Reincarnation of a Vest Doll
(14 in/32 cm -- not including hair)
This doll began its life as a vest! A number of years ago I made a vest. It was UGH-LEE!!! I just kind of sketched out some shaping, used colors I liked willy-nilly, and used a very simple sc, ch-1 pattern (where the sc is in the ch-1 space in the previous row). It was too long, oddly shaped, just icky (see pictures below). I never wore it. It sat in a closet for years. I tried it on for kicks and my husband said it reminded him of "Maude" of '70s fame.
So, I was pretty sure than most of the yarns were wool and decided to throw it in the wash and see whether it would full. Well, it did and it didn't -- some of the yarns were not wool, but most were. Someone suggested that with some embellishment post-fulling I might still be able to wear it (second set of vest-y pictures below). Not in this lifetime!! So, I decided to cut away the parts that didn't full and see what I could do with what was left. So I pulled out a few pieces that kind of suggested body and legs to me. I trimmed them to match, though one piece was a couple of inches too short. I added a piece across the top of that short piece in a T to make arms. Then I added some pieces on the sides of the other matching piece to make arms on that piece. I had a basic doll body. Since my original crocheting was a very hole-y pattern, the felt had some holes in it. I crocheted across these to fill them in; these are the chain-y looking lines pre-fulling shown below. I considered adding some more interesting freeform crocheting to cover the holes, but decided to stick to the basic linear look of the original crocheting instead.
I crocheted around the border of each piece, pinned them together, and crocheted the two pieces together, all using the same sc, ch-1 method of the original ugly vest. I did the same kind of thing for the head pieces that I found, and then attached those to the body, leaving only the top of the head open for stuffing. I added the hair, which was strands of a cord I created (ch, sc into hump of ch, repeated). I decided not to weave in the tails, which ended up producing a nice effect when fulled. So, when I had all that together, I threw the whole thing back into the washing machine to full it again. There were still some holes, both in the original fabric and in the additions I'd made. So I crocheted some more, threw it back in. I repeated this process several times (and once more after stuffing) until I was happy with the results. I went through various attempts at faces (definitely not my strong suit): crocheted a separate face that looked goofy sewn on, no face, and finally decided on just the button eyes.
Reincarnation of a Vest doll is in the Spring 2006 issue of "Art Doll Quarterly" in the "Show and Tell" section, p. 122-123.