Today I’m going to be taking you through another one of my lockdown sewing projects! This is definitely my most intensive hand-sewing project I have every undertaken and took me somewhere over 60+ hours to complete. I started this project around May-June and it took me until January to complete, granted I wasn’t working on it that whole time, but it was still many months of effort.
So I initially undertook this project because I was so inspired by Miss Hero Holiday’s novelty felt circle skirts. She pumps them out like nobody’s business! After chatting to her for a while she recommended me some places to source felt sheets so I thought, what the heck? It seemed like a great lockdown project and I got to work on thinking an idea up. Of course like so many others, I found a lot of solace and comfort in Animal Crossing: New Horizons – the latest installment in the Animal Crossing game series. This is a series I have played for a number of years and I was eagerly anticipating the latest game.
So to start with I did some rough sketching on paper, figuring out what sizes I was going to want the basic outlines of each character’s head to be. Next I started a few detailed sketches at full size of a few of the creatures so I could measure the individual parts to the face such as ears, eyes, blush, mouth and came up with some approximate sizes. Next came to tabling these all into a spreadsheet. This took a few days of work making all my calculations and figuring out which colours of felt I was going to use for each one. I’ve included a couple of screenshots below of a couple of pages from my workbook so you can see what a calculative mess it was.
The creator of the Animal Crossing series Tatsuya Eguchi originally came up with the idea for the came when he moved from the Japanese countryside into Kyoto. He found the experience lonely and wanted to create the sense of ‘family, friendship and community’, which lead to Animal Crossing – a game in which you play a character inhabiting a town with small, styilised animals. As someone who had recently moved to London where I had no friends or family, the game was such a lifeline. Almost everyone I knew still resided in New Zealand which has about a 12hr time zone difference so there was never anyone I could chat to during the day. Throughout lockdown this took a definite toll on me.
But Animal Crossing: New Horizons also helped me build friendships as a few of the NZ pinups made a group chat for the game and when we were all around at the same time would meet up and visit each other’s islands. At the time of writing this I have over 630 hours of gameplay in it, so it’s really helped my pass the time over the past year.
My partner took these photos at our local park and I love how the nursery behind me looks just like one of the buildings from the game!
I undertook this project entirely by hand. Though I did have a sewing machine for some of the time I really wanted to stitch it in a way that the edges of the shapes were caught by the thread. I also wanted that extra level of precision as a lot of the shapes were very small and fiddly, if I had had to unpick something that was machine stitched it would potentially ruin the felt too and I would have to cut a new piece.
The characters I chose were some of my previous villagers – from games both past and present, as well as some of my ‘dream’ villagers I would like to have one day. It’s an interesting kind of mix, and a little bit embarassing as about half of them are cats! I posted the skirt to Reddit and I absolutely loved seeing people spot their favourite villagers and get so excited. Many of my favourites are not the most popular so it was nice to have a community who loved and supported my garment and also shared my favourite characters. You really do bond with these virtual animals and with the interaction and dialogue in the latest game they really do feel like friends.
I didn’t want to go with a solid black or white skirt base since I knew so many of the characters were those colours. The grass texture from the game is hugely iconic so I picked a green base inspired by it and decided do to decorative triangles reminiscent of the textures. I had intended to do a big triangluar pocket but I lost my scraps – I have found them now so will fix this at some point.
I also chose to make the entire piece out of 100% wool felt. This is definitely a lot more expensive than polyester felt but I’m wanting to use more natural fibres in my sewing at the moment. I also selected as many colours as I could that were organically dyed.
I have to say I am so happy with how this turned out! It’s probably one of the things I’m most proud of sewing ever! I’m definitely thinking up new felt skirt ideas at the moment, and some are still Animal Crossing themed. Now that I’m in New Zealand and it’s summer I want to take some better photos of this skirt and some overhead ones to show off the full circle of it.
After some time off and a change of country I’m hoping to try getting back into blogging but it make take some time, but stay tuned! I’m also posting to my Instagram and YouTube channel so make sure you’re following me there as well!