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The Joys of Dollmaking and Doll Dressing

September 30th, 2012

Some years ago one of my husband’s aunts passed away. She was artistic, bubbly, and a favorite of mine. I had always enjoyed visiting with her at reunions. I made it a point to talk about her with her husband when I saw him at the reunion the next summer. He told me that she had left some unfinished doll clothes that she had planned to make for their granddaughter. I offered to finish the doll clothes. He thanked me, but I didn’t hear anything more about it for over a year. Then one day a delivery man left three huge boxes on our porch. The boxes were full of craft projects, mostly cut out clothes for American Girl and Magic Attic dolls. I had not realized that I had volunteered for such a large undertaking, but I was a good person to choose to finish this project. I had most of the doll clothes patterns that she had used. Some of her patterns and their guides had been misplaced, but I was usually able to find the information that I needed to finish the outfits from my own patterns.

I could not finish everything in the boxes, because I have an allergy to wool and I had to give some lovely wool pieces away. I made and dressed three dolls for my young cousin: one American Girl size, one Magic Attic size, and one the size of my Florabunda doll. I made the small doll to use up the scraps. It took me three years to finish all the dolls and their clothing. Since we have a reunion every year, I brought a doll along me to give her each of those three years. The “reunion doll” almost became a tradition.

My young cousin is now in high school. I sat by her at our last reunion dinner and she told me that she still has her dolls and still displays them.

Here is a doll I made for my sister-in-law using a “reunion doll” pattern that I drafted to wear American Girl doll size clothes.

My Kitty doll pattern is related to this pattern, but I have made a lot of changes in the original pattern. I think that Kitty is easier to sew.

If you happen to try to look at my website this Tuesday (October 2), and it has disappeared, don’t be alarmed. My web service is changing servers and the site may be down for a little while. It should be back on line in a few hours.

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Big and Little Dolls

September 23rd, 2012

I am putting the final touches on my pattern for eighteen inch (46 cm) Kitty. I am also finishing a pattern for an eighteen inch doll’s A-line dress. I already have an A-line pattern available for my three small dolls. Here are Kitty and Florabunda wearing their matching A-line dresses.

I think that matching dresses for American Girl Dolls and American Girl Mini-dolls are a lot of fun to make. Here are Samantha and mini Samantha in matching A-line dresses.

American Girl Mini-dolls can wear clothes made from Twinkle’s patterns.

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A Brown Haired Kitty

September 9th, 2012

I have written a first draft of instructions for making an eighteen inch (45 cm) Kitty doll. I like to sew a new doll while I am proof reading new instructions. I made my new doll with brown hair. I used the wig instructions that I had already written, but I gave my new doll two ponytails at first to see if I could adapt the basic wig to different hair styles.

Then I braided the yarn wig. Here she is wearing braids like my first Kitty doll. The dress and jacket were made from my new A-line dress pattern for eighteen inch dolls. Now I need to edit my new dress pattern.

my patterns, Pattern Making ,

Meet Kitty

August 19th, 2012

Here is Kitty, my new 18 inch (45 cm) doll.

I am happy with the pattern. All I need to do is finish writing the instructions for sewing the doll and I can publish the pattern on line.

The doll can be made with lots of details such as fingers, toes, and ears.

I also think that this is an easy pattern to sew.  I am especially proud of how easy it is to sew the head together and join it to the body.

I hope that it will be available in a month or so, but things sometimes take longer than I plan.

my patterns, Pattern Making

Fourth Try

August 14th, 2012

I am finally satisfied with my eighteen inch (45 cm) doll pattern. Here is the doll with a purchased wig.

Next week I will show you her picture with a yarn wig. I plan to sew at least one more doll soon to make sure that I have accurately drawn pattern pieces.

my patterns

More Progress

August 5th, 2012

I’m still working on an eighteen inch (45 cm) doll pattern. Here is a doll with braids.

She is wearing another outfit from Learn to Sew for Your Doll. I have made more changes to my pattern since I sewed her. It always takes longer than I plan to design a new pattern.

my patterns, Pattern Making ,

A Work in Progress

July 22nd, 2012

Here is the doll I showed you last week. This week she has a yarn wig.

Today she is wearing the sundress from my book, Learn to Sew for your Doll. Seven and one half inch (19 cm) Florabunda is standing with her to show the eighteen inch (45 cm) doll’s larger size. I had to give my larger doll an ear transplant so that she could have a hair style that showed her ears. I had originally placed the ears too high on her head. I have redrafted the original pattern to show the new ear placement. The new draft also gives the doll shorter arms, a slimmer waist, and a shorter neck. I think that these slight changes will improve the doll’s appearance. In a week or two I will show you the doll constructed from the newly drafted pattern.

my patterns, Pattern Making

Tweaking Toes, Ears, and Other Parts of a Doll Pattern

July 15th, 2012

I had a recent question from a reader about the feet/toes pattern that I was working on a month or so ago. If you are interested in cloth doll toes, I explain how to change a cloth doll foot pattern to add toes in an article for Soft Dolls and Animals! The magazine will publish my article in the January edition. (I think that it will be out in November.) The article also includes a pattern to add toes to their signature doll, Siggy.

I am using my new toe method in the eighteen inch (45 cm) doll pattern that I am working on now. Here is a picture of my work in progress.

The doll is wearing a purchased wig. I plan to give her a yarn wig before I start working on a new doll. The pattern will need a lot more tweaking before I can publish it. I put her ears too high on her head, poor thing. She also needs a shorter neck and a smaller waist. I am always surprised at how long it always takes to finish a doll pattern.

my patterns, Pattern Making

Subtle Pattern Adjustments

July 8th, 2012

I am currently working on a pattern for an eighteen inch (45 cm) cloth doll. I made a cloth doll pattern for my own use several years ago. I decided to revisit my pattern  and turn it into publishable pattern. I ended up making a lot of changes. I have now sewn four test dolls in muslin. This week I plan to sew a doll out of my favorite cotton broadcloth with colored in facial features and sewn fingers and toes. I’m making two small changes in the body pattern without making a practice copy of the doll body. I have adjusted the body front and back  to take a small amount of fabric from her tummy and hips.

Here are before and after patterns for the body back.

The horizontal double pointed arrows are the same length in each pattern. The pattern on the left is slightly wider than the newer pattern on the right.

A close up of the hip area of the patterns shows that the newer pattern is about half a grid box narrower than the older pattern.

One half of a grid box is about one eighth inch or 3 mm. In doll design, small measurements are important.

When I have finished a doll that I like, I will post her picture.

my patterns, Pattern Making

Christmas Shopping Ideas

November 20th, 2011

A kit of basic sewing tools is a nice gift for many people. Anyone who wants or needs to learn a few sewing skills would appreciate the gift. Check my free download “Tips, Tools, and Techniques” (available on my patterns page) for tool suggestions.
If you are making a doll wardrobe for a special little girl’s Christmas, she might enjoy a sewing kit. She could try her hand at sewing for her doll after Christmas. The pillow, pillowcase, and cover from my “Doll Bed and Accessories” pattern are excellent patterns for beginners. Next she can make the simple sundress  from my free sundress pattern. It is also a good pattern fro beginners.
With a few tools and instructions you might give someone a lifetime of sewing pleasure.

Christmas Sewing, learning to sew, my patterns