The doudou disguised as a napkin : W.I.P. Wednesday

After being a bit over-zealous in the furniture-lifting department I hurt my traps last week, which meant not much blogging, knitting or much of any activity.  They are feeling better now, though, which is good, because as you’ve noticed I’m out of pre-written posts – I’m blogging by the seat of my pants!

Some of you might be wondering what a doudou is.  In French, a doudou is an object of substitution children use to feel secure when apart from their parents : a blankie, stuffed animal, dolly, etc.  I’m pretty sure you’ve worked out “napkin” for yourselves.

The French school day is a bit longer than in many other countries :  5-year-old Guppy’s classes begin at 9 a.m., she has a two-hour lunch break from noon to 2 p.m., then classes until 5 p.m.  (Some children stay at the after-school programme /day care, making it an even-longer affair).  Though it hasn’t always been the case, I’ve been able to fetch Guppy and she’s had lunch at home with us since September, which she loves.  It’s much calmer, and she gets to read or play in her room (or snuggle her mamafish).

This is going to change, however, and she’s going to be eating once a week at la canteen or school cafeteria, much to her chagrin.  Her response to the announcement was, “but Mumma, I love you too much – that’s too many hours!”.   There’s no way around it, however, even if it’s hard to see your kiddo in distress.

So what do you do?

You make a doudou!

But shhhh!  It’s a secret doudou, don’t tell anyone!

The children bring a cloth napkin on the days they eat at the cafeteria, so I’m getting all Jamie Bond and making her what appears to be a napkin, but in reality, it is a secret, soft and reassuring doudou.

I’ve embroidered her name, and she picked out a few designs she wanted to  use to embellish it.  The above poodle is from the Stitch-it-Kit which has lots of cute retro designs I never use, but because I wanted to empower the Gup I handed her the box of transfers and let her pick out what she wanted (so glad she didn’t go with the hula girl).

The napkin will be made of two layers of fabric : a cotton twill, functional but cute (it has flowers on it, she picked it out) and the other side (the doudou side) is soft pink flannel I cut from one of her receiving blankets.  I assured her I would put lots of extra love between the two layers so that if she starts to have a gros chagrin (wave of sadness) she can give it a squeeze and she’ll feel better (I strongly suggest adding extra love if you’re trying this at home.  A little love is good, but not potent enough).

I just started it last night, so I haven’t finished yet, but I’ll show you next week…if you promise to keep this under wraps!  We don’t want any unnecessary teasing at school now, do we?

Do you have any new W.I.P.s in the works? We would love to see what you’re up to! Snap a shot of your  “in progress” masterpiece and add it to the  W.I.P. Wednesday Flickr Pool. Whatever your works-in-progress, have a crafty week, and don’t forget to see what the other Wipsters are working on.

W.I.P. Wednesday – One busy bunny!


With only three weeks left until les grandes vacances or summer vacation, things are a wee bit crazy. Trying to wrap up this year, and prepare for summer workshops, get together appreciation gifts and just the general craziness of life is upon me. I’m so affected by the weather, and with it raining every day for what seems like an eternity doesn’t help.* Seems like when the sun is shining and it’s warm I’m twice as productive…are your batteries solar powered, too?

Remember when I drafted this pattern for Betty Bunny? Guppy brought Betty to school as her nap-time doudou, and her teacher loved it! She asked me where I bought it because she wanted one for her daughter; feeling thrilled, incredulous and blushing, I admitted that I had made the stuffed animal myself. Her teacher continued to gush, and said more than once that she would love to have a bunny like that for her little girl, but because of my inability to sell myself, that was the end of the conversation.

Bunny Face

Monsieur Fish scolded me when I related the story, asking me why on earth I didn’t offer to make one for Guppy’s Teacher (known here on in as GT) and sell it to her. I wanted to, but this was indeed the first time this had happened to me and I didn’t know how to react. I wanted to offer to make her one, but didn’t know how much to charge, honestly. I’d not payed attention to how much time it took me, and had no idea how to add up the cost of materials, etc.

W.I.P. Bunnies...

I let a few weeks past, but every time I saw that bunny I would inwardly cringe. I didn’t want to let an opportunity pass me by, but wasn’t sure how to approach it, so I made a bit of a compromise. The next time I saw GT I nonchalantly said that if she had some fabric that she liked, I could make a bunny for her. I reasoned that since I wasn’t sure about charging her, if she supplied the fabric, then I could chalk up the labour as some free advertising for potential future bunnies. The only problem? She loved the brown corduroy I used and wanted that. Sigh.

New lapinou

In the end, she brought me about 2 meters of fabric she’d chosen for the bunny’s body, and I told her I would try to scrape up enough corduroy to do the rest (knowing I didn’t have much left). She loved it, and it really gave me some confidence as to my sewing skills, because I can see that possibly opening an Etsy shop next year could be a reality. I still have tons of work to do researching how to do pricing, etc., but it’s a good feeling.

new lapinou...

This is the one I gave to GT. The “in progress” bunnies above are still not finished, but I would like to get them done before my mojo is gone. I need to raid my stash to find fabric for their arms and legs as my brown corduroy is gone…I’d also like to make some less girly ones…so much I want to do!

Have you managed to get any lingering W.I.P.s finished up? Whatever your works-in-progress, have a crafty week, and don’t forget to see what the other Wipsters are up to, and to check out our W.I.P. Wednesday Flickr Pool, too.


*Ever since the canicule (heat wave) we had here in 2003, the weather has just been haywire. Even the summer of 2004 was more normal, with bright sunny skies for most of June, July, August and the beginning of September. Now, it just seems to rain all the time. Thanks global warming.