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WIP: doll dress

doll dress--topI’m nowhere near finished with this project, but I’m excited to share progress because I finally hit a bit of a milestone with it today.

For the past few weeks off and on, I’ve been working on a two-piece dress for a Victorian scene doll. It took forever to even get started because first there was the question of where to get fabric. Besides Walmart, which had a bunch of adorable prints but nothing appropriate for this kind of costume, there’s not any place I know of to buy fabric within a half-hour’s drive (on a good day) of here. I ended up ordering online from Joann’s instead. But of course online shopping means waiting for the delivery.

In the meantime, I un-made the doll’s old costume to use as a pattern for the new one. It was in pretty rough shape. Besides the grease smudges and scorches from when the doll’s motor (it’s animated) had leaked and overheated, there were also places where the fabric was just plain deteriorated with time. No one seems to know exactly, but this costume is at least 40 years old. So it was slow, picky work ripping all those seams without causing further damage. Then I had to hand-wash them, dry them flat, and iron them smooth before I dared lay them against the new fabric.

Since I only can do sewing on days I don’t work the J.O.B., just that much took me two whole weeks.

I finally cut and pinned the top half of the dress last week. Then I got stuck again. I knew I needed some kind of inner support in the front of the dress since the trim will be so heavy, but boy, did I fight with the lining fabric. I cut a lining, pinned, sewed, ripped, re-pinned, re-sewed, re-ripped…and then again one more time…before I gave up on that lining fabric. I don’t know what the trick is to getting it together without gathering and puckering. I tried every tension and stitch length variation I could think of, and still that lining looked a wreck.

So that’s why THIS feels like such a triumph. I finally just gave up on the slippery nylon lining and used a bit of the same outer fabric for a narrow facing instead. Simple is just so much better sometimes. This time it came together on the first try.

doll dress facing

It’s partly inside out, but you do get a peek of the brocade fabric here. Isn’t it stunning? And to think I picked it up on sale–6.99/yard.

The collar’s only just pinned, and the hem and trimming isn’t even begun on the top. And I still have the entire bottom/skirt of the dress to do. But I’m just SO happy with the results so far. It’s finally beginning to come together now after all that waiting–and all that picking over the lining-turned-facing!

Do you mark your projects with milestones and celebrate along the way? Or just plow through until the end?

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Annie

A wife and mom, a worker bee, a churchwoman, a reader, and a crafter. What more is there to know? :)

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