June 20, 2012
I learned how to sew doll clothes from this book when I was pregnant with my first girl. The book teaches process and pattern types. Once you learn these then you will be able to adapt pattern making for any doll. Even though I no longer use store bought patterns in my doll making, I keep this book in my collection for beginners.
“Venus A. Dodge, an expert in making, dressing and selling dolls for over 20 years, presents a unique and exciting collection of actual-size patterns for doll’s clothes. No enlarging is necessary – just trace directly from the page to make a ready-to-use pattern. There are 45 of them to choose from too. from modern outfits for commercial dolls to accurate period costume for antique dolls. Full making-up instructions are given throughout for clothes and accessories.
Many of the patterns are simple enough for the absolute beginner, but the experienced dolls’ dressmaker should find a stimulating challenge in the authentic and more elaborate period costumes. There is plenty of advice on techniques and how to achieve a delightful result with the minimum of expense and time, making it simpler than ever before to create your own superb doll’s clothes…and enjoy the whole process!”
David & Charles Publishing plc, Newton Abbot, Devon: Sterling Publishing Co. Inc., 387 Park Avenue South, New York, NY.
May 4, 2012
Above are two of my favorite painted canvas dolls. I designed and made these toddler dolls in the late 90s.
The features of the little girl were appliqued onto the canvas prior to the painting of her face.
The little boy has no three dimensional facial features.
Here he is again seated in an old-fashioned school desk that was hand-crafted by a neighbor.
March 27, 2012
Back in the very early 1990s I painted some silly little rag dolls. It was my hope that I would sell them at a few local country fairs but, alas, people would not purchase these for the prices I needed to ask in order to turn a necessary profit.
Homemade rag dolls take much time, care and patience to craft but most people do not pay for the labor that goes into them. So, I did what I normally do under such instances. I gave them away as gifts and taught others to make the dolls for themselves.
I even added tiny buttons and trims of accurate proportion to the clothing I made for the dolls. This is something I seldom do now with my current cloth dolls. Now I use clothing that is being discarded from my daughter’s closets.
I would never bother to add elastic to my doll clothing now unless it was absolutely necessary and in most cases, it never is for a doll.
Too many flowers, oh my! However, I do still love their funny expressions.
March 20, 2012
Every spring my daughters and I collect from their closets clothing and other items that they have either outgrown or no longer need.
These items are then donated to charity.
However, given the fact that I am very sentimental about my children, it often makes me sad to see them throw away those things that I have associated fond childhood memories with. Of course, you can not keep everything.
This sample banner, I think, helps me to demonstrate just how my students may use some of the old garments and novelty toys they might label as “toss offs.”
This image of a young teen is from a marvelous book. I will find it in my bookcase sometime today and link to the author/artist here.
Students may even include text in their samplers; here I have used a permanent ink marker to write a story directly onto the fabric.
Here I have demonstrated that students don’t need to follow stricter rules used by quilters when they are thinking about their designs. I’ve used both the reverse and the front of this fabric within the same design.
The batting here is used as though it were fabric and some of the edges of fabric are left raw and frayed. Small plastic toys from my children’s old toy bins are also sandwiched between layers of material.
Even a silk flower from one of my younger child’s old costumes finds it’s way into the mix!
Finally, I have backed my textile sample with fabric from a skirt once worn by my youngest.
March 14, 2012
I started this topsy-turvy doll many years ago,
but finished dressing it just this week.
The doll combines both a black and a white lady;
this is the oldest theme for topsy-turvey dolls in
the United States. The doll, however, is contemporary
because of how it is dressed. Originally, African American
slaves made topsy-turvey dolls in America to represent
one side as a “mammy” (or nanny) and the
other end as a white child.
Both of these characters are social equals.
The only difference in their dress is in the season that
their clothing is adapted for.
I added a braid at the back of my black doll’s head
for texture and variety.
A detail shot of my black doll’s face.
A detail shot of the winter garment.
My white doll end is dressed for spring.
Her hair is silkier; I believe that I made the wig from
angora, but, I no longer remember what this material is.
A close-up shot of her dress. I recycled a blouse belonging
to one of my daughters for this costume.
Here is the completed white doll, with her skirt pulled down.
An original topsy-turvy doll; this one was cut by hand and sewn without
a pattern folks. The faces are painted with acrylic and
sealed with an acrylic varnish.
March 14, 2012
I crafted this papier-mâché doll from processed pulps and
wood glue many years ago. I based the design on a vintage pin
cushion, pictured below.
The top half of her body is made from papier-mâché
and the lower half from scrap fabrics.
Here is a photograph of her back side. I used old lace
and vintage satin ribbon to dress her properly.
My great aunt gave me this half doll pin cushion for
Christmas one year when I was a very young girl.
Eventually, I had to replace the old
satin skirt with a new one.