Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Valentine's Day Printables

Just in time for Valentine's Day planning, I have created two printable card sets with an adorable dolly sketch: one in pink and the other in red. Print away! Remember, these are for personal use only!

You can download the pink cards or red cards.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Winnie is my absolute favorite doll so far. She is a little witch that I made for Halloween, named for Bette Midler's character in the film Hocus Pocus. From her little witch hat, to her pumpkin, broom, and cat grin buttons, she is perfect. Plus, I love her purple hair and green skin!


Quinn was a bit of a breakthrough for me. I finally understood the best way to do yarn hair while I was working on her. I just love the way her hair turned out and her little face is so sweet!


I made Flora the same week as Victoria. It was fun to try braids for her hair. Of course I had to give her some flower accessories, including a pocket with daisies and a packet of seeds.


Victoria was probably the second or third doll that I made. I used scraps for her outfit, tights, and jump rope. Her face is hand painted. She has freckles, although they appear to look more like chicken pox. I was excited after making Victoria because I could see that my skills were improving.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Making Dolls

When I was about 16, I started teaching myself to sew. I remember making simple projects before that, in Girl Scouts and Daycare, but no one in my immediate family owned a sewing machine. My grandparents let me borrow my Great Grandma Lillian's machine, and one day on the internet, I stumbled across a treasure trove of free sewing patterns at Craftster.org. My favorite first sewing projects were tote bags and purses. Slowly I progessed into other projects, including a quilt for my nephew. By far, my favorite project has been making toys.
The first time that I made a doll, I just started cutting and sewing from an idea off the top of my head and using the materials I had on hand. I even tried to sew her hair onto her head with the sewing machine. Needless to say, she didn't turn out so good. She's a funny looking girl with blue fleece skin and black yarn hair with bald spots.
After that I purchased patterns online for dolls that looked like they would be so cute, but mine never turned out quite as good as the originals pictured. Everything changed when I started to sketch my own ideas and draw patterns for myself. I learned that I can't sew dolls off the cuff because if I don't know where I'm headed, the doll ends up all over the place. I learned that I can't be satisfied with making dolls from other people's patterns, because I don't like the finished project. The best method for me, is to carefully plan each doll, and then sew from a pattern that I have created. That way all the arms and legs match, and my hand sewn hair looks adorable instead of wonky.
One example of bringing a doll to life from sketch to stuffing is the doll I made for a family member. "Lee" is a ladybug dancer doll.
I started by making a simple sketch and choosing fabrics for the doll. I thought about accessories and made notes about what to include.

I cut out a simple pattern and then cut the fabrics.
I machine sewed her body, wings, and tutu, but I hand stitched her face, hair, and antennae.

Since then, I've made several dolls by planning each one out and they get better and better each time. I put a lot of love into each one, and they are special because they are all one of a kind.