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Dollmaker's Journey

August 2001 Issue Three

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August 2001 Issue Three


Copyright ©2001 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 our companion website:


Dear dollmaker friends,

We hope you're having a good summer. It's almost time for the kids
to go back to school, so maybe you can squeeze in some more time for
dollmaking! We have a lot of new stuff on the check it

Mary Ann and Bonnie


FOUR MORE TALENTED DESIGNERS have joined our Dollmaker's Journey
family since the last issue bringing us an exciting range of patterns
for your creative enjoyment.

MARCIA ACKER-MISSAL draws on her fine arts background to create
colorful whimsical characters. Her patterns are beautifully
illustrated with very detailed needle sculpting instructions.
Marcia's three patterns - "Critter Cushions," a mix and match
pattern for creating wonderful creatures, "Gilda & Glenda the Guardian
Grannies" and "Fairie-Kins" will really tickle your fancy.

LORRIE UHEREK has produced an amazing 28-page spiral-bound pattern
book with over 100 color photos of each construction step for her
beautiful 18" "Buxom Becca." Set up just like an online class with
complete instructions for needle sculpting, hair felting and clothing
construction. Free felting needle and built in envelope for
storing pattern pieces included.

PATTI LAVALLEY brings us an exciting array of patterns from her
collection. Patti's design skills run the gamut from sea
creatures to elves, saucy ladies to garden sprites, an amorous cat and
so much more.

Keep an eye on the collection to see what exciting new patterns we'll
be adding next!

SANDY CORSON has created a 22" embellishable doll called
"Dreamspirit" made to reflect your inner spirit . And what a better
way to display the wonderful doll faces you are making than on Sandy's
"Doll Face Purse."



By Bonnie B. Lewis

Judy Schoeny and I dye fabric in 15 different ethnic shades which we
sell on our Dollmaker's Journey website. This month we thought
you might like to try dyeing fabric yourself. Therefore we are
offering a new product , UNDYED Southern Belle 100% Cotton Fabric for
you to dye. You can order it by the yard in white (great for fantasy
colors) and natural (good for ethnic colors). The cost is $5.95 per
yard, with a minimum order of one yard. This fabric is perfect for
dollmaking, with 200 threads per square inch. It is the same
fabric we use to dye our ethnic fabric on the site.

Below are some tips, hints, and websites with dye formulas you might
want to try.

--You must prewash all fabric before dyeing to remove sizing.

-- Tear your fabric into 1 yard pieces. (Actually we tear it into
38" pieces to allow for shrinkage.) Larger pieces won't dye evenly.

--It is helpful if you serge the raw edges before dyeing if you are
using the washing machine, because otherwise you will have a lot of
fraying with loose threads everywhere.

--It is good to heat set the dye by drying your fabric in the dryer.
Be sure to rinse it well first. If you are worried about dye
affecting your other clothes, use a Carbona Dye Magnet (1-800-804-
0784), sold in most grocery stores in the laundry soap department,
each time you wash or dry your clothes. This attracts all stray
particles of dye, and keeps your clothes looking perfect. You can
use each dye magnet at least 50 times before discarding. They say you
can even wash blue jeans with your white clothes, but I haven't been
brave enough to try this. (DO NOT use the dye magnet when trying to
dye fabrics!) This is a great gift to send college kids who have to
do their own laundry.

--If using powdered dye, dissolve in a glass quart jar with hot water
before adding to the water bath. This prevents spotting from
undissolved dye.

--If using powdered dye, wear a mask over your mouth and nose because
the powdered dye is very light and easy to inhale, which is hazardous
to your health. Also, be sure and wash all counters and other
surfaces after you finish dyeing. You will be amazed at how fine
particles of dye float everywhere.

--It isn't necessary to resize the fabric before painting doll
faces.I use the dyed fabric as is and have never had a problem. I
think part of the wicking or bleeding when painting faces is due to
the sizing that remains in unwashed fabric. It also depends on the
media used. Test all pens on a scrap of fabric before proceeding with
the face.

--When dyeing in a large pot on your stove, the color varies with the
length of time in the dye vat and the amount of fabric you dye.
For a fun experiment, put in several pieces of fabric, and remove the
first one after 2 minutes, the second after 3 minutes, the third one
after 4 minutes, etc. The longer the fabric remains in the dye the
darker the color. I have also dyed successive batches of fabric in
the same dye, and each one is lighter than the one before. It is
possible to get a whole range of ethnic colors using this method. Here
is one recipe you might want to try for a basic Caucasian flesh
color. It will dye 3 yards of fabric in 6 different shades.

Caucasian Doll Fabric

1/4 teaspoon tan Rit powder

1/4 teaspoon golden yellow Rit powder

1/2 teaspoon rose pink Rit powder

3 yards Southern Belle cotton fabric cut into 1/2 yard pieces

--Mix Rit dye with a small amount of boiling water until
dissolved. Add 20 cups boiling water. Stir well. Pre-wash fabric to
remove sizing. Be sure fabric is still wet when you dye it. Put
first piece of fabric into dye bath and remove after 2 minutes. Put
second piece into dye bath and remove after 3 minutes. Repeat with
each piece, leaving the third in 4 minutes, the fourth in 5 minutes,
the fifth in 6 minutes, and last piece in 7 minutes. Rinse fabric
with cold water and heat set dye by drying fabric in dryer.

--If your water is heavily chlorinated, try using the drops found in
the aquarium department to remove chlorine from fish tanks. We
have watched tan dye fade to pale yellow in the spring and fall due to
added chlorine in the water. You can also use distilled or
filtered water for dyeing if doing it on the stove.

--NEVER use a pot for food after it has held dye. Go to your
thrift store and buy a big pot just for dyeing. Stainless steel is
better than aluminum, which can discolor the fabric.

--Try dyeing several different types of fabric at the same time.
Suggested fabrics: Southern Belle, muslin, lycra, t-shirt knit (I
recommend you buy extra large men's Hanes T-shirts for sculpted
faces), doe suede, and velour. You will notice that each type of
fabric ends up a different color.

--A note about dyes: For most ethnic fabrics we use Rit dye.
Don't use dark brown--it turns purple. Cocoa brown is better.
Liquid dye is less intense than powdered. Unsweetened Kool Aid drink
powder has great fantasy colors. Add vinegar if dyeing wool (mohair)
and salt if dyeing cotton and plant fibers to set the color. For
dark African tones you need to use Procion dye with salt and soda
ash. Rit is too light. Follow the manufacturer's directions for best

Here are some websites with dye formulas you might want to try.

Kool Aid Dyeing:

Rit Dye Website:

Doll Street:

For information on a full-fledged on-line course on "Simply Dyeing
for Dolls", taught by Bobbi A. Chukran, our editor, visit the Crafty
College website:

Have fun learning to dye your own fabric for great-looking dolls.

Bonnie B. Lewis



If you love beautiful historical costuming, then you'll love the
extraordinary dolls of designer SYLVIA SCHORR, particularly the
lovely "Mademoiselle Minue", a 17" cloth doll in 19th century French
costuming who looks like she just stepped out of a painting.

ANNE HESSE'S famous "Knobbies" are now available as a 65-page
pattern. You can see three versions of this wonderfully simple
doll with endless creative possibilities on the opening page of
Oroyan's latest book - Finishing The Figure (available in
our book section.

And don't forget to check out Annie's unique face mold

MARILYN HALCOMB, Australia's queen of superb facial expression and
body sculpture, delights us with "Chloe the Can-Can Dancer." What a
fantastic pattern for improving your sculpting skills!

SHARI LUTZ'S "Little Miss Columbia" is a beautiful reproduction
of the famous antique doll created by Emma Adams in 1892.

The prolific SHERRY GOSHON treats us to "Harmony," an exquisite wall
hanging doll made out of decorator fabric. Be sure to watch the site
for some very exciting new designs from Sherry coming up shortly.


Our editor, Bobbi A. Chukran, has just launched her new website with
her new fabric collages, including fabrics, painting, altered digital
photos, and more mixed-media art. Take a look!

FREE PROJECT! Nun Doll Accessories

Recently Bonnie Lewis played Sister Sophia in The Sound of Music.
She decided to make 7 nun dolls to present to the Director, Assistant
Director, Producer, Mother Abbess, and several of the nuns. Click
on the link below to see how she created the accessories for each



Things are never dull in the Lewis home. Bonnie's son Michael
came home from college at the end of June and will be leaving October
3rd for Nagoya, Japan to serve a two year mission for the Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Between immunizations, passport,
and having all his wisdom teeth removed, he is keeping his mom quite
busy. Our resident dyeing expert, Judy Schoeny, had a 6-foot deep
trench dug in her front yard to fix some broken water pipes. It
is hard to dye fabric with no water available, which is why we are
sharing some tips on dyeing your own. Hopefully our fabric back
orders will be filled quickly as soon as her water is operational

The dust had barely settled at Mary Ann's house when she had to run
up to New Jersey twice to be with her family for her Dad's triple
by-pass and then four weeks later prostate surgery. He's well on the
way to recovery, thank Goodness. In the meantime her son Michael came
home for a two-week visit from Las Vegas where he works to help
celebrate his sister Ana's 30th Birthday. This is quite amazing as
Mary Ann only admits to being 39! (She's actually celebrating the BIG
5-0 in September.)

Even though life routinely interrupts us we somehow manage to keep up
with our doll making and the business. Please know how much we have
appreciated your patience and understanding when we've had to go out
of town. We think we have the best clientele in the world!!


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

Contact the editor 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. 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 ©2001 Dollmaker's Journey

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