Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Lucy Goes to the Doll Hospital
My daughter's doll Lucy goes everywhere with her. She is always by her side at night, and if ever she goes missing, there is chaos... tears, volcanoes erupting, tsunamis raging, fires blazing. It was love at first sight with these too. She has gone to school everyday of kindergarten and before that, everyday of preschool. She was the first thirteen inch doll that I ever made, and the knit fabric I bought proved to be a little too thin for so much love. She has had some bathes, here and there, but it has been hard to get this doll out of Oona's hands.
When her face began to rip this year, we gave her some stitches. And then there were more rips. She had another layer of skin underneath, so she wasn't losing any stuffing, but she was truly beginning to look like a rag doll, and I feared for the day when the second layer gave way or her embroidered face was lost. I started to talk to Oona about more serious surgery, but she wasn't ready, so I made some more quick fixes. The skin was now being pulled by the stitches creating more tension. I also didn't have anymore of the fabric that she was originally made from. I purchased some premium weight doll fabric close to the original skin color and told her that we'd have to send her to the doll hospital come the summer. I knew that the best solution would be to give her an entire new layer of skin on both head and body to avoid more trauma.
The summer began, and she kept saying, "Maybe tomorrow". Finally, I realized she'd never be quite ready for this and I didn't want Lucy to be totally destroyed so I set some time aside. I knew I had to work fast and it would be best if the whole process could be completed in a day. I made the new outer skin (I left the old skin underneath) and when I knew I had enough time to finish, I took off her wig and began putting on the new layer. The hardest part was the face. There was no way to keep the original eyes and lips as the needed to be covered with the new skin, but I did use them as a guide. This was the part Oona feared the most... her face changing. I tried my best to make it like it was, but it proved very hard. Because I was stitching over old embroidery it was also difficult to the needle through her head. The head had also become more matted over time so the wool was difficult to work with. I also washed her hair and set it to dry on the clothesline before I started putting her new skin on.
I did worry that Oona might reject this new form of Lucy, and I would have ruined something beautiful. Her eyes somehow came out a little smaller, her hands and feet a little bigger, and her hairline went up a little. In short, it wasn't perfect. I think it was a little strange for all of us, but Oona hugged her with the knowledge that the same Lucy that had always been there was still under this new skin. She's still on a mission to make Lucy dirty again because as her kindergarten teacher told her often, "If you're not dirty, you're bored!". So I'm sure there will be many more adventures for these too, and I'm glad this friend will stay by her side for more days to come.
More about Lucy here.