Making Little Women, Part 3: Mistakes Happen

The saga of the Little Women dolls continues!

Since completing the mock up of the Beth March doll (which I posted about here and here) I decided to dive in and try making Jo, since I’m pretty sure every single one of my sisters would prefer a Jo doll. Yesterday I finished sewing and stuffing her body and got to work on creating her face.

This is where the epic fail set in!



Where did I go so wrong?! The eyes (created with felt) are definitely too close together for one thing, and might be a bit too big as well, though that is harder for me to judge. The worst part is her expression. She also looks…mean and angry. Something is super off about her expression and it was completely unintentional.

I know in the book (and adaptations), Jo had some real anger issues that she needed to work on, but I don’t think anyone wants that anger represented in the face of her doll counterpart! People want fiercely independent Jo, not “I’m so angry I could allow my own sister to drown” Jo!

The sequence of events leading up to Mean Faced Jo:

First I sewed the various pieces of felt together, after throwing caution to the wind and not measuring them (FAIL!).

When they were done, I realized one eye was slightly bigger than the other so tried trimming it and ended up accidentally cutting off too much and creating weird gaps and bumps in both eyes while trying to rectify the problem (FAIL!).

Then, realizing this mistake, instead of scraping them and starting over fresh, I decided to try gluing them on anyway, without taking a roller to her face to make sure there were no little bits of fluff that might get, you know, glued on to her face permanently (EPIC FAIL!).

The gluing process wasn’t working out well due to the thickness of the felt, so instead of taking a minute to think things over and maybe realize that proceeding might not be the best move all things considered, I decided to sew them onto the face with embroidery thread, without giving much thought to placement, or if this was going to look good at all. (WTF WAS I THINKING?!? DOUBLE EPIC FAIL!).

And also, bonus fail for not paying enough attention to instructions in the first place. Emily, when will you ever learn? Paying attention to the instructions is important, especially when you’ve never done something before!

Look at the finished Jo on the page of instructions next to my Jo’s face and bask in the warm glow of my failure! Also note the wonky shape of her head. How the heck did I manage to do that!?!


Forget “yikes”, cue screaming! Somehow the meanness of her expression isn’t coming across as much in these photos as it does in person, but trust me, she looks mean and vaguely sociopathic, like she’s happily plotting someone’s untimely demise!

The way I see it, I have two options here: either I call this doll another mock up and start over again completely from scratch, OR, I decapitate Jo, since the body is fine, and make her a brand new head and face. I’m leaning towards the second option, since I have pretty much a month left in which to make a number of these dolls and their wardrobes and am realizing I’ll definitely need time to perfect (or at least not totally botch) the eyes/faces for these dolls.

This is why I make mock ups, people! Though I love making dolls and have probably made close to 100 of them using various patterns since December 2016, (for awhile I was making a lot of dolls to donate to charity, plus the numerous ones I’ve made for family), I’ll freely admit that don’t know what I’m doing and am just winging it half the time as I slowly learn different techniques.

Mistakes happen, but the way I see it, mistakes can help us grow and they give us an opportunity to learn. Besides, if everything went perfectly all the time, right from the start, what would be the fun in that? It might feel good on a surface level, but (to me at least) the greater sense of accomplishment or achievement comes from having had to struggle a bit to get from point A to point B in the first place, and seeing how much I’ve learned in the process and how much my hard work has paid off.  Though I do still tend to beat myself up over failures, I was able to laugh at this one – and that in and of itself feels like an accomplishment.

Now, excuse me, while I go decapitate this doll…


If you would like to make your own Little Women dolls, feel free to check out parts one and two in this series to see where I bought my supplies!

Super lame non-doll but still somewhat Little Women related update: After putting off attempting to learn how to set up my VCR on my own for way longer than I care to admit, I finally took the bull by the horns today because I wanted to have the Little Women film marathon I’ve been planning for months, instead of just talking about it. I’d been putting off teaching myself to do this because I was filled with self-doubt and afraid of failing, disappointing myself and having to ask someone for help, but today I had a bit of a light bulb moment and realized, “hey, why am I assuming I’ll fail and beating myself up before I even try? I taught myself how to turn a treadle sewing machine into an electric for god’s sake, I can handle a VCR!”

After a little trial and error and troubleshooting when I realized my ex had taken one of the wires I needed, I’m ridiculously proud to say that I got the darned thing working like a charm! This seems like such a lame thing to be proud of, but when you’re used to someone making you feel like you can’t do even the most basic stuff and always taking over and micromanaging everything, boy does it ever feel good to figure things out on your own! Every time I accomplish these little things it provides a much needed boost to my self-esteem.

Now to gather up my Little Women VHS tapes and finally start on the marathon I’ve been looking forward to for months now while I fix Jo’s face! YAY!

7 thoughts on “Making Little Women, Part 3: Mistakes Happen

  1. Off with her head! Ah, you’re braver than me. I so appreciate when people share they’re fails, especially when they are of the “falling down a flight of stairs” variety. I think we can all relate to the feeling of something going wrong and deciding to continue anyway. I’m loving this ongoing project! Keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! Oh her head definitely came off right away! Though it took weeks of trial and error to finally remedy this fail, which feels like another fail in and of itself, but progress is finally being made, so yay!

      I’m really glad you’re liking these posts and am especially glad that you were able to get something out of this one! Though I may not share every single sewing fail (mostly because I have a massive backlog of unblogged projects to catch up on at this point, some of which were most definitely fails!), I still think it’s important to share them, because it happens to all of us at one point or another and I think it’s good for people to see that. Sometimes when I think of the all sewing projects I’ve shared on this blog from the very beginning, it’s kind of like “Here are my sewing fails, in all their epic fail glory!” because I could pick each project apart and find numerous problems, but at the same time, I know I’ve come pretty far in the last few years since I started sewing back in August/September 2016 and I’m proud of that, so while my sewing is still very touch and go and would make many a seamstress laugh, rage or cry, I don’t mind in the least that this blog is basically a showcase of that fact. We all have to start somewhere, and I hope seeing my failures as well as my progress will help others see that at the end of the day it doesn’t matter if you mess up and your sewing isn’t perfect, it’s all part of the learning process and we’re all always learning. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Aw, thank you!! 😀 It’s so weird because it feels like I’ve been sewing for so much longer now, but it really had only been two years! I started sewing a little here and there around August/September 2016 but it really started picking up in December of that year, when I began making Christmas presents for family. That was the start of what I like to think of as The Dollpocalypse, and the curse of pretty much everyone in my life getting plagued with my hand made dolls. Lol.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Making Little Women, Part 4: Progress | The Pretty and The Kitsch

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