Stitching News January 2019

This month’s Stitching News gives details of:

  • Little Miss Lottie; a new pattern I have written
  • The proportions to help you design and make your own rag doll
  • Dritz tube turners! These are new to me and already a firm favourite!
  • A delightful needle case to make …from one my favourite stitching blogs.
  • Brief update on my black and white quilt

If you are new to reading my “Stitching News”, a very warm welcome!

I hope there is something to interest everyone in this first blog of 2019.  Why not sign up for it to drop into your inbox when every fresh post has been written.  You can do that by clicking on the FOLLOW button, and giving your email address when requested. WordPress, who manage the blog for me, will then send an acknowledgement into your inbox. You then need to acknowledge the message, as requested, then sit back and wait! Job done!

I usually just write one fresh post per month; very occasionally I will write a second.

For the last few weeks I have been quite lack lustre, battling a chesty viral infection.  I just think I have “cracked it” then four or five days later it is back again! It has been quite exhausting, back with a vengeance again as I write, now! So I have been concentrating on creating a new pattern. This will be my 6th pattern over the last twelve months. It will be available from next month. All money from sales goes to the Albanian sewing project.

Little Miss Lottie is a stuffed doll pattern. Cost; £8

On the outside of the pattern pack, along with a simple description of the doll I have impressed that Lottie is meant as a “collection” doll. She is not suitable for a child.dsc01301 (3)

She measures 9¼” from her toe to the top of her head (excluding her mop of unruly  hair!)  There are endless ways that she could be embellished; the imagination can run wild.  All information is given for making her patchwork dress, as well as assembly. Included in the Little Miss Lottie pack is:

  • A requirements list
  • A template sheet.
  • Method sheets (with photographic stages)

In addition to the above I have made up small packs of the yarn that I have used for Lottie’s  “hair” as well as a piece of mount board around which to wind it. I measured the amount of yarn I used and this is the amount supplied! This additional pack is inclusive in the price of the pattern, but not included in the pattern pack, allowing the purchaser to make a choice! I have two different colours of hair, (one pack of hair per pattern). Lotties hair colour is a browny/aubergine. The other choice is shocking pink, as shown on Lotties companion, Lulu. (Photograph below on the right.)

I have made Lulu using the same templates.  DSC01309 (3).JPGI wanted to illustrate that although the method sheet gives all the instruction for Lottie, once you have understood the basic method…you can alter anything according to your own personal skills and taste.

Lulu’s dress material is a hand dyed fine soft cotton. I ironed a drapable iron-on Vilene to the reverse side of the fabric to give it a little more weight. I appliqued a patchwork strip across her dress using a blanket stitch along the bottom edge and French knots at the top edge. Then I added a couple of rows of hand stitching above the strip.  I also made her a beaded bracelet, instead of the necklace that I made for Lottie.

dsc01308 (4)N.B. I shall only sell the patterns locally. The reason for this is that there is only one of me, and I do all the preparation!

At face value that may seem to be a simple process, but it is really time consuming. There are different amounts of preparation, printing, etc involved with all the patterns, and the prices reflect this.

Those details are in: Stitching News  September 2018

There you can also see a photograph and read the contents of each of the pattern packs listed below:

  • Funky Angel £4.75
  • A concertina folded, dip-dyed booklet with inspiration for creating a tiny “woodland walk .     This is a pattern/half kit, as you can read… £8
  • A rooster lavender bag£4.75
  • An Angel lavender bag£4.75

A fifth pattern is another small project; to make a purse where the zip and the lining are sewn in simultaneously. This technique lends itself to a range of different pouches and bags. The instructions are written over several printed sheets, with coloured photographic stages. Cost £7

I have been invited to three or four different Cornish quilting and embroidery groups this year, and have also been invited up to Bodrugan to meet up with various groups who will be spending a fabulous week of sewing there. Whenever I am invited to a group, I always have a selection of small sale items and this will include patterns.

I have mentioned Ann Wood in my Stitching News before. She lives in New York and designs and creates imaginative fascinating little creatures, insects, birds and dolls, to mention but a few of her ideas. Occasionally she gives some useful sewing tips for particularly tricky techniques. In her latest blog she has given a free mini workshop on a delightful little needle case. Take a look. It is really interesting, and immediately suggested to me other ideas for a similar project!  She has explained the process and illustrated it very nicely through her blog.

In her December post she recommended a few of the favourite tools she often uses in her sewing projects. She highly recommended a set of Dritz tube turners.

DSC01310 (3).JPG

When I read about them I instantly knew that I would find them very useful so I sent off for a set and have used them for making the limbs on both of these dolls. As soon as they arrived I could see that the first thing I would need to do before anything else was to make a long thin bag to store them in! Ten minutes later…and it was finished!

The set consists of three sizes of purple plastic “straws”, for want of a descriptive word. Each end of these “straws” is cut at an angle. Accompanying each “straw” is a “prodder”.  For the purposes of the photo I made a “doll’s leg” in the dyed dark blue fabric to demonstrate how to use the tool.

In the photograph to the left, you can see the wrong side of the prepared leg. I inserted the straw into the open end of the leg, and carefully pushed it right up to the top of the “shoe”, which was the closed end of the tube.

Then, as you can see, I have gently pushed the wooden “prodder” into the shoe (the closed end of the fabric tube), pushing it down inside the “straw. This action means that the leg/shoe is being turned to the right side.

It isn’t always necessary to to push the stitched tube the whole way down the inside of the straw. If you withdraw the stick, you can continue the process by hand, if you wish. It all depends on the length of the fabric tube you are wanting to turn to the right side!

Over the years I have spent many hours, turning tubes…had even tried using a straw with varying success. This tool worked in seconds! I used the middle size for the dolls’ limbs, as you can see. Such an amazing, simple, useful tool! Well worth the £6.95  with free delivery. I notice they have gone up by about £1 since then. On reflection I think they were on offer when I ordered mine. Two of the “prodders” are wooden, with a smooth pointed end and a flat end. They are perfect for pushing in stuffing! The smallest prodder is a strong, metal rod. The “straw” is made from a sturdy, good quality purple plastic. Have just bought a set for a friend’s birthday!

Dolls have interested me for a long time, recently really capturing my imagination and I have been researching facts and figures of proportions for making a doll with a head, neck and trunk, as well as the limbs. I tried some sketches but quickly realised I had no idea how to draw something that seemed in proportion! I am NO artist!!

I want to be able to make a body, and then clothe it, rather than the approach I have used for the doll above! There is a great deal of information on the Internet, too much that was of no interest to me at all, so it took several hours to search out the basics. I have found some very useful facts, from a range of sources and the drawing below has been drawn using the facts and figures I discovered. Within the search information I had included that I wanted to make a cloth doll of about 8-9″ in height. Armed with some basic information I then drew a very simple diagram using the simple proportions.

DSC01311 (2).JPGI drew around the template for Lotties head and neck, estimating where the top of her neck may be and then applied the formlae I had found. I stress that these measurements are for a doll, not a human body (although some of them are very close apparently).

The body (length from top of neck to crotch) = 1.5 x the length of the head. The width of the body, is the width of the head. That seemed weird to me, but I drew it on my diagram, and when I added the arms, it looked better and ok to begin with.

The legs and the arms are also 1.5 x length of the head. Feet are an added extension, personal choice I think, as I could find no suggested ratio.

This information came from a German Doll maker. She made a point of saying that it is a starting point and the designer/maker can of course make longer legs, alter the body shape etc.  The site was not secure so I have not included the URL here.

From another source I learned that the width of the head is 2/3 of the length of the head.

From yet another source I discovered that in order to place the facial features on the head, it is necessary to measure from the top of the head to the chin and then divided it into 1/4’s. The front hair line is 1/4 down from the top of the head. The eyes are half way between top of head and chin. The nose is midway between the eyes and the base of the chin, and the mouth is half way between the nose and the chin. (Note to self: I think I will put a note in with the Lottie pattern, explaining that I have discovered this information since I made Lottie.…but clearly the maker can also make her own choices about the facial features!

Finally, I continue to work on the huge bed quilt) 108″ x 105″ I am now hand quilting the borders. There are many, many hours of quilting still ahead of me but I have managed some steady hours lately, which is very pleasing. My enthusiasm comes and goes with my energy levels, so there are many reasons to get this virus out of the way!

Happy stitching until next time!







4 thoughts on “Stitching News January 2019

  1. Hi Di. Can I place an order for a doll pattern? Lilly (age 4) would like to make a brown-haired Lottie. I will be at Bodrugan during Anne’s 2nd week.
    Thank you for your always-encouraging newsletters.


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