It seems like it's been a really long time, but all dolls take awhile to be made. The heads are pressed cloth. The bodies are muslin stuffed with cotton. Head, lower arms and lower legs are painted in oil. Black dolls have dyed lambskin wigs. I learned to make the gathered top dresses, these are my first ones. All dolls have pantyloons, chemises, slips, aprons, and bonnets. The original Izannah's I went by to make these all had barefeet, so these dolls do too. I think shoes can be found to fit them already made, as they have big feet, or some can be made. I have not gotten into the shoemaking yet. I will have to say it was a little iffy on getting the pictures, as there was to much sun or to much shade, but I think you can see well enough how the dolls look. I forgot to put in a few smaller ones to show size difference, but the big dolls dwarf all the others, even the 23" dolls. All the dresses are cotton, and the underware is a mix of new and old. All are stained to give appearance of age, but the old pieces do have some natural mends. Two of the bonnets are made of Osnaburg, which makes an excellent strong bonnet. The bonnets on the white dolls are heavy old cotton and are a little big for them, but I used a standard pattern, and of course the black dolls have the extra hair. For me there are no favorites, as each doll has features that I love. I wish for everyone a Wonderful Christmas and an exciting new doll making year.
Well, the day is finally here that I finished these dolls. I made a few pictures of the finished , but not dressed yet ( huge ) Izannah dolls I made. these dolls are between 31" and 32" Tall. The clothes have been made and are being finished, the little hand sewed things you have to do to them. 4 complete sets of dresses, pantyloons, chemises, slips and bonnets, Oh My. I started these back in august, so it's been a long process. These pictures were made with a flash camera, but I think they are pretty good. You can get a clear look at them. I had to dye the black girls hair ( lambskin ) three times to get the brown color, but they have the finest tiny curls. I really don't have to much to say about them, except It's been a long and hard job, but I am proud of how they turned out. In another week their pictures will be posted in all their clothes. Finally, I learned to make the gathered top dress, so that will be something new. I have seen alot of really fine dolls people are making, and I sure wish I could get some of them, maybe in the future that will be possible. To everyone I wish a Happy Holiday Season and as always, Happy Doll Making.
Here is a new doll that is not wearing any clothes. I have antiqued her second skin of cotton sateen. She has also been painted and stained to give the appearance of age, Not really, really old, but with some wear. this girl is 22" Tall and is made in the style of Izannah Walker with the head being made in the pressed cloth method in a mold. Layers of silk, cotton and paste are pressed into the mold and dried. the two halves, front and back are then stitched or glued together, stuffed with cotton, and mounted on a body of premium muslin ( Drill ), which is very heavy and durable. There is a wood dowel that runs from the inside top of head down into the botton of the torso to insure the doll does not nod or droop. the ears are of made of cotton and are stuffed, stitched and attached onto doll's head. Arms and legs are made of fine medium muslin, stuffed with cotton and painted in oil. the hands are individually stitched and the thumbs are made using muslin, stuffed and then sewed onto the hands. the feet are barefoot. the toes are hand stitched.
I have some new dolls to look at, and as usual we had bad light for these, but did the best we could. The big 20" doll in light pink, very old material is named Augusta. I have had her for several months, but finally finished her and gave her a permanent name. The little 11 1/2" black doll is named Primrose. She is really sweet, but I can't seem to get a good enough picture to show her in the best light. I have now finally finished 7 IW type dolls and 4 rag dolls. Still working on the giant IW's and I thought you would enjoy a comparison of sizes of the normal about 18 or 19" inch doll with the over 30" big dolls. The big big dolls are a little slow in coming into being, but, like everyone else, I stay busy and there are other jobs to do around the place. We are still building on a carport. It grew from 20 feet by 20 feet to 20 feet by 32 feet. There is alot of grass to cut before cold weather, I am holding off as long as I can to ( not have to do it but one more time ) well, back to more interesting things. I said in my last post I would show how to make a nice pair of bare feet. Most of you doll makers, no doubt, know how to do this, but I drew up a little instruction page. It's crude, but if you read it several times, I think it's understandable. If you want to do this and don't understand my scriblings, let me know and I'll try to do a better job explaining. I made a picture of a pair of feet I made doing what I describe on the paper. All of this ( about the feet ) is because I was having a very hard time getting nice rounded feet with good toes. If you are going to make barefeet, they should be plump and good. Some of mine were less than satisfactory to me. I hope this helps others, who might have the same problems as I do.
I finally finished the tiny 9" little Izannah babies. Everybody always asks the question, are the small dolls harder to do than the bigger dolls, well my answer is, yes, yes, yes they are! After sewing ( MOSTLY HAND SEWING ALL THOSE 4 OUTFITS, 4 BONNETS, 4 PANTYLOONS, SLIPS AND CHEMISES ) I am just about blind. Haha No joke though, after sewing 6 days, all day, my eyes were so blurred, I couldn't see the writing on the computer very well. Every morning I can see good again, but the eye strain is very hard on you. They are a happy group. The white dresses are made from vintage cotton dotted swiss, the old fashioned kind that I love with the cotton tuffs. ( hard to come by). the red striped dresses are lined with solid red, all the dresses are fully lined. I thought the red stripe was old material, as I got it at Kewanee store in the real old materials, but I liked it. I guess these red dresses look like Christmas or Candy canes, but I still like them. A wonderful peace has settled on me now, as I can move on to the normal size dolls and the big dolls. I have learned a super easy way to make the most beautiful bare feet. It is ( SUPER EASY ) and I'll show you how in my next post. I have to draw up instructions. You can make bare feet lots of ways, but these are strong and pretty much stress free and plump and nice.
This is Old Sister. Her name is actually Miss Martha. The other Old Sister is Miss Janiece and I will post her picture tommorrow. I included Junius in this post. I have been working on about 7 dolls and they are nearing completion, so I thought I would begin putting up their pictures. Martha has had a bad time. Her maker, ( who I will not mention ) made her the most HUGE ENORMOUS GIGANTIC nose ever seen on a doll, so she had to undergo many operations to correct this. She still bears some scars, but is pretty all the same. She is about 22" tall. and her head is molded cloth and is painted in oil. Her dress is made from a old big dress I found at the flea market. It's a thin voile material. I have learned that if you make a serious boo boo on your doll, it can be better to antique the scars, instead of trying to hide the fault. Junius is about 19" tall. Molded cloth head, and painted in oil with a lambskin wig. I tried my best to get the expression of the black doll that was owned by Richard Wright. They have that sweet upturned mouth. I also gave Junius side parted hair. this was not any harder than going straight across with the lambskin. I am still learning how to do the wigs. He does have a good head of hair. I cut down a baby shirt to fit him because of the collar someone spent alot to time making and putting in fancy french knots. I made his pants, which are a little to tight. All in all, I think things turned out well. Junius does have a sister too and hopefully I can put up her picture tommorrow. Hope you enjoyed seeing the dolls and seeing how lucky these two dolls are to have actually made it to completion. Many of their friends have not been so lucky.
I made two small black dolls ( 11 1/2" tall ) for some sweet girls in Mississippi. These are my first small black ones. They have lambskin wigs, which are a thin, thin pelt less than 1/8" high. It was perfect for these little dolls. Luckily I happened to have a old vintage apron, as the girls wanted red dresses. The material is very faded, but I thought it was a good choice. I learned more about working with the pelts this time, as you only have so much natural edge. I had to cut close to the hair to try to get some fringe for the forehead. You really need a natural edge around there. It takes time to get the hang of this, but I'm learning. I hope the girls will like their dolls.