A Month of Reviews

I decided that last week was the time to finally start addressing the “elephant in the room” aka, my fabric stash.  Everything I make this month will START with my stash and I am challenging myself to make it END that way as well.  Who am I kidding…I will need to buy more fabric at some point.  No project is complete without a fresh item for trim.  Plus, I know I have at least one dress planned that will require me to purchase tulle which I don’t have (because I believe it’s the devil).

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The girls cutting, prepping, and sewing.

Along those lines, I started teaching my girls to sew this week!  Actually, I realized I could only teach one kid at a time, so we all started and then I chose to break them up.  So, my oldest is who I worked with this week.  She did exceptionally well and took to sewing like she’d been doing it for a while.  I’m so proud of her and happy that she will learn a useful skill.  Right now, her sole purpose seems to be encouraging me to buy more fabric because “that’s soo cute”, and “I want to make a bear for…(insert random friend here)”.  Her accomplishments this week were:

  • Making her first doll
  • Making a hat
  • Cutting her own fabric
  • Sewing her own pieces
  • Threading her machine and winding a bobbin
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Her projects. She also made a bonnet which is a gift for a friend so no photos.

All in all, I don’t think we did too bad for the week.  She and her sister also made 8 tote bags for their friends and gave them out.  They’re so happy when they can make gifts for others and I absolutely LOVE that about them!

This Week’s Review

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We have company!  Looks like he's shopping for his sisters :)
We have company! Looks like he’s shopping for his sisters 🙂

I don’t know who of you remembers my You’re Not Creative post from a while ago, but the book that started my obsession with dolls was a book by Tone Finnanger.  The Tilda dolls are so easy, unique and always seem fresh when you look at them.  Her Tilda’s Toy Box book was my most coveted crafting book for MONTHS!!  I couldn’t find it anywhere and searched forever.  Then, I realized that it hadn’t even been released yet, and died a little inside.  Since I needed to buy that book right away, I pre-ordered a copy on Amazon.  It was slated to come in a few months later.  Next thing I know, Amazon didn’t have it, the book was delayed.  I felt crushed, there was nowhere to get it in the States and I desperately wanted to get my hands on those patterns.  Finally, I found it and ordered it from overseas.  I got my book within 2 weeks and…let it sit for months longer before I braved the pattern.  Here are my thoughts:

The Nitty Gritty

Pattern Description:

The pattern is for creating a cloth doll.  Her clothes and accessories are all included as templates and her hair and face are painted on.

Pattern Sizing:

Ha!  I thought since this was a doll pattern there wouldn’t be sizing, however, there is the pattern for the doll and then one for the doll’s “doll”.  So cute 🙂

Did it look like the photo/drawing one you were done sewing it?

Yes!  The end result was pretty similar save for a few issues with my “blush” application

Were the instructions easy to follow?

Yes and no.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

Here’s where I start to become disenchanted with these dolls.  While her patterns/designs are undeniably sweet, gorgeous, beautiful…, I always find the patterns lacking.

  • I never get used to patterns NOT having the seam allowance included.  This bugs me more than it should.  But, if your pattern doesn’t include it, I feel it should be clearly stated on any pages where there are templates and directions.
  • On pg. 26, there is a glaring error in sizing for the bottom portion of the dress.  Stated: 20 x 251/2″ or 52 x 6.5cm.  Something didn’t add up and had I followed those directions I would have ended up with a massive skirt.
  • This is more of a personal issue than anything wrong with the pattern, but those arms.  Ugh, I could have screamed!!  Stuffing and stitching those arms was a nightmare.  Then, attaching the legs drove me batty.  Next time, I will sew the arms and legs into the side seams and leave an opening on the body.
  • The apron dress back had directions to only cut 2, you actually need 4 since the dress is self lined.
  • What I loved.  The doll, how could you not??  The pictures are also thoughtfully drawn, even if the directions are a little muddled at times.
Fabric Used:

This post showed the fabric I received in my Stash Builder Box.  I used all 3 prints (super late, but it’s done) and I think the application works.  The only thing, I cut the pattern pieces for her shorts upside down, whoops!  For the boy version, I used the Blackbeard Pirates fabric.  Sadly, it seems to be sold out where I’ve checked.  Some other quilt shops, Etsy or Ebay may have some available.

Riley Blake Pirates Collage Stash builder box fabric loose

Words upside down...
Words upside down…
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

As I said, I struggled a bit because I completely forgot that her patterns don’t include seam allowances.  So, I left our armholes raw which is not ideal, but since they’re so tiny, I didn’t feel like fiddling with them too much.  I added bias tape to the neckline and sides since we didn’t do the self-lining.

For the skirt, I cut my piece at 20″ x 6″.  In hindsight, I’d cut my pieces closer to 26″ x 4 1/2″.  This would shorten the dress and give you a fuller gather.  It also seemed that the headband was far too large.  I folded mine in half RST and sewed a seam 2 inches from the fold.  This shortened it enough to make it fit.  I also chose to do a curl in the front for the girl doll.

To make my boy version, I used the shape for the eyepatch that’s included in the book and added some black elastic to the back of it.  For the sleeves, I used the arm template, traced it to the length I wanted (including room for hemming), and added 1/4″ all the way around.  I sewed it the same way the rest of the limbs were done.  I also omitted the leg elastic as I felt it was a little more “masculine” to have his knickers be baggy.

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Would you make this again?

Absolutely!  Now that I know what to expect, it will be much nicer to sew it again.  I also have a few changes in mind and will implement them when I plan my next doll.

The End!

Sorry for the long-winded post.  I’m just glad I made myself make this.  I thought about how much work it would be and kept putting it off.  It always feels great to accomplish something no matter how small.  What’s your latest WIP?

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