I have three Grandchildren, and one on the way, due September 2019. They are all boys except for one, Edith Sigley-Linch (Edie) who is four years old in July. I was blessed to have two healthy happy sons, who are now both fathers, so it is with a bit of a novelty that I buy toys and clothes for Edie. I have never had to buy little girl’s things and they are beautiful.
I am always guided by what their parents suggest for birthdays and Christmas, and so when the response to “What would Edie like for her birthday?” was “Doll’s clothes”. I was filled with a sense of joy. Apparently Edie keeps on dressing and undressing her dolls, cuddly toys and anything else she can squeeze her clothes on to. Being an avid knitter, I then went to look at what knitting patterns I already had for dolls, my friend Karen had let me borrow some of hers, so I had plenty to choose from. These when I inspected my collection, tended to be for baby dolls, not little girl dolls. I then went on Pinterest and Ravelry and was totally thrilled with the amazing choices and designs. I noticed that there were a lot in particular for a doll called the American Girl, and after a bit of research (who am I kidding – hours on the internet), I discovered that there is a British version called the “Our Generation Girl”.
I went on the popular auction site and bought a pre-loved doll and started to plan an entire wardrobe for this size of model. I looked at what yarns I had in stock, explored my fabric and decided to go shopping. I bought a sewing pattern, Simplicity 4654, and thought “How hard can it be?” I am reasonably bright and remembered doing sewing classes at High School, so spent ages pouring over the flimsy pattern, and cutting the pieces that I needed.
I am not a sewer. I had made project bags for my Etsy shop and stand, but I had watched instructions on Youtube, stopping it at the relevant points. This time I had to work it out! What fun, it was very fiddly, and then after I had constructed the first dress, it occurred to me that I had to be making the clothes for a four year old to manage. I tweaked the construction a bit, leaving the back totally open and sewing Velcro on so that she could close and open the dress easily. It was really useful having a “model” doll who was happy to be dressed and undressed with various garments.
Once I felt confident with the construction I started to make two at a time and then added a few little extras to make them different.
I sewed in a piece of tape with “Made with love by Grandma” into the inside of the dresses.
I then wanted to balance the doll’s wardrobe with a few cardigans. I wanted to have a simple design with as little fuss as possible. I decided to have a go at working out how to do a little pattern myself. The button band was knit along with the front sides, so it saved me time and I kept a note of my row numbers, stitch numbers and shaping as I went along, tweaking it to make a better fit as I went along. I have GREAT respect for people who can design their own patterns. This took a few attempts before I was truly happy with the fit.
I was delighted to see that Etsy sellers were stocking a range of accessories for this 18” size doll, so bought sandals, boots, glittery trainers, and tights in a range of colours! I also found a couple of items when we were at craft fairs – a tiny teddy bear and a little knitted doll. I was delighted! I went and bought a new “Our Generation” doll and wondered how to package them. These doll’s have their own little wardrobes, and I discussed this with my long-suffering husband Mike. We were looking at the options, even visiting Ikea to see if a small cupboard could be adapted into a little wardrobe, but were not successful. I continued to search.
Then the ideal solution came when I was buying postcards on holiday in the Lake District. I saw a beautiful, big, pink gift box with rope handles at the side. It was like a trunk and would be perfect to put the doll’s clothes in. I was so excited, I couldn’t wait to see her face when she opened her present!
Whenever we visit Edie and her parents, she invariably answers the door dressed like a princess out of a Disney film, long flowing dress with sparkles and frills everywhere. I suddenly wondered about making Holly a princess dress. (I am referring to a doll by it’s name now – wonder what my psychiatric colleagues would say).
At night, I lay in bed, settling off to sleep by planning how to construct the dress, adding embellishments, sparkles, puffy sleeves, and lots of princess type glory.
As a matter of interest, or not as the case may be, I often set myself tasks when I am settling off to sleep. If I am preoccupied with something, or “mithering” as it is referred to in the Potteries, I give myself a task to work out in my head and then fall asleep with either a solved problem or utter confusion. For example, when I was making lots of project bags, I started to wonder how to insert a pocket in. That kept me happily occupied instead of thinking about whatever it was that was worrying me. Other mind occupying tasks have been:-
Working out exactly how much the components that complete the various products that we print – I always need a pen, paper and calculator, but it is good to completely fill my mind.
Planning a birthday meal, or event such as hiring a barge and turning the whole experience into a pirate cruise with food, activities for children and treasure to find.
Christmas presents – always a good one, what to get for which person.
But the best ones are construction in fabric, how to make a knitting needle case with a pocket for interchangeable cables – coming soon!
I am thrilled to say, my night wonderings did pay off, Holly will go to the ball, in a dress that a 4 year old can fit on the doll and remove easily!
On her birthday, Edie had so many beautiful and amazing presents and thanked me, giving me and Mike a kiss, before going on to her next gift.
Happy Birthday Edie, just about to cut her fabulous birthday cake with her Daddy, (eldest son Paul), Grandad Mike, and me looking on.
She has called her doll “Little Edie”, because she has the same hair. She is currently obsessed with Lion King and spent part of her party wearing a furry lion suit that she loves! She had been taken to EuroDisney by plane, by her parents for her surprise birthday treat and particularly loved the Lion King show there. Perhaps I need to work out how to make the doll a lion suit! Mmmmm, that will be a good one to ponder when I am drifting to sleep!