Today I'm very happy to be hosting the 'Ho, ho ho and on we Sew' Link Party.
Fiona at Celtic Thistle Stitches and Paula at Mud, Pies and Pins started this last year to try and make sure they were organised for Christmas, and it worked so well for them that they've continued it this year! You see, it's never too early to start your Christmas making - certainly not for me if I'm to stand any chance of being ready and relaxed come December!
And if you get making and link up, as well as being all prepared for Christmas in good time, you get to enter into a lovely giveaway. Thanks to the wonderful Ho, ho, ho sponsors...
|Lots of lovely fabric and bits and bobs over there to browse through - including some beautiful Michael Miller fabric|
Right, back to my make. Last year the girls were both involved in an amazing ballet performance, and Maria's little section was an excerpt from 'The Nutcracker'. There was something about it that caught her imagination - I don't know whether it was the music or the costumes, the dancing itself or the little bits of the story she picked up on, but she became very interested in The Nutcracker. Probably a combination of all these things, and I think, in part at least, just the unusual name itself added to the interest. Anyway, we read different versions of the story lots, we listened to the music lots and Maria danced lots. Then, at Christmas I got Maria a musical Nutcracker as a present, and she loved that too...
I thought it would be lovely to give Maria a different 'Nutcracker' each year for Christmas, to build into her own special Nutcracker collection which will always remind us all of her very first ballet performance. And it occurred to me that this was also a perfect present to be lovingly homemade.
I decided I'd make a large 'Clara' doll with her own, small Nutcracker, so although it would have a Christmassy Nutcracker theme, it would also hopefully be something to play with in different ways all year round. I started off with a simple drawing of a Nutcracker...
And cut out 2 figures in this shape, just from some plain white fabric scraps. Then broke the picture down into its component parts...
And cut out these from lovely, recycled wool.
I sewed these on to my basic outline, fabric shape, adding thread detail...
Once they were both done I just sewed them together, section by section. The doll is quite small, and the wool is great for leaving edges raw, so I just sewed the 2 pieces wrong sides together, leaving the stitching on show - rather than having to turn fiddly, little sections inside out. Again because it's small, I stuffed a little bit at a time, finishing by sewing the top of the hat, rather than sewing the whole thing in one go and then having to stuff it all from one small gap.
|Here the boots are being stuffed.|
Then on to Clara. Again a sketched out shape.
|2 pieces for each of these body parts.|
And some machine stitched detail...
Also some ballet shoes to sew onto the foot ends of both leg pieces.
For the back of the foot, I also tucked a thin ribbon in underneath before I sewed it on.
|Just be sure to tuck your ribbons into the middle when you sew the leg pieces together, so you don't catch them with your stitching, and when you turn your legs out the ribbons are then on the outside as you want them.|
The Clara doll is quite a bit bigger and made from cotton that will fray around the edges, so this one I did construct by sewing right sides together and then turning out. So the 2 leg pieces with their ballet shoes added, when sewn together, turned back out like this...
|For all my Clara construction sewing, I went round at least twice to try and give it some strength and longevity on all the seams.|
Here with arms as well, gently stuffed...
Some colour on this face - again with sharpies and some fabric crayons here too, ironed to make them colour fast...
Then I attached the arms to the back piece of the body, and pinned them towards the right side of the fabric, away from the edges I was about to sew...
Then sewed the front body piece on, over the top, careful not to catch those arms in the sewing.
|The side you can see here is the inside out, wrong side, it's just the colours have come through very clearly, and my stitching is amazingly neat on the back here!|
So here she is turned out, with her arms in place now.
|The bottom edge is neatly ironed under here, ready for the final line of stitching coming up...|
Stuff the head and body carefully, small pieces of stuffing are much the best I find, then pin the legs in place in your bottom, neatly ironed in, opening. Just needs sewing along this line now, and your basic doll is complete (though hairless!).
I converted an old, Summer top into Clara's nightie. It started out like this...
But with a few snips, and new seams...
It fitted her nicely.
|I'm not sure it looks quite nightie-ish enough, so she may get another at some point.|
And to finish, I just hand sewed some wool, along a side parting, for her hair.
Here she is with her Nutcracker. I think I'll probably put either some velcro or maybe a button on her hands to help her to hold him, here I cheated for the photo and her hands are just pinned together.
So there you go, I'm sure Maria will love them and it will be great to be able to pull them out of secret hiding place, storage come Christmas, all ready made - although very tempting to just give them to her now!
PS Look out for all the 'Ho, ho ho' Link Ups each month on the 18th, here's a little timetable of all the wonderful bloggers hosting...
|January||Celtic Thistle Stitches||Fiona||http://celticthistlestitches.blogspot.com|
|February||Threading My Way||Pam||http://www.threadingmyway.com/|
|June||Charly & Ben's Crafty Corner||Ruth||http://benandcharlyscorner.blogspot.co.uk/|
|Patch the Giraffe||Chelsea||http://patchthegiraffe.blogspot.com/|
|August||Sunshine Through the Rain||Deborah||http://sunshinethroughtherain-deborah.blogspot.co.uk/|
|Party of Eight: Our Story||Gina||http://partyofeightourstory.blogspot.co.uk/|
|October||Ella and Nesta's Little Room||Nesta||http://ellaandnesta.blogspot.co.uk/|
|Sandra Sews :)||Sandra||http://suddenlysandra.blogspot.co.uk/|
|November||Rose & Dahlia||Joanne||http://rosedahlia.blogspot.co.uk/|
|December||Mud, Pies and Pins||Paula||http://www.mudpiesandpins.com/|