More challenging than the Calico Gals (9 pattern pieces instead of 5), the Perfect Little Angel is also a more stimulating and versatile pattern. Here are some of the things I've done, with the pattern at the bottom, in case inspiration strikes!
My eldest brother and his wife produced their own personal little princess - Alice, by name - so I made a medieval princess for them. They now have Princess Clara too, equally gorgeous, though completely different from her big sister.
As the eldest of seven, I know and rejoice in the individuality we're all born with. I may hardly ever see my fambly, but I love 'em, and next summer, we're moving back to Europe - Wheeeeeeee!
The medieval angel is the closest to the original pattern, although that specifies double fairy wings, and I prefer a single pair.
This one I kept!
I spotted a cheapo imported Chinese wreath in a bargain shop on Rolla Road in Bur Dubai; stripped off the decrepit robin and other tat, but kept the little sacks tied with red ribbon, and some of the artificial greenery; and repainted the lettering, added cones, star anise and the little bell.
Jo - let's call her that after Jo March, who knew how to do Christmas properly! - Jo is not wired, and cannot balance on this shallow, curved surface; but I didn't want to glue her in place, so I resorted to two carefully place safety pins, and that has worked a treat.
Here's her back view. Without the wings, you can see that the skirt is a gathered rectangle, and the bodice another rectangle, masking the skirt gathers, and stitched into place.
The bloomers are part of the doll: they are stuffed less fully than the torso and head, allowing the doll to sit. The dress sleeves are also 'built in'. If you use cotton rather than felt, and give her a secure hairstyle, such as braids stitched firmly in place, I think that this pattern gives you a doll sturdy enough to be played with, and survive washing. No bead eyes though!
Serafina is just for me, and has nothing to do with Christmas. She's wearing what was once a beautiful Indian brocade trouser suit from Splash, plus an earring I've had since my twenties - I hate the way I always lose one earring, but at least it gives me an interesting collection of odd ones for odd projects!
I've made other variations too, but I have no photos, unfortunately, because it was a while before I thought to record what I'd made, and who for.
One Christmas angel was for a seven year old who had admired another one I'd made. I was going to warn her mother, before Christmas morning, that it was less a toy than a pretty ornament - but they didn't wait til Christmas to open the wrappings. Oops. Next time I saw that doll, she was in need of a tailor, a hairdresser, and a week in intensive care! Be realistic about how children play with dolls.... sob!
Another was for a friend with considerable knowledge of Maori culture, who was returning to her beloved New Zealand. I had a dark green shalwa khameez that looked wonderful at my third brother's wedding, but was now faded in places, and put away just in case. ;P The gold block print on the hem and dupatta had always reminded me of traditional Maori patterns: perfect!
I used a mid-brown felt for the doll (any darker would have been too much with the dark dress, even with lots of gold blocking), mother-of-pearl buttons buttons (Satwa again), and peacock feathers for the wings, angled so that they swept up and out, taller than the doll herself.
Damn, I wish I had a photo of that one!
Ditto for another South African friend: I went for satin and gauze in cream and antique gold - fabulous against dark brown felt - and crowned her with orange and yellow flowers like the bouquet that Serafina is holding. Never mind having a photo, I wish I'd made her a little cousin!
Anyway, here's the pattern, if you'd like to have a go yourself.
Finally, another variation, for a Palestinian friend who absolutely loves colour, and is always a delight to the eye in vivid complementary and contrasting colours - and she has the vivacity, warmth and style to carry them off. This time I bought the wings and simply stitched them on: a spread of real feathers, shaped like a butterfly.
I've included Laila separately, because she does not follow the pattern exactly: the separate head, plus turban would have been huge - out of proportion to the rest of her - so I made the head all of a piece with the torso as for the Calico Gals.
Once you get started, there's no end to the flow of ideas, and what keeps it fresh and interesting for me is working with other people's colours: I don't know about you, but there are some colours, and combinations, that I really don't get on with, and the challenge is to come up with something that works for both of us.
If you can do that, then it becomes almost as much your friend's gift to you as yours to him or her, because you have all those days of pleasurable anticipation as the gift came together in your hands, in colours which from now on will always have a happy resonance for you - even if you still wouldn't be seen dead in them!
Enjoy. And post pictures!