Monday, September 23, 2013

Rice Children: Bean Bags with Character

Doc(tor Who) Pile!

Just the other night, my friends and I had ourselves a good old fashioned sewing bee... with a nerdy twist. No quilts or costumes this time, but Rice Children, the adorable little bean bags with personality. Beyond filling your cuteness quota, these rice-filled cuties can also be popped into the freezer or microwave to comfort your aches or warm your fingers, just like any rice bag. Thanks to their utter adorableness, they just might also warm your heart (or hearts if you're a Timelord).

Children of the Rice

The pattern for the basic rice child is super simple: two vaguely butterfly-shaped pieces of fabric for the body (front and back) and two stemmed circles for the head (one face, one hair). Extra pieces could be included at your whim for hair, ears, tail, etc. but that's really about it. The adipose seen above are even simpler, but we'll get to that later.

Pika Pieces

Using this Pikachu-in-progress as an example, you can see the butterfly-esque pattern piece for the body of your standard Rice Child and the stemmed circle head pieces up top. Depending on how detailed you want to be with your character, you can draw on the fabric or sew some accents on with buttons, felt or embroidery, like the stripes on Pikachu's back.

Pieced together.
For a basic Rice Child face, I like to draw two chibi eyes and leave it at that, as it seems to yield max adorability. You can also add a nose, mouth, facial hair or markings depending on what you prefer. As for hairstyles, felt or fleece work wonderfully since you can cut out whatever shapes you want and not have to worry about it fraying. 

To attach the hairstyles, ears or hats, simply place the felt pieces on top of the face as seen above, top with the back-of-head hair circle and sew (make sure to leave an opening at the neck). When you turn the sewn head right side out, the hair should be in place!

"It's a me, Luigi!" "Sweeeeet!"

If you have a character with long hair like Princess Peach, it's a lot easier to hand sew the extensions on after you've sewn the head together, but before adding rice. If the short and/or spiky hair, hats and ears aren't working out the machine sewing way, you can always use this method to attach those troublesome pieces.

Turning right side out is no easy feat!
When sewing the head together, I highly recommend reinforcing your starting and ending stitches, as they will be stressed when you turn it inside out. Same goes for the body, and again make sure to leave an opening at the neck. Layer the body pieces together with the front of the fabric facing in, then start on one shoulder, sew down around the body and stop at the other shoulder, leaving about an inch or so gap in between. 

At the filling station.
Once both the body and the head are sewn and turned inside out, it's time to fill them with rice. It's important not to overfill lest it becomes impossible to sew the head and body together OR the Rice Child is so dense it is no longer soft and squishy, but rather brick-like and uncuddlable. To test rice fullness, try pressing your fingers over the opening and seeing if the head or body are able to flop around a bit, while still maintaining basic posture. If so, get ready to sew!

Pikachu's tail was sewn on the side, between the body pieces.

Tuck the neck of the rice child into the body and fold the edges of the body fabric in to avoid raw edges. With a swift swipe of the sewing machine (or a more careful stitching by hand), you now have yourself a rice child! Try different techniques and styles to make some characters with your own personality!

Mickey Mouse had his tail sewn in the back, twixt top and bottom.
Since this was a multi-nerd sewing extravaganza, it's important to note that credit is not mine for all these cute little Rice Children. Pikachu and Batman are courtesy of Kirstie. Naruto, Luigi and Princess Peach are Megan's handiwork. Ben went off the map and made an ALIEN, while Stewart showed his craftsmanship with a very in depth Mikasa Ackerman (still in progress). All the rest - 9th, 10th & 11th Doctors, Roxas, Cloud, Rachel and Mickey Mouse - are from me! 

9, 10 & 11... can't wait for 12!

But wait, there's more! In the midst of our nerdy banter, someone brought up the adorable Doctor Who alien babies known as the Adipose. Once it was said, there was no going back. I had to make a herd of alien fat. 

Flat fat!

Since they were so simple, it barely took half an hour for all seven of them. If you want to make an Adipose of your own, these guys only need two gumdrop/ghost shaped pieces of white fabric for their bodies, plus four little rectangles of white felt for their hands and feet. Like with any Rice Child, draw a cute face and fill with rice. Just don't forget to tuck the appendages into the sides when sewing!


Sew sweet! And speaking of Alien Rice Children modifications...

Hug me!