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Brittany: Making a Mermaid

Sometimes, it seems like cruel irony that me, the doll maker, ended up with two boys. Sewing with little boys around presents some challenges, too. I was forced to guard my sewing machine and its accouterments from marauding pirates, save my straight pins from little doctors intent on giving “shots,” and watch the floor beneath my feet turned into a garbage dump, all the while listening to the following:

-The garbage truck is coming back. It’s my turn to dump it.
-Be careful right here, there are cans here, and you might slip and trip.
-Uh oh, it’s raining, but the garbage truck is going to work at his job and pick the garbage up in the rain.
-I picked it up and said, “Oh, no! Ow!”
-Did you pick up garbage and rain drops?
-Yes, and when I pick up the rainy garbage it will be scary.

As I poured my female, doll-loving soul into my newest creation, I took stock of the reality of my life and had to laugh. My boys couldn’t have been less interested in what I was making (although Sam had some strong opinions about the doll’s hairstyle — he was all for the Veronica Lake look), but they did want to be in the room with me, and were happy to cheer me on whenever things were going well (and clear out whenever they weren’t). Luckily, that was more often than not.

The last couple of days I’ve been in a work-with-my-hands kind of mood, and I’d seen this doll pattern online and wanted to try it out. I love Waldorf dolls, and after many years of doll making, I finally have the skills to make one. Plus, there was a special little girl having a 5th birthday, so the doll would be guaranteed a good home. I ordered the pattern from Margaret Lunn here, got started on it yesterday, and finished her up and got her in the mail this morning.

I’d never made a mermaid doll before, but she was a lot of fun to make. I was really happy with the way her multi-color hair turned out, and had a lot of fun designing her jewelry (with some of Sam’s left over beading supplies). I’m still not 100% happy with my dollmaking technique — I’m still learning and experimenting with machine sewing/type of fabrics to use (note to self — silky fabric is hard to work with!)/following a pattern. It’s considered an “easy” doll pattern, and it probably would’ve worked a little better if I had used the recommended materials for the body. I substituted polyfil stuffing for wool batting (since I am sooo allergic to wool), and some silky polyester fabric I had instead of cotton interlock knit because the cotton wasn’t available when I went to the craft store. The end result looked okay, but had I used different materials I think it would’ve handled better, and the end result would’ve looked a little more professional.

But this doll turned out much better than the last one I tried with the same materials, so hopefully someday I will be good enough to design my own dolls and sell them.

[Cross-posted from Re-Writing Motherhood.]

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