Well, this project was challenging in a different way to my other projects…
It started after seeing a friend’s (TeddyBear) Skin on Minecraft. It was the cutest skin ever, and I thought that making a real-life one, would be a: a fun challenge, b: a nice gift.
1: Finding ratios for all of the bits (relatively easy to do on any of the skin editing programmes online).
2: Tying to connect to the real TeddyBear’s server to get some screen shots of his avatar with the armour that he usually wears. Not entirely successful due to network issues – but achieved eventually, and some cute screen shots and twerking ensued.
Pattern design came next…
followed by searching for foam (I decided to use foam cut to size, rather than dacron, as I figured it would hold its shape better (after recalling a discussion about the logistics of making tetris block plushies several months earlier with TeddyBear).
After a trip to Para Rubber, where I discovered that it would be cheaper to buy a mattress and cut it up – I went home and found an old mattress that had been lurking in our spare room for a year and decided to mutilate that. Discussions ensued regarding whether this was wasteful or not – I won… on a technicality (that no-one wanted to sleep on it because it was horrible and that things had been spilt on it at one point). The clean bits were then used!
Cutting foam with scissors is not easy, and does not give the best finish. Nevertheless, the bits were cut out.
Fabric was bought – I couldn’t find the exactly right blue for the armour, so had to go with the ‘good enough’ approach, but I was pleased with the colour of the fur that I found – it was almost perfect. I also added some light wadding to go under the diamond armour bits. This last with the intention that this would make them stick out a bit like in the picture – it didn’t. It did give a better shape than without though, the fabric was quite thin and the ragged cutting showed through a bit.
Covering the pieces was relatively easy – I took a shortcut and sewed the whole lot using the machine, as I wanted strong seams and had limited time. However, there were parts where I probably wouldn’t machine them if I were to do this again. The squareness of bits was definitely a challenge though.
Joining the bits together proved to be a substantial challenge. I wanted to make it poseable, so attempted to make some sort of joint system. The idea being to model the structure on typical bear joints, but make it a whole heap bigger (dowel and giant washers). Unfortunately, the use of foam, rather than stuffing made this much harder. I needed the joints to sit inside the foam blocks, which meant that I have to force the pieces of dowel into the foam, and the washers couldn’t be added to the bits that I was forcing into the body (as this made the hole too big and the dowel was less stable). So the washers just happened on the limb ends.
I cut the limb/head up to the point necessary to insert the dowel with washer already attached. I then glued the cut foam back together with foam glue stuff. But this meant that the dowel then couldn’t move – so basically the only part of the joint that could move was the bit stuck into the body. Which was fine, but each time I moved the limb/head, the dowel became looser fitting in the body – so I had to give up on the poseable thing, decide on a single pose and glue the dowel into the body foam also, in that position. Yay for 1 minute glue!
I then of course had to hand stitch the fabric closed around the dowel in the limbs:
The glue didn’t hold that well – It was fine for the foam, but not so great for the wood. So it pretty quickly came loose. This meant that I ultimately had to sew the arms into a specific pose, as they kept coming loose.
For the head, I used two slabs of foam to get it the right size, so I had to glue these bits together before covering them – which meant that I had to glue the dowel in before I covered it. This meant that I had to split the base fabric to go around the dowel as I couldn’t put the dowel through after. This was also the case for the arms.
The helmet was relatively simple to make, but harder to keep on the head as planned – Eventually I ended up basting it to the fur fabric on the head just to hold it in place. I went with this approach for all the armour – basting the cuirass detail and the pauldrons to the under-bits.
The body armour was a tad tricky, and I am not really entirely happy with how it turned out – the detail at the front did NOT come out as well as I wanted – sewing right angles with fabric proved to be more complicated than I warranted, and stretch fabric made it just that little bit harder. It’s ok, but not as good as I wanted.
The legs were relatively easy – just blue fabric stitched to foam and then sewn into shape. Trying to sew the square ends onto the sides using a machine was frustrating, but I think it went ok. The legs were then stitched to the body – I couldn’t work out how to joint them to move the way I wanted – hinges would maybe have worked – but ah well…
It stands up if you get it balanced just right… and TeddyBear couldn’t stop smiling when I gave it to him – so I got the result that I was after. 🙂