Most design work begins with basic shapes: a line, a square, a rectangle, a triangle, and a circle. We layer and combine them, stretch and condense them, cut them up and piece then back together again, but really it all begins here with the shapes we learn to draw and identify as toddlers.
Today I thought I'd play with the circle in a way that sewing really easily affords: using stitches to gather the edges of the circle together.
When I need a circle I use one of these terrific templates:
I bought the green one left at an office supply store, and those clear ones on the right at the fabric store. For big circles I still head to the kitchen for a dinner plate, but it's pretty nifty to have smaller circles in so many gradations right at my fingertips in the studio.
I cut out a palm sized circle from white fleece to begin.
I put a safety eye in the center (see my 2 min. video on how to use those) and then made a running stitch all around the edge. I added a wad of stuffing and pulled the stitches tight to gather the circle. Then I tied off the thread with a double knot.
Then I made one with a smaller pink circle to be a nose and put them on this little guy. I used ladder stitch to sew them in place (here's my 2 min. video on how to ladder stitch).
How fun is that!
Gathered circles are useful for more than just eyes and noses, of course. My free Tiny Kitty pattern uses a gathered circle to create the kitty's head.
If you gather a circle and don't stuff it you can make a fabric yo yo. Check out this clever yo yo bot softie tutorial for some inspiration on making toys with yo yos.
Take some time to play with gathered circles. Every time you play with these elements your design mind opens further and new ideas bloom.