A few weeks ago, I came home to the most amazing package. The package was from my youngest recipient of the Purl Soho packages to sew clothes for dolls I will give to children in need.
The package was from Maggie Hamel, a sixteen year old whose talent, creativity and generosity far exceed her young age. Just the packaging alone was incredible. Lots of beautifully wrapped bundles with ribbon and a handmade card, thanking me. In each bundle was a crisp gorgeous pile of dresses. Each dress was impeccably sewn with the most gorgeous of fabrics. And... the most precious little crocheted sweaters with darling buttons. My assistant and I marveled at each dress..the trims, the perfectness, the thoughtfulness. It was amazing.
Thank you Maggie Hamel! You are incredible.
I am sending a batch of my linen My First Phoebe dolls (example below) to children at Shriners Burn Hospital at Mass General and each of the dolls will have such beautiful Maggie clothes. Below is an interview with Maggie. And tomorrow I will post doll clothes sewing tips from Maggie.
Who taught you to sew? Who taught you to crochet?
Nobody else in my family sews or crafts, so I taught myself how to sew and crochet. I have always loved sewing; I started hand sewing when I was seven, and made little felt stuffed animals stuffed with tissues and clothes for my dolls. I was thrilled to get a sewing machine when I was nine, and started using patterns to sew doll clothes, stuffed animals, and Halloween costumes. I have learned many techniques from tutorials on the sewing blogs I follow. I gained quite bit of confidence sewing the doll dresses, and have started trying to sew a few clothes for myself.
I learned to crochet from Youtube one summer when I decided that I wanted to make a crocheted doll blanket for my friend. I loved making the blanket, and used Youtube to continue to learn more stitches. I love to crochet, and have made blankets, scarves, bags, ornaments, and doll clothes.
Where did you find those amazing fabrics?
I found many of the fabrics at a lovely fabric store, the Button Box, just as it was going out of business. It was sad to see the shop go - the only other fabric store very close to me is Joann Fabrics (where some of the fabrics I that already had and used are from). The kind saleswomen at the store also gave me most of the tiny buttons that I used on the dresses!
I always love finding new fabric stores. I went to Gather Here in Cambridge for the first time a few weeks ago and was amazed to see fabrics from all my favorite designers and that all of the people whose blogs I follow use! I even spotted some fabric that I have seen Phoebes wearing.
I also loved using the gorgeous fabrics from Purl Soho. I still have a few bits of fabric left that I’ll try to use creatively in future dresses!
Talk a bit about the process of making the dresses.
I came across Phoebe and Egg about a year ago when I was looking for patterns for sewing doll clothes, and used many of the Doll Dressmaking tutorials to make outfits for my own dolls. I fell in love with your blog and dolls, and was amazed when I read that you give a hand-sewn doll to a child in foster care for every doll you sell. I immediately wanted to help make dresses for those dolls, and was so excited when I got the opportunity to do so.
I knew that I wanted to make enough clothes so that each doll could have a complete wardrobe with different styles of dresses. I spent the entire summer and fall making doll clothes, and had such a fun time designing and sewing them.
Did you design the little sweater pattern (I am completely smitten with it)?
I didn’t design it, but the tutorial that I used is by Bob Wilson 123 on Youtube. The pattern is designed for babies and children, but I used the preemie size with light weight yarn and a four mm hook, and eliminated many rows in the yoke and body of the sweater. I hope that it fits the dolls!