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Dollmaker's Journey

September 2005 Issue 48

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

Dollmakers Journey


September 2005 Issue 48

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,

Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims of Katrina, and we hope everyone in its path can survive the onslaught of Hurricane Rita, which is now a category 4 hurricane headed for the Gulf Coast. We have some information in this newsletter about sharing child-safe dolls with some of the victims. Also check out our website at and click on Charity Corner for free patterns and other organizations that are willing to distribute dolls to the tiny victims of this disaster. Bonnie taught women in her church how to make them, and 20 dolls are now on their way to shelters across the country through LDS Humanitarian Aid

For those of you seeking inspiration, check out our latest Doll for All Seasons costume pattern, the Autumn Dryad. In this pattern you will learn how to make a fantasy scene, drape a costume, use a hairpin lace loom to create a wig, dye cheesecloth, make an open mouth with teeth, and create some fun accessories suitable for a dryad perched in her tree painting the leaves in wonderful fall colors. Bonnie created 50 kits for those of you who might have a hard time finding suitable leaves, berries, hair, etc. Her family suffered the ultimate sacrifice – they ate 50 cartons of yogurt so the lids could be included in the kits. (Fortunately, her kids LOVE yogurt!) There are also directions in the pattern to adapt this dryad for winter, spring and summer, so you can truly have a Dryad for All Seasons.

And don’t forget – our Halloween costume contest is coming to an end. Pictures must be sent to Bonnie by October 15th to qualify. Everyone who enters will receive a surprise. Check out the details below.

Mary Ann and Bonnie


There is still time to enjoy 20% off all the fabulous patterns of our September designers of the Month JILL MAAS and SUE CHAFFEE SIZEMORE. and

Don’t forget our Autumn Dryad, the September COSTUME ONLY pattern debuts at half price - $4.50 beginning September 15. A limited number of kits are also available. Patterns will be half price until our October doll is ready.


We sold out of last month’s “Merina” kits so quickly we’ve decided to make 20 more. Hurry up and get one because they go really fast!


Hello. My name is Ranie Patridis. I am working with Dawn and Greta, moderators of Dollmaking, an internet group active since 1996. After the disaster in Indonesia that affected so many of us, we thought it would be nice if we started a charity foundation making simple rag dolls to comfort children who have become victims of disasters or illness. When Katrina hit, we decided to open our doors to all asking those of you that can to join us making simple little rag dolls to comfort a child that has seen so much.

It is the Doll Makers Group goal to make simple rag dolls to comfort children that are victims of disasters. To learn all about Comfort Dolls please check out this web site: if you have any more questions please fill free to email Greta at or Dawn Albright at who are the moderators.
Right now we are trying to find doll makers that will make up simple little rag dolls for the victims of Katrina. We are hoping that doll makers will join in this effort.
You can use your own pattern or there are several different patterns for CHARITY USE ONLY at or if you are a member of the Dollmaker Internet Group you can download their Comfort Doll pattern.
If you have a little rag doll you would like to donate please send the doll to:

Margreta Albright
219 Main Street North
Bethlehem, Ct 06751
Greta email addy:

Please we need doll makers help, this is a great cause. Let's put a smile on those young innocent faces that have seen so much.


Keeping with our Seasonal Theme we are delighted to introduce you to talented new designer SANDI BARD from The Seasons Change & So Do I. SANDI has developed a marvelous series of ten seasonal characters, each with a uniquely detailed costume and accessories for your creative enjoyment. You really must treat yourself to one of these special projects.

We are thrilled to introduce you to the newest designer from Australia SANDY PINE. Sandy has released her first three extraordinary patterns “Kiku” a Japanese beauty, “Petal the Fairy” and “Maid Marion.” Each beautifully presented pattern comes with its own paperclay mask and the cloth to cover it. If you have been wanting to try this dollmaking technique before purchasing molds, these are the patterns for you! Extra paperclay face masks are available for each design.


Sometimes it is difficult when you purchase a pattern from another country to convert metric into inches or mm into gauge. For example, if you get a pattern that says you need 1.6 mm wire, it is 14 gauge wire in the United States. Remember, the higher the gauge number, the smaller the diameter and the thinner the wire. Here are two handy conversion websites for future reference.


Our Halloween contest is quickly drawing to a close. The deadline to receive pictures is October 15th. Here are the details for the HALLOWEEN COSTUME CONTEST for our Doll for All Seasons in case you missed it. We're inviting you and challenging you to create the Halloween costume of your dreams to fit our “Doll for All Seasons” doll body. You can use any clothing pattern we sell for her, and adapt it. For example, August is a mermaid. You can use any body parts that have appeared in any Doll for All Seasons costume patterns (ears, face, special legs, tails, etc.) or create your own. You can also create an entirely new outfit using your own design. You can turn the Snow Queen into a witch, or the Japanese Bunny Girl into a cat. Of course there will be lots of prizes and a surprise for everyone who enters. Send pictures to Bonnie Lewis at before October 15th. Our customers will help choose their favorite costume. We would also love to see pictures of any of the dolls you have made from this pattern to date. We’re dying to get them in our Showcase for everyone to enjoy. Please send them to Bonnie also. If you want them entered in the Halloween contest, just put Halloween contest in your subject line in your email.


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
Email photos to Bonnie B. Lewis at or contact her for mailing address. For more information go to: and click on Halloween Challenge

Art Doll Challenge: Celebrity Look-Alike Dolls
Deadline: December 12, 2005
Submission requirements on back of Summer 2005 Art Doll Quarterly
Direct questions to Sharilyn Miller, Editor-in-Chief, ADQ, 22992 Mill Creek, Suite B, Laguna Hills, CA 92653 or e-mail

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


September 29 – October 1, 2005 - Original Sewing and Quilt Expo
Dulles Expo Center, Chantilly, Virginia
See the Hoffman Challenge doll winners
Go to or call 800-699-6309 for more information.

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

October 24-30, 2005 – International Quilt Festival
George R Brown Convention Center, Houston, Texas

November 11-13 – Rivercity Dollmakers 8th Annual Gallery Show and Sale
1 Levee Way, Newport, Kentucky or call 1-866-538-3359

January 13-16, 2006 – Southern Doll Conference
Holiday Inn, Deland, Florida

April 27 – 30, 2006 – Canadian Doll Artists Association: Celebration 2006
Holiday Inn Convention Center, Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada

July 27-31, 2006 – NIADA Conference 2006
Bloomington, Minnesota

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

From Bonnie B. Lewis

A customer wrote:

Q: I feel overwhelmed looking at your wonderful pattern selection. I'm looking for a beginner’s kit to get me started. Would you help me assemble one, by giving a suggestion of products and a pattern for one simple project? I have ok/very basic hand sewing and embroidery skills. I also have the basic tools for this. RF

A: First, go to our website at
Scroll down to the free projects or Charity Corner dolls and print out a pattern. When you go to Charity Corner make sure you click on the blue link and print out General Dollmaking Instructions. These are helpful for beginners and are also useful for people who wish to teach dollmaking to groups who want to make charity dolls.

Basic supplies include fabric (we sell great ethnic fabric and other types of fabric for doll bodies on our site), a sewing machine (although you could hand sew them), stuffing (Polyfil or Airtex works well), and something for hair (fine yarn for play dolls, fleece and mohair for more advanced dolls). You also need a stuffing and turning tool. We sell some specialized ones on our website, but you can also use a straw, wood skewer (for turning) and a chopstick or flat head screwdriver for stuffing. Check below under Stuffing Tips for more information on how to use our stuffing tools.

When you find a pattern you like, check out other patterns by that designer. There are also classes available at
I would highly recommend Judi Ward's “Cloth Dollmaking for Everyone”, that teaches you how to make dolls from simple to complex. At the end of her course you will end up with 5 delightful dolls, and a book on how to make dolls.

We do carry a new book by Brenda Brightmore called Cloth Dolls that is excellent for making dolls for children. Check it out on our website by clicking on books.

We hope this gives you some basic directions as you begin your Dollmaking Journey.


For our September Doll for All Seasons costume we are greeting fall with our fabulous “Autumn Dryad”, guardian spirit of the forest, perched in a tree painting the leaves beautiful colors. Learn how to drape costumes, dye fabric, create realistic scenery, make invisible button joints for her arms, and use a hairpin lace loom to create fantasy hair. Escape reality to discover the history of Dryads, and how to adapt this pattern to create a winter, spring and summer scene. These are just a few things you will encounter on your Dollmaker’s Journey “Into the Woods.” A limited number of kits containing 11 different items needed to create this artistic dryad are available, so make sure you get yours today.

Dragon lovers are going to get a real kick out of “Bug Breath” from one of our newest designers DE RUE JOHNSON. There will be several more wonderful patterns from DeRue coming soon so watch this space!

Two more wonderful patterns have just arrived from England’s JANET CLARK. Her versatile “Best Friends” are just darling and she also has a very jaunty “Santa and the Giraffe.” Do stop in and take a peek -

That naughty ELLEN HAYTAS has just released her “Muffin Man” that caused quite a stir at Doll Camp this year. Be warned - this doll comes with more than just buns!

JACQUIE LECUYER dressed her “Quiet Quilter” in a Victorian outfit made with modern, vibrant fabrics with wonderful results. This lovely doll is definitely not quiet at all! Stop by and take a peek.


Q: When I make cloth dolls I find that the stuffing is not even. It seems lumpy. What do your "Stuffer Forks" do. I see one that is wood and the other two are metal. What's the difference? Also, do they extend to hard to reach areas?

A: There are many kinds of stuffing. Some have lumps in them, or unexploded fibers. Others are silky and soft. I like Airtex, although I have used Polyfil with success also. Sometimes inexpensive stuffing lumps up when stuffed too hard. The only cure for "cellulose" is to either remove the stuffing and try again or roll the arm or leg between your hands to help smooth out any lumps. Barbara Willis even recommended that you could iron the leg after lightly spraying with spray starch to remove lumps. Our speedy stuffer is quite long with a claw on one end and a comfortable wooden handle on the other. This can easily stuff even long legs. However, it is large and won't stuff tiny places. For those I use the Barbara Willis stuffing forks. The blue (large) one is perfect for stuffing hands, noses, and small places that are hard to reach. I use the red (small) one only for stuffing tiny fingers. To do this I wrap the Fiberfil around the stuffing fork tightly and guide it into place. This will create a roll of stuffing that is very tiny. I even use this around pipe cleaners that I insert into the fingers to fill them out. I also use flat head screwdrivers, and I love hemostats for guiding stuffing into awkward places. When I teach children I give them wooden chopsticks, which also seem to work. Bottom line - I use many different tools when stuffing my dolls.

Mary Ann learned several great tips in a stuffing class – yes really – a stuffing class taught by Collette Wolff. Before you begin take a moment to baste down the seam allowance around every opening. This prevents the seam allowance from fraying while you stuff and makes a nice crease in the fabric when you are ready to ladder stitch the opening closed. Also, feel the body parts you are stuffing with your eyes closed and your fingers will identify the lumps and the places that need more stuffing. It’s amazing how well this works!


If you haven’t tried adding charms to your doll pins we invite you to indulge in our new ARTGIRLZ Pewter Charm Collection. Those talented designing sisters TRACY and ALLISON STILLWELL have developed an amazing array of legs, arms, hands, feet and much, much more. To get you going they have treated us to a fun, FREE project “Mama Uglioni.” that is sure to jump start your creativity.

We just got in a great new color of Tibetan Lamb Purple! We love it and think you will, too.

If you’ve been looking for silk ribbons and other trims or laces to be in scale for your dolls you’ll probably find just what you need at Mini Magic –


Q: Do you have precut soles for Bleuettes? How do you cut the sole leather on your site?
Do you need a special cutter? How do you dye it?

A: The shoe leather we sell can be cut with ordinary sewing scissors. We sell it in many colors, but if you get the light tan, you can paint it, using permanent markers or leather dye to change the color. When the sole is finished you can seal it using Grrrip glue, varnish, or Crystal Lacquer if you want a shiny finish. We don't sell leather precut to specific shoe sole sizes. Instead we sell a large piece of leather that you can cut yourself. We suggest you stand the doll on a piece of paper, trace around both feet, and this will become the inner sole. After you attach the shoe upper to this inner sole, trace around the partially completed shoe to get a pattern for the outer sole. If you want to add a heel, cut a piece of leather about 1/4 to 1/3 the length of the sole, measuring from the heel end, and attach to the sole.

Q: Do you have green fabric for skin? I saw a witch made with sort of an apple green color skin.

A: We don't dye fabric green, but check the quilt shops for green fabric that might work for your witch. You can also dye your own fabric using Kool-aid (unsweetened). Dissolve Kool-aid in hot water, add fabric, and let soak until it is a color you like. I would then rinse the fabric in cool water and let dry. You can also try diluting acrylic paint in water and painting the fabric or letting fabric soak in the mixture. I dyed some Dolskin fabric using that method. The skin was a little mottled, but looked great. I did find some mottled green fabric in the quilt shop that I used for my Mandrake doll (from Harry Potter books). Around Easter time get some Easter Egg Dyes. Mix one color of dye with vinegar as per instructions, in a one quart jar. Add boiling water to half fill jar and put wet fabric in jar. Add lid and shake well. Let fabric set several hours or overnight until cool. You can only do a small amount of fabric at a time using this method, or it will dye unevenly. Best advice - keep your eyes open for the perfect fabric.


Last month Bonnie traveled to Utah to visit her Mom, who fell and broke her arm and back and is in a rehab center. She also saw her brother and three sisters for a mini family reunion. Then she went to New Hampshire where she took part in a memorial service for a wonderful friend who died in Washington State. Her ashes were scattered over a mountain and volcanic lake that she loved by a cabin she and her husband built many years ago. After arriving back home, she finished the Dryad doll and sent 20 play dolls to Katrina victims.

Mary Ann survived the wedding of the century after spending at least 100 hours embellishing the dress! September 10th was an absolutely gorgeous day for the ceremony held on the grounds of the Washington International School. It was a perfect setting for the friends and loved ones who came from around the world to join them. Every detail was a magnificent blending of the bride and groom’s cultural heritages from the special Hindi blessing within the service to the fabulous Hula dancers. Ana’s brother Michael made the perfect “Man of Honor” deftly arranging her train and holding her mango calla lily bouquet with just the right touch. If you’d like to see a few pictures from the happy day CLICK HERE. Now Mary Ann is devoting her attention to getting everything caught up – well at least trying because she has a very interesting custom doll project to begin. More about that next month.


Barb Kobe has a wonderful healing doll site. Check out her wonderful articles and new online class called “Medicine Doll Project” (click on Medicine Doll link) for an infusion of inspiration.

Looking for miniature playing cards or tarot cards for a magician or fortune teller? Print your own at
You can also buy some that measure 1” x ¾” at

Puppet resources with free patterns and instructions

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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