Ugh, I loathe making doll bodies, I really do!!! I didn’t start out that way. . . I started out thinking they were completely tedious (mostly because of setting in the gussets, which is the most miserable thing I’ve yet encountered in my 2.5 decades of sewing everything from corsets to curtains), but after now making three different body patterns, I’ve gone from slight annoyance to total aggravation.
First, it was Fanny’s body, which was some random 1980s pattern, and yielded the right height body, but it was knock-kneed, and had a huge rear. Then, the pattern for that “Marie Louise” doll I made in class, which was also about the right size (actually, as I look at her now, I think she’s too long-waisted, and her arms are therefore ridiculously long too) but severely knock-kneed. And now. . .
This may not look like tragedy at first glance, but it is, and I’ll tell you why: The body on the left is supposed to be for a doll that is three inches taller than the doll on the right (Fanny). To put it in perspective, here is a comparison of the two doll heads in question:
I’m using the pattern that matches the mold # of the doll head I made, so there is no excuse for it not to be perfectly sized. The only change I made to the pattern was that I added from the knee to the foot, but as you can see, the knee was already at the same level – if not shorter than – the location of Fanny’s. Also, I think the “larger” doll body is actually skinnier than Fanny’s, too! And, knock-kneed, AGAIN! UUUUUUGGGGGHHHHH!!!!! And I do realize porcelain shrinks when fired, so there’s a chance my head is slightly different in size than the head the pattern maker was working with, but. . . The fact remains that this body, at 13” tall, is nowhere near appropriate for an 18” doll – and that’s what the details about this mold claim the doll to be. So, it’s clearly just an improperly sized pattern.
Have I mentioned before that I have a zero tolerance policy for sloppiness in patterns? Well, I do. It’s because I think it’s sheer laziness when a pattern maker a.) does not make sure seams line up, and b.) does not do at least a mock-up, but better yet, a full-blown sample, of the pattern. If you’re not willing to do these two things, then you’re better off not publishing your pattern at all because all you’re doing is driving people to madness!!!
Okay, now that I got that out of my system. . .
Clearly, the only thing for me to do here is to craft my own pattern, from scratch, for these French Fashion dolls. It will come sized correctly for 12”, 15”, 18”, and 20” dolls (because those are the mold sizes I’ve encountered), all seams will line up, including gussets into their slits, and it will not be knock-kneed!!!!! And guess what? I’ll even test the pattern before I publish it. Novel concept, that. *rolls eyes sarcastically*
I don’t know when I’m going to become inspired to embark on that adventure, because the only thing I can think to do is mold a body somehow, then drape a pattern onto it, and work from there. . . And this seems like a huge amount of work. . . But in the meantime, I will work on attaching the head to the shoulder plate (need my Glennie’s help with that, as it’s a two-person job!) and then making a wig. Because I’m out of work and also as thrifty as any Scottish-blooded person you can find, I’m pilfering hair from an old Halloween costume wig, which I think is close enough in color to work:
And look! I was digging around in my box of doll parts (that really does sound so creepy!) and I discovered that when I was ordering pate possibilities for Fanny, I ended up with a cork pate that was too big for her. . . But is almost perfect for the new doll!
I’m pretty excited about having a cork pate, because it’s a nice solid foundation to pin the wig on to, (pinning the wig being a period way to attach the wig to this sort of doll, from what I’ve read).
So, this doll may not have a body, but hopefully she will at least soon be a well-coiffed floating head! ;)