Friday, June 16, 2017

Fabric Dolls

I know there are an incredible selection of dolls produced these days; in vinyl, resin, porcelain or similar substances. I know many of you collect very specific dolls, but I wonder if any of my readers like to make or collect fabric dolls. I have made several fabric dolls in the past and have suddenly had the urge to do so again.

A blast from my past!

Sometimes people refer to these stuffed, handmade dolls as Waldorf dolls and this is not necessarily correct, as many fabric dolls are not  made with children or their education in mind at all. A Waldorf doll is doll based on the principles of Waldorf education (also known as Steiner education), which emphasizes the role of imagination in learning, striving to integrate the combined intellectual, practical and artistic development of pupils.

Waldorf dolls are typically handmade for children, from natural fibres, usually with cotton knit skin and stuffed with wool, and crafted using traditional doll making techniques which originated in Europe. You will find a full description HERE.

In my case, I have mainly made my dolls for teenagers or young at heart adults, who like myself, simply enjoy collecting (and playing with) dolls of all kinds. Many of the traditional doll making techniques are still applied, as is the use of natural fibres. However, I have in the past used acrylic paint, water based gloss, buttons and other decorative items from time to time, depending on the finished look I wished to achieve. Some were made with clothing attached as in the quirky little doll shown here, while others had removable clothes.

Buttons used for eyes.

Acrylic paint and water based gloss used to paint shoes & socks.

My mother referred to them as a rag or cloth dolls, but I have also heard them called interior dolls, tilda dolls, primitive dolls, or softies, but whatever one may call them ... to me they are simply hand made fabric dolls, which one can dress and play with, or simply use as decoration around the home.

The doll I am working on at present, is an enlarged Nekomimi (cat ear) doll pattern from Nunodoll, which will not look like the Nekomimi doll at all when finished. Being re-sized it will enable me to dress her in different outfits and allow her to wear children's size 4 or 5 shoes with socks.

Although I have most of the supplies to make this doll, I am waiting on 2 items to arrive from the Netherlands, so I will have little to show you for a couple of weeks. While I am waiting I will make some outfits of my own design so she will have lots to wear once she is completed.

Of course not all my fabric "dolls" were made of cotton, some like my one of a kind Ballerina Bunny were made of mohair and had a needle felted faced. Of course she is totally OTT with her sequined dress and glittered high top sneakers, but I have always loved things which are decidedly unconventional and she makes me smile!


Hope you are all having productive dolly time too!
Hugs,
X

10 comments:

  1. In Finnish, these dolls are called "räsynukke". It refers to the making of the dolls, out of "räsy" - small fabric leftovers. Those dolls were very popular when I was a kid. I had a couple and one looked like a cute monkey (my favorite) in the face, but with a ragdoll-body. That ballerina bunny looks really adorable! Look forward to seeing the Nekomimi! Hugs!

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    1. I don't think they ever really loose popularity Niina, there always seems to be someone making them, somewhere in the world. :) Thank you for your comments, I really appreciate it.
      Hugs,
      X

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  2. I'm really thankful you explained what Waldorf dolls were. I had seen the term used before but never really understood what it meant.

    I really love the fabric doll you made. It's quirky and cute which I love. I love the detailing on the face. And the Bunny Ballerina is so cute.

    It's funny that you should mention feeling the urge to make fabric dolls as I've been thinking the same thing. The sister of one of my husband's work colleagues actually has a fabric doll group which I had been thinking of attending at some near future time.

    I used to make fabric dolls myself years and years ago (back when I actually knew how to use my sewing machine, something I've forgotten as it's been that long!) I still have two of the dolls I made sitting around the house, one i made through a Community craft group and the other one I made when I used to go to sewing classes. I have books on fabric dolls and am amazed at some of the fabric dolls people have made. It's on a whole other level than I'm used to!

    My parents never bought me those types of dolls when I was a little girl and I've always wanted them which is how I got into them in the first place.

    One of my favourites I made (and ended up giving away to a friend a long time ago) was a small doll with buttons for hair. I loved that doll. I have been wanting to remake her for a while now but never got around to doing it!

    I'd love to see your creations and am looking forward to seeing your current project.

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    1. Haha! Looks like we are in tune again Alasse. Do you use a pattern or just make them up yourself? I like trying something different and tend to draw a doll as I imagine she would look before making the pattern up. It's fun making their heads different shapes and adding different types of noses/ears or embroidering silly faces. Seems to me the quirkier they are, the more I love them! Hubby always says I have a warped sense of humour.

      My mum never bought them either, the first one I made was while I was in high school and it was from a pattern, but like you I have lots of books from which I have learnt a lot over the years.

      Perhaps the time has come for you to finally remake the doll with buttons, I'd love to see it. :)
      Hugs,
      X

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  3. I didn't knew about Waldorf education at all, to be honest. I only made one fabric doll once: a tiny witch for my mom collection of witches and owls xD

    And the little doll you made is so cute! I love her smile :3 And the Bunny was adorable! Those ribbons look so cute on her ears!

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    1. I didn't know much about it either untill I did some research. I bet your mum was thrilled with your witch Musime, I always love things my daughter makes for me. :)

      Thank you, I'm glad you think so.
      Hugs,
      X

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  4. What a beautiful couple of dolls you've made here! I love them both, and I'm not even into fabric dolls. I do have a felt doll that I showed on my blog some time ago, she was found at a local flea market and is cute and I just couldn't resist bringing her home. Actually, at the time I thought she was a he, but that's another story!!!
    I really look forward to seeing the doll you're going to make next!
    x

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    1. Thanks Sharon. I'm not really "into" them either, but I just felt like I needed something different to sew. I must go check out your flea market find so I know what/who you are talking about. :)
      Hugs,
      X

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  5. I love the fabric doll look a lot! That felted ballerina dolly also looks amazing, such details are possible with felting, more than I had ever imagined!

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    1. Thanks Irene. These dolls are fun to make and you can do so much with needle felting. :)
      Hugs,
      X

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