I am a very crafty person...in my head. I read craft blogs and books, am familiar with all of the big names in the craft world, and have a good stash of craft supplies at home. I make lots of plans to "make" instead of "buy" but invariably I run out of time or inspiration. That's why I'm so glad I found this project.
I am attending a baby shower for a special friend today. She already has two little girls and is getting ready to welcome a little boy into their home. I wanted to give her (and him) something special but didn't have a lot of money to spend. But making something for her is intimidating because she is super creative and crafty herself. When Noa was born, she gifted him achingly cute appliqued onesies and personalized burp cloths. So while the alternative to buying something was to make something, I wanted it to be something I could complete on time and in a manner worthy of the receiver.
The Black Apple doll is all of that. First of all, I had all of the supplies already on hand. I did run out to Joann to pick out a couple of $1.50 fat quarters because I wasn't happy with the fabrics in my stash. Oh, and I also needed some poly-fill. Otherwise, I had everything else I needed.
The most time consuming part for me was the first step: cutting out the template. I cut it first out of regular printer paper but then decided that since I plan on making more of these dolls in the future, I should cut it from light cardboard instead. I also cut extra face and arm pieces as well since I know I have at least two more of these in my near future.
After that, it's amazing really how quickly this comes together. I'm used to sewing hula costumes and it is extremely time consuming to sew hems and elastic channels along 12 feet of fabric (the normal amount for our pa'u skirts). Total time at the machine for this project is a matter of minutes. Stuffing is sort of time consuming as well, but I just got comfy on the couch for that part and it went quickly.
My only comments to someone else attempting this project would be to plan your embellishments or variations before you start. The only thing I varied for this one is that I added a necktie, but I've seen other examples with buttons, skirts, pigtails, stitched faces (instead of ink/paint), scarves, etc. From that perspective, I wish I would have had time to finish the one I plan to make for Noa's 1st birthday before the one I'm giving as a gift. I didn't like that the gift doll was my practice one, so to speak. There are probably a couple of other tweaks that I would make next time, specifically to make the doll look more boyish, although this time around I think the necktie does the trick.
This is a great project. I feel like I accomplished something but it didn't stress me out in the process or stretch over multiple days. And the possibilities for personalization are endless. On top of that, I'm a huge fan of The Black Apple (blog, Etsy), so I was really happy to use her tutorial.
Since I had the sewing machine out, I decided to make some babylegs for Noa and Baby Girl. The tutorial was passed along to me by teacher extraordinaire and super crafter Jen. (I would seriously consider moving across town if it meant my kids could be guaranteed a spot in her classroom in a few years.) I cleaned out my sock drawer a couple of weekends ago and set aside a couple of taller pairs of the castoffs with this project in mind. They were SO easy that I almost didn't believe it when I was finished. Another project I'd highly recommend!