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Dollmaker's Journey

January 2002 Issue Seven

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January 2002 Issue Seven


Copyright 2002 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 just love the beginning of the year! It's always a time of hope
and renewal and plans for challenging new projects to stimulate
our creative energies. We intend to keep on bringing you exciting
new patterns to do just that. We've added some truly wonderful new
items to the site since our last issue that we're itching to tell you
about. We also came up with an idea for a fun challenge to the kick
the year off in style.

We're wishing you and yours the most blessed, happy and
peaceful New Year ever.

Mary Ann and Bonnie



Check for winners.


can make a flat surface seem more three-dimensional than the amazing
ANNE-MARIE BROMBAL. Now she shares her secrets in a fabulous
folder/workbook called ­ “Three-Dimensional Drawing & Coloring
Techniques for Cloth Doll Faces.” With step-by-step color photographs,
comprehensive written instruction, sample head patterns and so much
more Anne-Marie will take your face making skill to a whole new level
of proficiency. This item is another MUST HAVE for every dollmaker's
reference library!


It hardly seems possible that We Folk of Cloth 2002 is just around the
corner. For those of you ready to mark your calendars this incredible
cloth doll making event will be held Oct 10-13, 2002 at the Maritime
Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies (MITAGS), 5700
Hammonds Ferry Road, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090 . You will be
able to get more detailed information from the Needle Arts Adventures
website when it becomes available this Spring.

We had to have the photos of our project to Sandy by December 1st.
She has graciously given us permission to give you all a sneak peek
at our "Miss Sadie the Church Lady". This project was inspired by the
book “Crowns - Portraits of Black Women in Church Hats” by Michael
Cunningham and Craig Marberry where the women in a small Southern
congregation decided to make fancy hats to wear to church on Sunday.

This class will be taught over three days, but students will be able to
take just one, two, or all three classes depending on what they want
to make. The focus of the first class will be how to needle sculpt
ethnic facial features, coloration techniques for darker skin tones,
and applying hair with felting needles. On the 2nd day classic millinery
and shoemaking techniques will be taught through the construction of
a molded crown, wired brim picture hat, a toque, and fancy high heeled
shoes with polymer heels that will fit Miss Sadie. She wouldn’t be
complete without her handbag, gloves, leather covered hymnal, belt,
and jewelry which will be made on the 3rd day of the conference.
Click on the link below to see Sadie in both her summer and winter



We are ever so delighted to add the “Kid 'n' Round” pattern line
of the extraordinarily talented Australian designer ANN CLEMENS
to Dollmaker’s Journey pattern collection. Ann’s rich imagination
has produced an exciting array of characters - fairies, gnomes,
sprites, an exotic belly dancer, a drag queen and so much more.
Each superbly detailed pattern includes a close up photo of the
face. We know you are going to love these patterns as much
as we do.


By Bonnie B. Lewis

Copyright August 1995 - Revised January 2002
A doll can be as lifeless as a flat gingerbread man, or alive
and full of motion. Often the difference is something buried
deep inside called an armature. Yet the difference between
a lifeless mitten hand and one that can grasp objects and
gesture only takes a few minutes of the dollmaker's time.

Armatures can be made out of many things. Great for small
dolls and fingers are pipe cleaners or chenille stems. I buy
them in flesh, tan and white. On a small doll (6" or less) I fold
one in half with the ends wrapped around the middle) and
insert the looped ends into the legs. The other I fold in half
the same way and insert in the arms, with the middle going
into the neck and head. I then stuff the body firmly, sew
closed, and I have a flat pancake doll that can pose in any

For mitten hands with sewn fingers or hands with separate
fingers, I fold five pipe cleaners in half, insert the looped end
into each finger, and wrap white florist tape around the ends
where they meet in the wrist or elbow, depending on the
length of the arm and hand. Usually no more stuffing is
needed in the fingers. I add a small amount of stuffing in the
palm and back of the hand (the stuffing fork is great for this),
surround the wrist armature with stuffing, and continue
stuffing the arm. Even if I am using a heavy wire armature
for the whole body, I still find myself wiring the fingers in
this manner, attaching the heavy wire to the assembled
pipe cleaners with floral tape.

For larger dolls I like to use two different armatures. The
first is found at your local hardware store. It is galvanized
(make sure it is galvanized so it won't rust) steel wire (also
called baling or fence wire) about 16-18 gauge found on
rolls. This is a very stiff wire that holds the doll upright easily
although it is harder to bend. You can also find this gauge
in copper wire, which is a little easier to shape. I have used
heavy wire coat hangers, but they are too stiff to bend
properly, so I usually run a wire up one leg and insert it into
a base of some type. Because the wire is sharp I like to
either bend the ends into loops or cover the end with floral
tape (stretch the tape as you use it and it will stick.) You
must have needle nose pliers to bend this wire, and once
bent into position it will stay. This wire can break if bent too
often, so decide on a permanent pose. This wire is great to
insert into holes in base boards to hold the doll erect. You
can even pose dolls on one toe (or a mermaid on her tail).

A armature idea from Gloria "Mimi" Winer is to go to Home
Depot and buy a roll of clothesline wire. This is usually
green in appearance and is plastic coated wire. A full doll
armature can made from this wire. If the green shows
through the doll "skin", you can cover it with floral tape.
The advantage of this armature is that it is flexible, and it
can bend and rebend many times without breaking. This
is a good choice for that picky doll that wants to change
its position periodically.

My favorite armature wire is aluminum sold by Dick Blick.
It is used by sculptors and is easy to bend and shape.
However, some doll artists don't like it because they feel
it is too soft. However, I like the fact that you can bend it
repeatedly and it won't break, which makes posing a doll
in different positions possible. This wire is called sculpture
wire, is 14 gauge and is available in rolls. Dick Blick also
sells armature wire (16 gauge), annealed wire, galvanized
wire, copper and brass wire, as well as wire forms on bases.
You can order their catalog by calling 1-800-447-8192 or
check out their internet site at

Gloria Winer also taught us the best way to stuff around a
full armature. Use hemostats (they look like long scissors
with a gripper end). Grab a large wad of stuffing with the
hemostats, and bring the stuffing into the end of the arm or
leg on one side of the armature and release. Then do the
same for the other side, and you will find that the whole
arm, leg, body or head is stuffed smoothly and quickly.
I was taught to stuff firmly with small amounts of stuffing,
but with an armature large long pieces of stuffing work
better and you don't have unsightly lumps. You can still
stuff firmly using this method, but with an armature you
want to be able to bend the arm or leg when you are
through, so be careful not to stuff too firmly.

Specialty doll shops also sell a flexible plastic spine you
can try. This is popular with people who make porcelain
dolls. I am usually on a limited budget, and find the wire
works just as well, although it is not safe in a child's toy.
The plastic covered clothesline won't rust, but probably
shouldn't go in the dryer. The plastic spines are washable,
so if a doll is a play toy, this might be the best choice,
although with repeated play the plastic links can separate.

The important thing is to try an armature, and you will
never go back to flat, unanimated dolls again. Even if
you just wire the fingers, you have created a hand that
can hold objects that can be removed, instead of gluing
them in place. Armatures make a doll come alive.


This month's perfect winter project was donated by
designer Sandy Corson. The lovely young lady modeling
"Auntie Stressy Anna" is Bonnie's youngest daughter
Miss Amy Lewis. Click on the link below for this quick
and easy project.


That clever MEO FEROY has designed yet another
project to tickle our creative fancy. “Bottomtree Biddies”
are a collection of charming stump doll characters - a
nurse, teacher, witch and pioneer lady all in one pattern
that are guaranteed to delight one and all.

We just can’t get enough of SHERRY GOSHON’S always
incredible designs. We now have “Fern” a full bodied
woodland fairy that is an alternate body for the “Wisdom”
pressmold face, and "Ethia" the first in a series of
middle-aged fairies that have some pretty wild stories to tell.

At long last GLORIA "MIMI" WINER has released the
pattern for her exquisite "Victoria Rose" She is a
free-standing, young, full-figured, anatomically-proportioned
fashion doll with a late 19th century silhouette, complete
with a fabulous, historically correct costume, including
hat and Victorian boots, which are made of paperclay
covered with glove leather.

Designer CYNDY SIEVING is at it again! She has just
released two more wonderful patterns for us to delight in.
“Broadway Rose” is a fabulous pindoll that”ll teach you
to sculpt and paint a face, decorative beading and simple
wig making - that’s a lot of bang for the buck! Her
graceful “Indian Mother” sits cross-legged and gently
holds her papoose. (Don’t forget that we carry 15
different ethnic skin tones.)

Using facemolds to create beautifully detailed faces is
all the rage. PAULA STOKES brings us “Baby Face”
and “Big Sister”, two very charming young ladies and
the molds for their cloth covered clay faces.

MARCIA ACKER-MISSALL has just released her exotic
“Spa Goddess” - an amazing confection of needle sculpting,
new hair techniques and free motion machine embroidery!

Use your wildest fabric scraps to make SANDY MILLER’S
“Toots”. This colorful 9” doll that holds a special message
in her arms perches easily on a mantle or computer and
makes a fabulous gift.



Bonnie finished making three Carry-Me dolls from an
old Cloth Doll magazine that were designed for infants
and toddlers. They have long skinny arms and legs and
long braids that can be tied to a crib or just dragged
around the house by their arms, legs, or braids. Since
three granddaughters were born this year (one in January,
one in May and one in October), they are the perfect
Christmas gift. She also made the Toddler ballerina
designed by Barbara Graff for her three-year-old
granddaughter who loves ballet (available on our website
at ). She finished it
the day before Christmas, and then her puppy got it and
decided the leather soles on the ballet shoes were a
wonderful treat. We will put pictures on the site as soon
as it is repaired. You can buy ballet shoes that fit this doll
at CR's Crafts ( Bonnie created
a ballet shoe pattern just for this doll that we will share
with members of this newsletter in a future issue.

Bonnie left for Hawaii with her husband on December 9th
to attend her daughter's graduation from BYU Hawaii in
Laie. She told her husband she needed a refill for her
Franklin Planner, and he bought her a Palm Pilot instead
for her birthday on December 7th, so guess what she was
learning to do while in Hawaii. She is slowly joining the
21st century. They returned on December 16th just in
time for her daughter's wedding on December 21st. Of
course, the wedding dress wasn't finished, and she
needed to make the veil when she returned, but at least
the bridesmaids' dresses were done! She finished
hemming them during a doctor's appointment. The wedding
was beautiful, her husband had a heart attack the next
day, and spent Christmas Eve in the hospital having two
stints inserted in a blocked artery. However, he was able to
return on Christmas day, and life is slowly returning to

Mary Ann has been wearing a rut in Interstate 95 going
back and forth from Virginia to New Jersey to support
her family. Her Dad has had three major surgeries since
June, the last being a double knee replacement in early
December. She's happy to report he's recovering beautifully.
Keeping the business running smoothly while sneaking
out of town was a bit of a challenge but somehow we all

Her holiday project was to design "Pau Hana Santas" for
all the Hawaiian relatives. "Pau Hana" is a Hawaiian
expression that means "when the workday is over." Santa
ended up in a loud aloha shirt, jams, rubber flip-flops and
sun visor while lounging in a beach chair. We'll get a
picture in the Showcase in the near future. This one may
become a pattern. The next project is to finish all the
drawings for the Dollmaker's Journey printed catalog
which is always a major undertaking.


Here are some fun websites you might want to bookmark:

The Widget Supply Company
Here you can find all sorts of tools, carvers, punches,
drills, etc., perfect for dollmaking and miniature work.
You won't believe all the different things they carry.

Find your name in Hawaiian
This site is just for fun, since Bonnie is going to Hawaii
for the first time. Her Hawaiian name is Poni instead of
Bonnie. You can also find out the Hawaiian names for
your pets. There are a lot of popup banners that are
somewhat annoying, but it is still a fun site.

Stain removal guide
A lot of people ask how to remove stains from cloth
dolls. Here is a site that tells you how to handle any
kind of stain, from ball-point pens to candle wax.
Hope it helps.

Helpful Hint:

Bonnie made 24 Lil Christmas Ornaments (a free pattern
on our site by Sherry Goshon ). Every year
Bonnie makes a Christmas ornament for each child and
grandchild. This way when they get married they have a
set of handmade ornaments for their own tree. She
couldn't find the paper mache eggs recommended in
the project, so she just bought Styrofoam eggs and
covered them with fabric strips using Alene's Designer
Tacky Glue. One strip 1/2" x 45" covered the egg perfectly.
She coated them with Mod Podge, stuck the end of an
opened paper clip through one end, and hung them to
dry on a chain she draped across her sewing room.
Their hats will be made from some purple crushed velvet
scraps left over from the bridesmaid dresses.


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Connection newsletter.

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


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