I had to slip-stitch the seams closed at several places. My niece helped (well, she pretended Elizabeth was in the hospital and she held her down and cooed "It's all right, daughter; I'm here..."). Also, she liked to pull the needle through the fabric once I poked it in the right place!
Then there was a worn our hole in one hand, so I darned it:
The dress required the most work: the sleeve was loose from its armscye, the side seam undone, and the skirt pulling away from the bodice. Plus, at the center back, there was a error: the skirt was sewn to the bodice a little higher on one side than the other, so they didn't meet evenly. And the center back had no closures. So I resewed all the open seams, opened the misaligned seam and fixed it, and put two hooks and eyes. Then I thought the dress a little drab, so I added a line of decorative stitching at the waist and the sleeve hems.
Finally, my niece and I gave Elizabeth a bath (three rinses to get the dirt all out!), and laid her out to dry. Washed, she now looks brighter, but you can also see the stains clearer because the surrounding dust is gone. I laid her on a cardboard box by the woodstove, with hair fanned out, to dry.
I didn't imagine that Elizabeth would survive the dryer, so she'll have to dry out by the stove. I asked my mom to turn her occasionally until she is all the way dry.
WHERE THINGS BEGIN...
As my niece "helped" me mend Elizabeth, I found myself amused and frustrated, because her assistance was slowing me down. I am a perfectionist, and get task oriented when I'm sewing. On the other hand, she was learning how to sew, in a cozy moment that I shall remember fondly, so I tried to be patient. Later my mom told me that the reason she's kept Elizabeth all these years was because the doll reminds her of me learning to sew... I think of how inexpert I must have been, and how slow! But my mom was patient, and I learned, and here I am now, sewing every day and deriving much pleasure from it.
Mom, thanks for helping your perfectionistic, know-it-all, slow-as-molasses daughter learn to sew! I love you!
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