Monday, November 17, 2008

Suffice it to say, I'm not a perfectionist

I've been dreading this school project ever since John told me about it. We had to dress up a doll in clothing appropriate to a country our child chose out of his ancestry. Clothing for a doll. I couldn't figure out how I could possibly make John do all the work. And I couldn't figure out how I was going to do it without sewing.

You may have guessed from my snack debacle that I'm not so much with the sewing either. I made a couple of dresses in high school. They fit and everything, but I didn't exactly take to it like the easier things in life. I was actually feeling put out with John's wonderful teacher. I couldn't believe she was asking me to sew.

But check it out. I didn't do too badly I think. I realize it looks more like a giant mushroom top than a beret and more of a wool poncho than a soft white top, but seriously, this doll is really small. He's a french painter guy, and this is exactly the image you'll find all over the internet if you google "frenchman's costume". If you simply google french costume, you get french maid lingerie. When you google french painting you get equally astonishing (though beautiful) images sure to make a 9-year-old boy squirm. We actually added the paint pallet to further identify the character. The whole thing looked more complete that way even though I didn't really know if that was appropriate. I told John to just explain that the French contribute a lot to the arts. Then say, "Like their famous museum, the Louvre." I think he's already forgotten that, but it does look better with the pallet.

John put the stripes on the shirt, but I sewed that baby with my own two hands and even got it turned right side out and onto the stiff, uncooperative arms of that doll. But the hat! Oh, the hat is my pride and joy. I knew we needed a French beret. It was the signature piece holding the whole thing together. But how do you make a French beret for a doll's head smaller than your index finger? Yikes. I made it with two cut-out circles from an old blue sock, put a piece of Diet-Coke-box cardboard between them to stiffen it and then topped it off with the sticky up thing - also pieces of sock. Then, the most creative part, I had to sew the thread through the hat and then under his (almost nonexistant) neck a few times to get the thing to stay on.

I'm very proud. I forgave John's teacher and showed it to Michael with glee. He gave his approval and then asked which poor soldier had been sadly reduced to this.

"It's not a soldier," I said. "It's Han Solo."

8 comments:

Kelly H-Y said...

That is fantastic! I so sympathize with you ... I'm right there with ya! I broke my mother's sewing machine, trying to do one simple stitch, long ago ... and knew sewing was not in my destiny. So ... I had the same reaction last year, when my son's teacher asked if I might coordinate the making of my son's costume, and that of his fellow counterparts in the Christmas play ... they were all to be birds! Needless to say, I think I stopped breathing for a moment and I know my eyes showed some fright, as I thought of the possibility of this leading to sewing! It all turned out fine ... but I had to gigle at your post, as I reminisced about our similar experience!

Caroline said...

Don't sell yourself short! Han looks wonderful, and half (if not more) of sewing costumes is all about thinking outside the box.
I give you an "A+"!

serenity said...

Wow! An A+ from the woman who has made some of the most treasured things in our house!

And Kelly - I knew we were kindred spirits. :)

Kathy said...

I'm sure Han Solo was glad to give it up for the cause.

zanne said...

you go girl!

it reminds me of the time our second son had to be a jester for the sixth grade's renaissance fair. i cheated and bought the hat, but made him finger puppet jesters as part of his act. wooden beads, magic marker, big fat pipe cleaners that stuck out of the top with tiny jingle bells wired on--i was SO proud of those (and no, i didn't sew, i'm worse than you are. none of my efforts ever turned out to be identifiable, much less wearable!) just glued the cloth around a tiny wooden dowel that i used as a neck. he's almost 18--he liked them so much he still has them!

Anonymous said...

Serenity,
I am now officially terrified of Jared's graduation to 3rd grade next year. Let's hope Grandma is NOT in TX or FL at the time of any such project!!

serenity said...

Sara, you crack me up! Every time I stressed over it, John would say, "We could ask Grandma." They know who's boss of the needle and thread that's for sure. Also, just tell Jared to say he comes from a country for which you already have a doll. Surely Jenna's got Swedish Barbie or something, right? :)

Kelly H-Y said...

Yes, I think we are! :-)

And, by the way ... that was supposed to be 'giggle', not 'gigle' ... oh my ... that's what I get for being in too much of a hurry!