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Dollmaker's Journey

June 2005 Issue 45

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Dream ~ Imagine ~ Create ~ Grow ~ Believe ~ Magic
at we help your creative dreams come

Dollmakers Journey


June 2005 Issue 45

Copyright 2005 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 dollmaker friends,

It’s June, and thoughts turn to summer, graduations, and weddings. Originally when I was contemplating ideas for the Doll for All Seasons holiday series, I thought of Flag Day (which we celebrate in the United States on June 14th). I envisioned a Betsy Ross doll in a Colonial dress seated in a chair making a flag. However, not everyone in the world celebrates “Flag Day”, and I wanted to design a costume with more universal appeal.

Mary Ann and I decided that a bride doll would be perfect, but not just any bride. She had to be thoroughly modern (at least for the 1920’s), and I wanted her costume to be inspired by the designer Erté. Romain de Tirtoff was born in Russia November 10, 1892. He loved designing clothes. When he was five years old he designed an evening dress for his mother. She liked the design so much she had her seamstress make it up. Later he moved to Paris where the French pronounced his initials R.T. as Erté, and a legend was born. He is best known for his fashion and theater designs. He also created the covers for Harper’s Bazaar from 1919 to 1936. One year before his death at 97 he designed the costumes and sets for the Kennedy Center’s show “Stardust” in Washington, D.C. and the 1990 Easter Show at Radio City Music Hall in New York

Originally our bride was wearing a turban with a sculpted painted hairdo, but she wanted a jeweled hat with split veil, so that is what I created. She is a combination of Erté, Art Deco, and Roaring 20’s, with a dash of the movie “Oscar” thrown in for good measure. I hope you enjoy her as much as we do.

Mary Ann and Bonnie


There’s still time to enjoy 20% off all the wonderful patterns of our June Designers of the Month ARLEY BERRYHILL and CHRISTINE SHIVELY.

Don’t forget Chloe, our 1920 Art Deco Bride COSTUME ONLY pattern debuts at half price - $4.50. A limited number of kits are also available. Patterns will be half price until our July doll is ready.


We are thrilled to be welcoming two more talented designers to our family.
Canada's JACQUIE LECUYER of Off the Floor Dolls has a delightful array
of characters from her "Chelsea le Noir from the Moulin Rouge" to her
enchanting forest elf "Uma." JACQUIE has developed a special Point System for
creating perfect faces and she has a great instruction sheet in every pattern. We know
you are going to like her style.

We'd also like to introduce you to another wonderful troll designer from San
Diego SHELLEY HAWKEY of Abra Creations. All of her Hubble Troll
characters convey a lovely gentle spirit in their expressions that is sure to
touch you.


We’re squealing with delight to have our first batch of SHERRY GOSHON’S fabulous new face making book “Creating Watercolor Pencil Faces with Sherry Goshon.” This wonderful spiral-bound workbook walks you step-by-step with colored drawings through the creation of five distinct faces Caucasian Adult, Caucasian Child, African American, Asian and Hispanic. This one is definitely a MUST HAVE!

If you’re looking for ways to use up your favorite fabric scraps and beads then VIRGINIA ROBERTSON’S “The Dweebs” is the perfect booklet for you. The pages are just overflowing with great ideas and characters to inspire you.

The Angelina Fiber is flying out the window and we now have the incredible book
called "Between the Sheets with Angelina" a workbook for fusible fibers. You
won't believe all the amazing ways you can use it. This is a book that will have your creative juices gushing!


While in Boston helping my daughter with her new baby, I found some incredible things at Wal-Mart. Go to their jewelry counter and in the gift section they have miniature doll furniture that has a hidden jewelry box inside. I bought a chaise lounge, love seat, and velvet chair. They are in perfect scale for our Doll for All Seasons or any other 16” doll. I saw at least 8 different designs. They even had a seat designed as a shoe!

Then drift over to the fabric section and check out their “silky fleece” sold by the yard. It comes in many colors and has gorgeous soft curls that would be perfect for doll hair. I just have to create a doll with some of this fabric!


Anything Goes Handbag or Miniature Quilt Challenge for Kaufman Fabrics
Deadline: August 1, 2005
Go to and click on "anything goes"

Hoffman Challenge 2005
Deadline: August 5, 2005
Go to

2005 Second Annual All Dolled Up: Beaded Art Doll Competition
Deadline: August 15, 2005
Theme: Over the Rainbow
For more information go to:

Adventures of the Gypsy – 2005 Treasures of the Gypsy Challenge
Deadline: October 1, 2005
Details will be included in your entry package of goodies. To participate in this unique event, sent $15.00 for US participants and 18.00 US for participants from Australia to:
Pamela Armas
Treasures of the Gypsy
P.O. Box 748 Mountainair, NM 87036

Doll for All Seasons Halloween Party Challenge
Deadline: October 15, 2005
Send photos to Bonnie B. Lewis at
For more information go to: and click on Halloween Challenge

Through the Looking Glass Doll Challenge (Fairfield Poly-fil Challenge)
Deadline: December 31, 2005
For details and entry form, go to:


July 7-10, 2005 – NIADA
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

July 21-24, 2005 – Doll Camp
Allegheny College, Meadville, Pennsylvania

July 23-24, 2005 – 2nd Annual Faerieworlds Festival
Eugene, Oregon

August 11-14, 2005 – Enchanted Doll Artists Conference (EDAC)
Albuquerque, New Mexico

August 18-20, 2005 - Discover! A Creative Festival for Doll and Bear Makers
Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Washington, DC.
3 day festival for doll and teddy bear makers with workshops, seminars, vendors

September 17-18, 2005 – Magic Doll Exposition
Las Vegas, Nevada
For more information email Lee Bryant at

September 21-25, 2005 - Art and Soul
Hampton, Virginia
Mixed media art retreat

September 29 – October 2, 2005 - Camp Doll U 2005
Trinity Lutheran College, Issaquah, Washington.

In the Spirit - October 6-9, 2005 – In the Spirit
Hartford/Windsor Marriott, Windsor, Connecticut

April 27 – 30, 2006 – CDAA Conference
Holiday Inn Convention Center, Fort Erie, Ontario

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


One of our designers, Sherry Goshon, created a free tutorial for Ave's Apoxie Sculpt. Check it out at

A great wing tutorial you need to check out:

Specialty Threads
By Linda S. Schmidt (2003 Teacher of the Year, 2004 Bernina Fashion Designer)

One of our customers, Judi Wellnitz, wrote: “I am forwarding a message from a professional quilter regarding threads. We have permission to reprint this and share it with our clubs/guilds as long as we give her credit and mention her website and that she teaches a class called Filament Fantasy (which is all about using specialty threads) at . There .. now this message is legal!” Judi Wellnitz
Judi’s doll making diary:
Pictures of Judi’s dolls:

Here is the article by Linda S. Schmidt:

Keep in mind that if you cannot get the thread to sew properly in the needle, you can almost always use it in the bobbin and work upside down, instead. That being said, what can you do if you really want to sew with specialty threads in the needle?

First of all, buy a good metallic or specialty thread. Good, easy-to-use metallic threads do exist. My current favorites are Yenmet, YLI, Superior and Madeira FS#20 black core Jewel thread. The first three are fine metallics in beautiful colors that are coated with a fine resin and do not shred in your needle. The last is a black core thread with a metallic wound around it that sews just like cotton - you don't need any special needles or goop at all. If you want a good sliver metallic (flat, tinsel-like thread), buy Superior Glitter thread.

Next most essential: Put a topstitching needle in your sewing machine, preferably a Schmetz System 130N, size 100 or 110. These needles are as big as a horse's leg, but do you really care how big a hole you make as long as thread does not break? They are somewhat hard to find, but you can usually find them at a store that specializes in selling sewing machines. I get them from my local Bernina/Pfaff/Elna/White/whatever sewing machine store. (He also carries Yenmet & YLI thread, so I figure I have it made.) Truly, a topstitching needle makes all of the difference in the world. Get them directly from Schmetz, if you need to, at And NO! metallica or metalfil or Jeans needles are NOT THE SAME! These needles are built to do metallic threadwork or embroidery on a single layer of fabric; topstitching needles are meant to go through several tough layers, and can work magic.

Next, pay attention to the way your thread is wound on the spool. If your thread is wound about your spool horizontally, so you see even bands of thread (Talon, Coats & Clark, most sliver and Glitter threads), the thread must come off of the SIDE of the spool (not one of the ends), whether the spool is sitting vertically or horizontally. Try it with some sliver thread - try pulling it off the side and it will stay nice and flat; try pulling it off over one of the ends and it will spin itself into a tizzy. The same happens - to a lesser or greater degree - with all horizontally, or "stacked" threads. If your thread is wound about the spool in a figure 8 fashion, it is meant to come off the top of the spool. Some crosswound threads (Halo, Yenmet, etc.) have big spools with larger "bottom" for the cone to sit on, and it is easy to tell the top and the bottom. If you have a Guterman or Sulky crosswound thread, though, you usually cannot tell the top and the bottom (don't go by the printing, it tells you nothing) until you test it. With these skinny spools, hold the thread spool horizontally and pull some thread off of one of the ends, and hold that thread up by the spool itself (about 1/2" away) and see if the threads twist themselves around one another. Let the thread drop. Test the other end. Whichever end twists the LEAST is the end you want the thread to come off of. If you only have one sort of spoolpin, figure out some way to get the thread to come off properly, no matter what kind of spool it is. Get creative and figure out where you can position your thread so that it comes off the spool correctly before it goes to your thread guides, or get a ThreadPro gadget. It sits beside your sewing machine and has horizontal and vertical spool pins on it. The thread is taken off the spool horizontally, goes up to a smoothing foam pad, then is sent to your machine in the normal fashion.

No, they are not paying me a commission; it really does make using specialty threads much easier. They have a website at (, and you usually see them do demonstrations at the major sewing conferences. They are also available at a lot of quilting stores and at

Lower your top tension by one or two numbers, however much you can lessen it and still get a good stitch. Superior Thread Company even recommends turning it all the way down to "1." Keep in mind that you MUST have your presser foot UP to thread your needle and DOWN to change the tension. You can twiddle the dial all you want, but it won't take effect unless you have the presser foot DOWN when you change the tension. It may be sufficient just to use the same thread in the top as you do in the bobbin, but you may need to put a fine thread in your bobbin such as a fine machine embroidery thread, or "bobbin" thread in your bobbin to keep the stitches locking evenly. When I quilt a two-sided quilt, I will often use a very fine (.oo4 mm) invisible thread in the bobbin, so that even though I lessen the top tension considerably, I never see the thread coming to the top. If you do this, be sure to wind your invisible threads more slowly than you usually do, and only fill the bobbin halfway, or the top (even of metal bobbins) of the bobbin will pop off, or the bobbin will become distorted (the plastic ones). Ask me how I know this. Janome sells plastic bobbins pre-wound with invisible thread for about a quarter more than their empty ones for a package of 10. Don't ask me where to get them (I got them at the Painted Pony in Houston), but I imagine most Janome dealers will sell them, as well.

Next, determine whether or not your sewing machine has a computer-regulated tension disc, and lubricate your thread accordingly. If your machine has a manual tension, like mine, you can use Sewer's Aide or Sewer's Ease directly on the thread; if not, put a piece of moleskin just above where the thread goes to the needle, and squirt that with Sewer's Aide, or do both. If there is nowhere to put the moleskin, and your thread is giving you fits, just squirt a little Sewers' Aide on the back of your needle every half hour or so.
Another problem that some threads (especially the 1000 yard stacked thread spools) have, is that they tend to hop off of the spool and twine themselves around the bottom of the spool pin get caught and the next thing you know, you break the needle. If you are lucky enough to have two vertical spool pins, put your thread on the spool pin farthest away from the needle, with the thread coming off the back of the spool. Put a plastic drinking straw over the other spool pin. Thread your thread through a large sewing machine needle, and stick it through the drinking straw, above the level of the thread spool. Take the thread out of the needle and continue threading the machine normally. With the thread going through the drinking straw above the level of the top of the spool, the thread cannot get caught around the bottom of the spool pin, anymore.

Some people buy little stretchy things and slip them over the spool from the bottom, or tie a piece of yarn around the spool in the middle, forcing the thread to come off the spool from the top. This also works, if you do not have a second spool pin.

Some machines have a hooky thing as their first thread guide, and you can actually watch your thread being shredded as it goes through this guide (Berninas, especially). Tape a little safety pin to the top the machine just by this guide, and thread the thread through it instead of the thread guide. It will really help.

If you are having trouble with free motion stitching and you have a Brother electronic machine, set the stitch length on "4." This will override the magical thing inside that breaks your stitches.


June is the month for brides, and Chloe, a modern miss from the 1920's, is our latest Doll for All Seasons Art Deco pinup girl. Learn to paint shoes and sheer stockings, and use a magic formula to sculpt that perfect hairdo. This costume pattern (doll body pattern available separately) also includes beading techniques, Angelina fiber insertions in her bodice and sleeves, and a fantastic headpiece created from wired ribbon. As always, this COSTUME ONLY pattern debuts at half price - $4.50. A limited number of kits are also available. Patterns and kits will be ready to mail on Monday the 20th.

LAURIE TAYLOR has just released her magnificent "Lunarus" that can become a
Unicorn, Winged Pegasus or horse. Available in both printed and CD versions,
her instructions and photos are just superb. We also have the white Craft
Velour it is made with.

Australia’s DIANE EVDOKIMOFF is really on a roll and we’re thrilled to have her newest release “Fishing for Dreams” the loveliest fairy perched on a moon. Treat yourself to a peek at this delightful project.

While we’re talking about fairies, we thought it was time to add several classic fairy patterns to the site PATTI CULEA’S “Leona of Fair Folk” and JULIE McCULLOUGH’S “Flit” along with her darling “Pop Tops.”

Check out MARY TRESSLER's swashbuckling female pirate "Captain Blythe."


As I understand it, women wore nothing underneath their skirts and petticoats until the early 1700's. Bathrooms in castles consisted of a hole in the floor that men and women would stand over. Quite often this hole led to the moat far below. Perfume was a woman's best friend. Wealthy women bathed frequently. They remained in seclusion during their menses. When women began traveling to the New World via ship, they discovered that it was very hard to stay on deck with winter winds blowing up their skirts. Sailors took pity on them and lent them split pants to wear under their dresses for the voyage. Men also wore split pants. The back was usually covered by a surcote, tunic, or jacket, and the front was covered by a codpiece, the more elaborate the better. This also doubled as a purse or pouch. In Scotland men wore kilts (again with nothing underneath), and to keep them from blowing up they wore a sporran in front. Just some fun things to know.


Q: In your newsletter Issue 44, you mentioned this favourite book used by Gloria Mimi Winer. I am interested in buying this book. Where can I get it and who is the author?

A : The book is actually called Colored Pencil Portraits Step by Step by Ann Kullberg. It is available on

Q: Reading your article “Now That I’ve Got It, What Do I Do With It?” you mentioned Pure Pigment Color. I am interested in buying pure pigment color, but where I live, it is difficult for me to buy these. Could you tell me where I could find these and which brand they are?

A: Createx recommends their own brand of Createx pure pigment color, but I have also found pure pigment color in the acrylic paint section. Folk Art carries a series of paint called "pure pigment color", and so do most other acrylic paint companies.


ANGELINA FIBER - We are delighted to offer 20 fabulous colors of Angelina® Heatbondable Fiber. What fun you'll have fusing these fibers together to create your own spectacular cloth. We brought a selection to our Doll Club meeting and the members snapped it right up! It's a good thing we left some at home for our website

CREATEX - Designers such as GLORIA WINER love Createx Textile Medium for sealing faces. Mary Ann loves it for sealing the seam allowances around fingers and
rarely has a blowout. We have it in 2 oz and 4 oz containers for whatever you would like
to use it for.

GLUE - For all of you who have waited so patiently, we are very happy to announce that the GRRRIP GLUE is now back in stock.

HAIRPIN LACE LOOMS - Hairpin Lace Looms are great tools for making looped doll hair in a flash. The rods are adjustable from 1-4". A nifty, inexpensive gadget for
everyone's toolbox!

JOINTING BUTTONS - If you've had a hard time finding the covered buttons with the serrated edges to use for jointing buttons your search is over. We have them in four
sizes from 9/16" to 1-1/8" in packages of 4.

SCULPTING WIRE - We now have 16 oz. spools (125 feet) of 11.5 gauge Aluminum Sculpting Wire. We have used it for armatures (Chloe’s arms and legs) and much more such as the roots of Adrianna's tree stump.


Kathryn from Designer Doings writes: “Just wanted to let you know that my doll (altered bendi doll) made it into the summer issue of Art Doll Quarterly - he is the Norwegian elf on page 72.” Congratulations, Kathryn!

If anyone else has a doll picture published in a magazine, please let us know and we will mention it in our next newsletter. Just email the editor Bonnie at


We recently welcomed RUTH PREST to the site. Stop by and meet this lovely lady
in our Designer Bio section.


Bonnie just spent 2 weeks in Boston babysitting her three grandchildren ages 5, 3, and 1 and helping her daughter with their latest addition, Kirsten Geneé Evans, born May 25, 2005. She came home long enough to finish the bride doll Chloe, and then went back up to Boston with her family on Father’s Day weekend to bless the baby at the church (similar to a Christening).

Meanwhile Mary Ann participated in the annual Breast Cancer Walk for the Cure on June 4th in DC which was great fun. She and her daughter Ana purchased a wedding gown two weeks ago that Mak will embellish when it arrives by adding red to it. It’s going to be a very colorful ethnic wedding. The wedding colors are red and orange and Mary Ann is hunting for a fuchsia dress.


Great website for musical movement and music boxes to enhance your doll

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.

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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