Monday, 23 July 2012

Totoro Cushions

If you don’t love Totoro, it’s either because you don’t know him or because you are a dementor. If you don’t know him, Totoro is the eponymous neighbour of “My Neighbour Totoro” an 80s animated film of loveliness by Studio Ghibli (makers of Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving  Castle). Despite his inexplicable appearance, massive teeth and penchant for speaking only in earth-rumbling roars, Totoro is a kindly creature who befriends little Mei and her sister Satsuki at a difficult time when their mother is sick in a faraway hospital.

I am not a dementor, so I love Totoro. The first time I saw the film, I was with my good friend Pete. Prior to watching, we were angrily ranting about something (as we often are) but the film's pacifying effect diffused all rage and left us in a state that can only be described as 'Totorific'.

My love for Totoro has not diminished since that day and he has even aided me in my quest for love. I knew I was onto a winner the first time I went to my boyfriend’s flat and saw that he had a picture of the rotund, grey, roar-meister displayed on his wall, almost like an official seal of approval from Totoro himself. I have since bonded with others over a love of Totoro, introducing the film to my friends Louise and Juliet (Louliet), over sushi. Nat is another fan whose baby daughter received an awesome Totoro rattle after our trip to Japan. So I knew that Totoro on a cushion would go down a treat as gifts for Louliet and Nat.

Totoro was made by tracing his picture (found on google images) onto fusible web iron-on applique paper, ironing the paper onto different coloured felt and cutting out felt shapes to make up his body.  The beige cushion is from Argos. The green gingham cushion was made up of padding (again from Argos) and a cover created myself by following the instructions on this helpful youtube video.

Ironing the pieces of Totoro’s body into place I then hand stitched around them. I probably should have used a blanket stitch, but I didn’t.  I made tiny stitches in white to create the glint in his eye. The hand stitching was pretty time-consuming but fun and I think the recipients of the Totoro cushions were pleased!

If you are a dementor and/or you do not want to adorn a cushion with Totoro, there are plenty other things that would look great on a cushion; musicians, cartoon characters, budgies or perhaps a gaggle of dementors would look right at home on your sofa?

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