Come have a peek inside and see what I made.. (hey, does that rhyme)?
I scoured and scoured the net for doorstop patterns that would peak my interest. I found some really cool ones and even some blogs that had some great lessons on how to make them, but I had a idea in mind and wanted to find something close to it or an actual pattern.
So, back in the 70’s early 80’s, they had these cute soda pop type dolls that became quite popular. I really wanted to make one, but just never found the time to do it. I had this in mind when I was looking for a pattern. I thought I’d be making an animal tho, not a Sunbonnet Sue doll.
It was great to find this pattern at Free Sewing.com. This image to the left is the image they show you on Free Sewing.com, mine looks about the same, but it is slightly different.
I am happy with it, but I found this pattern difficult to understand. So as a bonus today for anyone who would make this pattern in the future, I’ve also added some tips on what I did to create the pattern.
This is Sue, how do you like her?
For me, I added some additional ties in the sleeve area where it gathers, and the pocket on the apron is in the middle versus to the left of the doll. (Her right side).
I also didn’t use a glue gun in the areas where it wanted you to glue as I don’t have a glue gun here. I ordered it, but it’s not here yet. Actually, it turns out that I prefer this idea, as my “filling” is coca-cola, and my hubby will want to drink it at some point and I may want to wash the fabrics at some point to get the dust off, so I think it’s a good thing I won’t have to worry about trying to take apart some glue.
My apologies for any blurred images, I take 3-5 pictures of each thing, to try and avoid the blurriness I seem to get sometimes, and I know a few images didn’t make good on any of them here, so I chose the best I could to show.
Here are some tips on making this doll:
Quite a few of the pieces of this pattern require that you cut 4 pieces rather than 2. I use freezer paper to mark my patterns, then I add the name of the piece, and how many to cut. Sometimes there is additional info, such as dashed lines and I’ll either mark the dashes, or I’ll note where the dashed lines are.
When I created the ties for the big bow on the hat, I use a 60 degree angle on my ruler.
I folded the 2 1/2 inch strip right sides together as directed, I then lined up the angle on the ruler as shown below in the blurry photo.
I then marked the line so when I sewed the tie together I’d have a line to follow for the angle.
When I did the opposite end, I lined it up with the ruler on the back side so that the ties would go opposite on the ends.
Curves are also on the bias of your fabric, and need special handling. We know from making binding via the bias method, that the stretch is part of working with the bias. It’s no different with curves and is probably the reason most people don’t like working with curves, they can be intimidating. When working with the collar of this doll, you are again working with a curve. You can help push the curve with the stitching, but I also recommend you slow down the stitching to get a nice curve. Until you feel comfy, stitch one or two stitches at a time until you feel comfortable making the curve. The same for when you come to the other curve, if you have the type of the machine where your foot lifts automatically upon the stopping of the stitching or you have a knee lift, make your turns every few stitches, or with every stop/start to handle the curve, this insures you get a proper curve verses stitching alot of stitches then trying to turn to meet the curves. It’s more likely you’ll end up with tiny points when turning if you don’t turn often with the lift of your foot. (I don’t mean the foot with your toes on it either, I do mean the sewing machine presser foot as shown in the above image).
The hardest part of stitching this doll for me to understand was adding the cap and how the sleeves would be created and attached. I nearly forgot that I had a free-arm on this machine. It’s not something we use much in quilting, it’s more of a “feature” for people who do crafts or create there own clothing. When creating the sleeve, I first mistook the instructions and stitched the right sleeves together so that I’d be turning them inside out, but this is not quite right. You stitch around the curves from the bottom of the sleeve, but you need to leave that bottom of the sleeve open. You can then use your free-arm to create the hem, and add the gathering stitches for the sleeve.
When attaching the arm and this was probably the most difficult thing for me to comprehend, my thought was that I would be attaching it to the body face part, but this isn’t the case, instead, you put a little polyfil into the sleeve, then place the arm inside the sleeve itself enough so that it can be stitched in place. I took the additional time to stitch thru the gathering to the arm and to other side of the sleeve, and did this several times, which I thought would allow the arm to stay in better.
The hat (bonnet top) is created with 2 pieces of the pattern piece sewn right sides together and then you gather it as tight as possible to make it fit to the collar with the exception of 4 inches, which gets sewn to the bonnet tie.
If I had this part to do over again, I would instead use elastic to do this. It could be the fabric that caused a bit of grief with the gathering stitches, as we all know Kona is a great quality fabric, and this is no exception, but like batiks, they are on the stiff side of the fabric touch, so it makes them harder to do things like gathering with. At the same time, because the bonnet needs to be gather to it’s tightest amount, I think using elastic to do this would have been much better and you’d get a nicer finish out of it. It made it very difficult to attach to the collar, elastic would make that easier.
When I do gather in this fashion, I use a few tricks to keep things flowing. When I start my gathering stitches on the machine, I actually start with 2 stitches in a normal stitch size of around 2.0, this makes it so it won’t come out on that side when I’m gathering it up. If I forget, I do it on the other end when I am stopping. To me, one secure end is good because it allows you to gather without worrying that the other end won’t get a proper gather, and at the same time it won’t come out making it so you have to stitch the gathering stitch again. If the gathering had been done with a hand stitch gathering, you’d still have that little knot on the other end to have it hold that other side in, so to me it works the same way with the sewing machine, you have a secured side, and a side you gather with.
I also don’t start my gathering stitch at “seams”. Often the seams if they are not treated properly with a zigzag or serger stitch to prevent raveling, the threads will get in the way of the gathering stitch, so try not to start your gathering stitch on a seam, thus your only working with the actual threads to gather with.
Once I am done with the gathering, if I need to keep the long thread, I’ll place a straight pin in the fabric, and wrap the threads around it in a figure 8 type fashion to hold the long thread in place until I am ready to finish it off. I wouldn’t recommend cutting that thread off until you have finished what your doing with the gathering, if you do and the gathering comes out, you don’t have alot of thread to work with, you may need to restitch the whole gathering stitch.
It’s hard to see in this image, perhaps the image I place below it will be better, but this shows how you add the 4 inches you save from gathering into the bow tie which also has a 4 inch opening. You just kind of have to slide it in their to make it fit well, and then stitch one side of the tie to the bonnet trim, and once that side is sewn to the bonnet, you then stitch it closed with the other side of the tie to finish off that part.
I’m hoping the above image shows that attachment a little bit better.
The above and below images show the bonnet and tie stitched together.
After this, you will stitch the collar onto the rest of the cap. This is done in the same way as the tie is done, stitch the one side to the cap, then turn it under and stitch the other to finish them.
This is a 1.5 liter bottle of coke instead of the 2.0 it calls for. It’s a little skinnier in the neck as well versus the 2 liter bottles. So the body doesn’t fit as well as if it had been the 2 liter bottle.
This shows how I avoided the glue gun. When possible, I used ribbon to hold them together or add them on.
I did the same with the dress. This one also needs the gathering at it’s tightest amount. The other way to attach it is by using a needle and thread, but I felt that it just wouldn’t hold strongly enough. I’m not sure I understood the directions well enough either on attaching this, so this was how I did it.
When I added the apron (no image) I stitched it by hand to the top of the dress part where you see the gathering at. It gets hidden by the bow so you can’t see the stitching either way.
The sleeves were also attached by a hand stitch. I marked the parts on the bow tie with a Bohn pencil and on the sleeve so I could attach them. I stitched them to the sides with just a few stitches just enough to hold them in place.
When you add the cap to the doll head, you add a bit of polyfil. You don’t want to make this heavy, just enough to poof the cap out. The bonnet is quite heavy because of my Kona green fabric choice, if I’d chosen a lighter fabric this would probably have been the better way to go, but I love the green with the Riley Blake fabric, it just blends perfectly.
and last, Another view, I really love how Sue turned out.
and a side view
In her new spot in our home at the front door to greet all our friends.
Edit: I hadn’t gotten a chance to visit the other participants in the 2 blog hops going on until this morning. I was over at Thimblemouse and Spouse, where she created some very adorable projects, but in particular she shared a tip with gathering where you stitch a zigzag stitch over the straight stitch. I mentioned in the comments that I’d used her technique with corded elastic. It occurs to me that with creating this doll, that technique could be used with corded elastic as well. There are so many spots where you don’t get to finish off the gathering, or you tie the ends of the gathering stitches together. It would be better to use something to tie off like the corded elastic. Instead of making a gathering stitch, you stitch a zigzag stitch with the cording underneath the stitch as you stitch the zigzag. You can actually use a cording presser foot to achieve this, but can be done with any foot, the cording foot just makes it easier as it glides the cording underneath the stitch. This is the elastic I’m talking about:
If you don’t like this type of elastic, you could also use 1/8″ wide elastic to do this as well. They make gathering so much easier and stitching it down to other parts. When I make this doll again and I know I will, I will try it with the elastic for the gathering stitches.
Don’t forget to visit the other sites on today’s tour of Don’t Let The Door Blog Hop
Seams To Be Sew – You are here
Huge thanks to Madam Samm and Carla for organizing and cheering us on for this very fun Blog Hop, and to the sponsors, a huge thank you for your wonderful prizes. I love being in Blog Hops and love the learning experience each has taught me.
Have a great day!!
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