You may or may not, it's been a while since I wrote about her.
She came into my life via a tray of miscellaneous junk at a flea market, lacking everything from the waist down. But I took care of that.
So she was entire, but naked. I decided to dress her, starting with a linen-and-lace petticoat.
Then things got busy, and Ethel has been sitting around in just her underwear since then. She hasn't complained as such, but the look on her face speaks volumes.
Happily, my friend and collaborator John Mullarkey threw me a sewing challenge. He has a long-delayed shirt that needs to be finished. I have a doll who is threatening to telephone the ASPCD and turn me in for neglect. Let's cheer each other along, he said. Fine, I said. So out came the needles and thread.
We began well.
I want to sew something reasonably appropriate–with two disclaimers.
First, I'm not producing miniature clothing (i.e. correct in all aspects, perfectly to scale). I'm making a dress for a doll, rather as Ethel's original owner might have. (Serious Doll People will recoil. With no disrespect to them, I am not a Serious Doll Person.)
Second, for this project I'm not fussing and fretting over perfect period (c. 1900) detail. Ethel probably "should" be in a shirtwaist with pin tucks and certain other details,
but I know myself well enough to understand that if I begin this project with research, I'll never cut anything out. I will bog down, debate, and prevaricate. This is supposed to be a sewing exercise, not a trip to the library.
And I don't especially feel like sewing a shirtwaist. This dress is largely an excuse to make more thread lace (probably tatted and knitted) and stick it on something.
Anyhow, I drafted the bodice and sleeves (yes, I use paper towels) and felt pretty good about the results. Flat pattern making is new ground for me.
Then, after a deep breath, sewing.
I enjoy hand sewing, but most of my training was under the stern eye of my late grandmother. She was a tailor. When I helped her I was usually working on tailored clothing, so there are certain weird gaps in my education–like gathering. Not a lot of gathers in man's suit. Ethel's full sleeve caps require gathering.
I swore a lot, but I finished the sleeve cap and it didn't look half bad. After a day off, I sat down with second sleeve. Marked, gathered, pinned. Sewed.
It was so much easier the second time! About forty minutes from start to finish, and so uneventful that I actually thought as I made the last few stitches, "Well, so much for having an amusing tale to post on the blog." Because you know, projects that go well are never funny.
I clipped the final thread, turned the piece right-side out, and realized I had sewn the second sleeve into the same armscye as the first sleeve.
I sewed two sleeves into the same armscye.
And didn't realize it until I was finished.
You really can't fudge that with ironing.
Rip, rip, rip.
We are in a better place now, but Ethel is still giving me That Look.
She sure throws a lot of attitude for somebody who was fished out of a junk tray at a flea market.