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Dollmaker's Journey

September 2006 Issue 59

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Dollmaker’s Journey
September 2006 Issue 59
Dream ~ Imagine ~ Create ~ Grow ~ Believe ~ Magic
at we help your creative dreams come true.

September 2006 Issue 59

Copyright 2006 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,

Patti LaValley writes: “A moment of silence among us for Joan Ott. Some of us know her from the Portland, Oregon area doll clubs, and from Doll U. She was an extremely talented fiber and bead artist, and will indeed be missed. I had the opportunity to meet her at the NW doll clubs, and to take a class from her at last year's Doll U event in Washington. Joan was a Master Beader. May she rest in peace among an infinity of beads. Amen.”

Mary Ann and Bonnie


For our September Sale we are discounting 20% everything in our CHILDREN/BABIES CATEGORY where you’ll find a large selection of patterns that would make wonderful gifts for the special ones in your life big and small. Why not treat yourself to a few!


Error – I mistakenly said the free Butternut doll pattern link was in the May issue. Instead it is in the April Customer Connection Newsletter. Thank you to those who caught my error and brought it to my attention.


A customer wrote: “I am just completing Arley Berryhill's doll, the Sultan's Favorite,
and I need a doll stand for it since I am not making the reclining version. In searching the internet, I can't tell if some of those offered will work. Do you have any suggestions as to where I might find doll stands? In the past, I have made the jointed dolls, such as Patty Culea's dolls, so I could pose them by seating them. This has been a frustrating thing, trying to find a doll stand.

For a doll like the Sultan's Favorite, I would suggest a totally new doll stand that isn't sold anywhere. Find a wooden base that is larger than the largest part of the doll. I usually get a wooden base at a hobby store. This can be any shape. I have used round, oval, square, rectangle, and star shapes. I assume your doll has clothes. If so, cut a wooden dowel (1/8" thick to 3/16" thick should work) tall enough to slide underneath her pants or dress at least up to the waist or higher. Drill a hole in the base toward the back to fit the dowel. Paint the dowel a color to match the base OR the costume. Paint the base or decorate it with fabric and trims. Glue felt to the bottom of the stand. Slide the dowel up one leg and underneath the waistband on her costume. The advantage of this type of base is the dowel is removable for easy storage or shipping, and if you position it correctly, it is completely hidden by the harem pant leg, underwear, or skirt, without adding extra bulk at the waist. You can also hand sew a pocket on the doll’s body that the dowel can slide into.


We are delighted to bring you the patterns of another talented designer from the United Kingdom JAN HORROX. Jan’s patterns include wonderful color photo sheets along with lots of illustrations detailing her imaginative construction techniques. Stop by and take a peek at her lovely array of designs.

Help us welcome our very first designer from Serbia TANJA MARTINOVIC! You’re going to love the fabulous characters she creates with wrapped wire and nylon stockings. First off the drawing board are “Marko the Butcher” and his companion, “Gabriela the Butcher’s Wife” who keeps quite busy coiling the sausages for her husband. You’ll learn lots of innovative construction techniques with TANJA’S patterns. Gabriela is on CD for maximum instruction value, and there are more coming soon. KATE ERBACH has known TANJA for a long time and is helping to produce her patterns. We think you’re going to love them!

By Bonnie B. Lewis

A customer wrote: “I have several vintage Knickerbocker Raggedy Ann & Andy dolls... I cannot figure out how to clean them.”

Of course, my answer became an epistle, and then an article. Enjoy the results of my research. Of course, if any of you have something to add, I would love to update my information.

A major problem with cleaning cloth dolls is you don't know what was used to paint the faces. Some faces are NOT permanent and will run if you use water or certain cleaners. Some hair is not colorfast and some hair will shrink (especially wool yarn and mohair). Some glued hair will disintegrate or fall out if it becomes wet (especially if the glue used is water-soluble). If you spot clean the doll, the soap will sink into the Fiberfil, and as it leaches back to the surface, it will leave ugly water marks on the skin. (Imagine what happens when you spot clean the carpet after your dog or cat has an accident. If you don't cover the cleaned spot with a towel and heavy book overnight, the liquid rises to the surface, and the spot looks worse than before you cleaned it.) If the doll is stuffed with something other than Polyester Fiberfil, such as wool or cotton, you could have other problems. Sometimes cardboard, wood, or wire is used for an internal armature that could dissolve, warp or rust.

WARNING: Test any of these methods and products in an unobtrusive area first if the doll isn't made of 100% cotton.

1. Some rag dolls can be washed in the washing machine. Check and see if they have a label that says they are washable. Remove all clothing, and test their hair to see if it is colorfast (there is nothing worse than hair color that runs all over the doll's face!) If they have a separate wig that is sewn on, remove the wig. Put the naked doll in a white pillowcase, tie it closed, and wash with a mild detergent on a gentle cycle. Air dry using no heat. It is helpful if you have a sneaker rack for your dryer to place the doll on. Stuffed animals made from pre-shrunk or synthetic material can be cleaned with detergent and water. If it is made of cotton that has not been pre-shrunk or stuffed with cotton, don't try this method. HOWEVER, if the doll is truly antique, I recommend you try some of these other solutions before trying to wash the entire doll.

2. Clean doll clothes with a magic elixir - equal parts (1/4 cup) of Dove Dish liquid (used for hand washing dishes) and Clorox II (dry powder safe for colored fabrics). Mix this with a bucket of water suitable to the fabric (cold - dark colors, warm - most colors, or hot - white or ecru). Let the clothes soak for several hours. Gently squeeze the water out - don't wring. It is too hard to iron the wrinkles out of small doll clothes. Rinse well and squeeze out again. It helps to put wet clothes between two white towels and roll them up to remove excess water.
NOTE: Do not use hand soap. It leaves a residue (unless it is Fels-Naptha). It is better to use detergent or baby shampoo. Biz also works well.

3. For dirty dolls try cleaning body with Shout Wipes. They come sealed in a foil package and work wonders on soiled cotton. However, try in an unobtrusive spot first. This probably works best on white cotton. Hand dyed fabric skin might be altered by the chemicals in these wipes.

4. Art and office supply stores sell a white eraser that can be used to clean small areas on a fabric doll. It works well on thin silk.

5. If the problem is mildew, try Oxyclean to gently spot clean the mildew spots. You can add this to your favorite detergent (try Era) and water or cover spot with lemon juice, sprinkle with salt, and leave in the sun until mildew disappears. Best of all, this method won't damage the fabric like bleach will. Be aware, exposure to sunlight can fade fabric. I know you have all heard Woolite is good for wool and other fragile fabrics, but if you read the label, you will notice it contains bleach. Quilters use Orvis Paste, found at local quilt shops. (It is a horse shampoo, so you can also buy it at farm supply stores.)

6. If you need to clean large areas, barely dampen a micro fiber cloth with plain distilled water (tap water may have chlorine and could bleach the fabric) and rub gently. Dry each area with a hair dryer on low heat before moving to another spot. This will help prevent the "wicking" mentioned above. If this doesn't remove the dirt, try whipping up a couple of Tablespoons of liquid dish detergent in a bowl of water, and use ONLY the FOAM on a clean white cloth to wash the doll. Be careful not to saturate the stuffing, pat the doll dry with another dry cloth, and then dry with a hair dryer (do NOT use high heat as it will melt polyester Fiberfil stuffing if you are not careful.) You can also spray lightly soiled cloth dolls with Carpet shampoo. Let dry and then vacuum really well. This gets off lots of surface dirt.

7. If the doll is not badly soiled, lightly sprinkle talcum powder or Borax onto the surface of the doll, very gently rub in a circular motion and then shake, or vacuum as much powder as possible from the doll. If using a regular vacuum hose, cover end with cheesecloth secured with a rubber band and gently vacuum the entire doll. Mini vacs are great for this task because they get into tiny crevasses. This method also works with felt and fur. If the fur is very soiled, place it in a plastic bag with mild baby powder, shake bag vigorously, and then shake and vacuum to remove any talc and loose soil that comes with it.

8. When you receive a new cloth doll, spray it with Craftgard, which is a waterproofing agent, or Krylon Workable fixative, which will help keep the surface of the fabric clean. I have also sprayed my cloth dolls with Scotchguard. This allows you to damp dust the dolls using the method in #3 above. Get a good feather duster (ostrich feathers work best) and dust DRY cloth dolls once a week. You can also use a soft paint brush to dust the dolls. These get into tiny cracks and crevices to really get them clean.

9. Twin Pines of Maine, Inc. specializes in products designed to safely clean dolls. They have Remove Zit, a stain remover for dolls and action figures, Boost, which safely cleans antique fabrics, Perk, a doll and action figure cold water clothes cleaner and fabric stain remover, Formula 9-1-1, a surface cleaner for dolls and action figures, D-stinker, which removes odors, a Wig Detangler, and many other things. Go to their website at to learn more about products created especially for cleaning dolls.

10. Last Ditch desperation solution: Once I was cleaning an antique cloth doll. It was badly stained, the stuffing was cotton and foam rubber, and when I tried cleaning it the whole body became discolored as the dirt in the stuffing leached to the surface of the skin. I finally carefully opened several seams, removed all the stuffing, removed the hair, hand washed the entire body in a mild dish detergent, rinsed thoroughly, let air dry, and re-stuffed the body using new cotton stuffing. The foam rubber had disintegrated, leaving a brown gritty residue. I saved the original cotton stuffing and gave it back to the owner, but it was so filthy I didn't want to put it into the clean doll. I did have to touch up the paint on the face where it had faded and chipped. You can add textile medium to acrylic paint to help it adhere to the fabric better. I cleaned the wig with dry shampoo you can get at a beauty supply house, and mended the rips and tears carefully. This was a lot of work, but the doll looked much better when I was through. If you wish to reuse the old stuffing, put it in a pillowcase and dry on heat setting in the dryer to kill any bugs and mold that might be there. Then re-stuff the doll, adding Fiberfil if needed.

Judi Ward adds a caution to this method: "Old Steiffs, Lencis, Kathy Kruse, Alabama Baby, Chase, Merrythoughts and a few other very old and collectible stuffed things shouldn't be disturbed any more than absolutely necessary! Any tampering, in any way can decrease their value on the antique market."


“Let the Fun Begin” Camp Doll U Challenge
Deadline: September 23, 2006
Must use challenge kit ($15.00) to create doll
Go to WWW.DOLLU.COM for more details.

Treasures of the Gypsy – Theme: Mysteries of the Gypsies Dance
First week of October, 2006
You need a kit of trinkets, trims, and treasures to participate. These are available for $15.00 (US) $18.00 (Australia and Canada) and can be ordered from:
Pamela Armas
Treasures of the Gypsy
P.O. Box 748
Mountainair, NM 87036
(505) 847-0963

Home for the Holidays Bluette Challenge
Deadline: November 15, 2006
For more information go to:


Year round classes – John C. Campbell Folk School
Brasstown, North Carolina
October 22-27 – Behind the Magic: A Doll Maker’s Toolbox, Kathryn Walmsley
October 29-November 4 – Advanced Needle Felted Doll, Sharon Costello
Click on for more information or call 1-800-365-5724

September 28-October 1, 2006 – Camp Doll U
Issaquah, Washington (near Seattle)

November 10 & 11th 2006 – Cloth Doll Workshop with Christine Shively
Hartsdale, NY
Call 914-667-7100 or 914-755-1150 for more details.

March 3-10, 2007 – 2007 Soft Doll Art Cruise
Leave Miami, Florida for a 7 day fun-filled cruise to 5 islands in the western Caribbean on Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas. Take classes from Ute Vasina, Patti Culea, Leslie Molen and Barbara Willis
Call Carl at 1-888-537-8267 or Tim at 1-800-755-1191 for more information.

April 15-21, 2007 – Creative Doll Artist’s Voyage
Leave Galveston, Texas for a 7 day fun filled cruise to Montego Bay, Jamaica, Grand Cayman Island & Cozumel, Mexico on Carnival Conquest. Take classes while you sail from Jean Bernard, Sherry Goshon, Jeff Kantrowitz and Maryanne Oldenburg. For more information email Jeff Kantroqitz at or call (718)983-1888.

May 3-6, 2007 - Artistic Figures In Cloth
Columbus, Ohio

May 10-13, 2007 – 8th Annual CDAA (Canadian Doll Artist Association)
Ottawa, Ontario
Theme: “Floral Fantasy in an Enchanted Garden”

May 18-20, 2007 - Flowers, Fairies and Fiber Fancies
Aurora, Ohio
Contact Joan Stephens at 330-562-9145 for more information

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



Free tutorial for beaded goddess doll from Rita
The pattern is here:

Last month we shared Judi Ward’s free pattern called Baby Bows. You can now get both Baby Bows as the 2 faced baby doll and the Bear as a 2 faced bear at
With the bear adaptation there is something for little boys too. The Bear in the picture is dressed in an outfit made for those 19” vinyl baby dolls that are so popular.
Kate Erbach says: I found these wonderful booties online, made by elinor peace bailey’s daughter in law. Here is the link:
She thought they would be perfect for Judi Ward's Baby Bows. They will also work for real babies.



Q: Could you please let me know the difference between doe suede and dolskin – is it a spelling issue or are the fabrics totally different? If they are different, do you sell doe suede?

A: Doe suede has a fuzzy side and a smooth side. The fuzzy side feels like suede. The original manufacturer discontinued it, and we now sell it under the name of Buck Suede, which is slightly heavier but still very suitable for dolls. It has a slight stretch in one direction. Since it doesn't fray, it is perfect for not only dolls but clothing and accessories. Dolskin, on the other hand, is a lightweight stretchable polyester fabric that was once used for Cabbage Patch type dolls. It is wonderful for soft sculpting, stretches in both directions (60% on the cross grain, 10% on the selvage edge), and you have to be careful not to overstuff. If a pattern calls for Doe suede, Buck suede is a good substitute. If a pattern calls for Dolskin, nothing else will work.



We are told that the best wire gauges to use for armatures are between 10 and 16. Customers have asked: What size dolls can the armature wire that you sell be used in and do you have any rules for using it? Is aluminum wire the best for use in cloth? Is the covered wire bought in the shops for electrical work, etc., of any use?

At Dollmaker’s Journey we sell aluminum sculpting wire (11.5 gauge) that is designed especially for dollmaking and sculptures. It can be bent and repositioned repeatedly without losing strength or breaking. It is also very soft and easy to bend. The basic rule is - the higher the number, the thinner the wire. If you buy wire from the hardware store, make sure it is galvanized - this way it won't rust. Aluminum is very good because it never rusts. I have used coat hangers, plastic covered wire, and pipe cleaners with good results, depending on the size of the doll. We use the sculpting wire with dolls from 12" to 30" or larger. Pipe cleaners are good for fingers and smaller dolls. They can also break if repositioned too often. If you don't use aluminum sculpting wire, you probably want a 14 gauge or higher number, because anything lower will be almost impossible to bend and shape successfully. We use 16-gauge wire in hat brims for dolls.


You’ll be using wooden dowels and beads inside the arms and legs of PATTI LAVALLEY’S terrific “Gingerbread Witch.” Be sure to check it out along with all of PATTI’S wonderful patterns.

If you have started gearing up for your Halloween décor than you’re going to love these great projects from KATE ERBACH & ELLEN HAYTAS of Phat Phaeries, Inc. The dapper “Frahnk” stands alone in his real baby shoes and sisters “Joolia & Ghilly Ghoulia” are eerily delightful. Stop by and take a peek!

New Zealand’s JILL MAAS has released her newest character “Gertrude” a charming fairy of a certain age. You’re going t o love the background story on this one!

Last spring when MARILYN HALCOMB visited us we got to see her fantastic “Peregrine, the Berry Bandit” in person and now we are thrilled to have the pattern for you to enjoy along with all of her enchanting characters.

There are so many great dolls in KATE ERBACH’S imagination she can’t get them out fast enough! “Natalie” is a wall doll with so much pizzazz she’s sure to brighten any room. KATE is switching all of her patterns over to CD format so she can load them up with superb construction photos.

We have four magnificent new patterns from BARBARA SCHOENOFF. Each of these extraordinary characters from other worlds that BARBARA has imagined has hidden bead jointing for maximum posing possibilities and incredibly innovative costuming. Why not treat your creative spirit to one of these terrific projects!



Learn more about designer Arley Berryhill in a delightful interview at
See more of his creative patterns at

Guess whose doll was on the cover of the November 2006 Doll Crafter and Costuming? Sherry Goshon has a wonderful pattern and article entitled “Doll-Making Fun with Kids” beginning on page 70. You can see more of Sherry’s wonderful patterns and molds at

Read an updated profile about Kezi Matthews at "Catching Up With Kezi"

Kate Erbach of "My Sister Kate Cloth Confections" is now teaching on the Doll Net Campus of Crafty College. Her first class is now open for registration. It is a beautiful mermaid riding on a fish... "Merna Takes a Test Drive" ... For more information go to


Bonnie has been making more time for dolls by learning how to do “Once a Month Cooking.” In 6 hours she made 30 gourmet meals for her freezer. To find out more check out or go to and search for OAMC (Once a Month Cooking) for lots of recipes that are fast, easy and fun. She is getting together with three of her daughters once a month to make more meals. The highlight of the month was the arrival of her newest granddaughter, Kira Serenity Clark, born September 15, 2006, at 3:24 p.m. She weighed 8 pounds .5 ounce and was 21” long. Bonnie will be spending this next week in Aberdeen, Maryland helping her daughter with her other two children ages 1 and 3. She is even bringing 10 freezer meals with her to stock their freezer so their daughter will have more time to spend with her children and less time cooking.

When Mary Ann’s son Mike first showed Kyah his Mom’s website she searched through the site and told Mike that if she were ever to make a doll she would want to make “Fran” not realizing that Mary Ann had designed it. For Kyah’s birthday on September 2nd Mary Ann dug the original Fran out of a box, spruced her up, wrote a little background story about her and sent her out to California to hang out with Kyah and Mike. Kyah was delighted. It’s amazing how knowing that the work of our hands brings so much joy to others truly intensifies our creative satisfaction! Now to decide what to make for Christmas presents…..!


Cookie Cutter ornaments

Vintage Type Ornaments

Free Waldorf Doll Project:

Victorian Bath Delights – interesting dolls and needlework

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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Copyright © 2006 Dollmaker’s Journey


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