My mother always said I have two speeds: slow and stop.
It’s true, and this project proves it. My darling girl, Patience, has certainly lived up to her name. While the doll was a small challenge, the dress became a beast.
Look at this thing.
Oh, sure, looks fine at a glance, but check it out. Remember those armpits? The sleeves on this dress are so jacked up in the armpits, there’s no straightening them out.
The original sleeves from the pattern gave me fits.
So I swapped the fabric for the cuff, which gave me this:
But the oh-so-puffy sleeves were not only high-maintenance, but just plain awful, to boot. I designed my own, the long, straight ones. They were much better, but the armpits . . . heaven help us, the armpits. The sleeve thing was addressed, but I still hated the dress. Mais pourquoi? The neckline was a stinker, as well. Then came the skirt. It was too full and too stiff; I hated it, too. Was there anything I liked, at all, about this girl’s attire? Yes, her undies.
They looked great, and they were fast and easy to make.
See this? Why does it bother me so? The skirt is too full for the petticoat. They should flow together as one. Detestable.
I set about ripping off the skirt to make it less skirtie, but the whole thing was so frustrating. Stiff, incorrigible, unfriendly dress, I flung it away from me.
Why did I dislike this dress so much, aside from the wadded armpits, awful neckline, and ridiculously over-pleated skirt? I didn’t like the way it felt. It was the fabric, THE FABRIC. The nature of the rag doll is its yielded suppleness. Every part is designed for pleasant handling. A rag doll conforms completely to the child’s play. It’s soft for cuddling, fun for tossing, easily manipulated in the hands and with other toys. While the fabric was pretty, it wasn’t pliable or soft which goes against the most basic principle of the rag doll, itself.
I went back to my fabric horde and chose something far more suitable, a nice, soft, unpretentious gingham. Ahhhh… the pleeeezhurrrr . . .
In our continuing work on Patience, I would like to offer this small addendum. Sometimes, pride can threaten our Patience. I was going to win, darn it (get it, darn, sew, get it?). Woman against doll dress, I would arise the victor. This girl does not give up!
Sometimes you have to know when to cut bait. Okay, maybe a whole weekend was going in the scrap pile with the rejected garment, but the process was becoming way more complicated to fix than it would be to just start over. Remember the undies? They rolled out, no problem, because the fabric was right and I was letting it guide me. That lace on the petticoat? It was already sewn onto the old, cotton curtains. I kept much of it intact, just building around it. The piece practically made itself. I ran the back-tie ribbon through the already-sewn hem.
I’m not advocating being a quitter. I’m encouraging the prospect of letting Patience teach us that it’s okay to admit mistakes and search out a new plan.
I have a new project, a paid commission, and I’m absolutely on fire to get it going. Why? Because I feel obligated to do so. Bringing pieces of things together, whether for yourself or somebody else, should be a happy thing, not a pressure thing. I admit, I’m a little slow in my process at times, but creating is a joy, not a burden. So what if I don’t start the new thing today, this instant?! I still have a few things to learn from Patience.