A traditional Waldorf style doll

by - 19:06

In the new year I decided that I would set myself the task of stretching my sewing skills into different areas. One of the things I wanted to test myself with was by making a jointed, and weighted baby doll. I haven't quite got there, but I did make a start with this traditional style Waldorf doll!

I came across a baby doll pattern around Christmas time, which was just the sweetest, cutest thing ever, and it scared me silly at the thought of making it! But I bought the pattern and stored it, along with all my clothing patterns, in a folder on my PC. And there it stayed.

But at the beginning of February, Cathy, the pattern designer was going to host a sew along in her Facebook group for a traditional style doll. A much simpler version than the pattern I bought. It didn't have jointed limbs, nor did it have weighting, and it was only 12" tall. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for me to dip my toe into doll making, with a relaxed and detailed sew along with many others who had not sewn a doll before. Internet groups are great at making you feel part of a team, even if that team is spread over the whole world.

So I found a UK supplier of most of the necessary materials and I ordered up enough to make the sew along doll as well as the more complex baby doll. I also found a UK wool supplier, who sold many different types of British wool from different breeds of sheep (who knew that wool went that deep!! I just assumed that wool was wool and it kind of got mixed with all the different breeds. How naive of me!). I had no idea which one to pick, so I just went with the cheapest British carded wool batting they did. It arrived a week later and smelt of sheep. Yes, this may sound silly, but a wool jumper doesn't smell of farm animals does it? Well this stuff did!

And then, well, life happened, and the sew along started, and I hadn't ordered my materials in time for the first day (or even the first week). So I sort of forgot about it again. Then Facebook decided to throw in a post from the Brambles and Blossoms pattern love group into my newsfeed that the deadline for the sew along was March 16th. Excellent news for the world's most unorganised person and perfect timing as it was the first week of March.

Once I'd made the decision to join in, I watched all the amazingly helpful videos that Cathy had uploaded to the group, I read through her detailed blog posts and I made a start on the head of the doll. That first evening I made the brains of the head, and formed a little nose and mouth on the inner head. I traced out the body pieces on the skin fabric and called it a night. It took me maybe an hour or two to form the head and I was tired as it was late evening by then.

The next morning, I was eager to get started, and as it was a Sunday, my husband was at home to look after the kids, so I didn't need to worry about them. I sewed up the body parts and got them cut out before having my breakfast. Then I sat, and went on a sewing mission. After my breakfast I stopped for the odd cup of tea, but worked solidly through until 2.30pm when the doll was finally finished. It was naked, but totally complete apart from a wardrobe! I would say that this first doll took me around 9 hours in total to complete. There is an awful lot of detailed hand sewing involved to get the doll looking just right, but none of it is difficult, just fiddly.

My doll is made of premium materials as I wanted it to last and be as natural as possible for the children to play with. It is stuffed with real sheep's wool instead of polyester stuffing. I splashed out and bought a premium doll knit fabric for the skin. It is jersey/interlock from De Witte Engel. A 100% cotton, double-knitted fabric which is coloured according to the EN71, art. 1, 2 en 3 guidelines. I used a linen tying string to form the head. I bought premium embroidery floss for the eyes, and used Gutermann thread for hand and machine sewing. The arms and head are sewn to the body using doubled thread, which are then sewn three times around for durability. The main body is machine stitched using a triple stitch for extra strength. I used two different coloured Wild Large Loop Mohair yarns for the hair, which are then hand stitched onto the head.

This doll is super cute. He has a belly button and even a little bottom. His hair is crazy!

I didn't really know how to attach the hair, so this is stitched on along the centre parting in long lengths. I secured some of these lengths around the hairline and to the nape of the neck. Then I added some shorter strands on top to create the crazy sticky-up surfer hair.

I now have every intention of sewing up the Sweet Cecily Baby Doll pattern. My daughter is pestering me almost daily for a baby of her own. I'll be sure to share it here when I get the opportunity to make it up. What would you most like to learn in the sewing world?

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