Tuesday, 30 June 2009


WIP, originally uploaded by soja.

Years ago I was quite keen on toy and doll making, I made a few jointed teddies, a few rag dolls, a few other things either for myself (I was still a child) or, later, as presents for friends and family.

I was thinking about this, that somehow I didn't find it difficult to make things then, and remembering being pleased with the results... so thought maybe I'd have a go at something now. I have the summer to experiment.

This rag doll is partly based on my memory of the dolls I used to make, and partly ideas, if not the actual patterns, in an old book of my mother's (Making Soft Toys for Children, by Pamela Peake). This is not the first version, it took a little fiddling to get the proportions right, but I think she looks about right now.

The idea for the feet and the hands is from the book, though my doll is smaller so I shaped more with handstitching than with the machine. It's a bit of a faff attaching the sole of the foot to the leg, but at the moment I think it's worth it. In the book there are two separate leg pieces, for the inner and outer side, which maybe helps with this, but makes cutting more time consuming.

So now I'm just deciding how to go about the hair and face. I used to stitch yarn together to make hair and embroidery on the face, in the book, for some dolls she uses long pile fur fabric - I'd love to try this but can't find any locally and the postage costs seem to be a bit hefty. Hmm, I used to embroidery separate lashes, pupils, irises, whites of the eye etc, but it was a bit of a worry getting the two eyes equal and symetrical. I notice that on all the beautiful, but often hugely expensive and simple waldorf dolls that are everywhere, the faces are very simple...hmm.

Hmm, why am I making dolls? Partly because I think they'd make thoughtful gifts for the children of some friends, I've noticed that a lot of handmade dolls around on etsy are actually made for adults, and though sweet, often with sewn on felt hair and sewn on clothes. Which is practical of course, but I remember being very sad if I had a toy with sewn on clothes that I couldn't remove, and playing with the hair was pretty important to me as a young girl too. :-)

And I'm wondering if I can ever make or sew something that I might actually feel able to put up for sale. I feel better when I have time in my day (or more realistically week/month) to make something, but it isn't always a cheap thing to do, which is fine, but it would be nice to fund it a little. Plus I have plans for the future which are going to need funds... so if I can not dig into my usual income too much for craft, that would help me live slightly less anxiously!

Oh, and why is she blue? Because I'd started out using some more appropriately coloured fabric, on trials that I had to scrap, so switched over to my 'lucky' blue trial fabric - so far every trial or 'muslin' that I have made with this fabric has worked out. This particular yardage was stained so the market stall lady gave it to me for free - so it was lucky even before it came home.


Catofstripes said...

Cute toes. I'd like one of these. (that wasn't a request by the way, just an observation!)

Unequal eyes are fine on a doll, makes it more unique.

The verification is balsit which sounds a bit rude. :-)

Soja said...

Eek! - It does sound a bit rude, ;-)