Saturday, January 7, 2012

Christmas Crafting Revealed

Today I wanted to share a couple of Matryoshka dolls that I made as a Christmas present for my sister Johanna.

I didn't make too many things this year, and these dolls were by far my biggest effort, and they were a LOT of fun to make.

You might remember from this post about the Craft Swap a few weeks ago that Johanna made a couple of these herself, and they went home with our friend Donna, who was a Russian language teacher, and we all thought it was quite serendipitous!

Well, the whole time Johanna and I were crafting together and she was making those dolls, I kept thinking about the Heather Ross Matryoshka doll fabric that I had in my stash and wouldn't that just be perfect for one of these soft dolls and wouldn't that be a wonderful Christmas present for my little sister?

So, one night I dug through my stash, found some of that precious, precious fabric and set about stitching up a pair of dolls for Johanna.

The basic pattern for these dolls can be found in the Winter 2011 issue of Stitch magazine (we still have copies available here), but, in true Alewives Girl fashion, I made a couple of changes and added some embellishments.

I drew my own faces and hand-embroidered the features. I think in the magazine the facial features are made from felt and/or stitched on by machine with a free-motion foot.

I used linen and quilting weight cotton for the face and "scarf" and hair, but the pattern calls for felt, which doesn't need a seam allowance, so I did have to add a seam allowance in a couple of spots to get the circles to come out to the right size.

If you didn't do this it would still look fine: you'd just have a smaller circle for the face and the "scarf." No big whoop.

I borrowed some ideas from the Wee Wonderfuls book as well, and hid some of my seams with ribbon that I top-stitched onto the necks. Here's what they looked like before stitching the fronts and backs together and before I embroidered the flowers:

The fabrics for these dolls came completely from my stash, but I did break down and purchase both sets of Anna Maria Horner embroidery floss for the flower details.

Like a moron, I drew my faces on with water-erase marker, then spritzed the marks away and proceeded directly to the iron, where I knew I was probably being too impatient and would end up scorching the faces, but I pressed my little heart out anyways, because I wanted to see what they would look like when they were all dry and un-marked.

Surprise, surprise... I burned the faces, as you can see in the above photo if you look at it closely.

Guess subconsciously I really wanted to buy those embroidery floss sets, huh?

I'm psyched to have them: they're really pretty and will last me a looooong time and keep me out of trouble, right?

I mean, who needs a cookie or two when they can be embroidering?!?

I am very pleased with how the dolls came out.

I highly recommend the magazine and the pattern: there are lots of other great projects in there, but this pattern by Heidi Boyd is by far my favorite. It's so easy to adapt and change and personalize. She gives a lot of different options in the magazine pattern for changing things up.

And here's one final thought for you...

It's true what they say about handmade gifts: Of all my gifts this year, I was the most excited to give these to Johanna and I truly did think of her and wonder what she would think of them the whole time I was making them.

And she seems to like them very much, so everybody wins!

I'll be back again soon with a couple more Christmas Crafts revealed.



PS I'd be crazy not to mention that Anna Maria Horner's "Loulouthi" velveteens came in this week... *love!* Truly, they deserve their own blog post so I will have to add that to my list of things to blog about!


Donna said...

They look wonderful, Rhea! I made SIX since I got them from Johanna at the craft swap. They really are fun but I did find one frustrating mistake on the pattern pieces. Once I figured that out, it was smooth and fun sailing! Great job!

Heidi Boyd said...

Please share the pattern mistake with me, I designed the dolls fir Stitch. We all try so hard to avoid pattern mistakes.

Rhea Butler said...

Hi Donna (and Heidi!)

I'm curious what the mistake is, too... You'll have to share with us!



Julie Brown said...

Heidi Boyd Rocks!!!!!