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Dollmaker's Journey

April 2009 Issue 89

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

April 2009 Issue 89

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,

Last month Gloria "Mimi" Winer answered a lot of different question on FOCD (Friends of Cloth Dolls). Readers were frantically searching past digests for her gems of wisdom.  I received her permission to sort them into topics and include some of her answers in future editions of the Customer Connection Newsletter. I have also included relevant comments from other dollmakers. The first such article appeared in the March edition, and was all about choosing suitable threads for sewing and sculpting. This month we will cover ideas on how to write your own original doll pattern. Also check out our Customer Connection archives for July 2002 for an article called "Pattern Writing 101" by Bonnie Lewis and Mary Ann Kaahanui for more ideas.

Bonnie and Mary Ann


The FAIRIES are once again a-flutter here at Dollmakers Journey. Spring has sprung in the Northern Hemisphere and you guessed it our huge selection of FAIRY patterns are 20% off for the entire month of APRIL. Be sure to stock up!


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

A: I got several interesting answers, and all were included in the drawing. The longest word using the top row of letters is RUPTUREWORT (11 letters) which is a plant of the family Caryophyllaceae growing in North America and Europe and believed to have diuretic properties. A close runner-up using that same row is TYPEWRITER (10 letters). Actually, if you searched the internet, typewriter is the answer most commonly found. The longest word using the middle row of the keyboard is SHAKALSHAS (also 10 letters), the plural of Shakalsha, a people emigrating from Phrygia and colonizing Sicily in early times.   
Congratulations to Deb Stukenborg from Indianapolis, Indiana. 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: Yabusame is a sixth-century Japanese samurai art practiced from horseback. What sort of athletic endeavor is this?

Everyone who emails in the correct answers by May 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 April 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.


This year our challenge is for all of you to learn a new skill. Many fun wigs for dolls can be knit or crocheted using Fun Fur yarn. In fact, several of our Doll for All Seasons patterns use just this skill, including how to knit stockings for our Irish Colleen and hair (Akiko, the Bunny Girl and Miss Independence) along with crocheted hair for Mother Earth and Fire in our Elemental Pattern.  For anyone who wishes to knit items for charity but doesn't know how to knit, go to  It has videos for everything connected with knitting and is very easy to follow. If you wish to crochet, this link has many videos with step-by-step tutorials.

Next check out these free patterns for darling gifts for Easter, Halloween, and just for fun. It includes snowmen, rainbow babies, and tea party treats.

A fifteen-year old boy in my community was inspired by an article about Krochet Kids International ( where teenage boys taught themselves how to crochet. They collected donations of yarn and crochet hooks and raised money to travel to Uganda to teach poverty-stricken women how to crochet caps which they sell in the United States to raise money for the villagers there. Jace Fugate, with the help of his mother, created this pattern to be used for other charity projects in your local community. This cap can be made with many different types of yarn, and is a great way to use up leftover scraps. It is a loose crochet pattern than can be worn both summer and winter. He has taught other boys in his high school to crochet, and many can be seen sporting these unique hats.

Boy's Crocheted Hat

Materials: 4 ply yarn, size H crochet hook

Size:   Fits teenage boy to adult

Row 1:  Chain (ch) 5, slip stitch (sl st) in fifth chain from hook.
Row 2:  Ch 2, 9 double crochets (dc) in ring, sl st in top of ch 2. (9 dc)
Row 3:  Ch 2, 2 dc in each dc, sl st in top of ch 2. (18 dc)
Row 4:  Ch 2, (2 dc in next 2 dc, one dc in next dc) 6 times, sl st in top of ch 2. (30 dc)
Row 5:  Ch 2, (2 dc in next 2 dc, one dc in next dc) 9 times, dc in next 3 dc, sl st in top of ch 2.
        (48 dc)
Row 6:  Ch 2, (2 dc in next dc, one dc in next 3 dc) 12 times, sl st in top of ch 2. (60 dc)
Row 7:  Ch 2, (2 dc in next dc, one dc in next 5 dc) 10 times, sl st in top of ch 2. (70 dc)
Row 8:  Ch 2, (skip 1 dc, dc in next dc) repeat for entire row. (35 dc) This gives a decorative row
        with holes spaced evenly around. If desired, you can change the color of yarn for this
        row and continue with new color to create a stripe.
Row 9:  Ch 2, dc in each "hole" and dc around entire row. (70 dc)
Rows 10-14:     Ch 2, dc in each dc around entire row. (70 dc)
Row 15: Ch 2, sc in each dc around entire row. Fasten off.

One of our designers, Claire Ellen, has created an unusual pattern called Accoutrement for Mannikins, Ladykins, and Kiddikins. Enjoy 27 pages of sloper patterns and directions designed to fit Ladykin, Mannikin, and Kiddikins basic doll bodies. Create period costumes complete with undergarments for all three patterns.
Clair Ellen writes: "Further explanation: The Accoutrement patterns were created as a "Sloper", which was originally used by dress designers, and is intended as a basis for future designs. All my examples were made from muslin, batiste, etc. I purchase a high thread count, much washed sheet from a thrift store which gives me yards of soft fabric for experimenting. None of my basic patterns has lace, ribbon, or other embellishments leaving those to the imagination of the user. This does not lead to a photo-op for the cover. All patterns are so basic and simple that they are self-explanatory upon viewing. My idea was that hundreds of uses could be derived from this one group of "Sloper" patterns, piquing the imagination, rather than leading down a straight and narrow path. I included some "period" underwear to perhaps guide to the joys of research for costuming."

NOTE: These multi-use slopers will fit her 19" male, 18" female, and 12" child dolls.


Q: I am looking for a punch that makes really nice holes in feltJust a plain round hole of the size consistent with cloth doll construction. If you know of something like this, I'd appreciate knowing where to go to buy one.

A: Try a leather punch. We sell one that makes tiny 1/16" holes perfect for shoes at Dollmaker's Journey. Check it out.
If you Google "Leather punch tool" you will find a nice selection and may even be able to get one in a local hardware store.  We both use the revolving punch that has a selection of hole sizes.  One tip, when you insert your leather or felt into the punch put a piece of thin cardboard underneath it.  It will make the job so much easier. Leather punches make holes up to 1/2". For larger circles of felt (e.g. 1") draw 1" circles (trace around a coin for perfect circles or use a circle template from an office supply store) on a piece of freezer paper, iron it onto the felt, and then cut out your circles. The freezer paper will peel off, leaving perfect 1" circles.
Q: Are you familiar with a mold making compound called Alumilite? If so, can you tell me if it is fairly easy to use and is it fairly safe? From what I have read it's non toxic.
A: I have heard of this product, but have never used it.  It sounds ideal for casting small doll accessories.  I did a search on and found hundreds of sites with information about it.  Here is the main company with information on how to use it.
Just out of curiosity, if any of you have used this product, what did you make? Was it successful? Please send results to and I will relate your experiments in a future Customer Connection Newsletter.

Q:  Why is it people seem to prefer smaller dolls to the bigger ones? Am I the only person who loves big dolls?

A: I think people like smaller dolls because they are easier to display in a home.  They can fit in a china cabinet or on a shelf more easily.  When I used to make porcelain dolls I loved the 24" size, but the millettes sold better (dolls about 9-1/2" to 11" high).  A lot of doll collectors have so many dolls they only have room left for small dolls.
Q: Once you make a cloth doll, and you display it, how do you keep it clean? They do get dust on them, so how am I supposed to clean them - especially the hair?

A: As far as cleaning them, I use a feather duster made of ostrich feathers, which seem to remove most of the dust and doesn't seem to bother their hair styles.  I have found a good feather duster removes lots of dust and dirt, and you don't need special sprays or polish to keep your home clean.  I got my feather duster at, and it is the best purchase I have ever made.  I also have miniature attachments for my vacuum cleaner that help remove dust. These are also great for removing dust from computer keyboards and sewing machines.  Also, canned air seems to work well, blowing dust away from the dolls.  (However, never use canned air to clean a sewing machine motor.) If you seal their faces with Krylon Workable Fixative spray after painting them, it helps to keep the face clean.  You can also Scotch Guard the doll body to help eliminate stains and dirt after the doll is completed.  Some people put clear dust covers over their dolls, or put them in glass cabinets or cases, but I feel that cloth dolls are meant to be touched and held, so I don't use them.  I think fabric (especially natural fibers) need to breathe.  One of my daughters wore my wedding dress when she got married, which has just been hanging in my closet for years.  When we brought it to the dry cleaners to have it cleaned before the wedding, he was amazed it was so white and in perfect condition.  He said if it had been kept in a plastic bag it would have deteriorated over time and yellowed.  Two of my daughters (who know better than their mom) had their wedding dresses hermetically sealed by a dry cleaner after the wedding in a box.  This process cost over $100, and although you can see part of the bodice of the dress through a plastic window, no one can ever try on the dress, or enjoy looking at it, without breaking the seal.  I think my wedding dress, which was tried on by every one of my daughters, worn by at least three brides, been in several fashion shows, and even been used for dress up, has had more love and use.  I tend to treat dolls the same way, leaving them on display for grandchildren to love.
By Gloria "Mimi" Winer and Judi Wellnitz (from Doll Street)

Ree from FOCD wrote: "I was wondering if anyone knew of any resources out on the web to help someone get a pattern together for sale. I have been asked several times if I offered patterns for some of my dolls and I have no idea how to go about putting one together in a professional matter. I know for most everyone else here, it's more than likely an easy thing, but I am truly baffled. I am self taught so honestly have no idea what all the correct terminology for sewing is and such, and I have never tried to draw out my sculpting methods. I have done the copyright for my dolls so am familiar with that, but is there something different I have to do to copyright a pattern for sale?"

Mimi responds - Here is how I write my patterns:

Make the doll again, from scratch. talk your way through each step into a tape recorder, this is so that when you transcribe your words you will not forget a simple step that you are so used to you don't even think about it but could meant the difference between success or failure to the person trying to make the doll. Then include as many photographs or drawings as you can. The more the better. Most creative persons are very visual and words are more difficult to understand than pictures.

Next, ask a friend or two to test the pattern and instructions without you being present. Provide the fabric you used to design the doll and ask them to write down questions or let you know where the directions
needed further clarification.

This takes time, but good patterns will guarantee good referrals and a good customer base.  When you are happy with your pattern, send a free copy to Mary Ann at Dollmaker's Journey. If she will sell them for you, she pays very quickly and their designers get a discount on all purchases...a win-win way to do business.

Judi adds - I think Gloria covered this really well.  But on the technical side, I found a book that although focused on quilting was very helpful regarding the layout and design of writing patterns.  It has a lot of focus on marketing - particularly the big distributors (which you don't see a lot of in the doll world).  It is called Publish Your Patterns! How to Write, Print, and Market Your Designs.  I would say that about 50% of the book didn't apply to what I wanted to do.  I'd buy it again though.

If you are planning on printing the patterns (rather than instant download) and want to use black/white illustrations rather than photographs to keep the costs down, I have a tutorial on how to turn your photos into decent illustrations at my blog.  I can't draw to save my life!

I always put in a paragraph with basics too - about stitch length and turning/pivoting on curves, etc.  Your pattern might be the first doll that someone will attempt - so you have to tell them the tricks of the trade
(abbreviated)!  I assume they know nothing. 

Mary Ann sticks in her 2 cents I make a general outline for each pattern on a page that has two columns.  First I list the order in which the doll should be constructed that includes any special details.  For example:
I.      Body Construction
A.      Body
1.      Pieces to Cut
2.      Front construction
3.      Sew front to back
4.      Stuff
5.      Sculpting abdomen
6.      Sculpting breasts

Then on to arms, legs, head, face painting, costuming and accessories.  Following that I list all of the supplies needed and lastly I make a list of all the pattern pieces that will be included so I dont forget any!  This document becomes an invaluable tool and checklist.  The first one is the most time consuming to write.  When it is time to do the next pattern, all I need to do is pull out the previous outline and revise it.

From a pattern sellers point of view, it is important that you use an easy to read font.  Take a paragraph you have written and copy it into a document 5 or 6 times.  Put each paragraph in a different font and see which one your eye is drawn to first.  Save the fancy, scrolly, artsy fartsy lettering for titles and headings.  Bonnie and I use the font called Comic Sans on all of our patterns.  There is a lot of space around the letters making them very easy to read.  Having your illustrations on the same page as the written instruction is preferred.  Be sure to print the directions on both sides of the paper to keep the weight and the thickness of the pattern to a minimum.  Pattern pieces should be on just one side of the paper. The most important piece of information about the doll that should be on your cover THE SIZE!  There is world of difference between a 12 doll and one that is 24.

You can find out more about Judi at and "Mimi" Dollmaker's Paradise site is


"Wealth isn't always measured in dollar signs. We each have time, talent and creativity, all of which can be powerful forces for positive change. Share your blessings in whatever form they come and to whatever level you have been blessed."

--Jon M. Huntsman, philanthropist and founder with his wife, Karen, of the Huntsman Cancer Institute, from his book Winners Never Cheat: Everyday Values We Learned as Children (But May Have Forgotten)


May 15, 2009 Cloth Baby Doll Challenge
Internet Challenge open to dollmakers worldwide
For more information go to:
** Updated Information...  Purchased clothing is Ok as longs as it is indicated in the doll description.  Check out the category in the Baby Doll Challenge - "Baby Animals and Baby Critters (anything from bugs to trolls to ???)"  This will be a separate category with its own prizes.  Judi Ward is giving as a prize from a random drawing of all of the entries in the Animal and Critter category, a "Get A Head" kit for making a Molly Monkey. The prize will be a "fully finished head" and then all of the needed fabrics and joint buttons and cord to make the entire Molly. Clothing fabrics and shoes not included. Sometimes the head is the hard part so that will be done for you. Even if you don't plan to enter you need to check out Baby Molly Monkey 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

August 15, 2009 Day With Dolls
Babylon, New York

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


Many thanks to the generous KATE ERBACH for contributing her delightful "Hug-O-Saurus" to our "Free Projects" section.  Be sure to stop by and print out this great FREE pattern.

Four free doll patterns from Debbi Bain including male and female gypsy, Cinderella ballerina and fairy.

1940s newspaper doll free vintage pattern courtesy of Hawk Crossing. Click on doll pattern link.

Free Pattern from Judi's Dolls - Bruce the Banana! Check out Molly Monkey's newest toy.

From Judi Ward Invisible Jointing Directions, a link to Mimi Kirchner's jointing tutorial, and a You Tube Video are now on her site and FREE for everyone to learn.  Check out our latest movie star at

Three free tutorials from Judi Ward on "Let's Make a Baby", "Making Baby Hands" and "Easter Baby" These techniques work well for lots of dolls, not just babies. They are the last 3 albums on this website.     


We're adding four more wonderful patterns by MAUREEN MILLS of Sweet Meadows Farm. Stop by and take a peek at "Best Friends," Bunny Girls," "Spring Fling" and "Too Many Cats." You are guaranteed to have fun making any one of MAUREEN'S terrific designs.

"Parcival" is the newest dragon from The Dragon Charmer herself - JENNIFER CARSON - and he's a cutie. We also have her very delightful "Fairie Tiptoes" that includes both a 24" and 14" versions of fully jointed fairies.

"Moonbeam," "Hippity Hoppity Raggedy," "Making Mud Pies" and "Peek-A- Boo" are the newest offerings from GINI SIMPSON of Cat and the Fiddle Designs and they are all enchanting.


First published in 1921, Drusilla and Her Dolls by Belle Bacon Bond, ISBN 9781557095985, is the story of a little girl growing up in the 1860s.  An only child, Drusilla made playfellows of her doll collection.  Drusilla and Her Dolls is a loving tribute to the author's mother a woman wise enough to honor the sacred spaces of childhood and the holy spirit of her child's originality.  Drusilla's gentle recounting of her adventures has entranced five generations.  Now, the republication of this delightful book makes it available for many generations to come. You can find it at many bookstores. Just do an internet search at


Customer Janet Schultz tipped us off to all the fun she was having with the new Clover QUICK YO-YO MAKERS and we thought they'd be just perfect for lots of embellishments.  We've stocked up with 3 different sizes for regular Yo-Yos PLUS one that makes a heart shape and one that makes a beautiful flower shape.  You've got to check these handy gadgets out!

We've also added a PEN STYLE NEEDLE FELTING TOOL that can be used with 1-3 needles at a time - a perfect implement for felting great hair styles on your dolls and more!

You can now find the wildly popular MIRACLE FABRIC SHEETS in our Supply Department.  There is no limit to what you can create with these paper backed 100% cotton sheets and an inkjet printer.

More and more patterns are calling for Cheese Cloth for costuming.  Be sure to pick up a package of this versatile fabric to keep on hand.

The BUTTON & CARPET THREAD is back in stock in Natural and Black.  The FREEZER PAPER SHEETS, 6.25" and 10" HEMOSTATS have arrived as well.

FABRIC - We've just added a new color of Wool Blend Felt - it's called "Blush." And, the "Champaign" is back in stock. Our fabric suppliers are telling us that they'll be able to send all the fabric we have waiting
for VERY, VERY SOON. Let's all keep our fingers crossed.

NEEDLES/CRYSTAL LACQUER - The Size 7 John James Darners and the Crystal Lacquer 4 oz. Refills are back in stock.

FUR Distinctive Fabric has fantastic furs, wonderful quality and a great variety


WATCHMAKER CASES are small metal cases with clear glass lids that jewelers use to store gems, watch movements and jewelers findings. They are also perfect for storing beads, buttons, snaps, and tiny doll accessories. Popular sizes are 33mm, 41mm, 48 mm, 53 mm, and 70 mm. We don't currently sell them, but here are some places that do.
OR do a search on for many other sources


After speaking in seven different congregations in one month, Bonnie and her husband are driving to Utah for their son's graduation from BYU Law School. They will then load their van with all his accumulated "stuff" and bring him back to Virginia to take the bar exam and begin work.

After not sewing for months, Mary Ann had the best time trying out two of Maureen Mills patterns.  She made the Mama and Baby Bag Holder for her sister Kathis birthday and one of the Prima and Vera rabbits as a Happy Spring present for our wonderful assistant Tara.  It was just like priming the pump now the creative juices are flowing.  The Worlds Greatest Boyfriend Jim was thrilled and delighted to learn that he had won a Toshiba 46 High Def LCD TV, table and sound system.  He entered a free drawing at one of the University of Virginia football games last Fall and had forgotten all about it.  Now to get it all put together  Mak and Jim had a great 4 days in NJ over Easter weekend visiting both Mary Anns family and his two sons in Jersey City.  They both are feeling very blessed indeed.


You're never too old to shine. I had tears in my eyes when I watched this. Dreams really can come true!

How do you price your dolls for sale? Find LOTS of information here:

Interesting collection of vintage doll and clothing patterns at

A book for everyone who has ever been unemployed is called Who Moved My Cheese?  Here is a synopsis:

Weird stuff you never knew you wanted check out the arts and crafts section

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.

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