I hope you all had a wonderful holiday! Did Santa bring you what you wanted? Did you at least get a good gift card so you can get it yourself? Hubs was sweet enough to get me a Joann's gift card and my Mom sent me a gift certificate to Urban Threads. It was a very Crafty Christmas.
I also took a couple of days off because I really needed them. I am down to a few custom orders and while I was waiting for fabric to arrive I took advantage of the time to enjoy the hoiday. I didn't go into my studio for two days. It kind of killed me but at the same time it was a nice break. I don't often take the time to sit on the couch and watch TV or flip through magazines or books anymore. It was a good change of pace. They were quilting books and craft magazines but it was nice to finally read them. Although it gave me dozens of other ideas of things I want to work on.
I did spend Christmas Eve making something I wanted to work on and not something I had to work on. Some of you may have seen pics on my Facebook, Instagram or Twitter feeds. If you didn't, you're in luck! Here they come!
I found an adorable pattern from Dolls and Daydreams for a Wednesday Addams doll. And I had to make it! I actually had all of the fabrics I needed here in the house to work up a sample. Including a black and white striped t-shirt for her tights. This is going to be the problem fabric in the future. I've been searching around online and in all of my local shops and I can't find anything like it. I'm going to check some of the thrift stores next. If anyone knows where I can get fabric like this please let me know. I'm also going to try a fabric pen and white cotton to see how it looks if I make my own.
I've never made a doll before so I wasn't too sure about the construction. I found the pattern easy to follow. The mistakes I made in the pattern were only because I didn't follow it exactly. I was able to download a digital pattern from the Dolls and Daydreams website. As a guess I would say Sarah has about 60 patterns, maybe more. The pattern was a PDF and had 29 pages full of instructions and color pictures. I typically only print out pattern pieces to save paper and follow the pattern from a netbook I have in my studio.
The pattern was well put together and after making the doll I can say that it flowed nicely. She rated this pattern on her site as Easy and stated that some very basic beginners sewing skills were required. I would agree with this but there are some curves in the sewing that some beginners might not be comfortable with. There are a lot of tips in the pattern and even more on Sarah's blog.
There were several suggestions on making the dolls face from painting, machine stitich and hand embroidery. Hand embroidery seemed to be the recommended method. I, however, uploaded the doll's face into my embroidery digitizing program and created an embroidery file for her face. It was easy for me to do and came out really adorable!
I decided to cut out multiple pieces in case I (1) messed up and (2) wanted to try another sample. If you've never made a doll before I will tell you this - they have A LOT of pieces. By A LOT I mean....A LOT! And I did it 4x. This wasn't a smart use of my time. Next time....cut one, sew one. I don't often make a mistake that I can't pick the stitches out of and fix but I worry and I like a good finished product.
Mistake number one was braiding and sewing her hair too soon. You'll see why at the end.
Mistake number two was overstuffing her arms and legs. Why? Well the problem wasn't that her arms stuck out at the end, which they did....they problem was that when she was inside out there was very little room to manipulate her limbs so that I could sew a proper seam. I actually liked the finished look of the limbs but if I keep doing them that way then I will need to make the body slightly larger and move the flipping/stuffing seam to another part of the body. As it is on the pattern it is on the side of the body under one arm. It was also pretty hard to turn her right-side-out with fat arms and legs.
Here she is all folded up just before I put the back on and attempted to attach it.
And here she is all finished and stuffed!
At this point it was about 3am on Christmas morning and I was sleepy. So as I was sewing the ladder stitch to close her up I realized I forgot to snip the curves on her head. That's why it looks all lumpy and rippled at the top. Let that be a lesson to anyone who thinks snipping curves isn't important! (FYI- did you just say "Whats a ladder stitch?" Sarah teaches you in a tutorial on her blog!)
Tip: I use pinking shears to snip my curves. It goes much faster than doing each one by hand and it's easier for me to control my distance from the seam.
Now you can see what I was mentioned about her hair. Because I braided and stitched her hair first I had no control over the braids after she was put together so they stick out Pippi Longstocking style. Still cute but not Wednesday.
I am going to make a couple of changes in the future. I am switching a few of the materials. I used craft felt for her hair because that's what I had on hand and it definitely needs to be wool felt. Even for a piece that won't be played with it just isn't durable. And it sheds a lot. I think my lungs might be coated in acrylic felt. I did pick up some wool felt at my local quilt shop. Sarah's pattern does recommend wool felt.
I interfaced the cotton pieces with SF101 and that just wasn't necessary. I think it does need an interfacing but SF101 made it a little stiffer than I liked. I am going to use my favorite alternate Pellon 987F. The slight loft of it will help the fabric move in more of a floppy doll way. The SF101 on her face just made it very tight and when I was stuffing she started to look like she'd been going to Joan Rivers plastic surgeon.
As you can see from the pattern, I did not use plastic buttons on her dress. Why? They seemed to harden up the look. I went with felt pieces and I liked the look of them better. I also think it makes it a little more kid friendly.
And since it was 3am I didn't sew her shoes but they are a very simple construction and I am not concerned with them being a problem.
Overall, I really loved working with the pattern from Dolls and Daydreams. They are a little pricey for a pattern at $12.99. Even for purses I don't typically spend more than $10 for a PDF pattern. But she was just so adorable I couldn't pass it up. And one I started making it and saw there were step-by-step pictures and fool proof (but not for me) instructions I was okay with the price. A lot of hard work went into making pattern that anyone can use and it shows. Had I read through the entre pattern first, followed all of her instructions and taken her fabric suggestions into account I feel I would have had zero problems.
Will I be buying more Dolls and Daydreams patterns? Absolutely. I just counted up my list that I made the other day and there are at least 17 other patterns of hers I want to make.
I hope to have some Wednesday Addams dolls for you all in the shop by mid-January! I want to try another sample before I list anything.