Deanna Hogan, Blue Heron Dolls

Crazy Eights and Doll Patterns

Published over 1 year ago • 1 min read

Hello Reader,

I usually work on one, maybe two, or occasionally three dolls at a time. But somehow, I've ended up with EIGHT, all waiting for clothing and identities. One will become Amelia Earhart, but the rest are mysteries.

How did this happen? I've been working on some new doll designs for a couple doll classes in the Spring. This means a lot of drafting, sewing, stuffing, and modifying, then repeating the whole process. And for this particular design, I didn't want to limit the doll maker to a specific type of fabric. This will result in variation in the dolls' measurements, which means the clothing will require some built-in adaptability.

Even if a prototype isn't quite what I was shooting for, I have a really hard time tossing it out (unless it's hideous and beyond any hope), so they become finished dolls.

Sometimes they need some body modification after stuffing (that sounds familiar, doesn't it?) The dolls below all needed some shortening of their torsos. Here's where the ladder stitch comes in really handy. These three prototypes all became finished dolls, even through I ultimately discarded this body design.

Left to right: Liliana (Day of the Dead), Pippa (sailor girl), and Ruby (Izannah-style doll).

What's your workflow when creating dolls? I created my first poll in my Facebook Group (you may need to request to join if you can't access it):

After designing the doll, the hardest part is creating the formal pattern and accompanying instructions.

I write Emergency Department policies and procedures for work, and publishing doll patterns is similar in a lot of ways. You write them so the content is understandable for the new ED nurse (or in this case, doll maker). Those with more experience can just skip the parts they don't need.

And people learn in different ways, so instructions should include text, illustrations, and even photos.

When writing for my day job, I must follow a specific standardized format. When writing doll pattern instructions, I do the same. I found an indispensable source: Publish Your Patterns! How to Write, Print, and Market Your Designs by Nancy Restuccia. This is an older book, but the concepts are still relevant. If you plan to create and publish your own designs, think about adding this to your resources.


Deanna Hogan

Deanna Hogan, Blue Heron Dolls

Doll Artist and Teacher: Preserving the art of making dolls and Artist Member of the Original Doll Artist Council of America (ODACA).

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