Again with the Old News!

[Part III and final installment: Puppet Theater Recap]

I keep waiting to post this, thinking I’ll get better shots, but it hasn’t happened so far so I’m just forging ahead. It’s hard to get a good shot of a puppet theater!

You may recall my picture of Christmas morning at our house:

Possibly my favoritest reaction to a present, ever. (behind the puppet theater are My Old Man and his brothers, putting on a show). It made the time I spent on this TOTALLY worth it.

As far as crafted presents go, though, this one really didn’t take that much time. It’s from Amy Karol’s book Bend-the-Rules Sewing, and she indicates that it’s not hard, just tedious because of all the straight-line sewing. She suggests spreading it out over a few days to avoid burnout. But you know me better than that by now, right? Spreading it out over a few days requires not waiting until the last possible minute to get the thing done. I did do my cutting four days before Christmas, and I think I may have sewn one line or two on the 23rd. But everything else was left for Christmas Eve. Complicated, no. Tedious, yes. Straight lines are not my friend, y’all.

Still I managed. And even in the tedium of all the long straight lines, there was excitement over making my boys something that will stoke their creativity and cooperation. The woman who cut my fabric at Joann’s was very complimentary of my choice of crafted gift. [Did you know that the people who cut your fabric at Joann’s are required to ask you what you’re working on?!? I did not know that till recently. I was always pleased with how interested and encouraging they seemed to be. Yes, I am a marketer’s dream. Just show a little bit of interest in me, and I will buy whatever you are selling.]

pattern: Puppet Theater with Matching Case
from Bend-the-Rules Sewing, by Amy Karol
(wish I had a pic of the matching case to show you, because it is SO cute, especially with the big ol’ button holding it closed)
fabric: basic cotton from Joann’s (where they really want to know what I’m working on! really!)
notions: pompom trim (LOVE!), twill tape, bias trim, ribbon, dowels (shown in picture above before the dowels were cut to the right size), tension rod
made: mostly on December 24th
modifications: none intentionally. I did have to use bias trim as my curtain tie-backs because I forgot to buy ribbon. And the store didn’t carry 2-inch wide twill tape, so I used 1 1/2-inch wide plain ribbon (it’s to hold the dowels in place and is not visible)
note: If you make this, do not skip the dowels. They are pretty crucial to holding things in place the right way when it is hung in a doorway. Otherwise, the theater will be a lumpy, depressing mess. The pattern is very straightforward, with one very small quibble. I don’t like it when a pattern gives you directions by telling you which fabric to use – as in “cut the green floral fabric” and “hem the pink paisley fabric.” If you chose different fabrics, as I did, you have to keep going back and reminding yourself what’s what, as in: “green floral fabric, oh, that’s the valance, and I am using plain red fabric for the valance.” Why not just indicate “valance fabric,” “background fabric,” “curtain fabric” instead? I think it would be pretty unusual for someone to follow a pattern like this and use the same fabrics, so I really don’t understand why designers do this.
verdict: Totally love it. This is a great gift, and not hard to make. It is inexpensive and easy enough to make that I could easily see making this for my boys to take to birthday parties in the future. Knit or sew a few puppets and you have a whole little gift set (fortunately, on this count, I listened to My Old Man and chose to buy puppets for our boys instead. Ah, sanity, it is so lovely when you win!). I’ve seen lots of puppet theaters for sale in toys catalogs lately, and they are unbelievably pricey. This is a great alternative – and much more charming since it’s handmade.

puppet theater, detail

background fabric – love this!

Mr. Wizard prepares for a show

12 thoughts on “Again with the Old News!

  1. Hmm, I can’t remember ever being asked what I’m making at Joann’s.

    I love the way the theater came out, and more than the pictures in the book yours makes me want to make one. (Could that sentence be any more awkward?) Maybe if I start it now I’ll finish it by next Christmas.

  2. Awesome! This is one of the projects I definitely want to sew.

    Weird about the Joann’s thing. If I go during a weekday there is always the same lady that cuts my fabric, and she always asks what I’m working on. She’s been there for years and is always remarking on how big the kids are, they grow so fast, yada yada. I thought she was really interested….oh, well.

  3. the expression on your son’s face is just priceless! I just read that about Joann’s workers being required to ask about what you’re making on ravelry. Now it makes me not so excited to tell them because I know they really don’t care…

  4. SO cute. Love it, must make one.
    Wow, that’s funny about JoAnne’s. They always do ask! And I just thought they were nosey!

  5. What a wonderful theatre. The colors you chose, especially the dark stripes, look theatrical, if you know what I mean. Excellent work. And hey, sometimes a bunch of straight sewing lines aren’t bad. Zone out. Enjoy it.

  6. I know from working at Michaels here in Canada, that the asking what you’re making has something to do with taxes. It’s been years since I worked there, so I can’t quite remember, but I think if you were making a garment, you weren’t taxed…. it could be the other way around though.

  7. That is GREAT! What an awesome present! I wish I was 5 and someone would give me that….Ok, yes, that means I should go make one for a 5-year-old. Right.

  8. Here in Massachusetts, there is no tax on fabric being purchased to make clothing, and tax IS applied for any other use. So, at Joann’s they ask so that they properly tax you, or not, so I always just say “clothing!” with a smile on my face no matter what I’m buying (although I haven’t tried claiming that when buying interfacing 😉 )

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