Pattern Sale -
20% Off - Click HERE!
Natural Soap!Soap and Lotion
Search For Pattern!
Search For Designer/Supplies!
Click HERE for What's New!

Download Patterns (PDFs) Available On Etsy ... Click HERE!

Dollmaker's Journey

March 2009 Issue 88

Back to... Archives

Dream ~ Imagine ~ Create ~ Grow ~ Believe ~ Magic
At we help your creative dreams come true.

March 2009 Issue 88

Copyright 2009 by Dollmakers Journey

Dollmakers 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 Dollmaking Friends,

Did you know March is WORLD BABY DOLL MONTH!  No kidding - and we're celebrating it by being one of the sponsors of the CLOTH BABY DOLL CHALLENGE.  You can find out all about this fun contest here -

In February I wrote an article about how I solved a challenge and created Nambi, a Ugandan Jungle Elf sitting on a mushroom knitting fairy wings out of spider silk, dewdrops, and dragon scales. Due to many requests, I finally had her photographed. You can see her at  It is amazing what you can do with Paverpol, paper plates, and a dressmaker's dummy.

Bonnie and Mary Ann


In honor of WORLD BABY DOLL MONTH you'll find everything in our CHILDREN/BABIES category 20% off all month long.  When is the last time you had the pleasure of making a beautiful baby doll?


Q: What is the only continent that doesn't have an ACTIVE volcano?

A:  Australia.  Some of you answered Antarctica, but it has at least 4 active volcanoes. Better luck next time.

Congratulations to Carolynne White from Inkster, Michigan. Your name was selected at random from all of the correct quiz entries, and you will receive a $10 gift certificate from Dollmakers Journey. Watch for your name in a coming month!


Q: What is the longest word that can be made using the letters only on one row of the computer keyboard?

Everyone who emails in the correct answers by April 15th will be entered into a drawing for a $10 gift certificate to Dollmakers Journey. The winner will be announced in the next newsletter. Email your answers to Bonnie at  Put March Quiz in subject box. Please include your full name and where you live (state/country) in your email. NOTE: Several times in the past a winner was
drawn with no name or state/country included. When that happens we have to draw again. So please, make sure you include this information with your answer.


If you like to knit or crochet for fun or charity, join this yahoo group and get some amazing free patterns. Check the FILES section to see all the patterns.
CORALINE TRIVIA from Patti LaValley

Last month I shared a website for the designer of the miniature custom knit sweaters that Coraline wears in a movie by that name. Patti shared some more trivia I thought you might enjoy.

        Coraline is a 10" multi-jointed figure with silicon skin. Her mini wardrobe was painstakingly designed just for her. Hot lights, perspiration, handling and what the animators had for lunch wear the costumes out. Chalk removes the oils and stains without damaging color.
        Hair is a stop-motion animator's nightmare as flyaway strands appear to be boiling on film. After trial and error they developed a technique of layering fine wires with synthetic hair to give Caroline's hairdo lifelike movement.
        The detailed animation requires as many as 24 faces for a single second of film.  Coreline's face was divided in half so that her eyes and her mouth expressions could be changed separately. The line was digitally erased later.
        Her mouth movements were matched to the dialogue recorded by Dakota Fanning.
Althea Crome of Indiana knit her starry sweater and teensy striped five-finger gloves with needles not much thicker than a human hair. It took her 206 months to knit the conceptual sweaters. (See her works at
        Coraline could not wear Barbie hand-me-downs. Designers tried. So her jeans were made from chambray fabric that looks like rugged denim.  Regular sewing machine with the finest needle available created the topstitching on jeans. Pinheads served as metal studs.
        Silicon boots were formed to fit the puppet's flexible metal skeleton feet, which bend when she walks. Other shoes were made of vintage leather gloves which had the right thickness and worn look.


Q: Can you help me find a pattern for a life-sized cloth doll - comical - a bathing beauty for a claw-foot tub display? I am a kitchen/bath designer and would like to create or possibly purchase such a doll to use in a show window or other displays.  (This has to be reasonably tasteful!)
A:  We have a life-size comical couple by Julie McCullough called Mildred and the Professor that might work. Mildred is 5' 6" tall. You can see them at:  You could dress the doll any way you want.  Because they are seated, I think they would pose nicely in a bathtub.
There is also a pattern for a doll that is 5' 4" tall called the Woven Woman available from Timberpond Press.  She stands, and has PVC pipes in her legs, so might be harder to pose. They also have Victorian undergarments that could be adapted to a swimsuit, or you could buy her a modern suit.  She wears size 6.  You can see this pattern at:  If that link doesn't work, go to and click on Making Memories dolls to see her and her male companion. 
By Gloria "Mimi" Winer and Judi Ward

Diane Sahakian wrote to FOCD: I thought I would try Gutterman thread for sewing but it keeps breaking. Is the thread old? Why can't you use Gutterman thread for needle sculpting if you get a good spool that doesn't keep breaking?  Can you use nylon thread for needlesculpting?  What would you recommend?

Mimi responds: Gutterman is just fine for machine sewing. The short staple does not interfere with the life of the garment.  The seams will not fall apart. Gutterman is far superior to Coats and Clark. Most computerized machines will not function well with C&C because of the way it is wound on the spool. It must feed horizontally on some machines and the slits in the bottom of the spool to hold the thread on the spool until it is opened for the first time will catch the thread as it is used on a horizontal spindle and not only break the thread but often break the needle. If your machine has a vertical spindle, Coats and Clark is fine to use. It is also a short staple but I think some of the company's newer threads are stronger than the older ones.  I have not used anything but Gutterman or Mettler for about 15 years.

Guttterman is not strong enough for needle-modeling. It is necessary to pull stitches for long distances and to pull rather tightly for some stitches. This will break the thread. Because of the short staples it is
not as strong as the Mettler. I use Gutterman all the time for machine sewing, never had a problem.

All thread will dry out over time. If you have thread that is very dry, it breaks easily. It can be re-hydrated; soak it in a pan of water for awhile, then allow to dry for several days out of the sun. Sunlight will rot most thread but it has to sit in the sun for weeks or months. Silk thread is especially sensitive to sunlight.

Many threads are specialty threads and are not used for everyday sewing.

Other threads I use are nylon drapery thread usually found in draper shops, or wholesale distributors who supply these shops. I was gifted, by a wonderful friend, many years with a dozen huge spools, each one
over 5,000 yards of drapery thread, I still have half of them and I use them in all my classes as well as for studio work. I use it to sew body parts together. Drapery thread is finer than and as strong as the heavier upholstery thread.  It is too heavy for delicate facial needle modeling, but works well for body needle modeling, especially on larger dolls.

I recently discovered a wonderful fine nylon thread for facial needle-modeling. It is as fine as single ply nylon but has several plies...It comes on a small 500 meter cone. I found it from a bead vendor at CDAA several years ago when I taught there.  The shop had their own label and refuses to sell wholesale or to share the source.  I bought three spools and passed two of them to friends who owned bead shops so they could source them. Both these ladies attended all the large bead conventions and wholesale shows...No one was able to source it. The shop will discount a bit when I buy 12 spools so I will share the
information with you. However, if you are new to needle modeling faces, DO NOT use it until you are more experienced. The thread is so fine it will allow many stitches in the same area without ugly thread build-up and does not break easily, but it will allow you to pull the stitches too tight and you will wind up with ugly faces and piggy noses.

The thread comes from:
4 Sirius Beaders
51 Ball St
Paris, ON N3L 1X6 Canada

The thread label reads: 744-23013 $6.80 /spool (Canadian)
Beading thread 500 meters white

(For 12 spools I got a 10% discount, plus shipping. The amount of the credit card charge was $77.56 US. The envelope shows a postal fee for air mail as $8.50 Ca)
One spool still had the bar-code on the label. Jim looked it up on line and discovered the manufacturers website is John but I was not able to discover who their distributors were.  I needed to order
thousands of spools to get it from the manufacturer.

When any thread begins to twist and tangle and knotting while hand stitching there are a couple of things you can do about it; this is an old embroidery trick, just let the needle dangle the thread will untwist itself in a moment and you can begin to stitch again..With needle modeling the needle will fall off the thread and get lost on the floor, simply push the needle on the thread back up to the project and then let the thread dangle until it uncurls itself.

When the thread gets low on the spool it will curls more than when it was a new spool, then "Thread Heaven" comes to the rescue. Thread Heaven comes in a tiny blue box and is available at and in bead shops. It is a silicone based product. You use it by simply running the length of thread under your thumb over the surface of the stuff....wipe off the excess with your fingers, Viola, no more tangles.

I expect Sewers Aid works well too, but it is liquid and I am leery of getting a spot on the dolls face... sewers aid is liquid silicone. I have another use for Sewers Aid. I do use it on the spool of thread,
especially some metallics, when doing free motion machine embroidery. It works great when gluing hair on a doll's head.  I cover chopsticks or Popsicle sticks (often called craft sticks) with Sewers Aid and wipe off the excess. It seeps into the wood. When I have to hold the glue end of mohair or a clump of same in place for a moment until it tacks, the silicone covered stick will do the job without sticking to the glue.  Eventually, if it's a large head, the glue will begin to stick to the stick. It rubs right off. Then I add a bit more silicone. I usually have several sticks ready so I don't have to stop in the middle to prepare a new one.

Judi Ward added this information:  Gutterman thread is a short staple thread. I use it for machine stitching but NEVER use it for needle-modeling a face. If you hold a strand of Gutterman up to your eye and look carefully, it is loaded with short little fuzzies. It has always been that way, but seems to be just fine for machine work. Your Gutterman thread could be old, but thread has to be very very old to be rotten.

I use Swiss Metrosene 100% polyester for facial needle modeling when I teach   I tried using a wonderful single strand nylon, very thin and very strong that I found in Toronto, It works great for my faces but I had a disaster with it in a class two years ago when I allowed a class of students to use it. I loved it so and wanted to share it, Well, there are always a few students that don't get it, but when the entire class
can't get it, it is the teacher's fault,

I couldn't sleep until the wee hours that night trying to figure what I was doing wrong and when I finally awoke I knew. I had allowed them to use a strong thread that let them pull the stitches too tight, ruining
their faces. All had little Miss Piggy faces and no one was happy. A huge lesson for me. I made sure they were a bit happier by the time the event was over, but it's a lesson I will never forget. I make sure every student has a spool of Swiss Metrosene. I bring it with me.  It is very rare that a student breaks a thread while learning. It teaches them not to pull the stitches too tight. They are very careful with it.

Polyester Swiss Metrosene is difficult to find. Usually quilt shops carry cotton and silk, but not poly.

EDITOR'S NOTE:  I saw this website a few years ago, and it made me really choosy about the threads I use. My Bernina dealer told me that inferior thread leaves lots of lint inside the machine, and if not cleaned out often can damage the motor. A picture is worth a thousand words!

Another website has lots of information about needle size and type, thread, tension, presser feet, and has great tutorials on technical things that make your sewing machine operate smoothly.


Our friend Skipp Poulton has been struggling to get his fingers turned and sent an envelope full of failed attempts for our critique.  He was using a cotton knit that we thought was probably too thick a fabric for slim fingers.  He called to say he had an Aha Moment while doing his laundry.  He realized he had not pre-washed his fabric.  We agreed that pre-washing and softening a fabric should make finger turning easier.  We also sent him a selection of different fabrics to try and he had great success with the Dolskin.  Theres no denying it trial and error are an important part of the journey and we applaud Skipps perseverance. We were thrilled when he called today to report he had just breezed through four sets of arms!

What have you struggled with and how did you conquer it? E-mail Bonnie at


Stephanie Novatski photographed some Hoffman Doll Winners from 2008

May 15, 2009 Cloth Baby Doll Challenge
Internet Challenge open to dollmakers worldwide
For more information go to:
** Updated Information...  Animal Baby Doll Category Added!  Other updates will be posted on the challenge page.

2009 All Dolled Up: Beaded Art Doll Competition
Due date: August 31, 2009
Theme: Earthen Mother
Official rules posted here:

September 4-7, 2009 DragonCon Art Show and Convention
Atlanta, Georgia
To enter the juried show with dolls that are SciFi or fantasy themed, apply by April 15.
Information and applications for the show can be found here

October 15-18, 2009 Treasures of the Gypsy Challenge
Houston, Texas
The theme this year is "The Enchanted Gypsy." Send $20 to Pamela Armas to receive your challenge packet of Gypsy fabric and trims. This includes the entry fee and shipping. All dolls to be exhibited at the Houston Quilt Festival!
For more info:
For packet send $20 to: Treasures of the Gypsy PO Box 748 Mountainair, NM 87036


April 25, 2009 Calgary Doll Club Doll Teddy and Toy Sale
Acadia Recreation Centre, 240-90 Ave. S. E., Calgary Alberta, Canada
Time: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

April 30 - May 3, 2009 - Artistic Figures in Cloth
Columbus, Ohio
For information go to

April 30 - May 3, 2009 - Canadian Doll Artists Association 10th Anniversary Conference
Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
For information email
OR visit their website at

May 21 23, 2009 Fiber Arts Fiesta 2009
Albuquerque, New Mexico

May 28 - June 1, 2009 Creations in Fiber, Inc. Doll Conference
Albuquerque, New Mexico

June 11 - 14, 2009 - Figurative Artists Consortium Conference
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Check out their website at

July 11 - 15, 2009 - National Doll Festival
Atlanta, Georgia
Holiday Inn Select Capitol Conference Center
Free shuttle bus to Marriott Marquis
Email for further information

July 12 17, 2009 - UFDC (United Federation of Doll Clubs) National Convention
Atlanta, Georgia (Marriott Marquis in downtown Atlanta)

July 11 12, 2009 - ODACA (Original Doll Artists Council of America) National Convention
Atlanta, Georgia (Marriott Marquis in downtown Atlanta)

July 30 August 2, 2009 Enchanted Doll Artists Conference
Albuquerque, New Mexico

September 8-13, 2009 - NIADA (National Institute of American Doll Artists) National Convention
Arromont, Tennessee
For more information go to

September 25-26, 2009 California Regional Doll Festival
Millbrae, California (by San Francisco Airport)
For more information contact the Lowmans at or call (831) 438-5349

October 8-12, 2009 The East Coast Art Retreat
Crowne Plaza, Cromwell, Connecticut

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


Barb Keeling recommended this fantastic website:
It is full of fairies, coloring, craft projects, unicorns, dragons, vampires, boxes, etc. Give your creative child a day of fun. Grab some colored pencils, crayons, markers, and enjoy!

A free online course "Marketing Art Dolls in Tough Times" is being offered by Jack Johnston. He says:
"If you have had slower than normal sales, you may wish to view my video on Marketing Artdolls. One of the first things everyone does when we have a recession is reduce spending. The second thing they do is stop advertising. This can be a colossal mistake in judgment. The economy thrives when people spend money and it falters when we don't, it is really that simple. I'm not suggesting that you spend money unwisely, but there are some very intelligent ways to market your dolls in order to make money. It is important to clearly understand how, when, and where to market your dolls. I've produced a 90 minute DVD explaining those methods. I cover six ways to market your dolls: in shows, direct mail, Internet, paper media, sales and websites. Once you've watched the video you may call me personally for individual guidance."

"The course will be held on Monday the 6th of April at 6:00 P.M. MST, that is 8:00 on the East Coast and 5:00 on the West Coast. You may join me online by going to and clicking on the "Chat Line". You must write me by email or call me toll free at 800-290-9998 to receive the password. We will be using the DVD, Marketing Artdolls with Jack Johnston as our syllabus. If you don't already have the DVD you may purchase it for $24.95 (that's 50% off!) and if you want to take the course and you really can't afford the video, call me and I will find a way to get you a copy. I promise never to turn away a person who wants to learn. You may order it and sign up for the online Marketing course at or by calling 800-290-9998 and speaking with me personally."


Check out our new instructional DVD called "The World of the Doll Artist". It features world-renowned artists Olga Roehl, Shelly Thornton, Gail Lackey, Nancy Wiley, Jodi and Richard Creager, Reina Mia Brill and more as they discuss their inspiration, approach to craft, and design techniques. Viewers will get a first look at the latest work of these amazing artisans through up-close and vivid photography. This DVD is available through Dollmaker's Journey at
You can see a sneak preview at

Since we began our business more than 10 years ago we have kept very closely to our Art Doll focus.  We have decided that the time has come for us to expand our pattern lines to include a larger variety of doll making styles. To inaugurate this effort we are delighted to welcome MAUREEN MILLS of Sweet
Meadows Farm to our Dollmakers Journey family of designers.  We fell in love with her whimsical patterns and the gentle nature of her dolls.  We are starting off with a selection of Raggedys, animals and a few comical characters for your creative enjoyment.  Do stop by and treat yourself to one of her terrific patterns -

We are very pleased to welcome another talented designer with Raggedy style dolls to our site GINI SIMPSON of Cat and the Fiddle Designs.  We are starting out with 10 of her most popular designs and will soon add more.  Stop by and take a look at her fanciful patterns youll find several that are particularly perfect for the Easter Season.

Speaking of Raggedys - we have just added two new categories - RAGGEDYS and VINTAGE that we'll be adding to in the coming weeks.

Come meet "Butterscotch" the second doll in SHERRY GOSHON'S Sweet Fairy series.  This one is too yummy to pass up!

KAREN SHIFTON is treating us to two wonderful new patterns. "Doll Pocket" is a beautiful and versatile
necklace purse that can hold a variety of items and "Water Lily" is an enchanting stump doll that has detailed instruction for making lovely, expressive hands.

All decked out in dramatic black and white, "Lady Ascot" is a smashing new stump doll pattern from JUDITH PRIOR that includes directions for her accessories.

PATTI LAVALLEY has just released her newest fairy Laureli who has some downright spectacular wings you are going to want to make.

"Melinda" and "Lil Ladies Within My Soul" are two great new offerings from FRAN PARRIGAN MEEHAN.  Be sure to stop by and check them out.

If you are looking for a quick, easy and fun doll that can sit comfortably on a computer or shelf, take a look at MARY KOCHEVAR'S "Posing Posey."


Natalie Hamade created a fairy using Patti Culea's latest book, "Creative Cloth Explorations" (available at She documented the process and posted a tutorial on her blog at

You won't believe what the Dude and Doll for All Seasons are doing: First was a couple created by Celia Sullivan. She writes: MEMORIES (remembering sixty years of marriage)
This loving elderly couple is completely hand-made by the artist, with the exception of the bench and their glasses.   Both figures are made of cloth, with general and facial needlesculpting.  Their faces were drawn by the artist. The hair on both is Tibetan lamb's wool, needle felted onto the head and beard.  All clothing and the shoes are also hand-made by the artist.

Lee Fertitta had a special request from a bride-to-be. She wanted the reluctant Dude dragged to the altar by his hair. The bride doll was made from a pattern by Camille C.S. Pratt in July 2008 Doll Crafter and Costuming.  Lee dressed the Dude in a tuxedo, sat him on his rear end, and the results are here:

Of course, you can order both the Dude and Doll for All Seasons patterns at Dollmaker's Journey. Go to  In the search box click on Basic Bodies to see both, and Costuming to see many different outfits for both the Doll and Dude.


"I have a great idea for those of you who hate to go out and grocery shop...I HATE it so I do it all online. I can shop for 2 weeks in 20 minutes!!!!!    Here I use Giant Peapod and I know Safeway does it too.   Saves me time and money...More left for dolls!


Over in our HAIR DEPARTMENT weve just added seven lovely colors of straight mohair in 1 yard lengths and will be adding more.

We are happy to report that the Aluminum Sculpting Wire, Mini Stuffing Forks and Ethnic Fabrics #1 and #2 are all back in stock. and


Bonnie has been busy visiting and speaking at different churches in her area. (There were seven this month and more in April). Nambi joins her everywhere she goes. Lots of people are becoming interested in dolls after seeing her Ugandan elf. However, it backfired. Because she can create dolls, people think she can create anything. She has been asked to create giant puppet heads (similar to those at Disney World or the Macy's Parade) to be worn by humans dressed in costumes at a charity picnic this summer. If you purchase them, they cost over $600. Of course, because it is a charity, they want them made for little or no cost. Does anyone have any ideas how to accomplish this? So far she has thought of Paverpol, muslin, balloons, and tomato cages. HELP!

Several weeks ago Mary Ann heard about an estate sale of a womans Stash that was being held as a fund raiser at a Colonial Farm Park here in the Washington DC area. (Its actually on the other side of the fence of the CIA Headquarters!)  It was a beautiful 70 degree day after having 6 of snow several days earlier.  Mak and Jim thought it was a perfect day for an outing.  Jim had fun photographing the pigs and geese while Mary Ann had a ball rummaging through mountains of fabric scraps, filling up bags for $1 each.  They said that the woman had lived on a property with two houses, living in one and storing her stash in the other!  She had an amazing amount of trims, accessories, a phenomenal book collection and so much more.  You could just tell that all of the women there were loving the treasures they found and imaging wonderful new uses for them.  What a fabulous way to dispose of an extraordinary stash.  I guess we all need to think about what will happen to our own and let our loved ones know what should be done with them.  Wed certainly love to hear your ideas about it!


You won't believe what Willard Wigan can sculpt in the eye of a regular sewing needle. (And you thought you were into miniatures making dolls!) Imagine an elephant created from 1/4 of a grain of sand or Charlie Chaplin balanced on an eyelash. His paintbrush is a hair from the back of a fly. Check out "Art in the eye of a needle" at:

Patti LaValley shared this OT video she took of a friend's son who competed and won at the Windless Kite Competition in Long Beach, Washington this month. I didn't even know indoor kite flying was possible!

Wed love to hear your thoughts about our Customer Connection newsletter.

Contact the editor Bonnie B. Lewis 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 Dollmakers Journey!  All we ask is that you forward it intact, with all the subscription information included.

Copyright 2009 Dollmakers Journey

Have you signed up for our *Customer Connection* yet?

It's FREE!!!

If not, simply enter your e-mail address below and click "Join Now!"


Back to... Archives
Have you signed up for our "Customer Connection" yet?

Subscribe to receive News and Updates
from Dollmaker's Journey!


Dollmaker's Journey

© 1999-2019, Dollmaker's Journey
All rights reserved.
Privacy and Security Statement

Etsy Shop
PDF Downloads!

A Doll Net Member Site 
by the Internet Visions Company.