A Designer Doll for Addy – Vibrant, Creative and Passionate about Purple

Creating a designer doll for someone is a wonderful thing to be asked to do.  Designing a doll that encapsulates the emotions that lie behind the request for an heirloom doll is also a responsibility.  You want to create something that will delight at first sight and bring joy for many years to come.

I hoped that I would get faster at making dolls the more I made, but in fact, I find I am getting slower!  Creating a designer doll that will be passed down the generations is not something to be hurried though and I am very happy to take my time to create perfection.

Happiness is – a satisfied customer.  “Margot went out of her way to create the perfect doll for my granddaughter.  Her attention to detail and the end product was just amazing.  She was sensitive and very creative in making a doll my granddaughter will treasure for many years.  Her first words were “I love my dolly” – that says everything.”

Here is the story of how Addy’s doll came to life …

My brief was to create a doll for a little girl who is vibrant, creative and passionate about purple.  Her grandmother wanted a doll that would incorporate different textures.  Addy’s doll was going to have long,  curly blonde hair – plaited on one side – like Addy’s.

Tilda dolls are intended to be “perfectly imperfect” – they are whimsical individuals and each has her own personality and attitude to life.  Addy’s doll was a real pleasure to make – the fabrics and embellishments seemed to choose themselves.

Designer Doll Finished Doll

Step-by-Step Guide

Time needed: 3-4 days

For detailed instructions on how to make a Tilda Doll, read my earlier post – My First Tilda Doll.

This post gives a little more detail about the creative process and some additional tips and tricks that you might find helpful if you want to create your own dolls.

  1. Agree fabric choice.
  2. Place the pattern pieces.
  3. Attach your chosen fabrics together and place the pattern ready for sewing.
  4. Stitch, turn and press.
  5. Stuff and attach the legs.
  6. Attach the arms.
  7. Trim, gather and attach the top skirt.
  8. Trim, gather and attach the two underskirts.
  9. Now for the fun bit – Add embellishments!
  10. Add hair and face and she is all ready for life!
Designer Doll - Fabrics
Designer Doll - Step 1 - Agreeing Fabric Choices
Designer Doll - Pattern Piecing
Designer Doll Step 2 - Pattern Piecing
Designer Doll - Placing the Pattern
Designer Doll - Step 3 - Placing the Pattern
Designer Doll - Turned and Pressed
Designer Doll - Step 4 - Stitch, Turn and Press
Designer Doll - Ready for Arms
Designer Doll - Step 5 -Stuff and Attach legs
Designer Doll Attaching the Arms
Designer Doll - Step 6 - Attaching the Arms

You may notice that I changed my mind about her feet.  I was intending to use some plum coloured velvet because I thought it would add a lovely texture.  I did make a pair of feet using this fabric, but just wasn’t pleased with the result.  The velvet feels lovely, but doesn’t take an iron and when you are making a Tilda Doll, everything has to be pressed over and over again to get seams to line up and achieve a nice, neat finish, so the velvet had to be replaced by purple polka doted cotton.  I really like how this co-ordinates with the purple flowery bodice.  

If anyone has any tips on how to incorporate velvet into dolls like this, please do leave a comment and let me know!  In the meantime, I will save that plum velvet for another project.

Designer Doll - Gather and attach the Top Skirt
Designer Doll - Step 7 - Gather and attach the Top Skirt
Designer Doll - Under Skirts
Designer Doll - Step 8 - Trim, gather and attach two underskirts
Designer Doll - Add Embellishments
Designer Doll - Step 9 - The Fun Bit - Add Embellishments!
Designer Doll Hairstyle
Designer Doll - Step 10 - Hair and Face
Designer Doll - Hair and Face

Heart Up-Cycling!

Heart Upcycling Logo
  • Stuffing made from re-cycled plastic bottles
  • Two small lengths of vintage lace were just enough to decorate the doll’s feet.
  • A beautiful fabric remnant donated by my sister was just – and I mean only just – big enough to make the top skirt.  A perfect choice for an outfit to display a love of texture.
  • I used sequins which were once attached to this donated purple cushion to decorate her neckline.  I have many more left for other projects – and a lovely square of lilac slub raw silk on the back too.  keep reading to see what I manage to turn this into.
  • The lovely bright purple fabrics for her bodice, arms and feet were found amongst the lovely big bag of scraps that Michelle donated last year.  The vibrant colours were just perfect for this project.
  • I had some tiny multicoloured beads in my stash that at first sight looked pretty useless for this project.  When I separated out the pink and purple beads from the rest though, the colours began to sing and they were very useful for making the flower centres on her bodice.
Designer Doll Vintage Lace
Vintage Lace - Thanks Julia!
Designer Doll Multicoloured Beads
Designer Doll - Donated Fabric Remnant
Donated Fabric Remnant - Thanks Nicky!
Designer Doll - Sequinned Cushion
Donation of Fabric Remnants
Thanks Michelle!
Polyester stuffing made from recycled plastic bottles

Tips and Tricks

  • I decided not to use the Knit’n’Stable tape to attach the skirts this time.  Instead, I hemmed the tops and attached them by hand.  See Step 8.  It gives a neater looking finish and is more secure.
  • I changed my threads a number of times during this project to match the pinks, purples and whites.
  • I also used a new sewing machine needle.  When I first learned to sew as a young girl, I only had the needle that came with my sewing machine and I was so careful with it because I wasn’t too sure where to go to get a replacement!  Using a new, sharp needle is important to get a nice finish to a doll.
  • I found a pair of long hemostats very useful.  I used a pair 15cm long when I made my first doll, but I found that a bigger pair – 25cm long – made stuffing and turning so much easier.
Handmade Rag Dolls Hemostat Tool

Useful Suppliers

I was very pleased with a new supplier I found for the doll’s hair.

The long, blonde, curly hair was supplied by Edge Fold Wools and Yarns, based in Buxton, Derbyshire.

Apart from the fact that it was superb quality 100% British wool, it was really nice to think as I fashioned the hairstyle that I was supporting a local small business.

Designer Doll - Edge Fold Wools and Yarns Hair
Edge Fold Wools and Yarns Hair

Meet some more of my Tilda Dolls

If you like Tilda dolls, you might be interested in some of my other posts.  Every post has some new tips and tricks to learn.

Would you like a Doll made especially for you?

Request Printable PDF Instructions

A Printable PDF Instruction Sheet for making your own Tilda Doll is available incorporating all the Tips and Tricks of previous posts.  

Please contact me to request a downloadable PDF file (Subscribers only).

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Shaun Gibson

    I’m not that much of a online reader to be honest but your blogs
    really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your website to come back later

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