Along came Polly

One of my nieces turns three on the 2nd April. She’s mad about pirates. I’d been toying with making her something pirate-themed and when I saw the pirate dressing-up outfit my Mum has got her, I decided I just had to make something to go with it. I quickly stumbled across these via Google Images. Both by Laura Hunter.

They looked familiar, I knew I’d seen something similar. And then I remembered, there was a similar dolly in The Big Comic Relief Crafternoon magazine – Mollie the dolly.

I felt reasonably confident that I could take the Mollie pattern and, with a few adjustments and additions, turn her into Polly the pirate. She’s called Polly because the rule in my (and my niece’s) house is that everything has to have an alliterative name and it has to be the first name that comes into your head. Thus, Polly was born!

The pattern called for muslin, so I dutifully went out and bought some. Plus some black and white felt for the hat, and I couldn’t resist buying some red fabric with white stars for the top, in the absence of being able to find anything nautical enough.

To adapt the pattern to make a pirate suitable for my niece, I:

  • Made a template for the hat, including skull and crossbones.
  • Made some loose-fitting (not that loose, as it turns out!) trousers.
  • Added some bunches to the hair, as I want Polly to vaguely resemble my niece.

Skipping ahead in the pattern instructions I started with the legs. The instruction was to triple stitch the seams. I’ve never done this stitch before and didn’t even know if my machine was capable of it. It was, and I’ve now learnt a new stitch. The bad news was that the muslin I’d bought was so thin that the stitching was chewing it up. I tried two other stitches, to no avail.

I was close to despair at this point. My husband was out and I’d been looking forward to an evening making the doll, but my fabric wasn’t up to the job. What to do? Much as I hate to deviate from the instructions, I thought I’d try some white cotton I found in my scraps box. And it was so much better, such relief!

The only hitch is that as the cotton is white, rather than cream, Polly is rather a pale pirate. An English rose, no less.

Having thought this was a one evening job (Are they ever?/When will I learn?), it’s taken me an hour here and there over the past three days to actually finish it. And more than a few hiccups along the way. The bunches were a pain, my guess at where to put them when sewing the front and back pieces of the head together was wrong and they ended up inside the head. Out came the unpicker. That was just one of the hiccups, I won’t bore you with the rest.

I finished her last night, leaving the hat to do today. Even though it’s supposed to be oversized, it still needed reducing a little in size. As I thought it looked too big like this.

Meet Polly, all finished and ready for my niece’s 3rd birthday. Which, wait for it, isn’t til the 2nd April! So, I’ve finished something AHEAD. OF. TIME.

[pause to appreciate this momentous occasion]

Now you can meet her.

This particular niece, Esmé, is doing quite well out of Aunty Kate’s crafty creations. Last year, she got bunting for her birthday and also received my first ever patchwork quilt, which had been intended for her 1st birthday, but which she got when she was 2 and a half. Better make something for her big sister, Adelaide. Fortunately, her birthday isn’t til October.

So, next project? I’m waiting for some silk noil to arrive so that I can have a go at some hand embroidery, inspired by Ambrosia Stitches.

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6 thoughts on “Along came Polly

  1. Ahh she’s adorable. I love her trousers! Luckily I don’t think your niece will realise she’s paler than she would have been 🙂 and GO YOU completing something well in advance!!

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  4. She’s so beautiful !!! i plan to make a doll for my niece too (Mollie doll pattern) but i’m not sure if i have to adjust the pattern (if i have to increase % at the time i print it) this will be my first doll and i quite nervous

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