Pattern Sale -
20% Off - Click HERE!
Natural Soap!Soap and Lotion
Search For Pattern!
Search For Designer/Supplies!
Click HERE for What's New!

Download Patterns (PDFs) Available On Etsy ... Click HERE!

Dollmaker's Journey

April 2010 Issue 101

Back to... Archives

Dream ~ Imagine ~ Create ~ Grow ~ Believe ~ Magic
At we help your creative dreams come true.

April 2010 Issue 101

Copyright 2010 by Dollmaker’s Journey

Dollmaker’s Journey Customer Connection newsletter is a free e-mail newsletter. Tell your friends, family and fellow dollmakers about us, and feel free to forward this newsletter to those who might be interested. You can visit our companion website at:

You can read all the past issues online. Go to:
The archives include an easy to follow index to all the past issues.

Dear Dollmaking Friends,

Easter is over, Passover is past, Earth Day (April 22) came and went, and Bonnie is still working on the newsletter. She celebrated Earth Day by working on 24 topiary trees with others from her church for centerpieces at an upcoming Women's Conference (May 15) for a four state region. Each one was different. They were created with wooden bases, wooden dowels, Styrofoam balls covered with fabric, netting, ribbons, lace, feathers, flowers, ferns, beads, hats, shoes, and anything else they could find in her stash. The object was to use only items she already had (the ultimate recycling project!) Some bases were cardboard boxes with wood glued to the inside to hold the dowel steady. Each base will be covered with a fabric square to match the table runners. That way she didn't have to paint them or make them match. The unifying factor was that each had a fabric butterfly and words made with a Cricket attached to meat skewers that addressed the theme of the conference – The Incredible Gifts of Women (such as Joy, Trials, Happiness, Self-Worth, Humor, Love, Miracles, etc.) Humor had a fence around a pond with ferns and flowers growing around it and a pink flamingo poised on one leg in the center of the pond looking at her reflection. She is now sewing lace around 24 table runners.

Just in case the next newsletter is too late for Mother's Day, she has also included some thoughts on mothers that her daughter sent. We have included an extensive tutorial on how to make perfect hands that we know you will enjoy. Have a great day!

Bonnie and Mary Ann


"Do something today that reflects who you are, what you are capable of, what you care about. Give yourself plenty of evidence of what you can do, and you will not doubt your abilities to do anything."
--David Niven, Ph.D., from his book Simple Secrets for Becoming Healthy, Wealthy and Wise: What Scientists Have Learned and How You Can Use It


Congratulations to Bonnie and her beloved husband Roger as they celebrate 39 years of wedded bliss on April 27th!


The FAIRIES are once again a-flutter here at Dollmakers Journey. Spring has sprung in the Northern Hemisphere and you guessed it - our huge selection of FAIRY patterns are 20% off for the entire month of APRIL. Be sure to stock up!

Remember, visit our website at at the beginning of each month to see what our new sale will be. That way you won't have to wait for a newsletter.


There is a new doll magazine on the market. It is called Prims, and the Premier Issue is Spring 2010. I believe it will be published 4 times a year. It is available at some bookstores, or you can order it from


We know many of you like making dolls. Here are some patterns for clothes for babies that might also fit some of your dolls. If you know how to knit, you can even donate some to help Preemies.


Have you ever thought, “I have nothing to wear”? For premature babies, this is literally true. They are so little that few clothes fit them. This is one more concern for their families who have already been through so much. Stitches from the Heart collects knit booties, blankets and hats for premature babies. Can you knit or donate yarn? If you can, you can make a huge difference to a tiny baby, and her/his family. A low birth-weight baby is born every two minutes.

Patterns and info are available on Stitches from the Heart's website at
Mailing Address: Stitches from the Heart, 3316 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405


Q: Who is the Father of the Modern Detective Novel and what is the first story he wrote?

A: Edgar Allan Poe, who wrote his first detective story, The Murders in the Rue Morgue in 1841. He was acknowledged as the original mystery writer by the "Edgars", who give a prize to the best mystery writer each year.

We also gave credit if you answered Wilkie Collins who wrote "The Moonstone" in 1868, although Poe's story came first. Poe wrote many detective stories, but Collins wrote the first full-length detective novel.

Congratulations to Pat Ames from Huntington Beach, California. Your name was selected at random from all of the correct quiz entries, and you will receive a $10 gift certificate from Dollmaker’s Journey. Watch for your name in a coming month!


Q: What do you call something that's spelled the same forward and backward? Give an example.

Bonus Question: What word can be written forward backward or upside down and can still be read from left to right?

Everyone who emails in the correct answers by May 15th will be entered into a drawing for a $10 gift certificate to Dollmaker’s Journey. The winner will be announced in the next newsletter. Email your answers to Bonnie at Put April Quiz in subject box. Please include your full name and where you live (state/country) in your email. NOTE: Several times in the past a winner was drawn with no name or state/country included. When that happens we have to draw again. So please, make sure you include this information with your answer.

By Bonnie B. Lewis

Periodically we get a new designer who asks us for advice on how to improve her patterns. When customers look at a doll, the first thing they notice is the face. The second is the costume. But the most critical component of a good doll is the hand. There are 6 stages of hand design.

1. Primitive - rounded stump, folded, rolled fabric, tree branch, etc.
2. Mitt hand (think Raggedy Ann) with mitten hand and thumb close to fingers, NOT separate, just shorter
3. Mitt hand with thumb separated from fingers. For a more sophisticated doll, sew fingers (quite often these are armatured with pipe cleaners so they can hold something)
4. Separate fingers and thumb with third and fourth finger together with a line of stitching to separate them, armatured with pipe cleaners
5. Separate fingers and thumb, usually armatured with pipe cleaners
6. Separate fingers and opposable thumb sewn on separately

The problem occurs when the designer has a wonderful face, fantastic costume, and uses a stump or mitt hand. The hands detract from the magic of the doll because they don’t match the sophistication of the face. Stump hands are suitable for primitive dolls, and mitt hands for childlike dolls with simple faces and no needle sculpting, but for an advanced art doll the fingers should at least be stitched and armatured (#3). Adding fingernails and toenails increases the eye appeal of the doll.

Finally, positioning the hands so they are doing something, holding something, or beautifully posed will add to the charm. Here is my tip from a past newsletter:
*Hand positions: If you create a doll with separate fingers, armature them with folded pipe cleaners in each finger. Instead of leaving them spread open like a starfish, hands appear more natural if the fingers are closer together. I was taught in modeling class that the most graceful hand position is this: place your hand flat on a table with the thumb separate from the fingers. Now rotate your hand up off the table, thumb first, extending your forefinger, the second and third fingers together, and the pinkie separate. Leave your last three fingers on the table. When you lift up your hand, you will notice your forefinger and pinkie are up and the two fingers that are together are down. Your thumb will also be down. Also, the fingers are slightly curved. You can also achieve this position by shaking your hand and letting it fall naturally. Think of the hand belonging to a very proper lady holding a cup of tea.
Over the past 10 years we have had several articles on hands. Here are some of the best articles, tutorials, and hints that we have collected. We also asked the G Street Doll Club for tips, and these are also included.

*If you measure the size of your hand against your face, you will notice your hand goes from your chin to your forehead. Traditionally porcelain and vintage cloth dolls had very tiny hands. If you want to create a realistic doll, make larger hands. Measure your doll head from chin to forehead, and enlarge hands to that size.

*Judi Ward's tip to design your own hands: Go to a copy machine and Xerox your own hands in the following positions:
1. Fingers and thumb closed (for #2 above)
2. Fingers together and thumb separate (for #3 above)
3. Fingers and thumb spread far apart with third and fourth finger together (for #4 above)
4. Fingers and thumb spread far apart (for #5 and #6 above.) For #6 cut off thumb, add seam allowance to base of thumb, and sew onto hand after it is stuffed.
You now have TEMPLATE patterns of actual hands that you can reduce to fit your doll. I also copied my grandchildren's hands, baby hands, my husband's hands, a pianist's hands (mine are fat and short), my grown children's hands, and any other interesting hands I found. To reduce these hands, draw around outside with black marker. Measure doll's head from chin to forehead, and reduce hand to that size (Proportional Scales are VERY useful here – available at Dollmaker's Journey )

*Sometimes it is difficult to turn tiny fingers. Put hand on the bias of cotton fabric for added stretch. You can also make hands from a knit (such as velour, doesuede, Dolskin, single knit, Lycra), sew them onto a cotton arm at the wrist, and paint hands to match the rest of the skin. This works even though the rest of the doll is made from cotton, especially if the doll has long sleeves or jewelry at the wrist to cover up the seam.
*When stitching around a template of a hand, have at least 2 stitches between each finger for ease of turning and clipping. Cut out hand. Before clipping curves and in between fingers, you need to seal the seam allowance between the fingers with Grrrip glue, Createx (no longer available, but if you have some in your stash, it is great!), or Fray Check before clipping close to the stitching. Use a tiny brush to put a line of sealant just outside the stitching line. Then clip between fingers, and clip into corners at the base of each finger. Turn fingers while sealant is still wet. I prefer Grrrip because it leaves the fabric soft and yet it won't fray. We sell this at Dollmaker's Journey. Check under supplies -

*For more graceful hands, make the fingers longer.

*For an easier hand, put third and fourth finger together (#4 above). If you look at your own hand, the least amount of space between fingers is there. After hand is turned, separate these fingers by stitching from base of fingers to tip and back again. After adding pipe cleaners or stuffing, thread tails onto needle and bury inside hand.

*When you trace your pattern onto freezer paper to create a template for your hand, trace exactly on the line. CUT OFF the lines BEFORE sewing. Adding the thickness of a pencil or pen line can distort the pattern, fatten the fingers, and make them more difficult to clip and turn.

*Turning tiny fingers with hemostats: Designer Phyllis Robinson shared the following:
As far as turning fingers, I have no problem at all just using forceps or hemostats. I still haven't figured out which they should be called. Anyway, I place the forceps all the way up into the finger tip and open them and then push the tip of the finger into the forceps slightly, just push in enough threads to grab the tip. Next, this is the most important part; do NOT pull the forceps down in the finger! SLOWLY walk the finger fabric UP on the forceps as if they were a turning rod. Pushing the fabric up on the forceps will form wrinkles on the forceps. Walk the fabric up to the top of the forceps. Keep doing this until the finger is at least 1/2 turned inside itself. After all the fingers are 1/2 inside the hand, gently grab one finger with the forceps and gently turn the hand right side out. Remember, do NOT try to turn the fingers by just placing the forceps inside and pulling them. I have been very successful with very small fingers. If you can find forceps small enough to place inside a finger, you can turn them. If the fingers are so small that this will not work, you may need to make separate fingers (tubes) and place them inside the
palm. If a hand gets really tiny, separate fingers will work.
You can see some of Phyllis Robinson’s designs at:
Tiny hemostats and turning tubes are available at:

*Emergency finger repair: When you poke a hole in a finger or have a torn blown seam, just put a little Grrrip or white glue on a needle or pin and gently press fabric frayed ends into the finger or seam allowance. It will dry and you will never know a hole was there. Also, if the hole is in the area of a fingernail, Crystal Lacquer will seal the tear very nicely.

*March 2008 ( article by Gloria "Mimi" J. Winer answers questions about:
1. What grain should fingers be on to make them easier to turn?
2. How do you turn fingers?
3. How do you insert a pipe cleaner armature?
4. How do you fix finger "blowouts"?

*May 2007 ( article by Gloria "Mimi" J. Winer has more information on creating perfect hands.

*August 2007 ( article by Nancy Gibb tells you how to use turning tubes to turn tiny fingers.

*Edwina Sutherland shares free tips of making and turning hands at

*DEANNA HOGAN has graciously given us her wonderful tutorial for creating perfect fingernails and toenails.

*Shashi Nayagam created a wonderful tutorial for turning tiny fingers.

*If you really would like to know how to make good cloth hands, check out Judy Ward's free online class on making cloth doll hands at
This class is at the bottom of the page, and you just click on the link to enter the classroom.
Judi also has a tutorial on making baby hands at:
Click on "Baby Hand Lesson".

*Also check out Gloria "Mimi" J. Winer's webpage at
Scroll down to fingers and read all the tutorials (under techniques) on how to make and stuff perfect hands and arms.
*Designer Noni Cely has a wonderful FREE tutorial for making perfect hands on her site - (Click on "Making Hands")
To top it off, we sell two fantastic CD-ROMs that are superb tutorials:
Fiddly Little Fingers & Tricky Toes CD-ROM by Madeleine Maddocks that included a doll pattern called “PamperedPolly” -
Articulated Fingers CD-ROM by Kat Lees -
Why not set a goal of taking your hand making to a new level on the next doll you make!

With Mother's Day (May 9th) just around the corner, I thought I would share an email I received from my daughters.


Real Mothers don't eat quiche;
They don't have time to make it.

Real Mothers know that their kitchen utensils
Are probably in the sandbox.

Real Mothers often have sticky floors,
Filthy ovens and happy kids.

Real Mothers know that dried play dough
Doesn't come out of carpets.

Real Mothers don't want to know what
The vacuum just sucked up.

Real Mothers sometimes ask 'Why me?'
And get their answer when a little
Voice says, 'Because I love you best.'

Real Mothers know that a child's growth
Is not measured by height or years or grade...
It is marked by the progression of Mummy to Mum to Mother...

The Images of Mother

4 YEARS OF AGE - My Mommy can do anything!
8 YEARS OF AGE - My Mom knows a lot! A whole lot!
12 YEARS OF AGE - My Mother doesn’t know everything!
14 YEARS OF AGE - My Mother? She wouldn’t have a clue.
16 YEARS OF AGE - Mother? She's so five minutes ago.
18 YEARS OF AGE - That old woman? She's way out of date!
25 YEARS OF AGE - Well, she might know a little bit about it!
35 YEARS OF AGE - Before we decide, let's get Mum's opinion.
45 YEARS OF AGE - Wonder what Mum would have thought about it?
65 YEARS OF AGE - Wish I could talk it over with Mum.

The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears,
The figure she carries, or the way she combs her hair.
The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes,
Because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.
The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole,
But true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul.
It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows,
And the beauty of a woman with passing years only grows!


2nd Annual Cloth Baby Doll Challenge from FOCD
Photos due May 15, 2010
Theme is SPRING!!! Go to... for details
See last year's winners at:

See the new Hoffman Challenge fabric for 2010 here:


April 29 – May 2, 2010 – Canadian Doll Artists Association Conference
Four Points by Sheraton, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Theme: Renaissance Dreams

June 9 – 12, 2011 – Figurative Artists Consortium
Algonquin College, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
July 17 – 21, 2010 – 23rd Annual National Doll Festival
Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers, Chicago, Illinois
For more information email Rowbear & Faith Lowman at

July 17 – 21, 2010 – 23rd Annual National Doll Festival
Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers, Chicago, Illinois
Email for more information:

July 17-21, 2010 – NIADA (National Institute of American Doll Artists)
Swissotel, Chicago, Illinois
For information:

July 18-23, 2010 - UFDC (United Federation of Doll Collectors)
Hyatt Regency Chicago Hotel, Chicago, Illinois
For registration form click here:

July 18, 2010 - ODACA (Original Doll Artist Council of America)
Hyatt Regency Chicago Hotel, Chicago, Illinois
For information:

To save yourself time and energy, get all the details on upcoming doll related events at


Since this month we are focusing on fairies, check out Adele Sciortino's free Creative Costuming Newsletter at Click on Newsletter to subscribe. In the Spring 2010 fairy issue there are tutorials on how to make tulle fairy wings and how to dress a fairy. She also features guest artist Hannie Sarris from the Netherlands, who has three free tutorials on her website at Click on classes, free tutorials, and learn to sculpt a fairy head, fairy moon, and make a perfect wig from Tibetan Lamb (available at


That talented KAT LEES is really on a roll! Just wait until you see the remarkable job she has done on her newest tutorial “Those Amazing Eyes CD.” She’ll teach how to make eyes so realistic that you’ll think they actually blink! Check it out here –

One of our newest designers PHYLLIS SCARINGE has released her second pattern “Angie” a very sultry jazz singer. We think you will enjoy this very cleverly constructed and beautifully dressed stump doll.

We’re adding three more of KAREN NIEFORTH’S wonderful vintage style patterns – “Annie Bear,” “Prudence Americana Doll” and the charming “Andrew & His Boat.” It will be hard to choose!

We’ve been telling you that our favorite Dragon Charmer JENNIFER CARSON has written an utterly delightful book about a squire’s quest for knighthood called “To Find A Wonder.” We are pleased to announce that we now have the book available along with two more of JEN’S patterns. ‘Percival & Goon” are two of the main characters from the book and “Razielle” is a wonderful unicorn – or horse. Stop by and treat yourself to any one of JENS’S terrific patterns.

SUSAN BARMORE has been doing a lot of great things with Tyvek and “Halley” is another one of her fabulous contemporary fairies with tyvek wings.

If you love the creative challenge of reproducing antique dolls in cloth, then we have an extraordinary project for you! Our newest designer VICTORIA DEPIETRO spent seven months developing “Clara” her antique reproduction Bru/Jumeau and we think it is one of the finest pattern presentations we have ever seen. Along with the amazingly detailed instructions, VICTORIA packs the pattern with history, fabulous tips and a variety of construction options. This pattern has everything you would find in a very expensive online course and much more.

It has been a very long time since we have presented new costumes for our Doll and Dude for All Seasons basic doll bodies. Boy oh boy, do we have a treat for you! Costuming Queen SYLVIA SCHORR has done it again transforming the Dude into “The King” and the Doll into a delightful variety of “Screaming Fans.” As an Introductory Special we are discounting the patterns 25%. You’re going to love all the period details SYLVIA has included. Remember, these are COSTUME ONLY patterns. Click here to check them out –

From across the Atlantic COLLEEN BABCOCK has the eerily exotic “Fathoms: A Deep Sea Mermaid” that will lure you into exploring the depths of your creativity.

CINDEE MOYER has the most amazing way of arranging uncomplicated body parts into the most remarkable characters. You’re going to love her “Dippin’ Dottie” – she decided not to wait for her ship to come in.

If you are an “Alice in Wonderland” fan then JULIE MC CULLOUGH’S version of “The Mad Hatter” with it’s kaleidoscope of colorful fabrics is sure to delight you.


Q: I'm making a 27" Boudoir Doll dressed in an 1890's Walking Suit and hat. She is to be as authentic to the time period as I can make her. Even her undies will be correct.
The one problem I am having is the shoes. Do you know of any place I can find a pattern for Victorian high top button shoes? I have patterns for smaller doll sizes that only vaguely resemble what I need.
I want the real thing. A full sized pattern would be fine since I can reduce the size easily to fit the doll. I have been around the internet looking at dozens of Victorian clothing websites and it seems nobody pays any attention to the shoes! I don't understand this at all. Can you help?

A: Janet's Creations sells a pattern for Victorian high top button shoes. You can order it and see a picture here.
This are 10" high, and will fit a real person. You would have to reduce the pattern to fit your doll. I would measure the size foot these shoes will fit, measure the doll's foot, and use a proportional scale wheel to determine how much to reduce the pattern. Normally a 5'6" female and a 27" doll would need about a 40% reduction, but it depends on the size of the shoe pattern you are getting and the size of your doll's feet.


Mary Ann made another trip to the Apple Rose Farm over the Easter holidays and came home with 6 yummy new colors of Mohair Locks – Sunset, Merlot, Rose Red, Violet Blend, Peacock and a stunning
Fuschia. Bald doll heads everywhere are yearning for this marvelous hair fiber!

While at the farm Mary Ann had great time playing with a 12 day old lamb named Murphy that had been rejected by its mother. The farm’s owner Elizabeth didn’t think it would live, but through her attentive care and every four hour feeding Murphy is thriving. He follows Elizabeth everywhere she goes, just like a puppy.

We finally got our hands on a few more bolts of Dolskin and it is back in stock.


Bonnie finished her challenge hairdresser doll. It is on its way to an exhibit at Strathmore Hall for the month of May. As soon as she gets it back, she wants to photograph it and turn it into a pattern. We'll keep you updated on this project. She just has to get through the Women's Conference first! The cake for the event will be shaped like a vanity, and all the cosmetics (lipstick, compacts, perfume bottles, etc.) will be pieces of cake. The vanity will also be edible. We are having a special guest, Barbara Barrington Jones, come from California to be our speaker at this all-day event. You can find out more about Barbara by going to

Mary Ann and Jim thoroughly enjoyed their visit to the Gulf Coast for the exciting Christening of the USS William P. Lawrence DDG110. They flew into Mobile, Alabama and meandered their way to Pascagoula taking the time to drive through a few lovely neighborhoods and down some quiet country roads. On Saturday night they kicked it up a notch by visiting the Beau Rivage Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi for a good meal and few hours of playing the slot machines. This coming weekend Mary Ann is looking forward to reconnecting with a group of women who had all belonged to the American Women’s Club of the Philippines when she lived there in the mid-90s. Should be great fun!


What angels must sound like – Libera Boys Choir from London, England

We’d love to hear your thoughts about our Customer Connection newsletter.

Contact the editor Bonnie B. Lewis at with any comments, suggestions, etc.
Please feel free to pass this newsletter on to any of your friends. Help us spread the word about Dollmaker’s Journey! All we ask is that you forward it intact, with all the subscription information included.

Have you signed up for our *Customer Connection* yet?

It's FREE!!!

If not, simply enter your e-mail address below and click "Join Now!"


Back to... Archives
Have you signed up for our "Customer Connection" yet?

Subscribe to receive News and Updates
from Dollmaker's Journey!


Dollmaker's Journey

© 1999-2019, Dollmaker's Journey
All rights reserved.
Privacy and Security Statement

Etsy Shop
PDF Downloads!

A Doll Net Member Site 
by the Internet Visions Company.