How Christmas Elegance was fixed … Part Two…

Day before yesterday I showed you Part One in this story about a doll who became stained because of a black lined bodice on a dress I made. You can see that post HERE.

When I left you then, I told you I had talked to Dianna Effner, the artist who sculpts the Little Darling dolls. She recommended I buy this cream called Remove-Zit. You can bet I did. I ordered the cream and the Formula 911 and sent it to the dress owner and she wanted to try it herself. (So I actually have never used the cream myself) I’ll just be telling you the story from the owner’s perspective. Do you really want to know how hard I was praying??? You actually use a cream and apply it to the stained area on the doll and let it set for a day or two. It apparently becomes hardened, something I’m guessing like maybe fingernail polish. As it hardens the stain comes up in the cream, drawing it away from the doll’s vinyl. Then you have to use the Formula 911 to get the hardened cream off.

Here is the website of the Twin Pines Remove-Zit and the Formula 911. Both products are on the top row…far right and far left.

Twin Pines of Maine

After using the Remove-Zit 4 or 5 times, the stains were gone… Can I hear an AMEN? The owner said it worked but it was a few days process and as much as she was grateful to me for sending her the product, I was 20 times more grateful that it worked and the woman was such a nice and sweet person to have worked with. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how awful this could have turned out. I was astounded at just how patient and kind this woman was and I will NEVER forget her sweet spirit though this whole thing.
I don’t have pictures of the “unstained” doll… so just imagine… an unstained doll! :o)

Okay, so in the meantime, this woman decided she wanted me to try as best I could and fix the dress… I wondered what I should do… give her her money back, replace the dress with a new one, replace the bodice or the lining, make the bodice out of a different fabric… she didn’t want her money back she just wanted the dress fixed because she loved her doll in the dress. (I did tell her I would like to make her another dress to make up for this mishap and she said she loved pretty florals that were old fashioned looking. Guess what she’s getting?)

She decided to send the doll dress back to me and try to fix it somehow… but this is what happened…I procrastinated and procrastinated…I just kept thinking I’ll do it tomorrow, but didn’t know how I was going to do it…I was very bad…very bad! Finally last week, I gave myself a talking to and said, “JUST DO IT! FIX HER DRESS!”

First I took out all the black stitching along the edge of the dress… Then decided to use some really fine, almost headscarf-like fabric and just cut a square of it big enough to fit over the whole bodice area in there… I hand manipulated it and took teeny tiny snips of fabric away until I had it almost an exact fit except for the over hanging edges. I then basted it about 1/4″ along the edges, maneuvering it as best I could…turning under about 1/8″ of the fabric and with tiny stitches I whip stitched it as close to the edge as possible without the white showing. I filled in the whole bodice this way.


I realized there was stitching on the inside that needed to be covered up…side seams, armhole stitching…so I used some flexible lace to cover the sleeve seams and tacked it in place so threads wouldn’t rub on her dolls vinyl.


I had to come up with a solution for the sleeves next. There was stitching along the edge where the elastic was encased. How could I cover up that seam? The only thing I could think of was to add a little bit of lace extended into the sleeve, stretched over my fingers as taut as I could hold it, stitched over the seam, and then restitched close to the edge so it wouldn’t roll back to the inside so it looked sort of ruffly like.


So that’s how Christmas Elegance was made and “re-made!” I wouldn’t recommend it… just use a white lining to begin with. I debated in the beginning about making a whole new bodice, but thought I’d give putting a lining in it first. It wasn’t necessarily hard, but it did take some time… probably about 5-6 hours… all by hand stitching and finger shaping.




The lining was sheer enough that it didn’t compromise the design of the dress…I am happy with the way it looks and will get it shipped off to the winner for a second time! (White linings from now on from me!)

Thanks everyone…

See you tomorrow,
Blessings, Jeanne

P.S. The very last thing I want for my blog to turn into is a “Poor Jeanne and George, going through this cancer journey…and have post after post about what’s going on.” I have decided to occasionally tell you what is going on, but for the most part, I want to keep this lighthearted and about dolls and sewing.

So let me just tell you… today was day one of the Chemotherapy and my hubby did just fine. In fact when we were walking though the doors of the Cancer Institute, he took my hand and said, “we’ll just think of this as a day at the spa!” :o) That’s why I love him! They even served us a box lunch at the place… so I guess we could call it a date! :o)
He’s sleeping right now, which they said he probably wouldn’t do this first night, with the 5 1/2 hours of drugs he was given…so already he’s “going against the grain!”

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  1. I’d forgotten about the insomnia that some chemo produces. My sister, who always has problems sleeping, recommended Power to Sleep, from Vitamin Cottage. The capsules are enormous. Another friend, who walks in her sleep and has been known to do fairly serious damage to herself fighting with sharp cornered furniture, says her doctor recommended the same first ingredient. I’m willing to bet other of your readers have suggestions. And of course, you’d always check with your doctor if you were considering anything. (Mine asked me not to take vitamin C during chemo, since it counteracted the effects of the chemo.) The key ingredient has to build up in your (or George’s) system, so you’ll need to check it out quickly if you are interested.

    The stain removal story was quite amazing. I like the white on the sleeves, though the lining project looks quite tedious. Now I’m waiting with interest to see the new dress you are making her. I am so glad this worked out — not so glad as you or she, but glad for you both and for her doll.

  2. Linda Doyle says:

    How in the world you can come up with all these solutions, Jeanne, I can’t imagine! YOu did a fantastic job of covering up the parts that were causing all the trouble! Never in a thousand years would I have the patience to sew all that! I know the LD’s are small dolls, but still, you must have very nimble fingers and keen eyesight to do all that! There you go–another chapter for your “future” book, on how to fix problems!!

    I made the first batch of your bark candy yesterday! This batch goes to the mailman for sure, so it won’t be hanging around long! Kind of a dreary day yesterday, but with the Christmas decorations and lights on, it was so pretty!

    I’m so glad to hear that George’s day at the “spa” went well! I know, this is a doll and sewing blog, not a cancer blog, and I respect that. Just know that we are praying for you both!

  3. Always read(and enjoy) your blog along with my morning coffee…you do amazing things with your needle and thread…with much more patience than I’ll ever have!

    Just wanted to let you know that I went through a similar journey with my husband and cancer treatments back in 2000. Thankfully, so many things have improved in the fight against cancer, but other things seem to be the same….brings back memories.

  4. When making doll clothes, I cut a bodice of lining material and machine stitch it at the neckline and down the back seams. I run and line of stay-stitching around the sleeve openings of the lining and clip at intervals. When I’ve finished inserting the sleeves and the skirt, I hand stitch the lining around the sleeves and the waist. It gives a nice finish and I also use French seams on the rest of the dress. I may be silly but I don’t like having to use up so much thread when machine overcasting the seam allowances. I’ll send an inside-out picture of one of my dresses. I think this would eliminate the problem of exposing the doll’s skin to thread.

    So glad you found a way to clear up the problem for my favorite dress you’ve ever made. That’s quite a process.

    • I would also love to see your photo. I’m having trouble picturing it in my mind. The hand stitching would not show I guess? And if using white thread, another plus.

      • Ask Jeanne for my email address. I’d be happy to show you how it looks. The next dress I make, I’ll try taking pictures like Jeanne does, but mine won’t be as good nor informative I’m sure.

  5. Lorna Nutting says:

    Hi Jeanne
    Please don’t be afraid to keep us in the loop about George and his treatment we all care and are keeping him in our prayers. Some of us are on this journey with you, my husband has his third chemo session this afternoon. I think keeping to ‘your normal’ whatever that is does help if it’s possible to do that. Dave says it makes him feel that life is not only about the cancer if everything else is carrying on as normal.

  6. Jeanne, that was so interesting on how you solved the dress dilemma. I marvel at any person who can sew but you simply amaze me. Your strategy and approach is like a engineer, really.
    That dress is one of my favorites too. As a child, I would have loved wearing a dress like it.
    I’m glad you figured out how to fix the bodice. Yay!!

    Thank you for keeping us informed on how George is doing.

  7. I’m glad to hear that you were able to fix the dress and the customer was able to remove the stains. I will keep George in my prayers that he will continue to go against the grain. So glad day 1 was a good one. ๐Ÿ˜€

  8. So happy you were able to fix the dress. I just love that one. Your repairs were a great idea. I’m with you. White lining from now on.

  9. Yeah for the spa duo and yeah for white bodice lining. I love how you manipulated the fabric for the bodice and re-made it. The owner should be super thrilled. It is such a pretty dress.


  10. Anne Johnson says:

    So glad your “Christmas Elegance” tale had a happy ending, Jeanne! Your skill with a needle and thread always impresses, and I’m sure the kind-hearted buyer will be thrilled with your meticulous make-over. The bit of lace peeking out at the sleeves looks very sweet. Glad the buyer was successful in cleaning her little darling, too. Aside from happy endings, the best stories teach a lesson, and your story was very instructive. Thanks for sharing this solution with all of us, and thanks for sharing the challenges as well as the successes of your business — and your life. It’s the real-life quality that makes you and your blog so inspiring. I guess the epilogue will be a reveal of the “pretty, old-fashioned floral” dress! Wishing you and George a good “day after” your “day at the spa.”

  11. That WAS a good solution to the dress problem. I’m sure the lady will be happy to get the fixed dress back in time for Christmas. I, too, would love to see the floral one you made for her as well.The little lace edge looks very sweet peeking out of the sleeves. I lining in dark fabrics is a good idea for dolls. I remeber in grade school a friend wearing red socks on some day we weren’t requirted to wear uniforms and the creek behind school was a fun place to play at recess. We used to get pieces of slate out of it and were allowed to have the broken bits of chalk from the classroom. Well, somehow she slipped a little and stepped in the very edge. The next day she commented the socks had dyed her foot red on the one side. It took a while to wear off.
    So glad to know that your “day at the spa” went well and hope all the rest follow suit. Continued prayers for you and George. Yes, I know you want to keep your blog and doll and sewing one, but do know that we are here and want to know that things are going well.
    P โ€“ Praise
    R โ€“ Remembering
    A โ€“ Asking
    Y โ€“ Yielding
    E โ€“ Expecting
    R โ€“ Receiving

  12. Hi Jeanne,
    Looks like good news all the way around. Please know that we all care about you and George. Up dates are expected ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I purchased the ingredients for your yummy looking bark lets hope there is some left for company come Christmas. Have a good evening

  13. Thank you SO much everyone for all your kind comments on the dress. It wasn’t really that hard once I found the right flexible fabric and just got atarted. I sent it off today so the owners doll will still have plenty of Christmas wear in it.
    I’m sorry I couldn’t answer all of you today. My sister and I were doing some major things at mom’s house today…
    I apprecite all your kind words about my hubby. He slept like a baby last night and was a little tired today but other than that he did fine…
    I’ll read the comments again…I’ve already read them twice, but I’ll read them again because some of you had things I need to address…
    Thanks so much.
    Blessings, Jeanne

  14. I’m glad you were able to fix the dress and that there were no unpleasant dealings with the lady who purchased it. Most people are understanding, but the ones who get nasty about things can be such a trial. It’s really nice of you to make her an extra dress to make up for the mishap. I line all the doll bodices with either white or off-white, but I struggle with what to do about the sleeves. I have seen them lined, but I really hate to do it. The lightweight “scarf” fabric you used might be a solution for them. By the way, I have seen your original pictures of the dress on Pinterest many times. I think everyone loved it!
    I can certainly understand you not wanting to turn your blog into a narrative of George’s treatments, but we are all interested in what is going on, so please do let us know from time to time how things are going.

  15. Charlotte Trayer says:

    Wonderful fix for that gorgeous dress, Jeanne! Thanks for sharing it and the terrific pictures, too. It really helps to See what you are talking about!

    I’m just finishing a dress for a swap I’m participating in. Since it is a Christmas swap, I made the bodice of solid red, to go with the plaid skirt. The bodice is, of course, lined with white! Usually I will more closely match the bodice color, but on dark or bright fabrics, I go much lighter, or to a white or ivory.

    I’ll add my vote to keeping us updated on George’s progress. I know that many of us are praying for you (and now Lorna and her husband, too), and it helps to have an update now and then, so we can be more specific in our prayers.

    • Thank you Charlotte,
      I read your comments late but wanted you to know I saw them.
      I appreciate all your kind words and prayers.
      Blessings, Jeanne

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