Sunday, February 21, 2010

Vintage Doll Project: Step One - Design the fabric

I have a much-loved doll (á là the Velveteen Rabbit) that was given to me, new, almost 50 years ago, and that was given to my own daughter about 12 or so years ago. It's been through quite a lot, including a re-inking of the face by my mother after a traumatic laundry incident where my doll was returned to me, clean, but faceless.

The interesting thing about this particular stuffed fabric doll is that it has two fronts and no back. On one side, she is smiling and awake. Flip her over, and her eyes are closed - she's sleeping. So, after a successful search through the basement "archives" (yeah, the archives. *snicker*), I found the original doll, all the worse for wear.

Sitting her next to my computer, I got busy with my Wacom tablet and Illustrator, and drew her to scale, with the original eyes and mouth that I remember from my toddlerhood. Her original dress is long gone, and I don't really remember what color it was or what it looked like. My mother had replaced it with a red gingham A-line dress with pompom rickrack sewn along the bottom.

I figured that it would be a clever idea to get a doll and dress out of a Fat Quarter (18x22 inch rectangle of fabric), so I put the doll pattern on top of a polka dot and zigzag fabric, with the vertical repeat occurring about the right length for a doll dress, with some extra scraps for other accessories.

I want to mention that the doll body has no hair - that is added after stuffing, and it's made from yarn, I think to hide the opening where the stuffing was put into the doll.

I uploaded the design to Spoonflower a little while ago. I am having test swatches (actually full FQs) in both the quilting-weight and the upholstery-weight fabrics, to see which one makes a better doll. When I get my prototypes done, I'll post again here with pictures of the original doll and the reproductions. My plans are to sell the dolls on Etsy, and also make kits available.


1 comment:

  1. That is totally lovely! I had one that had brown scalloped hair painted all around the edges of the faces, and a blue striped dress.