Quite some time ago, I wrote that I was making a doll for Christmas. Amazingly, not only did it get made, but finished in time for Christmas, albeit with a slightly revised plan. Back in October I’d envisaged making not just a full set of clothes (imagine the trousseau of a member of the minor aristocracy), but a wardrobe in which to hang them. This doll, poor lass, doesn’t even have a pair of shoes yet. She is, nonetheless, much loved, as you can tell from the missing curls.
So, shoes, shawls, a poke bonnet and a ball gown to follow, but in the meantime, here are my top tips for making a doll:
– as I mentioned before, use a really good quality felt, like Kunin;
– machine sew as much as you possibly can. You’ll almost certainly want to make a doll who will be loved, played with and dressed repeatedly, rather than sitting fragile on a shelf, so the clothes need to be able to withstand wear, tear and washing at 40 degrees. I hand sewed the straps of the chemise (yes, it’s a posh doll) and one strap has already come loose, which is one of the reasons why there isn’t a photo of the chemise. The other reason is that it is made of voile, which – quite frankly – is Beelzebub’s fabric, and frays as soon as you look at it;
– be very wary using glue. Now admittedly, I was doing this just after midnight on Christmas Eve, so I might not have been at my most gifted, but turning the doll over to see that one felt eye was missing and the vestiges of glue on the doll’s face had picked up fibres from the dark blanket beneath was incredibly frustrating. (And if you’re making a doll for a very little person, an eye or similar coming off could be very dangerous.) Several little stitches in a matching thread colour turned out to work much more securely;
– this is the time to splash out on really pretty trims. Normally I wouldn’t be able to justify lace at £3/metre, but when you’re using it on such tiny necklines and cuffs, a metre goes a long way;
– have fun – it’s a really lovely thing to make, and even lovelier to give.