I’ve discovered that the best way to avoid repetitive stress strains are to have multiple projects going at one time. I’m super excited because last night, our new washer and dryer were installed, which means I can now wash all the fabric I got to make rag dolls. Because I believe in diversity, I bought light beige, dark tan, and chocolate brown fabrics for the bodies. I also bought felt for the hair, which I’m going to return for fleece (Aubrey’s idea), since it is much softer, and comes in better colors.
I love this pattern, in spite of the fact that the embroidered faces on the envelope look like psychopathic killers.
I figure this is a great way to practice my sewing skills, teach Aubrey how to pin and cut, and they’re perfect for putting on Etsy for Christmas sales, assuming I can get any done in time. Worst case, they’ll be ready for next Christmas, right?
For the clothes, I have two stacks of fat quarters that Aubrey got for Christmas a few years ago, and I bought half yards of different calicoes and batiks. I’m hoping the sewing will go fast, and since much of the accessories are felt, there isn’t much hemming required. I intend to use Velcro instead of buttons, so that they are toddler safe. The best part is I doubt anyone will be upset if a seam isn’t absolutely perfect on a doll dress, whereas for a kid’s dress, I would personally be much pickier.
That is the problem with growing up with a master seamstress for a mother. I can instantly spot poor seaming and a bad cut, and refuse to pay for shoddy work. Unfortunately, my mom doesn’t sew much anymore, which is a great loss to the local fashionistas. She could whip up a Vogue wedding dress with lace and buttons and sequins, all in a matter of days, and without a dress form. I can’t count how many formal gowns she made me when I was in high school, usually the day before an event. She would show up at school and make me try it on in the bathroom so she’d have the hem done in time. For my wedding dress (which was really a fitted blouse and a British walking skirt), she had three days. We were pretty loopy by the day of the wedding, as we were surviving on just a few hours sleep here and there. In spite of having to tacky glue the pearls to the lace at 4:30 am, just hours before the wedding, my outfit was amazing.
On top of my dress, she also made ribbon roses for all the bridesmaid dresses. We had searched around for summer formals, and managed to find one style that was in different colors and sizes…on sale for $10 each. Although we managed to find a size for each bridesmaid, they ended up in four separate colors. My mom’s solution was to get plaid ribbon that exactly matched the four colors. She made about 40 roses, and sewed ten along each of the tops of the bodice, which fell in a ruffle under the roses. My bridesmaids were out $23 total, because my mom didn’t charge them for her labor.
Of course, she also did all the flowers, while I crafted bluebonnets for the groomsmen to wear. My first husband and I were married on the Bluebonnet Miniature Train as it rode through the park, so it seemed appropriate. I had bluebonnets in my bouquet, too. My mom is equally an amazing florist as she is a seamstress, and she managed to pull off the entire wedding for $500.
I know that back then, I never showed the appreciation that my mom deserved. I could be an entitled spoiled brat (what do you mean not every teenager had their own couture wardrobe on a dime?), and while I always said thanks, I don’t think it was ever enough. Now that I’m old enough to realize how lucky I was, and I am now the one behind the machine, I really mean it when I say thank you for going above and beyond, not just once or twice, but all the time.