Saturday, June 29, 2013

Handmade Princess Bride Westley Doll

"As you wish."
I've been meaning to share this for a while now. I mean, it's not every day I make a doll. In fact, I'd never made a real doll before last autumn, nonetheless a doll of the Dread Pirate Roberts (a.k.a. Westley) from the Princess Bride.

It must have been the pregnancy hormones that made me commit to this madness. I was bandying about ideas for a regular craft swap I do with a friend, and I mentioned making a doll for her wee son in return for a black, crochet baby blanket. I'd been looking for something to hone my sewing skills, since I'd mastered the skill of sewing two squares together. A doll was the next logical step, right?

To be fair, I started with a pattern I found on an Etsy store, Dolls and Daydreams. There's an adorable superhero boy pattern that served as a base for the body and the mask. Rather than making the legs, arms, and body in different colors, I went with black fabric. The tricky parts were the boots (made from upcycled pleather from a couch I skinned), the chest (trying to get that sexy, open-collar look), and the hair (how do I give a doll a ponytail?).

Appliqueing the face turned out to be rather challenging, too, but fun. The mask was made from the same upcycled pleather, but I used wool felt for the hair and mustache, and craft felt for the eyes. It's hard to tell from the picture below, but I machine stitched wavy lines of hair to make it more interesting. Freestyle.

"No one would surrender to the Dread Pirate Westley."
The chest issue was solved by cutting a slit in the chest fabric and sewing it open to make a "collar," and then sewing a triangle of flesh-colored fabric to fill in the space. I hand embroidered the criss-cross laces of the shirt with a simple back-stitch.

I figured out how to make the ponytail fairly easily: I stitched a little bit of felt to the back of the doll, so that when I sewed the head on it looked like a ponytail:

"Why won't my arms move?"

The boots. Oh lordy, those boots. Remind me, the next time I work with pleather, to make the legs BIGGER so I don't have to turn thick, stiff fabric in a one-inch-wide tube. It took me half an hour each to turn those legs!

I am exceedingly pleased with how my first doll came out, and most importantly, I learned a lot (#&@*ing pleather). It was hard for me to let him go, even though I knew he was going to a good, geeky home. It'll be a while before I have the time or space to make another doll, but fortunately, it'll be a while before my own wee son can play with dolls. If I start now, I can have it done by his 5th birthday.