Friday, July 27, 2012

Waldorf Dolls

When I think about my childhood, one of my favorite things was imagination time with my dolls. As if foretelling my homeschooling destiny, I regularly held "school" for my dolls in my playroom. I had/have one special doll in particular, Melissa. I took her everywhere and had loads and loads of special clothes for her- some made by my talented mom, some American Girl brand and some off brand. Melissa was not an official American Girl, but conveniently fit their clothes great! Although I have passed my special doll down to Rainbow Girl, she still refers to it as "Mommy's doll when she was a girl." My babes needed special dolls all their own to create and imagine their own new worlds with them. 

In my research to learn as much as I can about Waldorf homeschooling, I came across Waldorf dolls. Traditionally, they are made of all natural materials. Generally a cotton knit fabric with wool stuffing and mohair or boucle hair. From Weir Dolls & Crafts-"The young child's touch is more sensitive to materials that have been alive and growing, as opposed to synthetics, which do not encourage the child's own life forces to expand." The doll's facial expression is often undefined, allowing the child to decide at anytime what emotion the doll is experiencing during play. 

I searched the internet looking for the perfect dolls for my kids. They are VERY expensive! The average price of a 16-18 inch doll is around $150. After seeing that this was pretty universal everywhere, I decided to look into making them on my own. 

Finding all of the materials started to look expensive too. Then I came across Weir Dolls & Crafts. The put together a kit- custom to your specifications with everything you need to make a doll- at a very affordable price! A 12 inch doll kit is $28.95, a 16 inch kit is $29.95 and a 20 inch doll kit is $42.95. You select skin and hair color, pre-sewn body or not, pre-formed head or not and pre-sewn wig or not. You also have the option to buy all the needles you'll need to put the doll together. Most folks I'd assume to not own a 5 inch soft sculpture needle- unless they have made a doll before. 

I ordered 16 inch pre-sewn bodies and pre-sewn wigs, blush skin and butterscotch hair. 

Durring my first night of working on the dolls, with Rainbow Girl sitting beside me, she named her doll. Mary. While I was still forming the head, she was already forming her relationship with her new friend. "She has never seen anything! I will show her the world! Can I take her everywhere? She will be my best friend." <3 It took me about two hours to make Mary's head. The next morning, I made Sugar Bear's baby's head in about 45 minutes. I placed the wigs on the heads for the picture- they are not attached. 

The next day, I stuffed the arms and bodies of the dolls and started to sew Mary together. First, I sewed the arms to the back of the shoulders (the ball stuffed with wool under the head). Next, I sewed the head and arms into the body. The process of sewing the neck was hard! I had to turn under the raw edge on the body while making sure to cover the neck string on the head- while trying to avoid too much bunching of the fabric. Who wants a wrinkly neck? I worked for about two hours this day.

The next morning, I sewed the leg bend and the feet on Mary. Rainbow Girl was thrilled and didn't want to stop snuggling her. We ended up taking a hairless an faceless Mary to story time at the library.

During nap time, (yes! Rainbow Girl still naps 3-4 hours a day! Sugar Bear only naps 1-2 hours) I assembled Sugar Bear's doll. Then I began to embroider Mary's face. This is a gruesome process. I took my five inch needle and, as instructed, stabbed my daughter's new best friend in the back of the head, coming out where I wanted her eye to be. Ouch. My first attempt at eyes looked like a sleepy, possibly drunk, Chinese person. Woops. I cut the thread out. My second attempt was much better. After finishing the eyes, I stabbed poor Mary in the head again and tied off the thread on the back of her head. I went through the same process for the mouth. I'm afraid I made their mouths a bit more "smiley" than I intended, but I like them. Then I sewed Mary's hair on, straight down the part line of her wig. On the suggestion of a friend, I immediately braided her hair to avoid impossible tangling. 

Sugar Bear woke from his nap and needed snuggles and nursing. With him still nursing, I began sewing the feet on his doll. He got down to play and I broke out the five inch needle again. I'll spare you the details this time. His eyes came out ok, I am not 100% in love with them, but I ran out of blue thread. I made his mouth and sewed on his wig (which was a crochet cap). 

Remember Melissa? My special doll? The one with loads of special clothes? The new dolls fit her clothes great!

Happy Birthday to Mary and Baby!

They both love their dolls. Sugar Bear had not connected as emotionally to his doll as much as Rainbow Girl has, but that will probably come in time. He's two after all- and very busy. 

Today we are going to the fabric store to pick out fabric for ring slings I will make for them to tote their babes in.

1 comment:

  1. I love these! I bet Devon would like one too. I'll have to look into it.