A philosopher tiger for a philosophy major

I consider my Hobbes plushie project as the first real plushie/stuffed toy project I ever did. Looking back, I think I was a little crazy to have done it by hand, but it was also a great learning experience for a novice crafter like me.

I made the Hobbes plushie last June as a send off gift for my youngest brother, who was going to law school this semester. He’s been a fan of Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes comics strip since he was young, plus he took philosophy as his undergraduate degree. I thought he’d like to have a tiger on his side to help with his studying.

Bill Watterson never wanted his work commercialized so there are no merchandise for Calvin and Hobbes. People have been making their own version of Hobbes, and I think that makes it much more special and meaningful – to receive something made especially for you instead of something mass produced and bought off a department store shelf.

The original plushie version of Hobbes in Bill Watterson’s “Calvin and Hobbes.” Of course in the strip Calvin sees Hobbes as a real (but still adorable) tiger.

Anyway, I got the pattern and followed the steps from this fantastic tutorial on Instructables.

It took me roughly three to four weekends to finish Hobbes – mostly because I was sewing it by hand and because I had to redo some of the parts, like attaching and reattaching the arms and the legs.

The pattern pieces traced and cut out of felt. With bonus felt duckie and real-life kitty!

I started with Hobbes’ body and muzzle.

Since I made it from polyester felt (wool felt is again, rare here in my country), it didn’t turn out huggable. It was actually too stiff. But since my brother wasn’t going to cuddle with it (at least I think he won’t o_o;), I thought it turned out okay.

Plotting out the stripes on Hobbes’ body, back of the head, and limbs.

Almost done — the stripes needed to be attached, as well as his tail.

As with most of my projects, I will make another Hobbes, this time for my one-year old nephew, who loves tigers. And hands down, Hobbes is the best fictional tiger around šŸ™‚ Of course, some changes would be in order:

1. Softer fabric. I bought a medium weight cotton fabric known locally as “pranella” and is often used as a rag or for wiping mirrors and eyeglasses. Those little squares of soft fabric that comes with a new pair of eyeglasses from the eye doctor? Yeah, that’s the fabric I’m talking about. Since it comes in very limited colors, I’ve dyed half a yard of white fabric a bright orange.

2. Use a sewing machine. Felt is actually quite forgiving – it holds up really well to hand sewing (and to ripping and resewing seams), and doesn’t show uneven stitches too much. But I don’t think it would be the same with the cotton pranella fabric. So a sewing machine it is (maybe I’ll borrow my grandmother’s Singer again, or who knows, maybe I’d be able to save enough and buy my own new sewing machine soon ^_^).

3. Use a new pattern or modify the one I used. Much as I love the pattern I used, and am eternally grateful for it, the prospect of struggling with attaching the arms and legs again is not appealing. I’ve been thinking about how I could modify the pattern so that the limbs are attached to the body pieces. I’m also scouring for alternative patterns for the body as well. Haven’t found one I’s satisfied with, though. But I don’t know — maybe it won’t be such a struggle when using softer fabric versus using felt. I’ll have to practice with a mock -up using the pranella fabric to be sure.

Hobbes with my cat Fry. See Fry show off her umm, skills (She can touch her tongue to her nose!)

Fry approves!

As it is, the Hobbes project still seems like a major undertaking –well not a super MAJOR one — just one I would like to take my time to get right. Unfortunately, lately I haven’t had much time except for furtive practicing of my embroidery stitches while working. Hopefully by the time I get my work station/crafts station fixed (and separated – too many stray threads and fabric scraps littering my computer table!) I can get started with it.

Done! Not bad, eh?

One of the changes I made was the curly tail — the original pattern had a straight tail. I figured the straight tail would stick out awkwardly.

My brother holding Hobbes. He didn’t want his picture taken *rolls eyes* Anyway, I included this photo to show Hobbes’ size.


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