The Red Sweater Saga

Have you ever made something that you were extremely proud of, then had a stroke of bad luck that almost ruined your beautiful handiwork? Well, this very thing happened to me just last week.

Christmas is my favorite holiday. So, naturally, I’ve been eager to sew some Christmassy doll garments. My first project (and the one that almost didn’t make it) was this red, knit sweater:

Tinker Bell Animator Doll Wearing Red Sweater

This was originally a Christmas shirt of mine that I loved but never wore (let’s just say I don’t look good in red). However, I thought it had the potential to be a super cute doll shirt. So, rather than leaving it untouched in my closet for another year, I decided to recycle it into sweater for my Disney Animator Doll, Tinker Bell.

Red Doll Shirt With Embroidered Cats
I just love the little cats embroidered on the front!

After carefully cutting out the pieces, making sure not to damage the cat applique, I started sewing.

Unfortunately, I didn’t feel good enough to sit at my sewing machine (I have Hypopituitarism and Secondary Adrenal Insufficiency), so this doll shirt is one of my hand-sewn projects.  That’s okay, though. I love sewing by hand.

I had high hopes for this garment and took great pains to keep my stitches small and even.  This sweater had to be absolutely perfect! 

I reused the binding from the shirt’s original neckline to make the collar and the serged edges from the cuffs and bottom for the sleeves.

Collar Of Doll Sweater

Recycling the shirt’s already finished edges, meant I didn’t need to hem the collar or sleeves (yay!).

The sleeves are a tad long but this is easily fixed by rolling them back.

Images Of Sweater Sleeves

So far Tink’s Christmas Cat sweater was looking pretty good.  All it needed was a hem around the bottom and a nice closure in the back.  No big deal!

Well, the bottom hem is where things started to go south.  My plan was to sew two rows of stitching around the bottom so it would look similar to the sleeve. Since the sleeves are finished with a Serger (which I don’t have), making the edges look identical was impossible. Still, I felt I could mimic it and maybe trick the eye into thinking they were finished the same.

Image of Tinkerbell Doll Cutting Too Much Fabric

However, on that particular day, I was struggling with symptoms of low Cortisol. Because of this, I kept having moments of total brain fog. This caused me to slip up and cut too much fabric off the bottom of the sweater.

Over the next couple of hours, I alternated between throwing the sweater away, then digging it back out of the trash. (My sewing trash can, not the garbage one. The only “trash” it ever touched was a bunch of thread😉).

Finally, I realized that those little cats on the front were more important to me than a perfect hem.  Instead of finishing the bottom with two rows of stitches like I had intended, I made a small simple hem and accepted that this sweater wouldn’t be flawless.

Here is what the final product looks like:

Image Of Sweater Hem

In the end, I am glad I kept it–even with its imperfections.

Image Of Tinker Bell Doll Wearing Sweater

Those cats on the front make me smile every time I see them, and that’s what matters most when you are crafting, right?

Creating a perfect garment doesn’t mean that every seam must be exactly aligned, that every stitch is in an even row, or that all the hems look identical. What makes the final product perfect is whether or not it makes you happy. If it does that then none of its flaws matter.

Image Of Tinker Bell Wearing Her Christmas Sweater

Who knew that sewing a hem could turn into such a saga!

Be sure to check back soon because I’ll have a post showing off all the Christmas outfits I’ve made for our dolls–and this sweater will definitely be part of the line-up.


  1. I know! It was those cats that had me determined to save this top!! And what you said is so true. I've shown some of my flawed projects to friends or family before, and warned them about all the imperfections, but they couldn't find the mistakes without me pointing them out. It was only something I would notice.

  2. Those embroidered cats are absolutely adorable! I'm glad you kept at it and found a way to save your project. I don't sew, but I do do papercrafting so I know that sometimes a project doesn't turn out quite the way you originally envisioned it. Sometimes the trick is to take a break and come back to your work later. Often I've found that if I stop for a while, my frustration levels will go down and I'll be able to view my work less critically and more objectively. Usually I find that the work is not as bad as I thought, and that the project can still be usable. It's like my mother says, when you make something you see all the flaws, but nobody else does.
    Signed, Treesa

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