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Holy Grail, Batman!

I’ve spent the last couple days jimmying around with my pattern for a cloth doll with legs, and now I have a doll pattern that goes together almost entirely on the machine!  Yay!  While I was fooling with the pattern, I decided to make her figure slightly more, well, you know, realistic.

Cloth dolls, side by side
The Tyler clone (left) and her new sister (right). It's like putting a starlet next to a healthy human being, isn't it?
old cloth doll body
The trouble with the original model was the legs - they had to be attached by hand, which was annoying. (To me, at least.)

Also, her neck was a separate piece, and that was a ridiculously teeny little curve to set in.  Her feets had a separate sole, and there were little armscye insets to control the contouring of her upper chest.  She was a pain, really.  Very adorable, but very high maintenance. Now, I don’t like high maintenance people, so the last thing I really need is a high maintenance doll pattern.

The new one solves those problems. Her body is made in 8 long pieces that go from her neck down to her little toesies, and they’re true. (That’s not me going all old-west-movie-dialog on you – I mean that all the curves are matched in length, so even though any two pieces are different shapes they sew together without weird leftover bits. That’s important in any pattern. It’s more important when you have to start at the front princess seam, sew over the bust, down the front of the leg, up the back of the leg, over the behind, and up the back princess seam in one go…. Not a lot of margin for error, there.)

I realized when I was working on Vicksie that cloth dolls are squishy. (I think I was the last person alive who hadn’t made that little mental leap yet, but hey… I get there eventually!) Any-hoo, what with the squishy factor and all, I started thinking, “Gee, wouldn’t it be great to make a doll with more normal proportions, and then show what happens when you squish her with a corset? I bet that would be pretty cool…”

cloth dolls, one in costume
I put ye olde wench costume on one of my prototypes (same torso, different neck contouring and different legs).

And, hey, whaddaya know – she even gets a little bloomph right under the bodice where she’s no longer being forcibly contained, JUST LIKE A PEOPLE!!!  I’m so excited!

cloth dolls, one in costume, from side
Check this - from the side, you can see one of the things we all know about a wearing a bodice - the pull in to your back.

Holy Grail, Batman!  Now I can show you why your back hurts! Er, wait, no, I mean, now I can show you how different garments reshape a body!

cloth dolls, one in costume, closeup from back
I am hopelessly, stupidly happy about about literal side-by-side comparison shots. Dunno if anyone caught that....

I mean, look – you can tell that the bodice sits above the smallest part of the waist. Neat! If I’d taken pictures of dressing the doll, you’d know that the skirt waistband fits fine before the bodice goes on, but is loose afterwards and has to be tucked under the edge of the bodice! I have costumes just like that! (Actually, that’s why I switched over to the all-kirtles-all-the-time channel – no more gosh-darned waistbands. More on making kirtles later….) Heck, you can even see that circle skirts are ruthlessly unkind on a body with a hip.

I’m also stupidly proud of her posterior.  I mean, that’s a cute butt for a doll.  Teehee… I’m losing my mind. It’s just that I’ve sewn an awful lot of itty bitty bodies lately…


  1. Cheryl
    Cheryl January 14, 2011

    This is so neat – I kinda get why you are so excited – and I really enjoy your enthusiasm.

    I’m hoping to lose a few pounds so I can find my waist before trying your method of making an outfit similar to what your doll is wearing. Found you too close to Halloween to get it done for this year. My shift is almost done and skirts just need hemming & drawstring waisband.

    I’m with you on enclosed seams – I did flat-felled side seams on the skirt and am doing french seams on the shift. Will be using grosgrain ribbon for waistband casing & bodice binding – so totally not kosher – but it is just for my enjoyment.

    Have downloaded some of your goodies & contributed to the libation fund – looking forward to the kirtle and probably everything else you do!

    • missa
      missa January 15, 2011

      Thanks, Cheryl!
      I’m so glad to know I’m not geeking out all alone! Thanks for your help and your enthusiasm! :)
      Your seams make my little heart go pitter-patter. Teehee… For what little it’s worth, I do seem to recall seeing several instances of panes and slashes bound with petersham (grosgrain’s millinery cousin). But I agree – you’re doing something for your own enjoyment, and the point is to enjoy it, not get so bogged down in every possible detail of it that you forget to have fun!
      Thank you!

  2. Sherrie
    Sherrie January 29, 2011

    I just have to say that I do enjoy your hints and your posts! going to buy the dolls patterns .. I think it would be fun to make one .. just for fun:) Am hoping to get her to be around Ellowyne size to make making patterns a little easier:) Keep up the great posts .. they really are fun:)

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