Sunday, April 12, 2015


It really happened.  Spring arrived.  We had the first truly beautiful day of the season.  I had intended to clean up the yard with the pooper scooper.  Instead, Betsy and I went to JoAnns for the 50% coupon sale.  I bought fourteen yards of batting and a few other things.  Betsy bought fabric.  

After our trip I went right back to the sewing loft to work on the dolls.

I didn't need a fire.  Heck, I had the windows AND door open.  It was just that nice.  Of course, in August I won't think 61 is nice.  Today I did.
 See the sunshine behind the machine?  It looks like a light, but it is the real deal.  The sliding glass door is open.  We are celebrating!

These two dolls are numbers 8 and 9.  I would think that by now I would be pretty skilled at making the wig   I am not.  Yesterday I struggled.   I thought that dropping the feed dogs and using a darning foot would enable me to move the fabric and the yarn easily under the needle.  Not so.  I had discovered that wrapping the yarn with wax paper and stitching along the fabric made the process more smooth, but this darning foot idea sucked.  I got out the 15-90 and just stitched over the fabric, yarn, wax paper sandwich using the regular foot with the feed dogs up.  It worked quite well but the wax paper was stuck in the stitches.  I got most of it out, with effort.  Only a little dandruff left.

Today I picked up some black tissue paper.  Well, OK, some black party napkins; ten inches by ten inches.  I figured if I couldn't get all of the paper out, the black would blend in.  I also bought some worsted weight yarn.  I thought it might make a better wig than the DK weight I had.  Not so.

The process:

First you cut out a piece of fabric that is shaped like the head (it is an actual pattern piece called WIG)  then you sew a small dart at the top of the wig in the middle.  This gives it shape to conform to the stuffed head.

Next you wind yarn around a template.  The dimensions are given on the pattern.  I had the one from the original project ten or so years ago. 

The directions tell you to wind the yarn around the template, gently remove the yarn and sew it to the wig.  Right. 

I found that keeping the yarn from tangling as you remove it from the template is impossible.  In the past I strung a piece of yarn through all the strands BEFORE I removed the yarn from the cardboard.  That worked but was a bit laborious.  This time I fastened two thin strips of fabric to the cardboard template before I started winding.

If you can, try to wind the yarn loosely to minimize stretching.  Here it is, all wound.  I pinned the ends of the fabric pieces together.  Then I eased the yarn off.  It is tricky but if you crease the template first in two places, it will become a tube when you fold on the creases and the yarn will slip off.  No photo.  Too tricky.
Here you can see how the yarn "shrunk" back to its original size after coming off the template.  Having those strips of fabric really helps keep the yarn organized.
The idea is to end up with the wig looking like this.

 I placed the paper on the table and then put the yarn on top of it.  I arranged the yarn as neatly as I could using the strips of fabric, now loops, at each end to keep all things tidy.  Then I put the wig on top of the yarn and pinned it to the paper through the yarn. 

The lower stitch line, along the neck, was easy. 

Stitching around the head, PITA.

I used the black napkin first go round.  But I had to rip that out.  I don't know what went wrong.  Neither did the dogs.  It was now supper time and they were restless.  I was determined.  I used tissue paper this time. In my infinite wisdom and foresight, I bought some when I bought the party napkins.  There was no black tissue paper, just black napkins but there was blue tissue paper and that would have to do and it did.

Much better.

The wig is so thick that it is difficult to maneuver under the needle.  This Kenmore has a super high shank foot.  I dropped the feed dogs, positioned the fabric pinned to the yarn and paper,  under the needle, then I raised the feed dogs and sewed.  It worked pretty well.  I have a walking foot for this machine but I have never been able to make it work well.  Certainly that would give a nice even feed and prevent the yarn from shifting.  Next time.   

There is a bit more paper to pull out, but it comes out readily.  That wax paper was really tough. 
I think that once the wigs are stitched in place and the loops cut, they will look fine.  I am determined, though, to find a better way.  I honestly don't want to weave the yarn into the wig one strand at a time. That would be way to tedious.  

OK.  I bought a little fabric today too.    The dolls need dresses and while I likely have enough in my stash, well, it was just more fun buying this on sale. 


  1. Might tear-away or wash-away Solvy stabilizer help?

  2. My sister will be happy to know that one of your watermarks is "Pay attention" as that is their house motto (on a little plaque on the door now). I have always ended up handstitching the hair down, or using a really long machine stitch, with low tension, with my wax paper. Am glad we could trade our weather for yours this weekend (snow in the mountains! Thanks!).

  3. Just want you to know, while searching for images of and information on old vintage machines. I found your blog and your other old blog. I love some of those machines you've got. The stash of parts would be a dream come true for anyone who likes old sewing machines. The 319 is almost like the one my mother had, I learned to sew on it. I loved that old machine, it ran great and I never had a problem with it. On the other hand-my mom hated that machine, she had trouble threading it. I tried to get my brother to save it for me when she moved in with him and he wouldn't-now I don't know where the old brown thing is.

    The water marks are great too, nice to see someone with a liberal opinion for a change. I read back far enough to catch up a bit. I will check back often, there is lots of info here, I am trying to learn so I can keep my old machines going. No sewing machine mechanics around here that I can find.