Thursday, August 14, 2014

All About Finishing

Yesterday was all about finishing the half doll.  There are two parts to her.  The doll base and the skirt.  Annette noted on her blog (California Stitcher) what she did to finish her doll and wanted to know how I finished mine.  So here is my story:

First (as in most sewing) I ironed my stitched linen and my gray-blue silk dupioni lining fabric.

I put right sides together and sewed all the way around leaving an opening for turning. I sewed 4 threads out on the sides and 8 threads out on the bottom.

I trimmed the seam and serged the edge.

I ironed it again.  I sewed a line about 3/8 inch down from the top as a casing to thread ribbon through for gathering.  I slip stitched the opening closed.

I took a piece of blue ribbon, threaded in a large tapestry needle and threaded it through the casing.  Voila! the skirt is done.

It was hard to pull the skirt up tight enough to fit the doll's slender waist. It is pulled as tight as I could get it.

Now to the doll.
I decided on the thin blue stripe as the doll body.

The silk was thin so I backed it with some muslin.  I made it just a bit longer than the skirt as I wanted it to show at the bottom.  I also put a casing in the top of it.

I cut a 4 inch circle out of mat board using scissors recommended by Jackie Du Plessis in one of her classes.
I also cut out a 4 inch circle out of ultrasuede.

  I sewed the ultrasuede to the center of a piece of the skirt lining fabric, I could have sewn it to any fabric as it doesn't show.  I sewed gathering stitches around the edge and pulled them up tight and tied them off.  Base is done.

The real trick is to have the body cylinder match the base perimeter.

I got lucky and it did.  I hand sewed the body cylinder to the base.

I threaded another piece of blue ribbon through the casing in the top.

I tried to estimate how long to make the dowel that is inserted into the doll.  I asked DH to cut the dowel.  It took three trimmings to get it to the right length.  I hot glued the dowel inside of the doll body.

Now here's the clever bottom that I put in the doll body.  I cut another two circular pieces of mat board a little less than 4 inches.  I cut a hole in the middle of them that the dowel would fit in.  Then I got an old ribbon spool and took off the cording that was on it.  I hot glued the ribbon spool between the two pieces of mat board.

I put this in the bottom of the doll body.  Then I added the secret ingredient: navy beans.
I wanted to have some weight in the bottom of the doll to ensure that she wouldn't fall over.  I worked the beans into the space of the ribbon spool.  I used fiberfill to stuff the doll body.  I tied the blue ribbon very tightly over the flared bottom of the half doll.

I tied the skirt on.

She's done!


  1. she's gorgeous but won't those beans go bad or get bugs in them over a period of time???

  2. Amy, I am an avid reader of your blog and envy all the time you devote to stitching (I am still working). I love your doll but have a few questions. Would you mind sharing your thread and linen choices? I was really put off by the bright green colors in the magazine. And I, too, am wondering about the beans spoiling after a while. Thanks, and Stitch On.

  3. Wow - She's gorgeous! Congrats on finishing her. Thank you for the superb photos. Love the added changes you made. I learned much from you.
    Especially how you cleverly did the bottom of the doll to anchor her better.
    Fantastic job! love Annette

  4. Wow Amy , she is beautiful!!!!!
    Instead of beans I always used rice.
    Thank you for sharing the finishing.
    Have a nice stitching weekend, Evelyne

  5. She looks wonderful! Very ingenious with the ribbon spool. Good stinkin' as my Mom would say.

  6. YAY HOORAY! This is AMAZING! You are so talented! -BFF

  7. Well done Amy, she is lovely.
    thanks for sharing your finishing step by step instructions, you have made it seem less scary!

  8. Wow! Awesome finish! Great job on putting her back together.