Friday, 8 February 2008


I love making dolls. I've mostly made Waldorf style dolls, except for this really sweet muslin doll I made when I was a teenager. Unfortunately she had a run-in with my mother's cat, but she still looks pretty good considering she is over 20 years old! I sewed every stitch of her and her clothing on my great-grandmother's Singer treadle sewing machine. It has so many cool attachments. Sigh. I've also made some cute little fairy dolls from Felt Wee Folk by Salley Mavor, but I'll save them for another post.

Here is a gallery of sorts of the Waldorf dolls I have made, starting with the first and ending with the last.

I changed the body style of the dolls considerable as time went on. At first I thought that a button jointed doll would be the most fun to play with, but after reattaching the black doll's arms and legs a few times I decided that maybe they weren't the greatest after all. These dolls were made with patterns from Joy's Waldorf Dolls (modified by me, it seems I can't ever follow a pattern without changing it.) She has nice patterns and good quality doll supplies. The baby doll is about 30 cm (12") high and the black doll is about 40 cm( 16") tall. Both of them have hair that is made from a crocheted cap of mohair (with a bit of nylon). The black doll has his hair rug-hooked into the cap. The baby just has a brushed mohair cap.

Dressing and undressing the button-jointed dolls proved too difficult for young children as well, and well, frankly, I dislike the shape of their bodies. So, the next doll I made I did a rework of a couple of patterns and made Gina and Fridgie (the baby).

I made Gina partly from a pattern rework of one of the dolls in Making Waldorf Dolls by Maricristin Sealey. For the one piece doll body she recommends sewing a diagonal lines to form the hip joint. I didn't do a one piece body - the legs and arms are sewn on separately, but I thought it might be good to incorporate the diagonal line. No. The short answer is no. If I had thought about it I would have realized that. Oh well. When Gina sits down she becomes very pigeon-toed! She has a huge head of hair, made the same way as the earlier dolls with two complementary colours of yarn.

Fridgie is based on a tiny soft baby doll that my sister had as a child. She is about 15 cm (6") high. Her legs could be a tad longer I think, but otherwise I think she is very cute. I used a pre-made wig from Joy's Waldorf Dolls that I had kicking around.

Gina is also accumulating an extensive wardrobe!

After little bit of tweaking with my pattern we had Jeff. Jeff is my latest doll and is true adventurer and explorer. My husband even made him some binoculars and we have plan to build a GPS too! Our Christmas crackers this year were loaded with lots of Jeff-sized tools: a tape measure, compass, flashlight and whistle. Essentials for the modern adventurer.

I don't really like Jeff's hair; I sewed it on using a methods from Making Waldorf Dolls. It was a new style for me and, although it's okay when he is sitting up nicely, when he lays down he looks like he has an odd ponytail on top of his head. His hair is made from alpaca and it is lovely lovely lovely. I took my son to the yarn shop to choose hair. He is a very tactile child and found the mohair of Gina's hair to be too scratchy and disliked the mohair of the unnamed black doll as well. It was quite funny to watch him choose, The alpaca was the first yarn we picked up at the shop and after a couple of blind feel tests on the cheek with several other soft yarns, he always chose the same one. It is sooo very soft.

The designs on his coat and backpack were made using freezer paper. I printed the stencil on the freezer paper using my computer printer, cut it with a blade, ironed it gently onto the fabric, and used fabric paint ( Pebeo SetaColor ) to stencil it on. Then you set the paint with an iron for five minutes and it is wash-fast! The stencil is from the Print for Free items at Ottobre. The binoculars are made from two empty sewing thread spools, glued to a bit of wood that my husband cut to fit.

A small terrorist that inhabits our house executed a sneak attack upon the intrepid explorer though and he contracted a serious case of Yellow Fever. Other dolls in the house have had cases of Pink Fever as well. So far they are washing up extremely well. I just gently handwash them in lukewarm water with some Eucalan wool wash. The body photos above were taken after his bath.

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