Monday, July 18, 2011

The Doll Pattern from Hell

I have mentioned before that I have done a lot of crafts in my time.  Quilting, sewing, lampwork bead making, spinning, weaving, bobbin lace making, woodworking, painting, wool rug hooking, wool rug braiding, toothbrush rug making, cross stitch, embroidery, soap making, button making, crochet, knitting, tatting ... believe me, the list goes on.  Now for some of these things I mastered the basics pretty well but I could tell they were things I really didn't want to go any further with.  With others it was obvious that, no matter how hard I tried or how much I wanted to do them, I had no talent for them whatsoever.  Thankfully there were some that I seemed to have a knack for.  At one point I had to weed out that last category & decide which things I really wanted to do because there just weren't enough hours in the day to do everything.  I often wish I had a passion for just one thing.  It would be nice to say "I'm a quilter" & leave it at that instead of running down a list of all the different things I enjoy.

Whenever I pursue a new craft or pick up an old one I always visualize myself looking a bit like Mona Lisa.  I have am air of calmness about me.  There is just the slightest hint of a smile on my lips ... a sign that I am at peace with the world & finding fulfillment in what I am doing.  I am sitting comfortably in a rocker, a lamp glowing at my side, my cat asleep at my feet.  I am perhaps humming a favorite old hymn as I create a masterpiece for my home or for a gift.

Enter the Doll Pattern from Hell.

I decided about 2 weeks ago that I was going to make a prim doll.  I have made dolls before although it's been many, many years since I have done so.  In fact, one of the first dolls I ever made did not have a pattern!  I made it for my daughter when she was a baby.  I designed it myself, including it's clothing, & thought it was unique so I painstakingly drew out the pattern pieces making sure everything was absolutely perfect, typed detailed directions, took a photo of the doll & sent it to a doll magazine asking them if they'd be interested in publishing it.  I was in 7th heaven when I got a letter back telling me that yes, they were interested in putting the pattern in their magazine & asking me to send the doll to them to be professionally photographed.  They made mention of the fact that my pattern & directions were "perfect" & they wished all their pattern designers paid such attention to detail.  They didn't have to re-do anything ... they just printed the pattern exactly as I sent it to them.  They sent me a check for an amount that absolutely floored me at the time.  I actually still have that letter, the magazine, & a photocopy of the check which I made before I cashed it.  It's upstairs in one of those "mystery boxes" that haven't been opened since we moved here.

As I was saying, about 2 weeks ago I decided to make a prim doll.  I was looking through a couple magazines & found a pattern with a picture of a doll that I thought would be perfect.  It certainly didn't look difficult.  I thought "I can whip this up in no time!"  She has a body/head, 2 arms, 2 legs, & a dress with a muslin long-sleeved top & a colored bottom.  I copied the pattern pieces, glued them onto stiff cardstock & cut them out.  The first thing I did was trace the body parts onto muslin.  I then looked at the pattern directions ... did the designer want me to sew the pattern on the traced lines or cut the pattern on the traced lines???  No clue.  I then continued reading the "directions."  Remember I said the doll is wearing a dress that consists of a muslin long-sleeved top & a colored bottom?  Here are the instructions on how to make the dress:

"Sew the dress."

No, I'm not kidding.  The pattern included the designer's email address so I dropped her a line.  I asked "Do you want me to sew on the traced line or cut on the traced line?"  I also asked how in the world I'm supposed to "sew the dress."  I told her this was my first prim doll & I had no idea what I was doing.  She wrote back & explained that I should sew on the traced line & sort of tried to explain the making of the dress indicating that she was good at designing but not good at directions.  She didn't have to tell me that ... lol!  I thanked her for her attempt to help but I am pretty much flying by the seat of my pants here.  It will be anybody's guess what this doll is going to turn out looking like.  A naked Quasimodo comes to mind.

I suppose most designers assume only someone with doll making experience is going to make their dolls.  On the other hand, when I have created a pattern for something & have written down the directions I have left no stone unturned.  A 7-year-old immigrant from Uzbekistan who has just  mastered the basics of English could read my pattern directions & know exactly what to do to create whatever item the pattern is for.  Surely there must be other such pattern designers?  Not that I'm calling myself a pattern designer mind you.  A few patterns published in magazines do not a pattern designer make.  However, designers take note ... a little more attention to detail might be, as Martha says, "a good thing."                                      


Primitive Echoes said...

I was just saying that to someone about a similar view. She said just do the pattern and write the directions. However my directions will be a little red neck lol. Sand board with 220 grit. Wipe dust off on your pant leg. How does it look? Stain board with old sock. See where I am going here lol?
The directions would at least be a little more detailed than the ones you got.

A Primitive Homestead said...

I have a few patterns I just gave up on. Cut up the fabric pieces & used them to stuff my dolls. Blessings!

Trace4J said...

too nuts..I like the idea above cut up pattern and stuff your dolls or other things.
Hugs Trace

Diane said...

I just love dropping by and reading about your adventures :)
If you've designed your own doll, you'll be able to "tweak" this one and make it your own...don't give up, just pick it up later on.
Say hi to John for me!

TheRustyThimble said...

Oh Shirlee, this is why I only buy patterns from certain designers I too have purchased some from some I have never used before and ran into the same problem, I just make up my own, not in infringe upon their copywrite or to change their design simply because if they leave out a detail like that, then I take it that they want me to wing it on my own LOL
I like things in simple english form easy to follow!!
Good Luck