Welcome to my dollmaking journal. I write doll stories, share tips on this creative journey and so much more. Hope you enjoy your visit!.

The change

With this new season coming, and with this new decision of mine, to finally call myself a doll maker, my dolls received some heavy design input. This change has been long in the making, I never, ever, change anything all of a sudden. It takes me a long time to design a doll, to sketch it, to dream about it (I truly do!), then to trace patterns and all of that. With the creation of my new doll Figlette, well...the designing fingers moved on to my regular dolls and I think we are all pleased.

These are the changes I have made to my dolls, which have been steadily showing up in the dolls of the past few weeks:

There are some fancy woven tags now being sewn into all bodies, except the 8" dolls. Those are a bit too small for a side tag, and I feel like they would be too intrusive. So for now no tags for the little ones.

There is also a new dart on their bums, which very likely will turn into two darts soon. This dart helps the dolls to sit better, and allows for the stuffing to be more easily accommodated into their bellies. Now there is a difference when you see the pattern from the back or from the front. My colleagues and I were discussing a while back the differences, and pros and cons of having dolls that sit and dolls that stand. We all came to the realization that the majority of children sit their dolls to play with them, and the vast majority sit them on their beds. So, to have a doll made with a pattern that allows for easy sitting was a must. My dolls have always sat, as I made the seams on their legs in a way that allows them to do this. But, because of the stuffing procedure, sometimes it was hard to make them sit and stay put. There was way too much stuffing close to the seam and it would compete with the leg. I don't have that issue anymore.

Another change prescribed to the beauties was on their legs. They have chubby inner thighs, a curve to the legs and a resemblance of knees without actually having to sculpt those. The only doll with more heavy sculpting is Figlette. The feet and leg seam are still done by hand, whereas for Figlette, they are all done with the sewing machine.

Now, they also have resting arms. I have sewn the arms on the dolls with a slight resting position for about a year now, but I have modified the procedure as well as the pattern. My dolls have now arms that have a curve, they are thinner, and they are sewn in a way that allows for a lot of movement, so that your little ones can more easily manipulate their arms into clothing and such. It also gives the dolls a bit more of a realistic pose, as the hands can rest on their laps. These are not "posing" dolls, but they do have way more movement.

Their feet are less wide and a little bit longer. I want to create all kinds of shoes for the dolls, not just of the crochet variety, and so the dolls needed a slender foot with a longer bridge to be able to do this.

And last but not least, their shoulders and overall body. I used to do the shoulder seams with the sewing machine, now because of the stuffing procedure and the arms, I am doing it by hand. This all has translated into a doll with slightly sloping shoulders, and a slender body. But do not be misled into thinking that the dolls are thinner. They are not. The body looks thinner from the front, but since they have a bum, they are actually a little bit chubbier. It is just the depth perception that is playing tricks on you. The dolls aren't so square-looking, there is a noticeable difference from the hips to the chest, and they to me look just so much better, design wise.

Of course the same quality standards, if not more, are used. Machine-sewn seams twice. Firm stuffing, not too firm. Their bellies feel very, very firm to the touch, but they are not hard to snuggle. The heads are very, very firm, but they are covered with a nice layer of fluffy wool so their face features are more prominent. Same amount of hair, with some space in between strands to allow the wool to breathe and not get matted and felted too easily. Hands are a little bit smaller as well. And as usual, I keep changing their belly buttons, as like people, there are not two alike.

I hope you enjoyed the tour of these new design features. I received a few emails asking me what exactly was the difference and if dolls clothes in the November upload would fit older dolls as well. And of course they will. I am using the same patterns and just allowing a little bit more room for these new dolls. So if you own an older-made doll, clothes from now are going to be quite roomy for them, which is always nice.

Now, if I could just muster the strength to alter the 12" doll I would be entirely happy. For the next little while, this size of doll will be the exact same, and when they actually evolve I will let you all know. I have big plans for them too.

I hope you have a nice week, now that all the kids are back to school and we are all seem to be returning to a more established routine. The weather here is gorgeous, and I am so happy that it finally feels like Fall.

Second installment