Friday, February 15, 2013

Nancy Drew - mystery blocks

Thank you for visiting my blog today!  I have never participated in a blog hop, but I was inspired by the Nancy Drew fabric line, so I jumped right in.

I have had a shifting-block toy in my classroom for many years--advertisement for a textbook company; made out of laminated wood--and I always wanted to see if I could make a fabric version of it.  I imagined being able to fussy-cut specific fabrics to show off a particular design on the three interior surfaces, then cloaking the exterior in something different to camouflage the wonder hidden within.

Doesn't that sound like a mystery?  Couldn't you imagine a hidden clue in the center?

So, I made some prototypes: covered a single foam block in random scrap fabrics, just to check for what size to cut, and how much room needed to be left open to squeeze the block in before hand-stitching it closed.  (Too much ease, it needs a tighter fit to work well.)

Second prototype: got the shop teacher at the high school to cut up a sheet of foam (from JoAnn's) into beautiful cubes for me.  Worked furiously on figuring out how to cut and assemble fabrics to fit around the cubes, then figuring out how to make it move.  Decided--due to the extremely complex nature of the beast--to hand stitch all the seams.  Oh, silly, silly me!  Hand stitching is SO not my thing.  There it sits, even now.

But I had done my research.  I had made my mistakes on the prototypes and adjusted accordingly.  I was ready for the treasured Nancy Drew fabrics.

Bought a charm pack of Nancy Drew, sight unseen.  I have never worked with a charm pack before, and couldn't tell on the website what the scale of the various fabrics was.  I was most concerned with the size of the silhouettes, as I wanted to feature them (or one of the book covers) on the interior faces.  I even considered changing the size of my foam blocks (and ordering a layer cake instead of charms), just in case.  But I beat back the perfectionist demons, and forged ahead with the plan for 2" finished blocks (which makes a 4" overall cube).

The unveiling:  since this project moves, I wanted to show you a video of it in action.  (Many thanks to the electronic media class at my high school--you can check out some of their amazing editing work on YouTube).

There are SIX exterior surfaces and three interior scenes.  I wanted the interiors to be fussy cut, but had the limitation of the charm squares. 

It's all good, eh?  Done is beautiful.
My LQS wants me to write up the instructions for this project, but I can't even imagine how.  I might consider teaching it as a class.  If I ever venture out of my high school classroom, that is...

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