch. (Just a note: Futuregirl has a fantastic photo-filled tutorial on blanket stitching.) With wrong sides together, stitch down the back of the body. Stitch from the nose down, stopping about ½ inch before the end. Insert end of tail at bottom of back and secure. Finish stitching bottom of back. With wrong sides together, stitch the bottom edge of the body to the oval base, leaving approximately a 2-inch gap for stuffing.
Insert stuffing into the mouse, filling the nose first. When almost full, insert bean bag and continue stitching to close the back seam. Fold the base edge of ears in half and secure with a few central stitches. Flatten the seam and position the ears on the mouse head. Stitch. Use a felting needle and wool roving to make eyes and nose. Use strong button thread for whiskers if you are most able.
(And, “most able” sort of sounds like “vote on Babble,” which reminds me to ask for your vote, since Mossy has been nominated on Babble for an important thingy, and if you enjoy the post you’ve read or any you’ve read in the past, or if you plan to enjoy any posts you’ll read in the future, please give Mossy a “thumbs up.” It’s just a click. Here on Babble. Thank you in advance. I will mail you a hug.)