A year ago, I never would have thought I’d be doing this. I figured I would just continue to make one off, one of a kind dolls in my studio without too much thought to keeping a record. What happened? A dear doll making friend encouraged me to develop, test and publish my pattern for 18 ” dolls. At first I resisted. Frankly, it sounded like a lot of work and I had fear that I would leave something out or I wouldn’t be able to convey how it is exactly that I do some part of my making. I went about it slowly. First I traced the latest version of my ever evolving pattern shapes on interfacing and scribbled instructions on paper and threw them in an envelope and sent them off to my friend. Several months after that I asked a few other doll makers if they would test the pattern for me. We set up a facebook group of testers and I started getting feedback and suggestions for improvement. A few drafts later, a couple requests, and voila. There is actually a listing up!
Why am I feeling nervous about this new adventure? Because I know first hand how much time and love and thought and energy goes into making a doll…that is in addition to the cost of materials and supplies! The idea that a doll maker, or mom, or grandma, or neighbor would choose a pattern I drew and developed, to focus their resources on, both humbles and honors me.
There is a lot about Waldorf doll making and Waldorf doll patterns that don’t really need to be said again. There is a lot that I consider a folk tradition or skill. So, there are whole parts I decided not to go into in my pattern. For example, I do not include instructions about how to form a traditional Waldorf doll head. There are many many books on the pedagogy of Waldorf dolls that describe this better than I could, and really I feel I have nothing to add to these tried and true folk methods. Incidentally, there are also several great, free Waldorf doll Head making tutorials available on line. For the same reasons, I also don’t provide detailed instructions on stuffing or wig making.
Instead, my pattern focuses on the things I feel make it unique. My dolls have a bottom that is shaped and cut together as one piece with the torso. This bum allows the doll to sit and sometimes (if one stuffs very firmly and is a bit lucky) the bum provides a counter weight balance to the legs that allows the doll to stand. In contrast, most doll patterns have two piece torsos with no bum at all, two piece torsos with a separate panel where the bum should be to make the doll sit, or a one piece torso with no bum. I also have a unique way of sewing arms and legs on dolls that maximize machine sewing while also maximizing limb movement and emphasizing natural body shapes. My pattern has very little hand sewing which I personally think makes for easier construction and stronger dolls. Finally, this particular pattern tries to adhere to American Girl sizes, dimensions, proportions.
I am quite sure that at least in the beginning of this pattern publishing adventure, I will have to release new versions as I continue to improve on things, but I hope that through these patterns I will be able to be a positive part of many people’s doll making adventures. I can’t wait to hear what people think!Follow