I have two very fun new doll making items available just in time for the holidays!
IZANNAH WALKER DOLL MAKING KIT
Izannah’s original dolls were made with pressed cloth heads, which is a wonderful, but extremely difficult doll making skill to master. When I make the reproduction Izannah Walker dolls that I sell, I do make authentic pressed cloth heads. I also teach a master level class on how to make a historically accurate, pressed cloth head reproduction doll, but that class isn’t right for everyone.
If you’d like to start off a little slower and try something a bit easier, for your first reproduction Izannah, this kit is the way to go! The new kit is less challenging than my Izannah Walker Doll Making Class. Included in the kit is a poured composition head, cast in a mold that I made directly from Isane, one of the antique Izannah Walker dolls that I own, which will enable you to make a faithful representation of an 18 inch antique Izannah Walker doll. The kit also comes with patterns for the doll’s body, under garments and two dresses, plus a 31-page instruction booklet filled with detailed color photographs.
This kit is suggested for experienced seamstresses who are also well versed in painting with oils. If you do not feel confident enough to paint the doll’s head yourself, you may commission me to paint it for you.
Isane, the doll whose head is reproduced in my kit, is a true doll maker’s doll. She has a very interesting past. Originally made by Izannah Walker, she was later repaired and repainted by the Martha Chase factory. Izannah Walker and Martha Chase, both famous and well-loved doll makers, also both lived in Rhode Island. In fact, at one time Martha Chase’s father was Izannah Walker’s physician and when she was a child young Martha owned a doll made by Izannah Walker. Later when Martha Chase grew up and became a doll maker, one of the things her small work force of women did, in addition to making new dolls, was to repair older ones.
The real Isane has very old Martha Chase arms and legs from one of her character dolls, rather than the chubbier ones found on her baby dolls. She also had traces of the highly recognizable Martha Chase pink flesh tone on her face and shoulders plus a Martha Chase body covering. One of the many things I love about Isane is this meld she represents of two awe inspiring American women doll makers!
I’m sure that Isane left the Martha Chase factory and went on to have many, many wonderful years as a beloved plaything, eventually winding up several years ago in the collection of a talented doll maker, who lives in Canada. After she left Canada, Isane was owned by at least two doll dealers, one of whom repainted her. The next stop in Isane’s long life was a sojourn at the home of Edith O’Neil, who is a wonderful artist, doll maker and collector. Edyth named the doll Patience.
In the fullness of time, Isane came to live here with me, where she acquired a new name, and after I did 60 + hours of restoration, regained her old face. I’m fairly sure that Isane’s relationship with Martha Chase has not been mentioned or even known by some of her previous owners. I know about it because of the physical evidence on the doll and my years of experience with both Izannah Walker and Martha Chase dolls. Isane is one of three dolls that I have personally examined and done restoration work on that was undeniably repaired by the Martha Chase factory.
Because Isane’s current arms and legs are not the ones she started life with, the enclosed pattern has limbs drafted from one of my other antique Izannah Walker dolls of the same size.
Please be patient after placing your order, casting the composition heads is slow and time consuming endeavor, which I am fitting in between all of my many pre-existing orders.
TINY CUT OUT AND STITCH FABRIC DOLLS
This is the time of year when I long for simple, fun projects to make as gifts for friends and family members. My preference is for small hand sewn items that I can stitch in front of a fire in the evenings, or while talking to my children. Projects that I can pick up and work on for a few minutes when I have little bits of extra time.
When thinking about a project for this Christmas my mind immediately leapt to the great printed cloth dolls that were popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I’ve always been very fond of all of the printed cut and sew dolls from that era. My versions are a combination of printed cloth dolls and photos of some of the antique dolls in my collection.
Most of my printed dolls are 8-1/2 inches tall. Each doll panel that you buy includes two mirrored doll images, so that you can sew them together back to back, or use them separately with a plain fabric backing, or for applique work. The dolls are printed on high quality 100% cotton fabric and are completely washable. There is extra fabric surrounding each doll that will allow for a ¼ inch seam allowance. The dolls may be sewn with right sides together, turned and stuffed; machine or hand stitched from the front side, trimmed and stuffed, or appliqued on to other projects. They may also be cut out and used for journaling and other mixed media projects. Add bits of fabric, lace, crepe paper and Dresden trims to create doll clothing.
Some project ideas include:
– Sewn them together back to back for Christmas Ornaments, so the “front” side is always on view.
– String several together with ribbon or twine to make a banner ,then hang up across a mirror, window, or mantle.
– Hang them individually from cupboard doors or chandeliers.
– Make a handful into a mobile.
– Stuff several with lavender and use them as drawer and closet sachets for your finest linens and clothing.
– Fill one with cedar shavings and place it among your doll and bear collection to repel moths.
– Make a bunch to give as special party favors for your doll club meetings and events.
– Make a special doll’s doll for your favorite play thing.
– Great for Baby Toys
– Add a squeaker inside to make a fun dog toy or fill with cat nip for your kitten to play with.
-Applique them onto quilt blocks, pincushions, curtains, aprons, pockets, baby bibs and clothing, tote bags, t-shirts and more.
I’ve tried to keep the costs very modest and I think you will find that it is the same or less than if you printed similar images on purchased printer fabric sheets using your ink jet printer. Plus you have the added advantage of being able to throw them in the washing machine! 🙂 My printed panels are $13 each, $ 30 for any three, $95 for any 10, or buy the entire collection for $100.
Visit my website to see individual photos of each printed panel and to order my tiny cut and stitch dolls or a reproduction of an original cut and sew antique cloth doll face from my personal collection.
I’ve thought up lots of ways to use my new printed fabric doll panels, but I bet you can dream up even more great ideas of your own! Just for fun, I’m having a contest to see who can design and make the best project using my printed doll panels. The rules are simple. Buy a doll panel, make it into something wonderful, take a photo and email it to me – firstname.lastname@example.org – before January 31st, 2015. I’ll post all of the photos here on my blog, then invite readers to vote for their favorite. The winner will receive one panel each of my complete collection of tiny cut out and stitch fabric dolls, which is a prize worth $100. Good Luck!!!