Monday, August 31, 2009

Fanny and our New Doll

I have been a fan of the Toot and Puddle series by Holly Hobbie since I discovered it ten years ago. So when I learned that she had a new book out about a little girl and her doll, and I got very excited and requested that the local library order copies. Apparently, I wasn't the only person who made the request, because it took several months for our turn with the book to come and we just got it at the end of July.

Abigail has loved it as much as I thought she would, and enjoys looking through the pages for the hidden Puddles.

In the story, Fanny asks her mother for a new doll just like the other girls have. Her mother refuses though, saying that she doesn't like the way the doll looks (the appearance is similar to a Bratz doll, so I can't say that I blame the mom). Fanny decides that she will make her own doll, and gets her scissors and cuts up a pink pajama top (see photo above). As I was reading this out loud (and I did read it ahead of time, but it didn't occur to me until later), I wondered if this was the best message for my two year old. But I keep my sewing supplies put away, so it shouldn't be a problem, right?

This is the doll that Fanny makes for herself. Isn't it cute? Fanny experiences some peer pressure to play with the Bratz-like doll instead of the one she made for herself, but she comes to realize that she got more out of the experience by making her doll. I love the message of the story.

After we finished reading the book, I left the room to check on the laundry or something, and came back within minutes. We just happened to have read the book in the same room where I keep my sewing machine. As I walked in the door, I saw Abigail sitting at my machine, with scissors in hand (how did she reach those?), cutting up one of the headscarves I'd made from the pattern in Weekend Sewing.

"Abigail, what are you doing?"

"Makin' a doll."

I told her that I would be glad to do that for her. I involved her in the process of picking out the fabric for the body, and the fibers for the hair and face. She also helped with the stuffing (NOT the cutting). It took on hour that day to put the doll together, including hand sewing the head closed after I stuffed it. As soon as I finished that, she grabbed it and took off and I didn't get to finish the rest until the next day.

The pattern came from the book Rag Dolls and How to Make Them edited by Dorothea Hall, which is out-of-print but may be available at Amazon (or check thrift shops or your local used book seller). I traced the pattern out a year ago before I returned the book to the library. I think it also contains patterns for the clothes, but I'm waiting until the library is sorted out before I search for the book again. I may start drafting my own doll patterns, though. This was fun!

I used polyfil stuffing for the insides. I grew up using this stuff and had no issues with it before, but I don't like the pilling that happens with it. I haven't used wool before, but I'm considering buying some soon. The body is a linen-cotton blend I got at JoAnns. I would normally use muslin, but I couldn't find it and I liked the idea of a linen doll.

Like Fanny, I like the feeling I get from making my own doll. I hope that Abigail appreciates the handmade dolls as much as I did as a child.

PS. Holly Hobbie has another Fanny book coming out on September 1 - Fanny and Annabelle.

1 comment:

Abbey said...

I love the doll! What a great photo of the doll next to the pattern. It sounds like Abigail will be into sewing just like mama:)