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.
Make something beautiful!