Wednesday, March 18, 2009

And yeti, I still like to sew

Argh. Have you ever taken on a sewing project that you wish you had never started? Of course you have. I just finished mine. It was the ultimate, uber, pinnacle of bad ideas and yet I did it, beginning, middle, and end.

I got a request from a friend at our local community theater - "Can you make a yeti?" "Sure," I say, "no problem." We talked about it and I decided that yarn on a sweatsuit was the way to go.

I met the actor and asked him to get a gray sweatsuit that fit him a little large. I picked up some white yarn, someone donated some offwhite yarn, I bought a pair of white gloves with black speckles for the hands, ordered a white ski mask with eyes and mouth cutout, and finished off the basics with slipper socks.

And thus it began. I started with winding the yarn around a 2" ruler and cutting it to length. After about eleventy seven hours of that, I started disecting skeins of yarn at various lengths. The winding didn't work too well with time constraints. My husband was the one who thought there had to be an easier way. He was right.

I started with the hands, adding yarn bit by bit from the cuff to the fingers and anywhere my sewing machine would reach on the top side of the gloves. I took those in for approval and the director and actor thought they were great.
I cut off the elastic at the bottom of the sweat pants and began sewing yarn threads to the pants, one row at a time, from cuff to crotch and then from waist to crotch. Sounds easy, right? Well, it didn't work that way. I had to cut the pants at the knee and do them in two pieces. I couldn't scrunch everything up in the sewing machine. I did the legs and then the crotch to waist, and then stitched the legs back on and voila - The pants were done and full and fluffy and looked pretty good and guess what? The show was opening in three days.

Next came the top. I started at the bottom sewing yarn to the shirt and worked my way to the armpits, then realized I needed to cut the sleeves like I did the pants legs. Then I realized that a yeti needs a belly. I took a large piece of muslin, drew on a chest and six-pack, and then stitched that to the shirt, satin stitching the outline of the chest and six pack. After another day or so, I got the body of the shirt done and decided to attach the ski mask to the top of it. I made a black nose out of cotton and added that triangle to the face mask. I decided it needed hair, so I sketched out a face shape and added thin yarn hair to the rest of it, including a small bit coming up to the mouth and covering the neck. I attached the head (ski mask) and filled in the blank spots with more yarn.

At this point, I had yarn all over the floor, the dog, in my shoes, all over me, and everywhere you could imagine, including in my car, but I wasn't done yet!

Dress rehearsal was Tuesday night. I had the suit at the theater, but wasn't happy with the top, so asked the director to bring it home for me. (She lives near me.) Yesterday, I filled in blank spots with more yarn and took it back to her.

I sewed for days on end, sometimes 6 hours at a time. I used three large skeins of white yarn and 3 skeins of off-white yarn and about 10 bobbins. I sewed and sewed, and then I sewed some more. The play is On the Verge. I found some costuming ideas on line here -  That is not our production and I will get pictures of my pitiful yeti soon and post them, but you can kind of see why I thought yarn would work. The yeti in that performance looks kind of yarnish.

(Update, 10/2017 - I never did get any photos of the yeti. I have, though, worked with the actor since then and it's something neither of us will ever forget.)

My suggestion to anyone considering a yeti - think fur, think boas, think anything but yarn cut in short lengths and stitched on by machine. It took a lot longer than I thought it would and as are a lot of sewing projects, it was a huge lesson in what not to do. I laughingly said to the director, "You'll never ask me to costume a show again!" to which she replied, "That way, you don't have to say no."

I am SO glad that I'm done with the critter. The audience thus far has said that it looks good for the less than 2 minutes it is on stage.

Will I ever sew again!???

1 comment:

  1. Just reading about your project creeped me out. I don't know why I'm so anti- the notion of sewing anything.