A few months ago, I came across this adorable doll, Ruby on mollychicken. Isn’t she lovely? I don’t know what I liked more – her cheeky little face, her cute little dress, her shoes, her hair, or the lovely pictures and story. I fell in love, and had to make one.
I searched the blog high and low in the hope she was made from a pattern, but – grrrr! – clever old mollychicken had designed her herself. But all was not lost – in a later post she wrote:
My best bit of advice with toy design, is probably to get your hands on as many vintage books as you can. They are a great source of inspiration, I have a whole stack of them. By studying the basic techniques, you can adapt them to achieve the sort of look you’re after. And then it’s trial and error, trial and error, and trial and error again.
Note that “trial and error bit”. When I read it I thought, ha! No trial and error for me! I am going to find a pattern on the internet, tweak it a little, and voilà – a Ruby-alike would be mine .
Two weeks later, I conceded defeat. Plan B: make my own pattern. I grabbed my graph paper, and, putting the tiny little detail of having no vintage toy books, no previous experience of designing patterns nor any previous experience of making dolls out of my mind, set to work. After all, I can sew, I’ve used a lot of patterns, how hard could it be?
Well, designing the pattern was easy. Designing a pattern that produced what I wanted – not so easy.
For weeks, I drafted patterns, cut and sewed, stuffed and rejected various body parts, until my room looked like something out of a toy-shop horror-flick with dismembered body parts lying all around. I was beginning to curse mollychicken and her cute little doll.
Then, one day, as if by magic, this little girl emerged from the carnage:
My 1,064,573rd pattern worked!
Her name is Molly, in honour of mollychicken. She is 25 cm tall, and is made from old curtains. Her arms are fixed, as I thought that would make it easier for designing clothes for her, but her legs are moveable, and are attached using hidden button moveable joints (there’s a good tutorial here). I made her dress using this pattern (also on mollychicken – have I said how much I love that blog?)
Hmmm, she needs a haircut, but apart from that, I’m pretty happy with her.