Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Well that was fun.

I was able to cut out several pieces for more than one doll and started sewing them up. Started but didn't finish because my lousy sewing machine, which I recently spent over $100 to fix, doesn't work anymore. It sewed about 3 stitches then promptly quit catching stitches. Oh how I wish I had never given up my trusty old Singer which my parents gave me sometime in the late 60's. That was a workhorse that only sewed a straight stitch - frontward and backward. That's all it did but it did it consistently.

I am totally fed up with the one I currently have so I got online and ordered this little beauty. It's been shipped and now I'm just sitting here waiting for it to show up. I can hardly wait to have a sewing machine I don't want to curse out when I use it!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

mermaids past and present

Well, I went through and took some pictures of the mermaids I made for my daughter when she was quite a bit younger and thought I'd post them here.

This is the very first one

and a closeup of her face

She was made with some beautiful velveteen fabric, a lovely co-ordinating brocade for the tail plus some odds and ends of lace and velvet for trimming. I used this great yarn for her hair. My daughter loved her and then started requesting more! Following are the others all lined up

As you can see, I had some difficulty with their faces. On each one I learned something new.

Here is the first with the last one I made.

As you can see, she is quite a bit larger than the original ones. I have come to the conclusion that she is a little too big. I also have a tendency to over stuff them and make them a little less cuddly because of that. The latest one is also over-engineered and I don't like the shape of the head. I'm going to stick with the head shape of the first ones. I *do* like using rhinestones for the eyes and I love the extra full head of hair. Those are things I will continue going forward. I have now completely taken the latest one apart and she's ready to be remade. I'm going to work on that over the next couple of days and will hopefully have something to show for my labors! Stay tuned.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

inspired again

it's taken a while but i'm inspired again. when my daughter was little i used to make mermaid dolls for her. i made quite a few since she would give me orders for the type she wanted. along the way i kept trying new ways of doing them since there were always "issues" with them in one way or another. i started with a basic doll pattern which my mother used to make me a "gretel" doll (from hansel and gretel) which she got from an old better homes and garden booklet. i created my own tail pattern to replace the feet but everything else was pretty much as the pattern was made.

zoom forward several years - i decided i wanted to making these mermaid dolls and then selling them. i really liked doing them but there are only so many you can have hanging around. in order to do that i realized i really needed to come up with my own pattern since it didn't seem quite right to sell based off someone else's pattern. i managed to get one done which i was quite pleased with (see her here) for a friend at work. she ordered it for her little girl as a christmas present.

one of the things i realized was i really needed to simplify the pattern. it was a lot of work; work i don't think i would be willing to do for a large number of these dolls. the take-away from this was i won't worry about making the head swivel, the arms articulate (maybe - still not sure on that one), possibly reduce the size and not make the bend in the tail too narrow (makes it hard to stuff properly and it tends to get floppy). even though it takes almost an entire skein of yarn and a long time i really love having a full head of hair. don't like skimpy haired dolls - especially mermaid dolls since they are so oo-la-la to begin with.

so, the inspiration. what brought it on? this woman. she is amazing. it was really something seeing her journey in doll-making and the different stages she went through (is still going through?). she made me want to get back in there and try and do something with the mermaids in my head. get them out of my head on in the world.

i'm going to try and keep a running post on what i've got going on and the different things i'll be trying in developing the body style i think will work best for me.

i hope you'll come along with me on this new endeavor.