This is the story behind my "James" and "Anna" graduation doll patterns and involves my Dad, my niece, and my twin granddaughters.
When both my twin granddaughters and my niece were graduating from high school and college, respectively, I wanted to give them something special. For me, that usually involves something crafty that I'd made or, and this may come as a surprise to all of you, a doll. So, I decided on a doll. But, I didn't want just any graduation doll. I thought how about taking their graduation picture and transposing that onto a doll's head using iron on transfer paper. It was a nice idea, but a bad application from the start.
So, I set about to design a stand alone graduation doll that would have each of their respective graduation gown colors. I knew I wanted the doll to be stand alone and wanted the body bottoms to be made out of denim. I decided that I would use popcorn kernels to weight the bodies down. So, I began by scanning in their respective graduation pictures and then setting about to crop the images and adjust the image size until their faces would fit on my graduation doll patterns head. I should have known right from the start that this was going to be a disaster. I just couldn't seem to get the right size face with the right size head. In any event, I finally had something I could work with and transferred the face to my cloth head piece.
Then I put the three dolls together using my rough draft pattern pieces. The doll's bodies and graduation gowns came out wonderful. Their faces were an entirely different story almost bordering on scary. See for yourself. What do you think? Scary, frightening, yuck?
The first person to receive her doll was my niece. Well, the graduation doll was the talk of the graduation barbecue until my niece arrived and I gave it to her. Everyone thought the doll was creative and unique. My niece loved it but thought it was "CREEPY!"
She wasn't sure whether she should thank me and keep it or thank me and hide it at the back of her closet. I have to admit it was pretty "creepy" and pretty scary looking. I suppose having ones face on a doll is "creepy" and just the looks of the doll was pretty scary. Not that her face is scary or anything. It's just the flat dimensions on what's supposed to be a three dimensional face just didn't work. Flat faces look great on pillows. On dolls, that's another story.
My twin granddaughters were the next group to receive their graduation dolls. Once, again, everyone thought they were unique, exceptional, and downright scary. My grandsons wouldn't even look at them. They were too scared. My granddaughters just laughed and got a kick out of showing all their friends their "frightening" graduation dolls.
So, I decided I had to make something positive out of this disaster and decided to design the graduation doll with an embroidered face. After all I already had the rough draft pattern. All I needed was a face. Instead of doing just one doll pattern I decided to do two: a male graduation doll pattern and a female graduation doll pattern. I could easily alter the clothes underneath the gown to suit either a male or female.
Anna is so happy to be finally graduating. It seems like it's been a long time coming and she's looking forward to her summer vacation. Of course, it won't be a vacation for her as she has to prepare for moving into college all the way across the country from where she lives. She wanted the best school in her field and it was far away. While Anna and her parents weren't really happy that she'd be this far from home they want her to have the best education possible - so they agreed. So, Anna has a lot to do before she goes on to college.
Anna has been waiting a long time for her Graduation Day and is a free-standing cloth doll with a square bottom denim base. She has a long tunic shirt with fringed 3/4 gathered sleeves and square-bottomed denim pants. Her face is embroidered and she has round black button eyes. She is wearing a white satin graduation gown with 3/4 sleeves and is holding a bouquet of silk ribbon flowers with streamers and diploma in her right hand and her commencement exercise booklet in her left hand. She has long flowing red hair framing her face and has a white graduation cap on her head. A string of pearls and ribbon bow decorate her outfit.
Designer - Linda Walsh Originals
James has been preparing for his Graduation Day for quite some time. He decided that he wanted to take the summer off after his graduation and travel around the country. He wants to have some fun before he has to settle down into a real job in the real world. He's not sure his parents will approve the summer off. He certainly is going to give them all the reasons why this is a good thing, maybe, even throw in an "impish" smile of two. That will sway them to his way of thinking. He can be a charmer when he wants to.
James has been impishly awaiting his Graduation Day and is a free-standing cloth doll with a square bottom denim base. He sports a long cotton shirt with rolled sleeves and square-bottomed denim pants. His face is embroidered and he has round black button eyes. He is wearing a black satin graduation gown with 3/4 sleeves and is holding his diploma in his right hand and his commencement exercise booklet in his left hand. He has wild curly brown hair framing his face and has a black graduation cap on his head.
Designer - Linda Walsh Originals
Well, this story had several phases. It was a nice idea whose application was downright frightening and was rescued by creative embroidering. Hopefully, you'll agree.
If you'd like to try your hand at transferring the face of a graduate you know please do so. Maybe you'll have better luck then I did.
If not, the embroidered faces in my "Anna" and "James" graduation doll patterns are just adorable and make great centerpiece decorations for any graduation party. At least, they won't cause nightmares.