Monday, 13 June 2011

Friday's Folk Dolls

If it's Friday, then I must be making a folk doll with Maria Lalić.  I'd registered for this workshop on a whim.  Whilst I've made numerous quilts in my time, I don't have an innate talent for machine sewing, and my distinct lack of confidence can be traced to a whole school term when I tried - and failed - to sew a skirt in a cotton fabric that would do nothing but fray and unravel.  I'm a reluctant sewer, though I'm hoping to get over it.  So my first step was enrolling on this course, hoping that Maria would look kindly on my tortured efforts and that I'd have something semi-decent by the end of it.

Once again, the class was small, with six of us, Maria, and an adorable little dog ensconced happily around our worktable.  We set to work, cutting out the dolls' bodies, sewing and stuffing the arms which were then positioned and pinned in place.  Mercifully, Maria is of the 'don't think about it, just go for it' school of sewing, assuring those of us whose approach is more timid that everything will work out fine in the end (it does).  Bodies were then sewed, stuffing stuffed, and then the all-important drawing-in of the facial features: once again, a deep breath, an artistic flourish, and their characters are set.

Inevitably, the legs on my doll ended up being way too wonky - this is where the quick unpick is your friend - but I managed to get them attached properly after a quick lunch break.  Then it was time to decide whether we'd be making a Welsh Lady or a Mumma Doll; opting for the latter, I then set about making a dress and gilet, adding Mary-Janes and styling her hair.  It was at this point that I realised that my doll seemed to have something of a Japanese style about her; it was definitely unintentional, but I was really pleased!

The final stage was creating display boxes for each doll, adorning the outside with scraps of the fabric used for the clothes.  I was as surprised as anyone to realise that I had actually made a doll.  Whilst my sewing won't win any awards, it's far better than I could have hoped, and - crucially - the doll isn't falling to bits.  As with the woven scarf, I now want to make another one, refining my technique, and seeing where I can take this new skill.  Diolch, Maria - another fantastic course!

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