Sunday 10 May 2015

"Cover Girls"

"Toilet paper dolls" is a rather unflattering moniker. Also a bit misleading since it almost makes it sound like the dolls are made of toilet paper. "Toilet paper cover dolls" is rather cumbersome. So, I've opted to nickname them "cover girls." Here's my first one:
I remember these from my childhood, but I can't honestly say it is with fondness or even nostalgia. My mother never had them in the house. With 7 children, we probably went through so much toilet paper that one of these dolls would be more trouble than it was worth. And most of them from my childhood looked more like this: 
The dolls weren't particularly attractive and they weren't very successful at hiding what they were supposed to be hiding under their incredibly cylindrical dresses. So I really hadn't had a desire to own or create one of these. Until a few years ago I acquired some patterns for them along with some other crocheting paraphernalia I got at a yard sale. And for me it was a new challenge. And recently I decided to take up that challenge. Finding a couple of Skipper-sized dolls at the thrift store, I knew they were the same height as the dolls used for this purpose and decided to see if they would work. 
The patterns actually called for worsted weight yarn. I felt that was quite bulky for such a small doll and considered using sport weight, but the local selection is pretty slim. So I opted to use Red Heart Soft Touch, which is one of the lightest worsted weight available at our Walmart. The only lighter one is Red Heart Unforgettable, but I didn't want a variegated yarn for this project. I also went down a hook size from the recommended 3.75 to a 3.50.
Before I go any further, I want to tell you how I compare yarns. I use metres per gram. I look on the label and find the number of metres and the number of grams and divide. For example, Red Heart Comfort solids have 792 metres in a 454 gram ball. That yields 1.74 metres per gram. Soft Touch is 1.9 and Unforgettable is 2.56. The higher the number, the ligther or finer the yarn. It's a handy index to have when substituting or combining yarns in a project, especially a project where guage is very important. 
So, I began to crochet, but had to make adjustments as anything in the Barbie family is quite a bit more shapely than the original toilet paper dolls. However, increasing and decreasing left too many openings where the doll's "flesh" showed through. I wasn't very happy about this. And as the skirt got longer, the weight of it pulled on these openings and made them bigger. And then, somehow the skirt was a little overwhelming for this tiny doll:
I do believe that there's a lot more "give" to this yarn than some other worsted weights, such as Red Heart Comfort, and as I started adding ruffles, the increased weight just seemed to pull the dress longer and longer. By this time, I had decided that Barbie was going to work better for this dress than the Skipper-sized doll and tried her out in the dress. Actually, at first I tried a doll called Darci, who is about an inch taller than Barbie. No, that's not going to work. She is too tall and risked topping over into the toilet bowl. Definitely not what I wanted to happen after putting all that work into this dress. So, then Barbie tried the dress on and she's pretty steady in her toilet paper stand and hopefully won't go for a dip. 
Unfortunately, with all that extra weight in the skirt, the armhole openings were stretched almost to Barbie's waist, so I had to do some more modifications. I crocheted some additional stitches under the arms and darned the openings around the waist. Still, there was a little too much Barbie showing through, so I crocheted her some black panties. The trim was supposed to be lace, but I was not about to handstitch yards of lace onto this dress. So I added the border in double strands of a 2-weight sparkle and sequin yarn (Loops and Threads Payette yarn from Michael's). I chose beige as the bathroom where she now resides is done in black and beige. 
I wasn't sure if I was going to make the hat or not. As I had yarn left over, I decided to give it a try. I greatly digressed from the pattern as Barbie's head is a lot smaller then the toilet tissue doll's. I'm not sure if I like it or not. I have to admit, however, that I think Barbie looks much better than the toilet tissue doll. Not only is she a prettier doll, but it's not so obvious that she's hiding toilet paper. 

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