I thought I'd do a bit of a behind-the-scenes post about my latest premium kit: Annie Doll.
I'll start with her name, she is named Annie after my Grandma - actually my Great Grandma but my two grandmothers on the family tree branches below were both called Nana and she was Grandma to my Mum so we all stuck with Grandma.
Here we both are one Christmas (check out those curtains):
For me Grandma was the lady with a good supply of Jaffa cakes and those little toys on springs that would fix to a table with a sucker and would ping up into the air when the suction pad worked free. It's only as an adult that I've realised how much she adversity she faced in life through illness and bereavement and how inspirational she was - she lived to 97.
She was a skilled sewist and would take on sewing work to keep the family going and our family love of sewing has all stemmed from her and so I thought it would be nice for me to remember her through this doll. I think she'd really like that I sew for a living now.
Annie doll started off as something else, she was originally going to be a little decorative Christmas angel but I ran out of time for Christmas and came back to the pattern in February. After finding her again I wondered about turning her into a proper doll and so I boosted up the size and began to experiment with her hair. I have never spent so long on a design as I have this one. Her hair was styled and re-styled several times with various fabric textures trialled until I settled on the smooth fur with a ruching pattern to give it some movement. There was lots of experimenting with her face too; was it easier to embroider at the beginning or at the end once she was sewn together; should she have plastic eyes; should the face be interfaced etc etc Her ears changed positions a few times too until they worked with the facial embroidery (at one point they were too high so her ears and hair had to be moved down). Normally I would avoid having a seam running down the front of a leg but with this it seemed appropriate and gave her traditional look so I kept it - also I really liked the shape of her foot which would have been difficult to achieve any other way. The alterations went on for a while until I was totally happy with her.
The tunic dress had several test garments too - the first one was quite a mini-dress and the opening in the back was too small for her to actually get it on! Once the bolts of fabric for the kit arrived the pattern was altered again to make sure that it worked well for a delicate cotton lawn. I absolutely love this fabric and would love a floaty vest top for me in it!
Annie Doll also has the longest pattern book of any of my kits. I wanted to make sure that aspects that are unique to this pattern (as opposed to my other patterns) and could be considered 'non-standard' methods such as how to make the hair and the assembly of the ribbon closure at the back of the tunic were thoroughly explained.
As always big thanks to Lynne for testing the pattern and pointing out the fairly important instructions that I'd originally missed out!
The text at the bottom of the back page is laid out differently too so that the facial embroidery designs on the other side of the page can be traced easily without the text getting in the way.
I'm currently recording some YouTube tutorials to accompany the pattern in the hope that it will make it more accessible still.
So all in all this pattern has been a real labour of love and I'm now turning my attention to making her some outfits!