Wednesday, January 20, 2010

doll making

First let me start by saying buying doll patterns is important!! It keeps wonderful people and companys going and there is knowledge in each pattern ,not just a traced doll.
With that said I have been sewing long enough to just make a pattern.
I was emailing with a friend who was quite interested by this so I decided to blog how I do it.

I trace a pattern onto freezer paper and cut out. I then trace the pattern onto fabric. I prefere osnaburg. I do not cut out the doll . I sew it and then cut out.

I turn out my doll and stuff the head and neck with pollyfil. It is important to stuff firmly but with small pieces so you will not get a lumpy head. Pay close attention to the neck area or your dolls head will sag in time.
I then stuff the rest of the body with fabric and wool scraps. This gives the doll a nice old weighted feel. I stuff the arms and feet with polly fil but only a 1/3 of the way. I want the doll to sit and be positioned well.
After attaching arms and legs I may stitch the face or leave plain depending on my mood.
I make up my "potion" ,Nestea sugar free instant tea, cinnamon and Vanilla. I like my dolls dark so I use about a cup of tea , 3 tbl cinnamon and 1/2 bottle of vanilla. I use a sponge brush to apply to doll making sure to cover well . If you miss a spot and touch up later it will show .
I bake my doll on a parchment lined cookie sheet in a 250 degree oven until dry. For my doll today I am making it black so I pour black paint into a disposible cup and add water. I mix well and apply to doll with a new sponge brush. I make sure to cover completely and then back into the oven to dry.
I then sand my doll. this ages it as well as softens the fabric.

I then apply my tea "potion" again to give her a warm color.

I then get my paint out and make eyes on my dolly.

While my face is drying I am going to age a small Bible I picked up at Dollar Tree for my doll. Although I felt a little uneasy about this I want my doll to be a wise older God fearing dolly who has loved and read her Bible each day so aging it was a must.
I firt sanded it and then applied stain. Let dry.

As you can see it makes quite the difference.

Now it is time for her dress. I lay my doll onto freezer paper again and trace her to create a bodice. ( top of dress)

I also trace pantaloons for my modest doll.

I cut out my bodice on a double fold. I also cut out 2 long pieces for the skirt bottm. I do hem my edges. It is my preference since I do not wear raw edges.

I sew two rows on the widest setting to gather my skirt. I choose to add scrim ( a fabric netting found in the drappery dept at your fabric store) on the front for the apron.

Once pinned to the bodice I sew a straight stitch. I pull out the long gathered threads. I then fold my dress right sides together and sew along the outside edges.

I now turn right side out and cut a slit in the neck. I dress her. and run a gather stich around the neck line. I also add hair now. I use raw wool.

I now make her bonnet. I take wool and fold in half. I hem the edges. I sew down the back and then the top triangle.

I attach on the sides of her head with rusty safty pins. I make a bag from wool to hold her bible. I use pins and tie jute for the bag handle. I added a pin with bell to the front and aso a key necklace.

All that is left now is to name her. I made this doll for a swap I am doing. It is going to a wonderful woman who is not as primitive as I am so I didn't "dirty" her dress. If she was for my home I would have tea stained her dress. However her clothing and bag are not as bright as it looks in these pictures.
I hope you enjoyed my doll makeing lesson. If you have any questions feel free to email me.


  1. Audrey,
    It was really neat seeing all the different stages you go through when you're making your dolls.Your dolls are just wonderful,each with their own personality!

  2. Thank you for posting this. I am going to print them out so I will have them and can refer to them as needed.

  3. Thanks so much. I am really starting to love old dolls. So I am always looking at doll patterns. Something about them is so peaceful. Yours turned out so cute. Great job.