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Dollmaker's Journey

September 2001 Issue Four

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September 2001 Issue Four

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,

This month we have a sale, more patterns, and more free projects for
you! So without further adieu, let's get to it!

Mary Ann and Bonnie
We're making it easy for you to get in a holiday mood - and it
doesn't matter which holiday! From today through Wednesday September
12th we are taking 20% OFF all the patterns in the following four
search engine categories on our site:
We'll automatically take the discount on our end. If you prefer
to send a check, e-mail Mary Ann at to confirm correct amount.


Picture Perfect Portrait Dolls in Ten Easy Steps

By Mary Ann Kaahanui

The day may come, if it hasn't already when you would like to create
a portrait doll of a relative, friend or client. It's great fun
characterizing a subject's personality in the clothing and
embellishment of a doll, but it's
all the more satisfying when you can accurately render their face.
The following method has proven very successful for me and I'd love to
share it with you. You will need the following:

• Piece of clear acetate (can use a report cover or card box
top)• • Black fine line permanent marker• • Access to a copier or
FAX machine that will enlarge and reduce or a scanner• •
Mechanical pencil or brown fine tip permanent marker• • Skin fabric
of choice--woven fabric is better for this method•

Step 1. Gather several full faced and hatless photos of your
subject. Ideally you should try and get the largest photo of the face
as possible, however, this method works on even tiny faces. If your
subject wears glasses, it's extremely helpful to have a photo without
them, but not always possible to get. Be sure to find out what color
the subject's eyes are if you don't know.

Step 2. Select the photo of the face you wish to trace and place it
on the table UPSIDE DOWN. Viewing a picture upside down prevents your
brain from making subconscious judgments or interpretations about
what it sees and will enable you to see the lines of the features
more clearly.

Step 3. Put the acetate over the photo and with the black fine
tip marker outline the mouth, nostrils, line of the nose, shape of the
eyes and eyebrows. Once you have established the main features you
can add any other facial lines you see in the photo made by creases,
furrows, bags, dimples, crow's feet and so forth. I have found that
theMOUTH is the most important feature to get exactly right for the
drawing to look like your subject. Don't be concerned if all the
features are not symmetrical. One eye or eyebrow may appear higher or
lower,larger or smaller--it won't matter.

Step 4. Draw the outline of the head all the way around the
features. You particularly want to capture the shape of the chin.
Try and determine where the top of the head is underneath the hair.
You can also mark the position of the ears as a reference if you plan
to add ears later. This outline can be the basis for drafting a
pattern for the head if you need it.

Step 5. Enlarge or reduce this tracing as necessary according to
the size of the doll you wish to make. If you use a copy machine, put
a piece of paper behind the acetate so the drawing will show up. If
you have a scanner you can adjust the size on your computer.

Step 6. Place your skin fabric over the sized drawing so that
the grain of the fabric is on the bias. If necessary, use a light
table or tape the picture and fabric to a windowpane to help you see
through the fabric.

Step 7. Using a light pencil line or brown fine tip permanent
marker, trace only the main features onto the fabric. DO NOT include
the outline of the head. Use the photos you have gathered for
reference to paint/color/embroider the face by the method of your
choice before the doll's head is constructed.

Step 8. For these portrait faces I normally use a one-piece
face pattern and two piece back head. If you don't draft your own
patterns,use a head pattern you already have adjusting the shape of
the chin to match the outline of the subject's full head. You could
also draw a seam allowance around the outline of the head and go from

Step 9. Mark the center points of your chosen pattern piece top to
bottom (vertical line) and side to side (horizontal line). Line
up the pattern piece over the completed features on your face fabric.
The nose and the center of the mouth should be under the vertical line
and the yes should be right under the center horizontal line for an
adult doll and slightly below the line for a child. Be sure there is
at least an eye's width between the outer edges of the eyes and the
seam line at the side of the face, and an eye' s width between the
bottom of the mouth and the seam line of the chin. Sew and firmly
stuff the head.

Step 10. Needle sculpting:

Only minimal needle sculpting can be done on a face made with this
method. Too much sculpting will distort the features and even
though the face may look wonderful, it won't look like the subject! I
usually indent the eyes, pull a little extra stuffing up behind the
nose and take a
few stitches to give it a little definition, and indent each end of
the mouth. It's a bit of trial and error, you have to check
constantly to ensure it still looks like your subject.

That's all there is to it. Don't be discouraged if you don't
"nail" the subject on the first try. As with most things practice
will make the process easier. Why not dig out some favorite family
photos or select magazine pictures to practice on. If you aren't
quite satisfiedwith a face, ask someone else to look at it. It's
often easier for a disinterested party to point out the feature that's
not quite right.

Click here to see several dolls Mary Ann made using this method.


We are delighted to bring you SYLVIA SCHORR'S exquisite Limited
Edition "Miss Galaxy" pattern for her Miss Galaxy 2002
Challenge. The pattern includes an entry form for this imaginative
challenge that includes all the details for rules, deadlines and
prizes. You won't want to miss this exciting event and this
exquisitely classic doll pattern.
Additional details can be found on Sylvia's site

New Zealand's MARILYN NICOLSON continues to inspire us with
her imaginative patterns. Her latest is "Nadiva - Noble
Angel" an exotically stylized free-standing angel.

We have two more fabulous press mold projects from SHERRY
GOSHON! "Wisdom" is an elegant wall hanging doll and "Freedom"
an exuberant pindoll. The patterns for both of these projects
include the press molds for the faces AND the body patterns all in

We also have two wonderful treats from the renowned MELINDA
SMALL PATTERSON. Melinda has designed a delightful 1.5" tall
Miniature Vasalisa Intuition Pocket Doll, which is now available in
our FREE PATTERN section for you to enjoy.
In addition, we now have her Celtic Dragon, inspired by the Celtic
knotwork art from illuminated pages and stone markers.


Cartwright's Sequins

Sequins with a satin finish, a new line of opaque iridescent sequins,
a new line of satin and iridescent rocaille beads and some new shaped
iridescent sequins.


Mock Silver Tray

Bonnie's life is full of unfinished projects. Real life just keeps
getting in the way. She started a doll for the Hoffman Challenge, and
it is still waiting for clothes. She has a doll almost finished for
the Treasures of the Gypsy Challenge, but the deadline has come and
gone. She made Sylvia Schorr's Miss Galaxy, who is still naked, but
can't enter that contest because Dollmaker's Journey is one of the
sponsors. Wewill put a picture upon our website if she ever finishes
it. However, that pattern is really wonderful, and because it is
limited to only 250 signed copies, we recommend that anyone who has an
interest in a fashion doll with lots of clothing patterns order it
before it is retired. She is also taking an internet class with Pearl
Red Moon, and has two unfinished dolls waiting for hands and faces.
(At least they have pants andshoes!)

How many of you have UFP's (unfinished projects), and how do you
keep track of them? Perhaps in a future newsletter Bonnie will
share some organizing secrets she has discovered along the way.

Two of Mary Ann's sisters recently came down from New Jersey with
their daughters for another 2 day doll making marathon. Nieces
Megan (almost 13) and Brynn (11) decided that this year they wanted
to make dolls for their beds which meant that they wanted them a
little softer without the wiring of previous dolls they've made. Robe
velour was chosen for the body fabric. We had some problems with the
fabric shifting and had to make a couple of the limbs several times,
but it all worked out in the end. After a short tutorial about
feature placement, the girls worked out their faces on paper. They
used rubber bands and straight pins to position the features, gessoed
in the eyes and lips then used paints and gel pens to complete the
faces. Their Moms helped them make a funky mix'n'match wardrobe for
each doll.

Project pictures will soon be in our showcase:

At long last Mary Ann's basement studio is organized and up and
running! Even though she's still waiting for the electrician to
come and install more light fixtures and outlets she'd making do with
a very long extension cord and power strip. This past week she been
having a ball making Leta Benedict's "Old Saint Nick", Meo Feroy's
"Elf Elton" and Karen Shifton's "Gentleman Jerome." - each project
uniquely wonderful ( and all on sale this week!)


We'd love to hear your thoughts about our Customer Connection
Contact the editor 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. Thanks!

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

Til next time--happy journeys!
Mary Ann and Bonnie

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Copyright 2001 Dollmaker's Journey

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