new old doll

1 Mar 2012

In the year 2000 I made my first formed Waldorf doll.
 A formed doll means that the doll has arms and legs rather than being a cushion or bunting doll.

I went to a class run by a German woman whose name I am embarrassed to say I can't remember. 
She provided us with the doll parts already sewn. 
We just had to stuff and assemble the doll.
 Rather than the tricot fabric that I now use for my dolls my first doll was made from ordinary t shirt fabric , tea dyed to be skin colour. 
She also gave us copies of her pattern so we could make more dolls for ourselves.
Elisabeth is the doll I made at this class.
 I loved her so much even though she was kind of chunky and couldn't sit down.

Elisabeth, in clothes, doll number 1, the very first formed doll I ever made way back in 2000

I tried using the class pattern but unless I found fabric with exactly the same stretch I couldn't make a doll to look the same as Elisabeth. 
When I discovered the European tricot fabric that I now use the stretch was so different that I had to draft completely new patterns based on the class ones.

The dolls still couldn't sit and I experimented with drafting various other patterns, my dolls have been fat and thin and in between but they have all been able to sit with support. 
This was important to Katie, my daughter because tea parties were a very important part of her play.
 For many years my dollmaking was all about what Katie wanted.

Recently I tried to find my old original pattern out of curiosity to see what a doll would look like now with my 12 years of experience combined with that original pattern.
 I still haven't found it but last week I did find the altered patterns that I had drafted all those years ago.

So I made up a doll.
 I wanted her to be able to sit though because I can tell you Elisabeth is mighty tired of standing for all these years.
 I also didn't like the chunky arm look so I used my regular arm pattern.
 I attached the arms in rather a hurry because I needed to get finished and get on with cooking dinner so if I make the doll again I will finesse that part a little. 
 But I do like this girl.
 I like that I can touch a little piece of my dollmaking history and bring it forward to be a part of what I am doing now and I am really glad I found those pattern pieces so I don't have to keep looking.
 Most probably now that I have stopped searching I will also find the original class pattern too.

I put my little doll with one of my 17" Sweet child dolls too because I think they look cute together.
 If you don't like the look of a bald faceless doll just try to imagine how cute they will look with hair and a sweet face.

a little one ( 12") and a big one (17")

7 Responses to “new old doll”

  1. I am amazed at how you can do this Jenny.

  2. I am amazed that you have not burned yourself out from doll making after so many years, but I guess the breaks you take from making the dolls are when you sit and sew, knit or crochet their clothing. All your dolls are wonderful. I was born in Germany and so these dolls have an extra heart-warming feeling for me. Their German origin kinda makes me kin, lol......your dolls are beautiful and I can truly understand why people stand in line for them. I really need to make myself a doll. I have loved dolls ever since I was a little girl, and that has never changed. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and history with the doll making.
    (((HUGS))) Susanne :)

  3. I imagine they both will be beautiful, like all the others!

  4. Wow, Jenny! Even your old pattern is amazing! I'm not sure if I told you or not but I did attempt to make a waldorf doll for my little girl for Christmas. You never truly know how much work goes into something until you do it yourself... and oh my is there a lot of work that goes into these little beauties. I sew and have sewn for about 13 years but I sew handbags and rag dolls nothing close to the magnitude of a Waldorf doll which is mostly hand stitched - plus you have all those little tiny pieces and corners. It took me a month to make her ...and my fingers have never been so sore. I'm embarrassed to say my daughter's little "Chloe" is rather sad looking. I made her from a kit that I bought online and I followed the Maricristin Sealey's Kinder Dolls book as my guide. Now that she is finished, I see all the things I did wrong and would change if ever I make one again - which is no time soon - lol. I didn't stuff her tight enough so she is soft and will be lumpy before long. I didn't pull the head string tight enough because her eye-line doesn't indent enough to pronounce a "face". But none of that matters because my little girl loves her. And since Chloe was my first attempt at a Waldorf doll, she will be part of our family and our doll collection forever. And, I cannot tell you how very excited I am to get my custom dolly from you! Your work is truly amazing! And I agree with Rose, I don't know how you do so many dolls in a month - there is no other word but amazing!

  5. Just lovely Jenny. There's something special about homemade items - I find them so much more endearing than the store bought variety - I think what it is is that they have personalities - whilst you're making them, you leave a bit of your imaginings in with them so they become 'real'. I would agree with you though... Elizabeth would be mighty tired after so many years of standing :)

  6. You have been inspiring me ever since I followed Jewel's link to you a year and a half ago. That was when I finally got internet! I still haven't made a doll but I've been inspired to make doll clothes for the families living in our buggies and beds already. I've been inspired to use more of what I love, not to be ashamed of my childhood treasures but to display them proudly. And I've been inspired to live with more of what I've created myself. This has made me more purposeful in my choices of materials which has in turn helped me to grow more than anything else in my crafting skills. Thanks Jenny... and I mean that.

    Blessings, Debbie


Thanks so much for taking the time to chat. I don't always have time to reply but I do read every message you leave.