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Dollmaker's Journey

August 2002 Issue Fourteen

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August 2002 Issue Fourteen


Copyright 2002 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.
Visit out companion website:

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


Dear dollmaker friends,

We were deeply saddened to hear of the passing of designer and doll artist extraordinaire Mary Thomas. She had a special gift for putting the spark of life into the beautiful faces of her dolls. Her gentle, loving spirit who will be dearly missed by all whose lives she touched. If you would like to express your feelings about her to her family, their address is: Thomas, 122 Brookside Place, Marina, CA 93933.

If you've ever entertained the thought of teaching a doll class but weren't quite sure how to go about it, then this month's article is for you. As always, Bonnie has come up with a collection of links that will delight and fascinate your creative spirit. Enjoy!

Mary Ann and Bonnie



From the fertile imagination of Starship California's SYLVIA SCHORR comes three extraordinary doll patterns for the 2003 Miss Galaxy Pageant. Following the huge success of the 2002 event, Sylvia had broadened the scope of the competition by giving you three amazing characters to choose from - Jana- The Teenage Time Traveler, V- the Federation Showgirl and Zeta 21793- a Hybrid Earth/Sky Being. Enter one or all three! The deadline for the photo entries is October 15th for Australian entrants and November 1st for Canadian, English and US entrants. Check out these incredible dolls at

For complete 2003 Miss Galaxy Pageant details visit Sylvia's new updated website at: or for specific information on the pageant go to



New designer KERRY SEYMOUR has just released her delightful "Brandy S. Moonbeam" - an ever so charming witch-in-training just in time for Fall dollmaking projects. Kerry's "Voluptuous Val" 10" wall doll packs a ton of attitude as she struts her stuff! See them both at

Meet the ultra talented KATE ERBACH. Her pattern collection begins with three very whimsical characters - her signature "Phat Phaery", the "Treasure Keeper" wall doll and the way out "Aunty Luna". Plus she has several more wonderful projects coming out very soon. Treat yourself to a peek at her patterns at



Artistic Figures In Cloth, a new Midwest doll convention in Columbus, Ohio, will be held May 1-4, 2003. You can see a list of teachers, classes, and workshops at Cyndy Sieving's website:

To save yourself time and energy, get all the details on upcoming doll related events such as We Folk of Cloth in October and many other events by regularly visiting Karen Samuelson's CLOTH DOLL CONNECTION website. For the most comprehensive news on designers, events, challenges and activities be sure to check out and bookmark



Our FREE introductory online hatmaking course will begin September 9th. It is called Hatmaking Fun-Damentals. Students will learn specialized measuring methods used in millinery that will enable them to create hats in correct proportion to fit any doll or stuffed animal perfectly no matter the size, shape or composition. This free course is a pre-requisite for all other hatmaking classes offered by Dollmaker's Journey at Crafty College. For more information go to:

Our next class, "From the Inside Out - Creating Hats with Structure", begins September 19th. This class will teach classic millinery techniques of flat pattern design through the construction of buckram and wire forms for the desired hat shapes. Students will create a pillbox, gaucho, fez, pilgrim, outback cowboy, musketeer, elaborate ladies hats, top hats, summer satin wedding hat, and much more. You can pre-register for the class at

Future classes we are working on include:
"Molded Hat Magic"
"Sensational Soft Hats"
"Bevy of Beautiful Bonnets"

We hope you all take advantage of this free offer, and we will see you in class.

There is a new free online magazine for crazy quilters. It is called CQMag Online. You can subscribe by going to
You are asked to register and supply a user id and password.



When flying, don't lose your scissors to airport security. Carry a dental floss container, which snips threads and yarns beautifully. You call also put a spool of Nymo thread inside for those beading projects. But don't throw away the dental floss. It is perfect for jointing doll arms and legs, and the wax enables you to tie very tight knots that don't come loose over time. Melanie Dix also suggested that you might carry a tiny pencil sharpener (like you use for sharpening eye liners) and that could also cut your thread.


So You Want to Teach
By Bonnie B. Lewis

Recently I got a letter from one of our customers which stated:

"Hi, I am not sure you can or will help me, but I have learned it never hurts to ask. I have been making dolls for about five years now, and I have recently been asked to teach some beginner classes in a local town, but I am not sure how to charge for this.....can you help me on this?"

I thought some of the rest of you might be interested in my reply.

Congratulations on being asked to teach. Several factors must be taken into consideration before deciding how much to ask.

1. What pattern will you use? Will it be part of the class fee, or purchased separately? (Make sure you have permission if using someone else's pattern.) Don't forget you will have to make a sample doll for display at the shop and photographs for advertising purposes.

2. What supplies will you provide? How much will they cost you? What supplies will the student supply, or the shop? Will there be a kit or kit fee in addition to the class fee? Do you have any patterns/supplies/kits you will sell on the side? If so, will the shop take a percentage of your sales? How will the class be advertised?

3. How many hours/days will the class last? How many students will be in the class, or how many students will the classroom accommodate? What is the age of the average student (are they children or adults)? I have found children need more attention than adults, and therefore I can teach a smaller number of children at one time. Will the shop reimburse your travel time, meals, or lodging if far from home, or do you need to figure that into your class fee?

Quite often a shop will have a set teaching fee they offer. Sometimes it is based on the number of students, which can make the fee vary greatly depending on how many sign up for the class. I like teachers who have a set fee for the class. This way you can encourage more people to take the class to lower the cost of the class to the students. For example, if the teacher charges $300 for a day class, you can get 10 students and the class would be $30, or 15 students and the class would only cost $20. Be sure you are getting at least $10-$20 an hour for your time, and include in that preparation and travel time.

I would probably start with a fee of $100 or more per day, and raise it as you gain experience, depending on the factors listed above. Mary Ann Kaahanui and I team-teach, and our fees are $200 for a half day (4 hours) and $350 for a full day (6-8 hours). We would love to hear what formula works for you.

Good luck, and we wish you every success in your new venture.
Hugs, Bonnie B. Lewis (

NOTE: The Customer Connection is your newsletter. Feel free to let me know if there are things you would like me to address. Future subjects I am considering include Cloth Covered Sculpted Doll Faces, Rooting Hair on Vinyl, Sculpey and Cloth Doll Head, Wings, Ultrasuede Ideas, Paperclay Dos and Don'ts, Perfect Hands, Tips for Perfect Shoes, and Stuffing Dolls.Information for "Designer Doings" and "Customer Creativity" comes from you, our designers and customers. If there is anything you wish to share or would like included in our next newsletter, please email me at



We're excited to bring you another stunning creation by gifted designer CLAIRE-ELLEN. Her latest beauty is "Savannah" in her exquisite 1830's riding habit. We know you're going to drool over this extraordinary doll.

Learn more about Claire-Ellen below under Designer Doings.The dragon queen MELINDA SMALL PATERSON has just released her "Kells Wyvern", an amazing creature made with trapunto techniques that you have to see to believe.

From Down Under SUZETTE RUGOLO treats us to her "Chloe and the Enchanted Mushrooms." A fabulous project for learning advanced facial needle sculpting.

You're going to love the latest elfin creature from ALLISON MARANO'S Faewyck Studios! Stop by and meet her "Ghillie Gerkin", a delightful 10" stand-alone fellow.

Favorite designer JUDY SKEEL has released her newest pattern, "Wally Mama's", a dynamite 16" wall dolls with several different fabulous costuming options. We know you're going to love it! Also, find out what happened to Judy recently under Designer Doings.



Recently I was cutting up an expired credit card and happened to notice the VISA logo in the corner. I cut out around it and voila! - an instant dolly credit card. Another way to make one is to cut out a logo from all those credit card offers that come in the mail. Some flyers even come with credit card stickers, so you can choose your favorite picture. Glue it to an index card. On the back of the card draw the magnetic strip with a marker, add a tiny signature and then laminate it. Mary Ann Kaahanui



Judy L. Skeel broke her collarbone and was too sore to work on her dolls. Then she got the good news that Airtex has her dolls up on their site for advertising! You can see them at: Also, check our her patterns on Dollmaker's Journey at:

We are excited to promote a new and most talented designer, Claire Ellen. You've probably already noticed her refreshing creativity in the range of her patterns, from Savannah (her latest), Moondoo, Madam Doo Berry, Leda and the Swan, O'Doodle the Leprechaun, and Elf Dood. If you haven't seen Claire-Ellen's patterns you simply must! We can hardly keep them on the shelf! Check out her creations on

Claire-ellen comes to us from a beautiful island in the Pacific Northwest. (United States) From her cozy home's windows she can see the Pacific Ocean and the Olympic Mountains. Claire-ellen has been involved passionately in a lifetime of creating art, crafts sculpting and sewing and enjoys teaching and sharing her talents with others. She has a background in theatrical productions, and has even produced a Marionette show! She has raised 6 wonderful children, creating clothes for the entire family. Currently she lives with a black and blonde Scotties and a red parrot that won't stop talking. While working on a life-sized sculpture, (still unfinished) Claire-ellen discovered the thrill of soft doll making and designing, turning her life into a new direction. Please welcome Claire-ellen, she is a wonderful designer of many talents.



We are pleased to announce that we are once again fully stocked with our ethnic skin tone fabrics! Please know how much we appreciate your patience while we waited out the chlorine problems.

Antoinette Cely's latest video, "Making Faces and Wigs for Cloth Dolls" is now in pre-production. Her first video was fantastic, and we are sure this will be just as good. If you order it before August 26th you will get a special discount. See details at:

One of our customers, Linda Ostroff, creates custom blended novelty yarns and fibers perfect for embellishing and doll hair. Check out Custom Yarns at
Phone: (856) 881-8062 Fax: (856) 881-4290

Another customer, Jay Hall, is selling some of his stash of hand-dyed yarns and trims on eBay. Each bundle contains 20 yards of various yarns and trims. Check them out soon, for the sale ends Sunday, August 25th, at midnight. If the listing has expired, you can email him directly at To see red trims, click on
Click "View sellers other items" to see the rest.

THREAD CUTTER PENDANT, $6.50. Styled after an elegant antique thread cutter, you can wear this pendant through airport security and work on projects on the plane.

BRASS THREAD CUTTER PENDANT (#148821) $5.60 plus
S&H. Available from JoAnn's Fabric & Crafts or online at Clotilde's

Rhinestones - flat backed, many sizes

Renaissance Buttons



When creating a waistband casing with several seams (like on a pair of pants), iron all seams in one direction before sewing. This makes it easy to insert elastic. Use a pencil to mark elastic the length you need. Insert elastic, secure both ends, and then cut off excess elastic.



Customer Cindy Cutri made dollhouse dolls depicting each of her five children on a specific date when they ranged in age from 2 - 12. She dressed them in their holiday pajamas to set out with the Christmas decorations. Check out Barbara Graff's "Dollhouse Dolls" pattern at and make a special gift for your family this year.



Every once in a while the Lord decides to upset the apple cart and your life goes in a whole new direction. Saturday Bonnie's daughter Juventa and her family found a home in West Virginia. They will move in 45 days. Meanwhile, Bonnie's son (who is almost 30, divorced, and has been living in her home with his 3-year-old daughter for the past three years) has decided to buy Juventa's home here in Virginia, and they will also move in 45 days. Her household will be reduced to one husband, two ferrets, and one child at home (age 16, and a senior in High School). It will be a new experience to just cook for three people. However, there is no rest for the busy. Another daughter in Maryland is expecting a baby in September, and of course, We Folk is just around the corner.

From time to time a non-dollmaking customer (usually of the male species) will order a pattern thinking that he is actually purchasing a doll. Mary Ann has to explain that cloth doll making requires a great deal of artistic expertise and depending on the doll can be quite costly to have made. This is how she often picks up commissions for custom-made dolls! The latest project was making Marilyn Halcomb's incredible "Jack the Jovial Jester" for a customer who just had to have it for his girlfriend. This pattern has the greatest hands - with squared-off fingertips (look at your own fingers and you'll see that they are really rectangular) and super directions for needle sculpting them. It was a great project and we'll get a photo up in the near future.



For anyone who is going on the Shopping Trip to Philadelphia during We Folk of Cloth in October, here is a website for "Fabric Row"
They have a nice map of the area with a list of stores and what they sell. You can sign up for their email list and receive updates.

For dollmakers who have problems creating perfect fitting clothes, check out this pattern software program for dolls. It is expensive, but it enables you to create lots of clothes to fit your doll's measurements, and also helps you design original outfits. Click on and go to "doll shop".

Do you have something you want to find, swap, or sell? Check our the Dollmaker's Exchange at

Save 50-90% on books at Book Closeouts. Check out their doll, quilt, craft, embroidery, sewing, etc. books. Great source for gifts.


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

Contact the editor Bonnie B. Lewis at with any comments, suggestions, address changes, 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.

You can also read all the past issues online at:
Included is an index to all the past issues.

Thanks! (By the way, you might want to print this out and put it into a binder to keep for reference.)


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Copyright 2002 Dollmaker's Journey

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