Thursday, 8 January 2015

Boo hoo to the saggy dressed skinny doll

I have just finished sewing the little boy doll from the pattern Simplicity K1900 which my sister-in-law kindly gave to me, and I have a LOT to say about it.

Firstly, big thank-yous to my S.I.L who was very kind to give me the pattern, and I can say with conviction that the pattern picture on the front of the envelope is very cute.  I hope you won't be cross with what I have to say about the pattern itself!

I decided to make boy doll.  I had lots of fun picking out fabrics and cutting him out and embroidering his face.  It was all fun and games until it came to turning the limbs inside out, and then it was HILARIOUS.  I followed their suggested 1/4" seam allowances, and I even made them scant 1/4", but still it was almost impossible to turn the skinny arms out through the minuscule wrists.  The pattern piece suggests the wrists are 7mm across when sewn, giving a circumference of 14mm after stuffing, which means they have a diameter of under 4.5mm.  Do you see the madness here?

Finally I prevailed without torn fabric, and it was time to stuff them.  Har-de-har.  I could just about ram a 4mm knitting needle down the arms (see above comment on the puny diameter), so I managed to use a combination of the knitting needle, tiny bits of stuffing and a kitchen funnel inserted in the arm end to cram stuffing into the hands, arms and legs.  It took me an entire evening to stuff the little blighters for a single doll.

The rest of the doll body went together easily, and although he looks a bit malnourished, I proceeded onto the clothes with hope in my heart.

I made the shirt first.  Here I discovered that they'd omitted to tell me in the cutting directions that the neck facing was needed for view D (the boy) as well as for the girls.  So out came all the fabrics to cut the extra piece.  They give no directions for seam finishes, which is fine if the doll is to sit on your shelf, but less fine if you expect it to withstand the attentions of a lively 2-year-old.  I elected to zig-zag the seams I could.

I then made the little dungaree shorts.  Very cute on the photo.  However, when it came to dress my doll, he does not look like the picture.  Sad times.  The shirt is definitely more roomy than the envelope image shows (especially around the arms) and doesn't quite come down low enough to be sure that the doll doesn't feel draughty around the tummy if he moves.  It requires careful tucking to ensure he's covered below his shorts waistline.  In addition, the shorts are pretty roomy around the hips.  I know that I followed the seam allowances correctly on the shorts because my notches all lined up to the bib part perfectly when I came to attach it, so we can discount incorrect construction on my part.  I can only assume they've cunningly pinned the excess behind the doll before the photo, or else they made the model to a better fitting pattern than the one supplied in the envelope.  That's a bit of a shame.

I had no more luck with the felt shoes.  I sewed them as directed, and this resulted in giant moon-boots that fell off his feet.  I took in an extra 3/8" at the front and re-cut the piece to correct this.  That's quite a correction to get it to look like the photo on the envelope, I'd say.

The hat is also a sad disaster.  Despite adding an extra line of stay-stitching around the brim to prevent the felt stretching, it does not sit snuggly on the dolls head as per the picture.  It looks like a sad loose bowl of custard plonked on his bonce, and comes much further down than the envelope photo shows.  I fail to see how this can go so wrong for such a simple pattern piece.  I can only assume trickery on the part of the envelope photographer.

I made three shirts, two dungarees, two shoes and a hat for my sad doll, because I'd already cut them out at the start.  I hope toddler likes him, but I won't blame him if he doesn't.

So, in summary, cute pattern envelope, shame about the contents.  Either all the boy doll clothes are wrong, or else they've got the wrong seam allowances on the doll itself.  Also, I have learned that I hate sewing titchy tiny doll clothes with a passion.  I don't think I'll be making another doll in a hurry.


  1. Hello Alice!!
    What happened....disaster!!! Has made me chuckle though, love SIL x

  2. Oh dear! He does look a bit on the skinny side! I suspect you could design one yourself now you know all the pitfalls!