Sunday, March 20, 2016

Still Sewing

Still sewing - not much time to tell about it.

Since my last post I've completed an Elizabethan Jacket for my sister's Mardi Gras costume, a quilted zip around pocket organizer (which I hate and gave away), lots of sachets (Christmas gifts), 4 Roman shades for my living room, repeated repairs to my sofa slipcovers (due to puppy), a gorgeous pair of retro satin pajamas and more I can't remember. 

What motivated me to post, however, is starting (actually re-starting) another doll.  This one is a vintage pattern - 1930s or 1940s I think - called "Rainy Day Girl." She's got the beautiful sculpted head like other dolls I've made.  I started her about 2 years ago and she's been sitting one-eyed in a coffee mug by sewing machine ever since.

My son has voiced his concern over the creep factor.  I finally picked her back up today, the goal being to give her a second eye.

I love sewing - most every kind of sewing - but there is something about making a doll that is more.  I love the hand work.  It's very slow (2nd eye took a little less than an hour) but I never feel anxious or bored or like I need to move on.  It's a creation that's different from clothes or crafts or window treatments.

I keep the doll in my lap while I stitch.  I think it's lovely and I get very attached to it as it begins to take shape.  I did look down at one point, though, and think it must look a little Franken-creepy to an observer.  See photo below:

 I don't think I've done a very detailed post on embroidering doll faces yet - I'd point you to Jill Haymor's Storybook Toys book first, but here are a couple tips:

  • Mark your facial features with water-soluble marker
  • Cut a much longer length of embroidery thread than you'll think you'll need
  • Use one strand - it gives you better control and detail even though it takes longer
  • Use a doll needle (big, long 2 or 3 inch needle) to bring it through the back of the head to ear.
  • Sew a tack stitch at the ear and then bring through to the face.  Switch to your embroidery needle.
  • Be careful to stop embroidering while you still have a long enough length of floss to finish through the ear and back of the head like you started.
  • Pull up slightly on the threads at the back of the head and snip them flush.  They'll disappear into the doll.
Now, sweet Agatha (yes, she's got a name now) has to lovely pale blue eyes with flecks of gold.  Pupils to come.

Make something beautiful!