Machine sewing was definitely faster...and that was with all of my troubles using it for what essentially was the first time.
I had some trouble getting the arms attached. My mom sewed the arms on the other puppet for me, and I watched her, but I simply couldn't match what she had done. I have come up with another way that will attach the arms and look seamless from the top, front, back, and sides. The only time you'd see a seam would be if the puppets arms were up and you were looking at what would be it's arm pits. It will also take about 5 seconds to do, instead of a few minutes sewing.
I MAY try to sew the arms on with the sewing machine next time...but I'm not sure if it will work very well. The method I came up with should work just fine and not require any use of needle or thread at all.
I have also toyed with the idea of mounting the arms using buttons or snaps. The method of doing so would essentially hide the button or snap when looking at the puppet, but would allow you to use different arms if you wanted to. I made a different set of arms for the new puppet, so this method would allow the arms to be changed out to the different style whenever you would like. It may also help make moving the arms easier and more natural, as the button or snap would automatically swivel, where as being sewn on doesn't allow much room to swivel. Even with all of this said, I think that the way that I've devised will work perfectly and be the best from both a cost and time stand point.
Also tonight, I worked out the cost of the materials by looking at my materials with them all laid out.
I think it's safe to say that you need one whole yard of fabric to get two puppets. You MIGHT be able to get three out of the yard, but I think you'd be pushing it and you wouldn't have any room for error if you had to rework a piece.
So, you get two puppets out of $5 worth of fleece. I got the fleece on sale, and it was $5 per yard down from $10 per yard. From what I've seen, I will always be able to get that fleece for that price because there are coupons in the Sunday paper for 50% off of JoAnns items every week.
I also was off on my estimate on the foam. You can get two puppets from one half yard of foam if you lay everything out correctly and don't waste it. So that means that for $5 worth of foam you can get two puppets.
So for a total of $10 you can get two puppets...minues eyes and any other little trinkets you want to put on them.
Again, the felt for the mouth is like 29 cents and you would easily be able to get four mouths out of that one piece of felt, so I figure that about 8 cents per puppet for that. The eyes I used for both were 99 cents each. The pieces to mount the eyes to on both were about 50 cents for each set. There is also a piece of hardened felt that you use inside the puppet for some support. That costs 79 cents, but again, you should be able to get about 8 puppets out of one, so about 10 cents each. The hair on Paddy cost $1.99 and would easily be able to get you hair for 50 puppets...so that's really negligible.
So all said and done, I would say each of those puppets that I made used about $7.50 worth of materials, including everything on them. The shirts both cost less than $4, which isn't included in the cost of the materials. All said it would be about $11 per puppet for EVERYTHING including the shirt on his back.
Of course, since they were my first two, it cost considerably MORE than that to make these two...but a lot of that was wasted on parts that didn't come out right and needed to be redone. I also spent money on some pieces that I couldn't end up using because they weren't the right size.
Paddy took me quite a long time to complete. I would say right around 6 total hours. Blip was much quicker. About 4 hours including quite a bit of time struggling with the sewing machine and a good 30 minutes making a pattern for the arms that I wanted to use. Probably another 20 minutes of time reworking the arms that I put on there because they just didn't look right. Add another 20 minutes of that to having to prepare different patterns because the patterns are slightly different sized for hand sewing and machine sewing.
I'm nearly 100% sure that I could probably get one done in about 2 hours...especially if I didn't go crazy on his eyes like I did with Blip and Paddy. If I went more basic with just some buttons or practice golf balls, I would easily be able to get one done in 2 hours. If I went with the basic sleeve body instead of the fancy body, I could probably get them done in an hour.
I'll probably make another one in a few days and go basic on it just to see how quickly I can get it done.