Sunday, March 28, 2010


And that's my official self-diagnosis.

On Friday night I decided I would begin to tackle the ribbed edging of the Baby Shrug. Because that's the kind of wild Friday night gal I am. So I got myself a cup of tea, the Bible, the Baby Shrug, the pattern, and a tape measure (because I read that if you measure out the length you have to pick up from and mark the inches with a loop of cotton it's easier to work out how many stitches per inch to pick up to make it even) and was all set to go. Then I realised that I didn't have the 60cm long 3.75mm circular needles I needed to change to so I actually couldn't do anything.

Not wanting to sit around doing nothing I decided to have a go at making a rag doll. In Little House in the Big Woods (which I'm reading at the moment) Laura has a corncob wrapped in a handkerchief as her doll and then for Christmas she gets a beautiful rag doll that she names Charlotte. We have been creating scenes for the theatre show we are making (Tea for Toot) and it has developed that our characters have some specific toys, one of which is Pollyanna the rag doll, so I thought I'd try to make us a Pollyanna, or at least a Pollyanna prototype.

I looked up 'how to make a rag doll' on the internet but there were so many different ways and they all involved a pattern and I don't have a printer at home so I decided to freestyle it. I used a CD as the template for the head and then tried to make a rectangle body and an arm/leg rectangle that was relative in size to the head (knowing of course that when stuffed they would all be smaller). I cut all the pieces out and sewed all the arms and legs and stuffed them. It was all working out just fine.

Then came attaching the arms and legs to the body. I had no idea how to do it so that they were't just sewn onto the outside of the body and I remembered one of the 'how to' things on the internet had said about sewing them 'from the inside out' in the body but I had no idea how they'd done it and the picture wasn't very illustrative and, basically, I am impatient.

So I tried a couple of ways and had to unpick them all because there was a big seam on the outside or it just looked plain ugly and eventually I got really frustrated and decided to embrace the ugliness so sewed the arms onto the outside and thought it looked okay from the front and I'd make a dress for it to wear so you wouldn't see the seams. But then I realised I hadn't left enough room at the top for seam allowance to sew the head on so I really got grumpy and gave up for the night.

Failed rag doll #1:
I decided that on Saturday I would cut a new piece with the head, body, and arms all in one and then add the legs on at the end. This sounded fool-proof. What actually happened is what confirmed my sewtardedness.

Anita was at my house for some of this and helpfully suggested I cut it on the fold to make each side symmetrical. I hadn't thought of that.

SO ANNOYED. It's all puckered under the arms and around the neck (obviously). I couldn't figure out why, I turned it inside out and outside in and I just didn't get it. So I rang my Mum and she said from the sounds of it maybe I should have sewn in a curve under the arms instead of in straight lines and made my stitches a bit bigger and with less tension. She also suggested that if I didn't want to unpick it I could try snipping the fabric close to the seam to help it move and gave the example of how when you put baking paper in a cake tin you have to snip a line in the corners to allow them to fold over each other.

The thing that frustrates me the most about sewing (which I've mentioned before) is that I have no foresight. On the first doll attempt on Friday night I had a number of times when I thought, 'I know! I'll...' and it wasn't until I'd sewn it that I realised that by doing 'x' it would end up looking like 'y'. And with the puckering, I kept turning it inside and out and I just couldn't make my brain understand why having done 'x' had made it look like 'y'. It is so frustrating, when I rang my Mum I half-jokingly said, 'I'm quitting sewing. It's too hard and I'm too impatient, I hate pinning and cutting, I just like SEWING but then I can't even get that right.'

The problem is that I want it right first time so I can keep going and make other things. I totally need to change my mindset from product to process and then hopefully I'll appreciate what I'm learning more and one day it won't be so difficult and the product will be much easier (and quicker) to achieve. That sounds all nice and rosy but at the rate I'm going I don't feel like I'm learning anything except how to attack things with an unpicker.

Today I'm determined to conquer this disaster doll. I'm not sure whether I'll unpick the all-in-one doll and try again incorporating Mum's suggestions or whether I'll try to find a tutorial online and make it from all separate pieces. I have the needles I need now for the Baby Shrug, but first, I'm going to own this doll.

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