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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.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Creative Paperclay and wood

What am I up to?   This week I have been playing with creative paperclay on Gail Wilson's MYO dolls, working on Dixie Redmond's Izannah Walker Doll AND Gail Wilson's wooden Hitty.

They are all so much fun, I wish you could come over and play too.  I guess you'll just have to settle for looking at the links online.

Dixie Redmond's Izannah Walker class in an online class.  There are so many talented doll makers in this group as well as those who are new to dollmaking. The dolls that are coming from this class look like the real antique dolls.  Dixie sure came out with a nice pattern.
See details here:  (It's not too late to get into this class either, loads of us are just starting or are dreaming about starting).
I am almost ready to gesso on three Izannahs; just a few more limbs to stuff.

oh dear, I put the head on the wrong end on two

so many arms and legs!

Gail Wilson's online Hitty class details are here:
(page down to online classes info).  I have the body parts painted with one coat of skin color. This week I hope to finish the painting and move on to the carving part. Carving is a new skill to learn for me.  I have done several of Gail's Joel Ellis dolls, but most of that wood working was done with a dremel tool and a stationary belt sander. Oh and some elbow grease sanding too. The wooden Hitty will be my first venture into what I would call real carving.
MYO doll

Gail's MYO doll (Make your own doll parts) info about the molds, flumo, etc are here:
and   (page way down)

visit  for some more pictures of the inspiration, molds, and dolls from the MYO dolls series.

Paper clay added for hair

 The MYO dolls are available with the parts already molded, or you can purchase the molds and flumo and mold your own parts. This was an interesting and fun new thing for me in the doll making arena. I sure enjoyed making my own parts.  Flumo is one of those products that is very enjoyable to use. This doll is a basic doll with not much detail. You get to do the designing of the hair (paint, paperclay, wig, etc) and clothing. The body is a simple cloth one that is attached to the limbs by sewing thru sew holes. See the doll with the black molded hair, she has sew holes in her chest area.

I feel like one of Santa's elves in the Doll Division, working diligently towards Christmas eve.....will I get them all finished by then? 
Thanks for visiting, and I hope you give some of these dolls a whirl, they are loads of fun - Julie

Friday, November 12, 2010

Finished Lottie

Here's Lottie!  After last post, she was just getting her nose sculpting done and a coat of half water, half skin paint.  We let her dry (thanks to NPR for the entertainment while we waited), finished her face embroidery and then moved onto hair. 

Following the easy instruction in the kit from Gail Wilson, we made her wig.  
See for kit or pattern details.

There is one scary part to making wigs from mohair....that is the thinning part.  I'm always afraid I'm going to take too much out and have bald spots.  But I have found that if you take some of the mohair you have left over, and lay it in under the hair in the too thin area, it hides the bald spot.  With a bit of experience, you get a feel for how much to take out.  

 Here she is in her handy wigging clamp. It's that extra set of hands that you need to hold the doll while you play with her hair. 

Side parts are fun too - but since Lottie will have braids, we'll go with the center part.  I'll center the seam on the wig with the center seam on the head and pin in a few spots.  Then gently lift off the pins and wig and put a spot of hot glue down under the hair with cool heat hot glue gun. Just a small amount so it won't show thru the top of the wig.  Then press down that part of the wig on the spot of glue and hold firmly for a second or two until the glue sets. Then work your way from the top of the head down the back with a couple more spots of glue, and pressing that part of the wig down matching seams. 

When you have worked from the top of the head to the nape of the neck, then go from the top of the head towards the forehead. If you hesitate to use glue, you can always hand tack with thread instead of using glue.  Once the wig is firmly attached, you can start styling the hair, thinning more as needed as you work towards the braid ends.  As you braid the second braid, remember to check the first braid, so you are making similar braids as to thickness, length and placement.  Tie off the ends with whatever you wish, remembering to keep the tie small, not a huge thick ribbon on this tiny braid end, or it will slip off.  If you are worried, you can always use a tiny drop of glue to hold it all in place.  I used embroidery floss here.

Lots of leftover mohair!  If there was a bald spot, this could be used for filling in under the hair attached to the wig.  Or use it to stuff a small project.

On all dolls with mohair wigs, I like to protect the hair before I put her clothing on.  Just snip off the corner of a plastic bag and snug it over the top of her head.  

Lottie's clothing is a simple dress with cinched sleeves. You run a gather stitch around the hemmed edge and then once the dress is on the doll, you pull up and tie off.

Using your hemostats, push the ends of the threads inside the dress. You could leave a nicely tied bow on the outside if you wish.

I have a stand already made for Lottie, but the dowels are a bit too long, so I snipped off half an inch on the bottom of the dowel with some nail snips. 

For the stand,  I used a round piece of wood and drilled holes for the dowels.  Then I sanded, stained and varnished the stand. The tops of the flat sanded and rounded top dowels hit right at her shoulder blades after the dowels are placed in the stand.  I dressed Lottie in her clothing of dress, pantaloons, slip, apron and bonnet, then I slipped the dowels up inside the pantaloons, past the waistbands of her slip and pantaloons until the tops are under the bodice of her dress.  I added invisible hair holders around the legs and dowels and slipped it up under her pantaloons so no one knows it's there. Then I slip the dowels into the stand. 

If the dowels are a bit loose, you can use a tiny amount of museum wax and put it on the dowel under the place where the dowels begin to show. Then slip them down into the hole on the stand. The wax will fill the space and the dowels will then be snug.  I don't like to glue the dowels into the stand, because I cannot change the dowels then.  For example, If Lottie ends up sold without her stand, I can reuse the stand for another doll that might be taller just by switching out the dowels. 

Here are a few more pictures of Lottie.  And thanks for visiting - have some doll fun today! Julie

Yeah, she was here the whole time, trying to take off with my mohair and being her usual pesky self.....I'd kick her out and shut the door, but she has figured out how to open the door! Drat

Gail Wilson dolls I have made

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