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Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States
Hello doll lovers! This blog was created to tell you about dolls I have made and classes I teach on doll making at Attic Window Quilt Shop in Comstock Park, Michigan (a suburb of Grand Rapids). My goal in teaching is to pass on the love of making heirloom quality dolls. Most of the dolls I make (and hold classes for) are designed by Gail Wilson - visit her website at . Page down my blog for some fun doll links including antique doll sites and hard to find doll supplies.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Hi Doll makers, it's time to get ready for the next doll class - Gail Wilson's Lottie. Lottie was featured in the Austrailian magazine Homespun, and the pattern or kit is available on Gail's website. Just click on the title of the post and it will take you to Gail's website. Look in the new items for Lottie.  The class starts on Oct 7th at Attic Window Quilt Shop on Alpine at 6 Mile if you are interested.  See the last post for more details.

OK - I looked high and low for the camera cord, so that I could take pictures of Lottie, but the husband put it away....and who knows where. He's in an airplane right now, so I'll have to update the Lottie pictures later and for now, I will use pictures from another class. So sorry about this, I know you like to see the real doll in process so you know what it will look like in class.  Most of these pictures are from the Kate Greenaway class we had earlier in the year.

  First up  in making the class sample doll is to laminate the patterns and sew the body. Remember to use the tiny 18-22 stitches per inch. The reason this is important is so that the stitches won't pop when you stuff the doll.  Lots and lots of wool roving will go into the head. The first time I made a Gail doll, I remember thinking "no way is this much wool going into this little head". But yes, it is doable. You're going for a really hard head (like raw potato hard).  The body is not quite as hard (think baked potato hard). Tiny stitches will help keep the seams intact.

After sewing the body and limbs, use a stuffing fork to stuff the doll. Be careful not to push the fork thru the fabric, but if that happens, all is not lost. There are ways to mend boo-boos. And in the doll world, we just call those boo-boo's "instant antiquing".  Sometimes it's the things like mistakes that make a hand made doll so charming.

Roving is by far the best stuffing as it is resiliant and wants to expand outward.  Also, any doll fashioned after the dolls of years ago wants to be hefty. Wool roving adds that heavy feeling, and won't squish around like the synthetic stuffings.

Fingers are lightly stuffed and needle sculpted with YLI hand quilting thread. Elbows are added with seams centered.  Knees can also be added if you want your doll to sit.  If your dolls says she wants to stand, leave off the knee stitching.

This is a picture of the completed body from another doll similar to Lottie, except that Lottie doesn't have ears and neck darts.


Most dolls get a coat of gesso and skin paint. The parts pictured are from the Kate Greenaway series, hanging to dry after gesso. After the parts are all sewn and stuffed, Lottie's limbs will get an overdye wash  but not painted like these are. 
Overdye is a technique to make a new doll look like she has been hanging around for a hundred years.

Most of Lottie is stuffed, and hopefully on Friday morning, she will get her coat of overdye and will be hanging to dry.  She'll look weird until she gets her face, sort of like a faceless corpse.....


  1. Julie, what is the clothes-dryer type device on which you are drying doll parts?

  2. Nancy, The "clothes dryer device" is actually a pasta dryer. You can use anything you can suspend the doll part on without touching any thing else while it is hanging. Also remember that things slide, so put some sort of stop like a clothes pin inbetween parts if sliding is an issue. A simple clothes line suspended between two chair backs works well too. I just keep my pasta dryer up in a bookshelf, so I always have a spot to hang wet doll parts.


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