Sunday, February 5, 2012

Puppet Theatre

In a moment of desperation for something to read during lunch one day in December, I picked up   Liesl Gibson's "Oliver + S: Little Things to Sew."   It was a total impulse buy and it was not on sale at all.  Flipping through it over my meal, I almost had buyer's remorse.  There didn't seem to be a whole lot in the book that I felt compelled to make...and then I came upon the last pattern in the book:  a puppet theatre.  

It was so awesome and as soon as I saw it, I knew that I wanted to make it for my little neighbor friend's fifth birthday in February.  So a week before her birthday I started gathering the supplies and reading through the pattern to prepare myself for the project.  I didn't expect that it would take too long to sew the thing up, but I have a bit of a physical ailment lately:  swollen feet from pregnancy.  Horrid stuff.  I can only sew for one to two, maybe three, hours at a time before my feet start to feel like bloated corpses and I need to elevate them.  So yeah, with these restrictions, what would have taken me a night of two of some dedicated, hard-core sewing, took me about a week with a little here and there.

Anyway, it was a great pattern.  Super easy directions.  My measurements were off a few times, but I blame that on my immobility and the fact that I hate measuring. Luckily, the miscalculations were not that significant.  The backing is made of painter's canvas.  I still have enough to make one (maybe two) more puppet theatres. Besides the backing, I only needed to purchase the dowels for the top and bottom of the window, the shower curtain extension rod, twill tape, and some fusible web interfacing.  The rest of the fabric I had sitting around in my craft room.
The theatre did not fit in any of our doorways, so I suspended it at the top of the stairs for the photo shoot.   I've had the house fabric for ages, but with only a yard of it, I had to choose a different roofing fabric.  I thought the gray pinstripes looked pretty good with the blue.  The curtain fabric is a sweet little floral calico, but I could never think of anything to do with it--as clothing it would just seem too Little House.

And do you see that little speck in the window?
It's a hummingbird!
 I found these little handpainted buttons at Treadle Yard Goods and fell in love with them.  They are made by Susan Clarke Originals.  Look how cute they are!  They had so many different birds, butterflies, ladybugs, but these hummingbirds were just perfect for the little theatre.  I saved one bird for any future puppet house windows I may make.  
 Also check out those window box florals.  So perfect!  The example photo in the book had plain green fabric with button embellishments to represent the flowers, but I didn't have the time to sort through my buttons and I was pretty sure I didn't have any teeny tiny buttons and there were definitely no tiny flower buttons in my collection.

I did, however, have this fabulous marble ball button for a doorknob:
 So there you have it.  The theatre was a big hit with the birthday gal.  She gave us a "live action puppetry" show with some fun animal puppets her mom had given her as gifts.  And because I cannot resist, here is Mr. Parker in all of his thespian glory.
I also keep thinking of other house designs...or what about a castle design?  With a little drawbridge and some turrets?  Or a circus tent design?  Fun stuff!

And now we turn back to our regularly scheduled programming of "Sewing for Baby."  With three weeks to go, I better get moving!


  1. One thing you don't know Rachel. that round button doorknob is from leftover from an outfit I made you and sissy when you were little. So...35 years later, the button comes around again. It is awesome. I'm sure little neighbor girl loved it. You did an excellent job. Onward and upward to baby stuff

    1. I did not realize that button had a history! Good to know. I still have a number of them rolling around in my button jar, so maybe they will to continue to find new lives.

  2. Amazing Rachel!!! Just wow! I have no words for your crazy good sewing skills. LOVE it!

    1. Thank you!! All straight lines, Mel, and stickum with the fusible web! You could do it too!!

  3. this is so awesome, i love it! and the kitty shot is adorable :)

  4. Hi Rachel - I responded to your question about the Butterick Diaper Bag over at my blog. If you still have problems, feel free to shoot me an email at Clio[dot]Phineas[at]gmail[dot]com and I'll do my best. Happy Sewing!