My mother was a doll maker when I was a little girl growing up in rural east-coast Canada. I used to watch her embroider faces, sew body parts together and stuff them with fascination. I’d grab any scraps that used to fall off the ironing board and I would sew clothes for my own dolls. As I got older I helped her make a few dolls for her business, all made with fabric and stuffing. Through observation I learned a few doll making tips and techniques along the way.
Over the years I’ve made a few dolls for my own daughter, but this one, I have to say, is the best. I designed this Coraline doll for my daughter’s 7th birthday to accompany a Coraline themed birthday cake and Oreo Button cookies. She was absolutely thrilled with them both. The doll itself is made from recycled or second-hand materials from our local charity shop. Our local charity shop is a treasure trove. It’s almost spooky how I can think about something I need and it will appear in the shop sometime over the next week or two. For example, both the blue wool and the yellow vinyl fabric (2 metres of it!) came from the charity shop when I headed there deliberately looking for it. Cost? A mere £2.50. That’s all I paid to make this doll.
The rest of the materials were scavenged from around the house. The pink top is my daughter’s toddler dress with a hole in it; the trousers are my youngest’s jeans, long since outgrown and with tatty ripped legs. The flesh coloured fabric has been in my fabric bag for years, scraps of things made long ago. The beads were given to me by a fellow crafting friend (thank you Julia!) and the threads always appear in my Christmas stocking every year. Even the doll filling came from the charity shop, a £1 bag I bought about 5 years ago which is still mostly full! The dowel rod was left over from some project of my partner’s and the pattern is 100% out of my head. It took a few practise goes with scrap fabric and some tweaking and it’s still not perfect, but it’s not a bad attempt, I don’t think!