1/05/2015

A Doll for Ellie: Thoughts on Waldorf Dollmaking



Happy 2015!  I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm just trying to get myself back into gear
 after a few lovely weeks spending time with family. So while I get my head back on straight, here's a little update on the gift that I made for Ellie this Christmas.

I've always been intrigued by the idea of making a "Waldorf" style doll, because I think sculpted doll making is such a beautiful art.  Ultimately my goal was to make a special doll and doll clothing for my kids that incorporated some fabrics of personal significance--embroidered scraps from grandparents, baby clothes, etc.  In the end all I accomplished was the doll.  December was insanely busy, and in all truthfulness, I'm just happy I finished the doll. Of course a doll needs clothing, so I ended up raiding my childhood closet to find this strawberry dress that I made as a little girl for my dolls--probably when I was about 10.  The sewing is atrocious.  Luckily Ellie doesn't seem to care. :-)



Now you might be wondering why I only made one doll, being that I have two little girls in my house.  It turns out that my older daughter fell in LOVE with American Girl dolls this year, and she received my old American Girl doll (with a new outfit I made) as a gift for Christmas.  That left only one doll to be made, for Ellie.


A while back I blogged about my first attempt at making a sculpted doll, just using materials that I had on hand.  Unlike last time, I bought the "real" waldorf supplies this time.  I bought Weir Craft's premium cotton knit doll skin fabric (new fair) and their Bio Wool Core Fiber Wool Stuffing.  I purchased a Mohair Weft and stockinette from Reggie's Dolls on Etsy. I was pleased with all of the products, and I loved the weft, even though it was quite a splurge.  My curly haired daughter is quite insulted by the lack of curly haired dolls lately, that the hubby and I felt the splurge was worth it to make the doll look more like her..especially since it was her Christmas gift.

So you might be wondering how the products compared to the products that I used last time, and whether the increased cost was "worth it."  For more on that and a few "in progress" pictures I took while making this doll, keep reading below.  I apologize that the pictures aren't pretty, but since this was a Christmas project I had to work on it at night after Ellie went to bed.  Darkness means ugly pictures...but hopefully they are still helpful! 



I loosely followed the tutorial on Finn and Fern for making a wefted wig with a sewing machine.  This involved making a felt "cap," followed by sewing the weft on.
My cap ended up looking like this:
To which I added the hair, sewing a little bit at a time.
At the end I was left with a small circle of the cap that I just pushed inside:
Like this.  Then I cut off the weft and flattened it out a bit.
Here she is with her wig attached:

I LOVE the wig.  I think it totally makes the doll.  For my curly haired little girl it was totally worth it.  Now what about that the other doll products?  I can see the potential in wool stuffing.  It's lovely really, the way it sticks to itself and molds easily. Buying it online was relatively painless. I'd love to explore using it with a more "jointed" body, or a doll with wood "bones."  I feel so inexperienced using wool, and I certainly can improve in so many ways.  That said, for an inexperienced user like myself, mixing polyfil with polyfil batting worked really well.  In fact, I think my first doll head attempt with polyfil is actually more rigid than this one.  I was pleasantly surprised that the wool stuffing didn't have a "wooly" smell.  

My kids' old tights worked just as well as stockinette, as did the knit fabric that I dyed.  The knit fabric I bought from Weir crafts was certainly a lot more expensive than the fabric I purchased from JoAnn's.  I had to dye that fabric myself though, and the Weir fabric's coloring was certainly much more even than my dye job.  It saved me time, so it was worth it.  

Hopefully it will be a special doll that Ellie will cherish for years to come.  I certainly enjoyed making it.  I hope you all enjoyed a little peak into my Christmas gift making this year!  And now, on to 2015!  I really need to figure out where the blog is going this year....I'm excited to see where another year of blogging takes me!  As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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