Sunday, September 17, 2006

Arley Berryhill's La Femme pattern

Please meet Shula, created with Arley Berryhill's wonderful pattern, La Femme. I very much admire Arley Berryhill's work. I saw some chatter about this pattern here and there over the past few years, and Judi Wellinitz posted comments about it on her blog some time ago, telling us all how much fun her whole doll group was having working with the pattern. I realized I just HAD to try it. It is a wonderful pattern indeed.

Shula is a funny character. She has an older face- she's in her 50's but she is wild and wants to be young and have some fun. She wears whatever she wants, and can even fit into it! Shula has a figure I could only wish for at age 36!

The pattern is for the doll only- not the clothing. The body itself is so well done, it's just great. I learned a lot by making Arley's pattern. MORE!!!!

I designed the clothing myself, and the embellishments. The shoes were created with polymer clay and step-by-step instructions can be found on my website.
The sleeves and headpiece were made with angelina fibers and bits of fabric scraps.

Here are some details:

I sent this picture out to an online doll club that I belong to, to show off the fun I had creating this doll. A comment was made that some people had forgotten to give credit to the pattern designers. There were several dolls there, and nobody had mentioned any patterns, so it really does appear that they are all original designs. I know that I was among the guilty parties, and I should have known better. That is the main reason why I decided to post about Shula today. I usually do make my own patterns and don't buy patterns as often as I would like,so I plumb forgot to give Arley credit. I want to make up for it.


Pattern designers spend countless hours making patterns. In many cases a doll has to first be sculpted in clay in order to have a basis for the beginnings of a paper pattern. I don't know what process Arley uses but no doubt he did not create it by waving a magic wand!

I know that I can spend 8 hours straight for several days working on a pattern. That's before I even start the process of "finishing" it. Drawing it, redrawing it, sewing and resewing, stuffing and resewing and stuffing again- it's very hard work. The pants and top alone took me an entire day to create- getting the darts to fit just right for Arley's pattern. It's great fun, but an arduous task nonetheless.

My point is, please remember to always give credit to the designer. Even if you alter the pattern, you should still mention that you started with a certain design if it wasn't your own. That is etiquette in the doll making world. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes, which is natural. It doesn't help me from feeling embarrassed that I forgot to do something so obviously important! I sincerely believe that doll folk are very nurturing and supportive of one another. What better way to live up to that belief than to give credit where it is due, and to be proud to share and learn from one another.

Thank you Arley for a wonderful pattern. And whoever reads this, I do hope you will try it! You will love it.


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