I’d like to introduce y’all to My Friend Funky.
Funky was created quickly one day at my grandparents’ house when I was itching to make a stuffed toy and Grandmother told me, “Well, go up in the attic and get some fabric, and then make you a pattern and I’ll sew it up.” Which is what she usually told me.
So,I scrambled up into the attic(after getting Granddaddy to let down the ladder for me) and promptly raided Grandmother’s immense fabric stash.
She had boxes and boxes of fabric left over from making her own clothes, Easter dresses for me, and various other projects. Most of it was polyester knit stuff, from making her little leisure outfits she wore from the 1960s to the early 1980s. There was also a good bit of cotton from quilting. The fabric I had in mind needed to be white, and maybe something pink or red. I came downstairs with some white polyester knit and some fuschia velour.
Grandaddy got me out some newspaper from the stack in the basement and I set to work on my pattern which was essentially a silhouette of a skinny,gull-like bird. At that time I didn’t understand about making a pattern three-dimensional, and when I drew the foot included in with the body, I thought it would eventually magically split in two and become two feet. I had a lot to learn.
Grandmother laid out my pattern on the white fabric and remembered to give a bit of seam allowance–something I hadn’t grasped yet, either( I was about six or seven).
After she cut out the pieces and sewed them together, we realized my bird still didn’t have enough seam allowance so we opted not to turn the fabric. For this reason he has this odd little halo of extra fabric all around his body outline. I stuffed him with the then-new Polyfil(“Don’t shove it all in at once, Elizabeth, you have to spread the stuffing out first to get the lumps out”), and stared at his blank face.
I didn’t know how to make eyes like I do now, and I really didn’t like the eyes for stuffed animals that craft stores carried, so I asked if Grandmother would stitch some eyes onto my bird. She had me draw a light pencil line for eyes and a mouth, and she patiently embroidered the face you see here.
He isn’t quite symmetrical—his right side is his serious side, while the left side shows a more playful mood.( In the above pic you can see stitching under his throat where constant play raveled the fabric and he needed surgery.)
From the bright velour I cut out two wing shapes and decided to just glue them on, plus a crest shaped exactly like his wings. For some reason Funky’s crest appears to be glued on with some very stout adhesive. And in the above photo, you can of course see his single gimpy foot. I called him Funky after the Funky Chicken dance, but he isn’t a chicken.
Still, it is wonderful to see him again. I played with him a lot and I recall him being the artist in my toys’ adventures. I think it suits him!