Wednesday, October 24, 2018

MAKE IT SEW: My Hufflepuff Badger Hood & Slytherin Snake

Remember the free sewing pattern I featured in my last Gems?

This one, by Sew Desu Ne?

Well, after that post my friend Christie asked if I wanted to get together, and try making our own.

This was a big deal for me, because A) I am famously bad at/scared of sewing and B) I've never had a craft day with a friend besides John. Like, ever. I've always been jealous of peeps who do, but most of my friends live far away, and are super busy, and yeah, I guess also I've never asked. ::sheepish grin:: 

("See here the Awkward Introvert in her natural habitat of self-doubt and second-guessing. Tsk. SO SAD.")


Here's what went down:

I will say that Choly's pattern is phenomenal: it's clearly laid out with step-by-step photo instructions. I'd never have had a chance without it. Oh, and my materials cost about $15: that's for two yards of fleece, a little faux fur, and a few big buttons.

Actually I made both ears with the wrong fabric. Yay.

Christie made the unicorn pattern, with a slight variation in the mane so it could have two colors.

Since sewing isn't already hard enough for me I also set out to modify the hood into a badger design, using soft faux fur for the stripes and inside the ears:

You can see the shape I'm using here for the stripe on each side. It worked out great, but I had to hem the fur before attaching it to the fleece, since the edges shed like crazy. This took two tries (hemming curves is hard!), but I eventually got it "good enough."

PSA: The sound of a machine needle snapping in two is... unpleasant. Also you should generally try to remove ALL your pins before sewing over them.

Christie and I got started in the early evening, then I kept going late into the night after she left. Around 3 the next morning, I had this:

I did realize (too late) that I'd just made an Ewok hood. Not sure if that's an Oops or a Bonus.

I used enormous buttons for a more Kawaii effect, but that meant they were too big for our machine to make the button holes. So the next day I had to hand sew the holes and hooo boy, do those not look good. But it's OK, you don't really see them:

And I do like the giant buttons!

I had to get John to take these photos since my arms aren't long enough, and after that shot he said, "I dunno, you should do something. Crinkle your nose, it'll be cute."

Yeeeah... you know where this is going.

"Is this cute? IT DOESN'T FEEL CUTE JOHN."

As for the rest of my outfit: odds are it's going to be hot at our party (boo Florida), so a full-body furry badger onesie is out. (Dangit.) I'm going to be warm enough in this hood & these giant clawed slippers.  So I'm thinking... black shorts and Hufflepuff t-shirt? With silly striped socks? The contrast from my outfit at last year's party is cracking me up. This one will definitely be more "me."

John will be wearing this fabulous "Huffleton" shirt plus some Hufflepuff PJ pants that his QUACK made for him.  (I still don't know what QUACK stands for, but it's a FOE craft exchange like Secret Santa.)


Oh! And here's Christie's almost-finished unicorn hood:

She just has to add the horn and buttons. (I convinced her to buy giant buttons, too. Mwahahaaaa!)

As hard as making that hood was, at least it showed me I can (eventually) do SOME sewing. So the very next night I tackled another project: 

Turning this $5 thrift store dragon into a Slytherin snake.

(I hear he's originally from Ikea, in case you want to try this, too.)

It took me another two nights, since I had to completely un-stuff and remake him, but in the end...


I'm pretty proud of the tongue; I re-used the dragon's mouth lining to make it. And I didn't break a single needle! PROGRESS.

For my next sewing project I'll be trying to make House Christmas stockings - and when I do I'll make this guy a little Slytherin scarf from the scraps. (We also have a thrift store badger and lion, but I'm still looking for an eagle. If one doesn't turn up I may have to... gulp... BUY A NEW ONE. The horror!) 

Thanks so much to all of you who cheered me on through the Badger build over on Instagram, and for following along! John and I are in full-time Party Build mode, so you can expect a steady stream of projects of all sizes from now through December, as we slowly turn our back room into the Hufflepuff Common Room. We also have several more big surprises planned, so wish us speed as we try to finish them all in time!


  1. Bad news, Jen: the nose crinkle is....... EXTREMELY CUTE

  2. WOW! and I MUST KNOW . . . Who is the FOE (MY PEOPLE!) who made the Huffleton shirt? Because I DESPERATELY need one--or a pattern/tutorial for my daughter's perfect Christmas gift!

    1. I too NEED a Huffleton shirt. I'd love to know where to get it!

    2. I'm sorry I can't find the FOE's name, gang! I'll ask John to hunt it down later, but I can tell you she made the iron-on applique herself, so this isn't something you can buy anywhere.

    3. John's crafter was the amazing Magaidh Lyn

  3. I broke (two) sewing machine needle(s) AND went about 2 feet without noticing I was out of bobbin thread the first time I tried to sew too, lol. I let my mom and sisters do the sewing now and I stick to cutting out the patterns. XD Your seams also look rather less like a drunk blind man sewed them in his sleep--I think you *might* be better at sewing than me.

    In all seriousness, that badger hood is *adorable*, and so is the nose crinkle.

  4. You know you're a MSTie when you see 'Huffleton' and you think 'There's a Hogwarts/Time Chasers connection?' and not the famous musical with the star and everything.

  5. You can actually use your sewing machine to make any size buttonhole. There are YouTube videos that will show you step by step. You don't have to be limited by the one-step buttonhole feature on your machine. Your hoodie looks awesome, by the way.

    1. Ohh, good to know! I'll ask Google to show me how next time.

  6. I am an adequate seamstress, but I too know the horror of breaking off a machine needle mid-progress. With the added bonus of then /sewing thru my finger with the broken piece/. It was not optimal. I was making curtains for a friend and I told her she better appreciate them, since my literal blood and tears went into their construction!

    Those hoods look adorable and I think I'mma have to make some for myself, stat. Just have to decide on a color.

    1. Kimmie,
      Yes! I'm pretty fast and loose with sewing over pins, and usually don't break a needle unless I'm tugging at the fabric, but ouch! I always seem to sew my finger when I break a needle. Love your sacrificial approach.
      I am also tempted to make these but I'm 612 squares into a quilt that needs to be finished first.

  7. Great job!

    FYI there's a trick to cutting faux fur. Mark your cutting lines on the fur backing and cut through the backing ONLY. The fur itself will separate and it helps eliminate a lot of the fur that flies. You can also throw the cut pieces in the dryer with no heat and it will help pull some of the loose fur off the edges. Check your lint filter often when you do this. :-)

  8. All I can say is wow and good job! Hopefully the sewing bit will become easier as you make more cool stuff

  9. Oh, man, the CUTE! Such great work on all of it! I am getting closer and closer to signing up for sewing machine lessons somewhere. Thanks for always inspiring me!


  10. Joann's and the sewing studio both give fantastic classes in using a sewing machine. the teachers are kind and very knowledgeable with all levels of students. you might like it. Audrey at the Sewing Studio is one of the best teachers I've had. I highly recommend them to help you build your skills and take away the fear.

  11. Persevere with the sewing thing. I still have trouble with patterns, but I've made all sorts of things over the years. My worst "oopsie" was when I machine sewed through my fingertip and couldn't get the needle out. That was brutal. After that, I'm not afraid of screwing up anymore. It's just fabric, and as long as you don't bleed on the finished product it's all good.

  12. 1. Suki and Eva are getting so big!!!
    3. Dragon snek is so cute!

  13. My recommendation with the buttons would be to skip button holes, sew the buttons on the outside for decoration but use snaps or magnet clasps on the inside. It turned out majorly adorable!

  14. I love it!! Hufflepuff tee, black shorts, and yellow-and-black striped knee socks would be an adorable look with it. Can I just say I desperately want to come to your party? :D If only I lived in Florida!

    BTW, QUACK stands for Quirky Unknown Arts & Crafts Kaleidoscope. (It used to be Quarterly, but that was too much trouble so we bumped it down to twice a year instead. :))

  15. Just a thought for next time. Don't bother with button holes. Use snap fasteners, either sew on ones or I think you did a thing with the ones you do with pliers, then sew the button on the front over the top of the snap fastener. No buttonholes.

  16. This is so great. The minute I saw that pattern I started thinking about making it into a badger for myself (also a Puff). So happy to see you were successful!

  17. I gasped audibly when I saw the dragon you bought, we have exact same one at the library I work and and use it for kid's programs!

  18. Jen,

    Sewing is one of those skills that gets better with practice, just like painting, cake decorating (lol), etc. You did just fine and as you can see, the snake went much easier. The issue with tearing apart and redoing the snake is why most people simply start from scratch. Easier than trying to figure out what someone else has already done. You did a great job!


    P.S. It was great to see you in Pittsburgh!

  19. Instead of pins, you might like Wonder Clips better? They're made by Clover and are especially good for sewing together slippery things. I got them for binding quilts, but they worked wonderfully for holding together that slippery fur when I was doing santa hats last year.

  20. Your badger is adorable! (And I'm sure you'll be glad to be wearing shorts at the party - don't overheat!)

    I'm not on Facebook so I'm not a FOE, but I'm holding you responsible for my Halloween dragon - and the pose. Thank you for the inspiration, always.

  21. I bought a used sewing machine which didn't have any instructions and on the first day proceeded to break a needle, get the thread tangled three times, and sew more than one pass that just came out when I pulled the fabric away from the machine. I put it away and haven't used it in over a decade. o.0

    BUT I have been sewing by hand since I was a child and I think I'm quite good at it. I don't do it often because it's murder on my hyperflexible fingers, but I like almost everything I've finished. I'm particularly proud of my lap quilt with TINY stitches, and my 12th-century-style linen bliaut -- that's a gown with a full skirt, huge belled sleeves, and laces up the sides -- with invisible French seams that I wear to the local Ren Faire. ^_^

  22. My son resently asked me to make him an Ewok hood, and I was a bit stumped for ideas. Thank you for the inspiration!


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