February 15, 2009

Dolls--Waldorf and others

This is Anime Annie. She is my very first doll pattern, and she is made like a Raggedy Ann style doll, but with a shaped bottom for sitting, and set in 'shoe style' feet. Her legs and arms are much longer than a regular Annie doll, much more like the Anime Characters my daughters both love. I may offer her as a freebie pattern on FOCD, if I can figure out how to create a pattern pdf.

This is my very first Waldorf-inspired doll--Jessie May. She is made from the 12" Friendship dolls pattern, from Dancing Rain Dolls. Her hair is wigged on a crocheted wig, with fibres that are (well) a mystery. She isn't stuffed with wool, or made with organic jersey knit like a traditional Waldorf doll, but I still love her. She is just so cute!

Her older sister, nicknamed Peanut Butter Cup for her hair, is still waiting for her introduction pictures. She is made from the 16" Dancing Rain Dolls friendship doll pattern, with medium brown wool hair and 'lighter coloured' highlights. The combination looks remarkably like peanut butter cups.

I prefer the 16" doll. I like the overall shape, and feel better than the 12" doll, but there were 'challenges' with the 16" body pattern in the down load. The lower body pattern did not match the upper body by more than 3/4" across. Being inventive, I enlarged with lower body page to 114% to get it to match. There are also no vertical 'match here' marks on the body pieces in the 16" doll pattern; I guestimated where the pieces should match, but I could be wrong. Although I love the pattern, particularly since it includes a wide variety of clothing that fits the doll, the pattern challenges for the body will cause troubles for a less experienced seamstress or doll maker. I did contact the maker, but I received no response after a week. She has a reputation for excellent service, so maybe I got her on a bad week, or on a vacation week.

Overall, her instructions are excellent. Some of the pictures are very close up, particularly for the nose directions. I found, as a new doll maker, I needed the information found on a couple of blogs to sort out some of the head information. All her patterns, including her clothing patterns, are template patterns. You need to add seam allowances, or be willing to sew on the line. This isn't a problem in any way, as it means that everyone can sew with their preferred seam allowances. The patterns include a very large variety of clothing patterns for the doll. For the money, even with the body pattern challenge, I would highly recommend these patterns.

February 8, 2009

Waldorf dolls, costuming and avoiding report cards

The last play I helped with (I can't really even say I worked on it, except to sew a dress that was, well, insane, and to do a tiny bit of costume polishing) closed last night. I didn't even need to go to strike--that's how little I did. Our next show (Beyond a Joke, at Guelph Little Theatre) opens in about 5 weeks; I start costuming it this week. It is wonderful, funny and a little thought provoking play, full of misconceptions about life, and what happens to evesdroppers, and the requisite dead body in the closet. I laughed my way through the script, and am looking forward to playing along. Only 8 people to costume, and no real challenges from the script. We will see what the director wants.

On the doll front, I am continuing to explore how different dolls are made.
  • I've ordered a combination Hitty Kit, and the online class, to make a painted head/hands/feet Hitty with a cloth body. The class is about half way through; I hope I get the kit before it is over.
  • My first fabric Hitty is sewn and waiting to be sealed and painted.
  • I have all the printouts for Judy Ward's Cloth ball jointed Bleuette, and everything is traced. The secret ingredients for the cloth ball joints are painted, and waiting patiently. I am going to force myself to use fabric that is lying around to make the first one.
  • My challenge doll pattern for another club has been printed and trimmed.
So it isn't like I have no projects on the go. But, then I wondered--what makes a Waldorf doll different? Well, apart from the fact that everything is totally natural, they are stuffed with wool and made with organic fibres--how are they made so that they are so different? They have a distinctive face shape and a very simple embroidered face. So, I started researching, and I discovered, there is a prestuffed shaped skull and neck under the skin fabric. It is really cool!

If you get interested in learning more about Waldorf dolls, here are some well done tutorials, and a few free patterns:
  • The Silver Penny has a lovely tutorial with a lot of photos, and a few free patterns for a button jointed Baby style Waldorf doll.
  • This is a really tiny Waldorf baby, suitable for a doll house.
  • This is a pattern for a full joined (not button jointed) Waldorf baby; the pattern for the hands and torso are on the bottom of the page.
  • This is a felt body baby, with a Waldorf style head (about 4" tall). Another name for these dolls is Steiner dolls, after the first doll maker who made this style of doll.
  • Here is the pattern for a smaller 'sleeper style' baby doll along with instructions.
And, just in case it appeals, here is a pattern for a child sized doll sling, for your darling to carry your baby in. Too cute, and too easy. These would make great Christmas gifts.

Although I could make a doll from the freebies, I decided I wanted to use a real pattern, and make a girl style doll. I ordered a downloadable ebook from Dancing Rain Dolls for a 12" and a 16" Friendship doll. These patterns include all kinds of clothing, fantastic instructions (including how to make a crocheted wig that is stylable), and the rights to make and sell the dolls. The doll has attached (sewn in) legs, and button jointed arms. Her body and head cover are one piece, which is different than almost any other Waldorf doll I've seen, but this is a very cute doll. I did what I could without wool stuffing, but the next one will definitely be made with all the right stuff.

But, did I actually do any marking or work on report cards? Ummmmmm.....

February 1, 2009

Working towards goals--playing with dolls

One of my goals is to play with different types of doll bodies. So far, I've made 3 new types this year:
  • my first painted head vintage doll, a challenge pattern from the Vintage Cloth doll group.
  • my first Hitty, a free fabric doll pattern. Hitty is an antique wooden doll, 6 1/2" tall. As far as I can tell, getting into Hitty is kind of like getting into American Girl, only a lot smaller! I don't think I will be really into this in the long run, but my youngest loves miniatures, and this is close to that. So, time will tell.
  • my very first pattern, of my own. This is for a rag doll, with a shaped body and a bum. She is about 20" tall, but thin. My girls tell me that she looks like an anime character--so we've nicknamed the pattern Anime Annie. I want to experiment with adding ears and tails, since a lot of the characters in the Anime cartoons have different ears/tails, and they would be interesting. She is a pretty doll. The little girl down the way 'ordered one with a blue dress' for her birthday LOL.