Saturday, June 5, 2010

Another Soft-Scuptured Doll Order Finished!!

I am forever amazed at the diversity of these dolls...the same pattern, the same person making them, the same basic steps for each, and each doll completely different!  The one I just finished turned out so cute!!  She is a custom order doll, with green eyes and light brown hair.  A friend of mine who hand-crochets things, made a hat and bootie set that fits this doll perfectly, so she is wearing that along with a onesie outfit.

I wish I could take better pictures...guess I should keep my day job making these soft-sculpture baby dolls, eh?  I'd love to blame it on the camera, but alas, I've used a few different cameras all with the same abysmal results.

What's next?  I have two Scottie Baby dolls cut out and ready to sew.  I'm excited about these, because they are a limited edition pattern, and they are like the newborn only larger and chubbier.  I'll probably start them either tonight or tomorrow.  I also have several doll outfits that will fit the 11-15 inch babies all cut out, just waiting for me to sew them together.  They would be the perfect gift for the little "mommie" who already has one of my dolls.

Another project I plan to do are blankets with the baby doll heads sewn to them.  Sounds weird and maybe a little gross, but they are really cute.  Of course, when I have one done I will post it.
Well, off to get some things done so that I can sew tonight. Until then...

Happy dolling,


These are great for transporting the dolls when they are in a state where only handsewing is required.  It is roomy, yet light enough for transport.  And another plus....they fit underneath a chair perfectly!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Another Hand-made Doll Done and On Her Way!

 There's always such a feeling of accomplishment when I get an order done and out to the Post Office.  It's really important to me that I do my best, and I will not lower my integrity by offering a soft-sculpture doll that is not my very best.

This latest  hand-made doll turned out really cute.  As I've mentioned before, I feel a bit as Michelangelo did...the doll's face and expression is already there...I just move things around and allow it to come out.  NOT that I'm comparing my art with that of Michelangelo....sheesh....

This order wasn't just a doll....also a bunting, and a baby sling.  The bunting I had done before, although one smaller than this one, but I had never done a baby sling before.  I followed the directions (I read them over about 5 times ) but the finished product just didn't deliver what was promised.  So, I was able to alter it in order to do what it was supposed to be designed to do. Now, there's always the possibility that a sixth reading of the directions might show me where I went wrong...but I was able to fix the situation, so it is all good.
Now, I start work on an 11" newborn.  These go together fairly quickly, with no real surprises, and I have made maybe over 100 of them.  To see some of the newborns I have presently, you can go to my etsy store .

When this order is done, if no other custom orders come, I plan to make a couple of Scottie baby patterns.  This is a limited edition pattern, not for sale, so few people actually have it.  It's a bigger version of the 11" newborn, and chubbier as well.  I also have several outfits for the dolls cut out and ready to sew, and I'll do that as well.  When I have these ready to post in   my etsy store I will let people know.

So, for now, I relax for awhile, then cut the new doll out later tonight.  Until then....

Happy dolling,


This is the machine I use.  I love the even stitch, and even though it took awhile for me to figure out how to thread it, it proudly sits next to my regular sewing machine, and it used almost daily.  It's a great machine for the price!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


What a ride the last few days have been!!!  I had classes to teach, a grad party to attend, came 2 secs away from being hit head on by a drunk driver (he totaled the truck right in front of us--he died, the other driver in critical condition...) hubby hurt (his back) and all that in addition to "normal life" smile!!!

I continue to work on my handmade doll orders, though...I finished one Angie Baby pattern doll, the size of a real baby, and shaped a little more lifelike.  Tonight and tomorrow I'll be working on the Alexa Rose doll, and if no crises (smile) I may even get her done in the next day or two.

So, despite near misses and extra on my "to-do" list...progress.

It amazes me how I never get tired of making these  soft sculpture dolls....maybe because the patterns are so varied....but I think it's because each doll, as I sculpt its face, has a personality that emerges through the process, and that's something I never tire of.  Also, there are so many different groups of steps needed to complete a doll, that before I can get bored of machine sewing, it's on to the hand sewing...before I get bored with that, it's on to the sculpting....and when that's done it's the hair, the clothing sewn, a new one cut out....and so it goes.

After the Alexa Rose doll is finished, then my next order doll is an old standby, I love to do...the 11" newborn doll.  I can almost do the sewing of this baby in my sleep--I've maybe made 100 or more of them, smile.  But they're still one of my favorites, smile...

Well, okay, back to work for me. I'm still working on time management, to make the most of the "little moments" to do bits and pieces of things.  Like I said.....progress....

Happy dolling,

If you want to see what's in my etsy store...go ahead and click on the link!

If you would like to order a custom doll, shoot me an email at my business email address!

These self-healing mats are great!! I use mine when I cut out things like the baby blankets, where I want a straight edge, and even though my rotary cutter is razor sharp, it never leaves a permanent gouge.  Also great for strip quilters!! 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Soft Sculpture Doll Fabric--pros and cons

For many years, there were two main options for making soft-sculpture dolls--either using muslin or "dolly cloth" which is a skin-toned, very thin knit fabric.  In my early years of dollmaking, I found the muslin to be more sturdy, but less than satisfactory for sculpting fat cheeks like I wanted.  It was fine for your Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls, or your Sunbonnet Sue's.  The dolly cloth made beautiful dolls, but one had to be careful, because if you looked at it crosseyed it would run.  And run.  And run.

Now, after more than 25 years of making soft-sculpture dolls, here's my viewpoint/hints on doll fabrics.  Maybe even a few websites, smile.  You just  never know....

Muslin--You must use a pattern that specifies muslin or cotton cloth.  Most patterns for soft-sculpture dolls requires a one-way stretch, and muslin has a no-way stretch.  I tried doing a doll, cutting it out on the resembled a "Conehead" by the time it was stuffed and sculpted. Best sewing machine needles to use with muslin is either a good Universal needle or Sharps, if  you can find them.

Dolly cloth--It has gotten better over the years, but you still have to be careful.  This fabric makes beautiful dolls, more like the collectibles that I used to make, but not quite as child-friendly as what I usually use now. Use a #11 Ballpoint needle in the sewing will push the fibers out of the way instead of cutting them.  When stuffing the doll, use big pieces of fiberfill at first, then move them to the outside and continue to add stuffing to the middle, push to the outside, etc...that way you won't have lumpy babies.  I used this fabric for my "Chubby Chuckie' doll in my etsy store.

The new kid on the block--The majority of my babies are made from this material--it's called "Craft Velour" and it is wonderful!  It's soft, like a velour would be, it has a one-way stretch to it, is very forgiving, sculpts beautifully, and is a dream to sew on.  I still use a Ballpoint needle, just because it IS a knit of sorts, and it just adds to the durability of the dolls.  The dolls machine wash and dry beautifully (pin them into a pillowcase first, please, smile) which makes moms of little ones happy. 

This fabric, sad to say, can't be bought at your local Joanne's Fabrics...I wish!  But I do have two websites where it can be purchased.  One is the Dinky Baby site, and the other is CR's Crafts website. 

Well, there you have my take on fabric.  The good, the bad, and in the case of the muslin baby cut on the bias....the UGLY!!!

Happy dolling,,


It's called "repurposing".  Saves money, less trash.  Good stuff.

To see the dolls I currently have for sale, check out my etsy store

If you would like a custom doll, you can email me at my business email

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Starting again!

 Today I began work on two new dolls for orders.  One is from the Angie Baby pattern, that looks like a real baby sizewise and the way the doll is shaped.  The other is a doll from the Alexa Rose pattern, which means she is a chubby baby with jointed arms and legs.
When I cut the dolls out, I almost never only cut one out.  It takes almost no extra time to cut out a few extra arms and legs, and many body parts only need one, so I just cut out two at the same time.  I often will do this with order dolls, so I have one for the order and one to put in my etsy store.  I don't make the two dolls look the same...just the same pattern.

I learned a neat little hint too...only took me 3 years to figure this out, sheesh...when cutting out arms and legs, instead of just having one pattern piece for arms that I use twice per doll, I have traced four "sets" of arms and legs, so that I can lay out and cut all the parts I need for 2 dolls without having to take an arm, unpin it, pin again in another place, etc...

So, the journey begins again....I wonder what the faces on these babies will look like......

Happy dolling,

I wonder if these would work on my ballerina dolls?  Hmmmm....

Want to make money on your own craft blog?  Check out

If you want to see what dolls I have for sale in my etsy store, go to

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I finished the 4 dolls that were one order....wahoo!  All four of them were more intricate than the normal babies I make, but they all turned out good!  Two are monkeys--one big, one baby--one is a toddler doll and the last is a ballerina.  It was my first time using that pattern and although it took longer than my dolls normally do, it still wasn't hard, just a little bit of a challenge, smile....

Well, here they are.....

On the left, is the bigger monkey, made from the "Danny G" pattern.  He's about 19" tall.

On the right is the little, baby monkey from the "Jingles" pattern.  These are both for a boy, so they are boy monkeys, smile.

 This is a toddler doll made using the "Lil Beth" pattern.  She is about 16" high, and her dress/bloomers outfit is hand made.  Also, her hair is stitched to the head one yarn at a time, with double thread for durability. The right picture is a closeup of her face.
This is the ballerina doll.  She's around 17" high, her skirt has 10 layers to it. Again, the hair is stitched, and she is full of frills, lace, and ribbon, smile.

So, soon these will be off in the mail to a very sweet grandpa who likes my dolls and gives them to his grandchildren.  Safe journey, little to start on the two babies...two different orders.  Will post pix when they are finished and ready to be shipped.  Until then...

Happy dolling,


I have heard that these are very excellent machines.  Easy to learn on, very "user friendly"...(excuse my

Monday, May 17, 2010

Playing Favorites

Now, I know it isn't right for moms, grandmoms, or any other kind of mom, to play favorites.  With my kids, I have been extremely careful, and it wasn't hard to do--after all, they are a great bunch and very easy to love.  Of course, I love my dolls...I wouldn't make something that I didn't like...but there are some that just tug at the heart strings more than others.

A few years ago, a close friend of mine was foster-parenting her 5 nieces, while the mom was trying to get her act together.  Our entire congregation took these girls in, and my friend was never in want for clothing, babysitters, or help around the house.  My friend had them for over a year, and they became "our girls" as well. 

The time came that the mom was going to get her girls back, so before it happened I made 5 baby dolls, one for each of them (the 6th one there, in purple, was for another girl in our congregation who was close to them...didn't want her to feel left out). I signed their names, my name, and the date on the behind of each one.  We still see the girls on occasion, they are growing up fast...but they still have their dolls and remember their time with us.

My husband is my biggest fan...and close to being my best customer, well, except that he doesn't BUY's more like an annexation, smile.  Often I'll make a doll, and it always has to pass my hubby's "hug test"...once in a while I don't get the doll back.  I think he has 6 that he's confiscated.
But not this one...I made this one just for HIM.  It's a big, chubby, jointed baby, and I made a Raider Bunny Suit for it.  My sweetie is a Raider's fan, and I thought of the irony of a bunny suit....he named it Baby Toos, after his favorite player, John Matuzak. On the back, the bunny suit has a flap like the old style drawers men used to wear.  I made the flap out of the Raider's emblem, and placed the bunny powder puff tail right smack dab in the middle. I think now this is the family "rally" doll...but I don't think it helped much, smile.

 Sometimes I make a doll and I can't sell looks like someone I know.  It would be like selling my I end up giving them away.  I wish I had pix of the two friends these went to...and it wasn't just ME who thought they looked like these women...several people saw the dolls and said, "Hey, that looks just like ________!" So they now have homes with their human look-alikes.

This was fun....I have lots more stories like this....I'll sprinkle them sparingly around the blogsite, smile.
So until next time..
Happy dolling,


(by the way, these are the BEST scissors!  They are a bit pricey, but well worth it!  They stay sharp for a long time and are sooo sturdy!  I've had my pair for over 20 years and still going strong!)