I was walking around the shops one lunchtime and seen some lovely Easter decorations and in particular I saw this gorgeous burlap bunny, which I thought I could make myself. I went in our local fabric shop to see if they had any fabrics in and they actually had some lovely burlap hessian fabric, which I took as a sign and bought it straight away!
I didn’t have a pattern so looked online to get some inspiration and see if there were any nice bunnies or patterns I could use as a guide. I saw this tutorial online which I thought was very helpful and started off with using the pattern available there.
The tutorial was for a soft woolen bunny, miles away from my burlap bunny but I thought, what’s the difference..?? well, I was WRONG! There is a big difference and using the burlap was a nightmare.. I started off by cutting out the shapes and soon learnt my first lesson – burlap fabric FRAYS and a lot!
Thankfully, I made the bunny’s head and ears without any ..well many problems.. I used a mixture of sewing machine and hand stitching for this and double, treble sew over so that it wouldn’t fray once it was stuffed.
I made the legs and the arms, one leg turned out different to the other so I made another one as I needed the bunny to look perfect..I started off taking photos step by step, but soon I was so fed up and annoyed that I just had to get on with the bunny and hope for the best leaving the camera sitting on the table..
Then it was time to make the body, the tutorial suggested to cut out 4 pieces, well it would have worked with any other fabric, however, not with the burlap, another lesson learnt.. The fabric not only frayed but I sew on the bloody wrong leg!!! The ‘good‘ leg was left on the table…. By this stage I was so annoyed at this bunny I was ready to cry and give up! I decided it was time to stop and think with a fresh head the next day.. so I stepped away from the bunny before it ended up in the bin..
The next day I had a look at the bunny and had a think about this.. I decided that the head was so nice I could not throw it away and decided not to give up.. I kept saying – this bunny will not defeat me! So I re-used the arms and the (correct) legs and just cut out the fabric and thought it’s time to improvise… So I did…
My fingers were sore from the rough fabric, plus I broke around 5 needles on the sewing machine, so decided to just hand stitch the rest and hope for the best.. I pricked myself so many times, I was ready to cry.. I decided at this stage that this bunny was a boy and his name was going to be Prick.. Obviously I picked this name because I had pricked myself so many times making it and it just felt appropriate at the time…. It seemed like this bunny was laughing in my face, but I kept saying to myself that I will not give up.. Sounds so silly but it was Me versus The Bunny and I am not a quitter !! 🙂
I finished the body, sew the nose on and attached the head to it and then stuffed it. Then it was done! I was so happy that all the body parts were attached I didn’t quite care what it looked like.. I took a photo and oh dear.. I didn’t think it looked that brilliant, I thought that my bunny looked like a bunny with a penguin’s body.. yet again I thought it was destined for the bin, but yet again I decided to think again the next day, breathe and count to 10……
So the next day I decided that Prick will have to be turned into a girl and dressed up nicely if I had any chance of saving this…
I started working on it and decided to use the dress that belonged to my little sister. The irony of my sister having the bunny on her head! 🙂
It is more that 18 years old but I just loved the colours and the pattern, so I decide to make the outfit for the bunny out of this fabric.
I didn’t have any patterns, I was just improvising, adding some little touches and ribbons. Once the bunny was dressed I actually thought she looked great! For the first time I was actually happy with what she looked like.. She was by no means perfect, but after the struggle I had with her, she was perfect to me!
Once she was made, I had another dilemma – she needed a name! I couldn’t think of a name and a friend of mine suggested – Penny or Penelope as I kept saying she looked like a penguin, I was joking that her name will be – Miss Penny Guin.. so the name kind of stuck and here she is – meet my Penny!
It took me 3 evenings to make her, a lot of swearing, I was almost in tears every night, and ready to throw her out in the bin but I am so glad that I perservered and kept going.. Who would have thought that this lovely little girl would be so hard to make! So every time you see something you think is so easy to make – do it because you will then appreciate how hard making things actually are.. As I say if it was easy – everyone would do it!
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Updated August 2015
Penny won 1st prize in the Royal Manx Agricultural Show 2015 in the Soft Toy category!