Last Saturday I took a doll class from Barb Whitehead at the Busy Thimble. Barb is a licensed Gail Wilson dollmaker. I've been planning this day with Barb since November, so it seemed like a long time coming. I've looked at Gail Wilson's website many times and when I found out that Barb could teach me how to make one of these marvelous dolls, I jumped at the opportunity.
This first photo shows the large doll I made in 2002. It has a painted head to look like the china head dolls. This doll is made from a pattern by Judi Ward. The other two dolls were made by Barb. The one in the middle is the doll she showed me how to make in class. Aren't they adorable? I love the dress on the doll on the right, and her hat, and her face. Well, I might have to make one of these, too. My big doll is about 24 inches and the little doll is 12 inches. This photo was taken in Cyndi's shop, by the way.
As I said, she is a petite 12 inches tall. Barb sent me the pattern kit before the class so that I could sew up the body, arms, and legs beforehand. She showed me how to stuff the doll in class, which is quite a trick. The head has to be really stuffed until it is quite hard. Before painting her face and shoulders, arms, and legs, I sewed her nose. The nose is made by sewing a long u shape and pulling the stitches taut, this pulls together the fabric and creates a ridge.
Painting the face was difficult, such tiny thin lines! Barb helped me with the eyebrows and eyes. Okay, you've got one done, now make another to match. I worked on her some more when I got home. I thought the eyes were too small so I went over those again. I painted over her mouth with the flesh paint and then painted another mouth. She doesn't look quite so much like a sour puss now.
Here she is in her undies-pantaloons and slip. You can see how the paint extends from head to shoulders and upper chest. Arms and legs are painted to elbows and knees. The hair is wool roving, very soft and a great color. Barb showed me how to make the wig and arrange her hair.
Today, Monday, I spent all morning working on the dress. Such tiny seams and pieces, my goodness. The bodice is very sweet with tiny gathers at the bias neckline and at the waist. There are tucks above the hemline, as there are on the pantaloons, too. My dress is sewn together at the back, this is a permanent dress! I can't really imagine sewing on buttons and snaps. I still have to make her shoes, just little brown cotton slippers which should be fairly easy to do.
I've included this last photo to give you an idea of her size. I hope you love Margaret as much as I do! Thanks Barb!
Now I need to get back to Quilt University and work on that project!