The baby obliged with another good nap in her crib when the others were at school, so I had a chunk of time to work on my rag doll. I stuffed her legs firmly with small pieces of wool stuffing(I’ve learned my lesson before, rushing and ending up with a lumpy or floppy doll). Then I sewed the legs to the unstuffed body per the book’s instructions
Then I continued to patiently stuff the doll body with small tufts of stuffing, packing them into the corners with my chopstick until the doll felt nice and sturdy. I whip stitched up the stuffing hole in the back and marked the placement of eyes and mouth with pins, then stitched away!
I must say I’m pretty happy with her face. Those star stitches are just dreamy as eyes. I decided to give her soft pink hair cut from a cashmere maternity sweater that was hole-y and felted from the wash. The hair is one area where the book could give more guidance in the way of pictures of the back of the dolls’ heads. I went with vertical strips around the back of the doll’s head, and one horizontal one along the top to cover the overlapping strips.
The baby woke up at this point, so here I am
All ready to stitch down the rest of her hair and start working on clothes and accessories.
I love rag dolls. I’ve taken several workshops and made numerous Waldorf-style dolls since I had children. Of course none of my children has shown the slightest bit of interest in them, and I’m constantly rescuing them from the floor and lovingly re-dressing and tucking them into a basket or on a shelf. Here’s hoping my 5 month-old turns out to be a doll-lover.
I became an admirer of Jess Brown’s whimsical handmade dolls in their gorgeous Liberty and Erica Tanov-print clothes, with their starry eyes and heart-shaped lips, the moment I first encountered one in my favorite San Francisco shop, Nest, at least 10 years ago. Over the years, I was always happy to run into one in other lovely, quirky shops in the Bay Area. If a Jess Brown doll held court in a store, chances are it was my kind of place. Imagine my delight to find that she has published a book with Chronicle, complete with a pattern for a pint-sized version of her iconic doll! I had the book in hand and got started as soon as I could.
I traced the pieces for the doll from the pattern sheet included with the book
Pinned them to pressed, undyed muslin
And started sewing
It is a pattern without too many pieces or fiddly bits, but it does require paying attention to the directions and being “careful and patient” especially when turning those long, slim arms right side out!
I was able to get this far before the baby woke up from her nap:
I’ll pop in with another installment as soon as I sneak some time in the sewing room!