I sewed a giant stuffed leather snail. Why? I got a harebrained idea and of course I had to follow up on it. Not too long ago I saw that Nette had sewn a leather pug and I thought that making a giant leather stuffed animal was a great idea. The Shelly the Snail pattern is by Abby Glassenberg, a stuffed animal designer and blogger who I have long followed for her blog posts about running a small craft business.
I sewed the snail out of a leather jacket that I got for free at the Swap-O-Rama-Rama. One of the fun things about cutting up a leather garment is that there were visible seams in my pieces that give a great extra texture. It was a very soft leather which was actually quite simple to sew. Since it was so soft, I could cut through it with my normal sewing shears without a problem and I actually sewed it on my machine without needing to use a leather needle. The only problem with using the soft leather is that my thread pulled through it several times as I tried to hand sew the shell onto the back. I finally decided to glue the shell to the body using a shoe glue and it fixed the problem quite nicely. Oh yeah, the other problem was that the antennae were near impossible to turn inside out. I spent 1.5hrs getting them turned inside out since the leather stuck to itself. Next time those are getting and exposed seam!)
I intended for the snail to be a living room decoration. Although she seems kind of lonely sitting in the corner, so I may need to make a friend for her out of the next leather jacket that I find :)
I enlarged the pattern to 200% on the copy machine and mostly sewed it as written. For the shell, I kept the stitching of the inside curve close together, even though it enlarged on my photocopy. I changed the eyelashes to be a little more fluttery. I also sewed the eyes and mouth on before stuffing. The biggest change I made is that I didn’t sew the curved part of the shell to itself but instead left it open. And I just discovered while writing this blog post that I sewed the shell on backward. Oops!
I thought the pattern and instructions were well written and, as someone with no stuffed animal experience but extensive sewing experience, I had no problems. I would have preferred if the pattern pieces contained all the pertinent information on them like a garment pattern (i.e. how many to cut, of what fabric, is seam allowance included, etc.) but that information was all contained in the pattern.
I brought my snail over to friends’ house to photograph it in their yard and their son took quite a liking to it! Her daughter also had a fun suggestion of naming the snail Casa since she carries her home around on her back.