Custom Order No. 2 – Angel – The Excitement of New Skin Tone Variations

Two custom orders in one week – how lucky am I?  My second custom order – Angel – gave  me the opportunity to work with new skin tone variations – so  exciting!  It was a real pleasure to make this little doll to exact specifications.  She turned out just as I had hoped – I think she is probably the prettiest doll I have ever made?!

Angel's Story

I was asked to make a baby Tilda Doll in the same style as previous dolls I have made, but this time with a dark skin tone.  I had been wanting to experiment with skin tone variations for a while, so I was really pleased that this order gave me just that opportunity.  I had often wondered why if you google Tilda Doll images, they all come up in the same skin tone?  It had been thinking that it was high time to change that – and so I had the fabric and hair material all ready and waiting …

My customer was looking for a doll to help her launch a new podcast of children’s stories.  The brief was to create a doll in the Tilda style, but reminiscent of an existing doll – see the photos below.

Skin Tone Variations The Original Doll
The Original Doll
Skin Tone Variations Storytime with Angel and Bonnet

It took us quite a while to agree on fabric choices.  The real satisfaction of creating a custom order for me is being able to meet all the special requirements that can only be achieved with something handmade.

We decided that Angel was going to have: a red and white flowery dress with white lace trim; red gingham bloomers; a matching headband and an overall Valentine theme.


Skin Tone Variations - Angel Fabrics
Skin Tone Variations - Materials required

You will see in the photo that Angel has company – a little rabbit called Bonnet.  Ideally, my customer wanted both the doll and the rabbit.  The little knitted rabbits I usually make are cute, but they didn’t fit the requirements here – their ears are just not long and floppy enough!  So we decided to focus on making Angel herself to start with,

Meet Angel ...

Skin Tone Variations Angel Back View
Skin Tone Variations Angel's Feet
Skin Tone Variations Angel Heart Upcycling
Heart Upcycling!
Skin Tone Variations Angel's Face
Skin Tone Variations - Angel's Face

Tips and Tricks

I made Angel following the Step by Step Instructions in my early post – Baby’s First Tilda Doll.  Please refer back to that post if you want to make a doll yourself.  everything you will need for the project is included there too.  

There are a few extra tips included in this post too though.  As with everything we humans do, you learn new things as you go along and hopefully improve with practice and I aim to share what I learn with you as I go.

The Challenge of Skin Tone Variations

  • When you start to think about it, there are so many different skin tones in real life.  Trying to match a doll’s skin tone to exactly what a customer wants is potentially always going to be a challenge.  Angel was very slightly darker than we would have ideally liked.  I am planning on gradually building up my stock of skin fabrics so I can match customer requirements as closely as I can in future.
  • Working with a darker skin tone was a breeze – until I got to the face!  I normally use a pale versacolour blush which shows up very well on the  ivory skin fabric I have used for my other dolls.  I spent quite a lot of time researching cheek blush colour on Google and eventually settled on a nice cheerful bright red colour for Angel’s cheeks.  It is the same ink pad that I use to make my Heart Upcycling packing labels, so I didn’t have to buy anything new to achieve the look I wanted.
  • Angel’s eyes were also something of a challenge. The black embroidery thread I usually use just wasn’t going to do.   I settled on a nice warm brown colour instead.
Skin Tone Variations - Skin Colours
Skin Tone Variations
Skin Tone Variations - Red Blusher
Skin Tone Variations - Red Blusher

Heart Up-Cycling!

Heart Upcycling Logo

Everything I make:

  • Makes good use of waste materials
  • Is unique – you will never find another like it
  • Is made with a generous helping of love and care
  • Supports Birmingham St. Mary’s Hospice – all profits donated


Angel was no exception.  Although I used new fabric for her body and genuine Tilda hair, I was able to make able to make good use of up-cycled materials:

  • The heart embellishment on Angel’s dress was made using a small piece of vintage lace saved from when I made my own wedding dress many years ago .  It was the first dress I ever made.  I’m not sure quite why I started off with such an ambitious project (?!) – maybe because money was very tight back then.  The scraps of lace I saved so carefully over the years now enable me to sew a little love into every doll I make.
  • The tiny red heart sequins on Angel’s headband – you have to look very closely to see them – were saved from the gift bags that were given to the great group of girls that joined me and my daughter on her hen party – amazingly over three years ago now.  If Angel’s life journey has even half as much fun as we all had that night, she will have a very happy time indeed  Such a memorable night – thanks Emily!
  • The narrow love heart ribbon that lines the top of Angel’s pretty little shoes was also left over from my daughter’s wedding.  I just love that ribbon – I use it very sparingly because I never want to run out!  Thanks Becky!
Skin Tone Variations Wedding Dress Heart
Vintage Wedding Dress Lace
Skin Tone Variations Up-Cycled Heart Sequins
Up-Cycled Heart Sequins - Thanks Emily!
Skin Tone Variations - Angel Fabrics
Skin Tone Variations - Materials required

But What about Bonnet? Keep Reading ...!

I was very pleased with the way Angel turned out, but I knew that what my customer really wanted was a long eared floppy rabbit to go with her – just like in the original photo.

I didn’t have a pattern for this, so I had a quick go at making a floppy eared rabbit from a knitted square as a freebie gift (thanks You Tube!), but I so wanted to make that long eared rabbit!  

Keep reading to see how Bonnet did eventually come to life …  Watch Angel and Bonnet Come to Life

Skin Tone Variations - Angel and Bonnet
Angel and "Bonnet" - Keep reading ...!

Would you like a Doll made especially for you?

I am always very happy to receive custom orders – in fact , this is how I really prefer to work – so please do contact me using the link below if you would like something made especially for you.

I donate all my profits to support the valuable work at Birmingham St. Mary’s Hospice.

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