Thursday, October 25, 2012

Little Star and Friends Come to Life

This post will be more pictures than writing.  I've been working on creating the five main stars from The Little Star That Could and I've finally worked out patterns and created a prototype for each one.  

The five main stuffed animal star characters sit on a table.  They all have human like faces (eyes, noses, mouths and some have hair).  A softball sized red stuffed animal star (Big Daddy) sits on a desk.  He has a black goatee and wears sunglasses.  Next to him on the right is an orange stuffed animal star (Mr. Old-Timer Orange Star) which is slightly bigger than the red star and has a white mustache and looks tired and old.  To the right of the orange star is a yellow star (Little Star/Sol) who is about the size of a baseball and is smiling.  To the right of the yellows star is a basketball sized white star (Pearl).  She has eyelashes, a pointy nose, is smiling gently and has cheek length hair that is also white.  Next to the white star on the right is a blue star (Mr. Angry Blue-White Star) who looks angry.  He has a bulbous nose and squinting eyes.  Behind all the plush stars is a picture of the stars all lined up together in the same order (red, orange, yellow, white, blue) pulled from the planetarium show, "The Little Star That Could."
Big Daddy, Mr. Old-Timer Orange Star, Little Star/Sol, Pearl, Mr. Angry Blue-White Star

Some will have some changes made in the future (i.e. the first couple made will look better).  My sewing skills have definitely improved since I started (at least I think they have).  
Three versions of the Little Star plush character sit next to each other on a white desk.  The first version on the left is the original hand sewn version.  It is a darker yellow than the other two.  His nose is very flat, as are his eyebrows and hair.  His mouth is just a simple sewn line of thread, but his eyes are the same as the other two versions, big white ovals with brown irises and black pupils.  There are rays/prominences shining out from around him.  The second version is in the middle has a lighter yellow color than the first.  His nose is now prominent and he has noticeable cheeks.  His lips are also bigger but his eyes remain the same as the first version's.  His rays are much smaller than the first version's and he lacks eyebrows.  His hair is very big and obvious.  The third version is on the right is very similar to the second version but with much more obvious rays and eyebrows.  The lips are toned down to a normal size and the hair is also smaller.
Little Star Version 1 (hand sewn, was with me all the way through being awarded the grant), Version 2 (first attempt at pattern making), and Version 3 (the one that came to Space Camp that the kids tested out for me)

Anyway, without further ado, let me introduce you to the Little Star character prototypes...

Big Daddy
Red satin fabric starting to be sewn into a ball shape sits on a sewing machine with black sunglasses nearby.

The red satin ball now looks more like a star.  The black eyebrows and goatee are attached and the face is complete with a nose, mouth and eyes.  The black sunglasses are nearby.

The red satin star has been filled with stuffing and awaits his sunglasses.  A silver needle with black thread sticks out of his nose waiting to sew the glasses in place.

The red satin star is now complete.  He has rays protruding out from him, a large nose and lips, a black goatee and eyebrows and black sunglasses.  This is Big Daddy.

Mr. Old-Timer Orange Star
Some orange fabric is being sewn together into a ball shape.  It has a piece missing from the bottom of the ball as that is where the star's mouth will go.  Above where the piece is missing is the nose which sticks out a little.

The orange ball is now sewn together and white eyes and a white mustache have been added to give the star a face.

The final stitches are been machine sewn into the orange ball.  Some white and black pins stick out from the orange fabric.

The orange ball now has rays protruding out from it.  The eyes are old looking with brown irises and black pupils.  White eyebrows have been added and the whole character has been stuffed.

A large piece of white fleece is draped over an off white sewing machine.

The large white fleece now has a pointy nose and cheeks.  It is being held in front of the off white sewing machine.

The star is now sewn together, has eyes and eyelids.  There are rays along the sides of her and she has a mouth that is smiling and hair that goes to her cheeks now too.  She remains flat however as she is unstuffed.

The white fleece star, pearl is finished.  The star is now stuffed and has eyelashes (which are the false kind one finds in the cosmetics department) and brown eyebrows.

Mr. Angry Blue-White Star
Mr. Angry Blue-White Star is halfway complete.  The star is a medium to light blue.  He has small rays and is sewn together to be a ball but remains unstuffed

The star has a scowling mouth, squinting eyes, angry white eyebrows and small black pupils with brown irises on the whites of his eyes.  He has a wide nose and puffy cheeks.

Little Star/Sol (version 2)
Many small pieces of yellow fabric lie on a table and sewing machine.  Several are pinned with white and black pins and there is a pair of blue scissors and a green seam ripper on the table as well.

Two halves of a ball of yellow fabric are complete and hang from the sewing machine.  One has a nose and cheeks on it.

Little star is stuffed and gets eyes and a tuft of hair.  He is smiling and has plump cheeks and no eyebrows.  He has very small rays protruding from around him.

The finished yellows star sits in front of a board that shows his cartoon image and a swatch of yellow fabric under it.  The star is smiling, small, with small rays, plump cheeks, and big eyes.  He has no eyebrows (however the cartoon version does have brown eyebrows).

Little Star/Sol (version 3) and the Blog's Author look down a ladder (both smiling) from up in the cockpit of a Space Shuttle simulator.  The author is blonde and wearing a grey tshirt with planets on it and holding Little Star out down the ladder.  Little Star is yellow, and looks much like version two with big eyes, a nose, plump cheeks, and a smile, but this version has smaller hair, brown eyebrows and larger more noticeable rays around the sides of him.  In front of the author and the star is the grey and white rung of a metal ladder.  Behind the pair is a white ceiling with grey panels of metal switches, buttons and knobs.  White writing and Braille label every switch.
Little Star/Sol (version 3) and the Blog's Author in the cockpit of the Space Shuttle Endeavour Mockup at U.S. Space Camp

The blog's author, a woman of 5'4" with blonde hair, sits in a chair in her cubical.  She is wearing a blue NASA flight suit and is holding all of the plush star characters.  On her right leg is Pearl, the white star with eyelashes, white cheek length hair and brown eyes.  On the author's left leg sits Mr. Angry Blue-White Star, the blue star who has angry white eyebrows and squinting eyes.  On top of Pearl sits Big Daddy, satin and red with black sunglasses, a big nose and big lips.  On top of the blue star sits Mr. Old-Timer Orange Star with his white eyebrows and mustache and tired looking eyes.  On the author's head sits Little Star version 3 - smiling with big eyes and plump cheeks.  The blog's author is looking up at Little Star and smiling.  Behind the woman is an original poster for The Little Star That Could from it's second run in 1990.  The black background features cartoon images of the character that sit as plush toys in her lap and the words "A Children's Planetarium Show the Whole Family can Enjoy" in white.  A pink stripe runs across the top of the poster that says, "The McDonnell Star Theater Presents..." in white as well.
Blog Author with the Little Star Family (that is a poster for the show from its second run in 1990 behind me)

It was a lot to come up with the patterns since I haven't really sewn for close to 10 years, but it was also a lot of fun.  It was great to work out the patterns, see the characters come to life and figure out what needed to be tweaked here and there.  I can't wait to make the final versions in more durable upholstery fabric!

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