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Stitch It Blog

Book Review: 'Sew Your Own Dolls' by Louise Kelly

By Steph, Apr 18 2017 12:50PM

As I was pinning my Sew Crafty shift dress together at the beginning of the Easter holiday, I noticed my daughter had been rather quiet all morning. I headed into my bedroom (which is also my sewing space) to start sewing and discovered Lucy settled onto my bed reading my new copy of Sew Magazine - not only had I not read it yet, I didnt even know it had arrived as the little minx had swooped in and picked it off the mat as soon as it came through the post box! I posted this picture on my Instagram of her reading the pattern instructions for the doll featured on the cover:

The picture was seen by Sew Magazine, and upon hearing that Lucy liked to sew bags and clothes for her dolls, they offered to send her a little present (they're also printing her picture in the next issue - keep a eye out for it!). I expected maybe a few little bits of fabric or one of the free cover gifts. What we actually received was AMAZING.

The very kind Sew team had sent Lucy the brand new 'Sew Your Own Dolls' book by the incredibly talented dollmaker Louise Kelly!

As a dollmaker myself, I'd already added this book to my list to buy or borrow from the library, so i was thrilled that they had sent it to Lucy!

It is packed with loads of gorgeous dolls, clothing and accessories - i'd have bought it just to look at the pictures! Lucy couldnt wait to get started, but we needed to enlarge some of the pattern pieces first. She was pretty impatient, so we decided to start out with one of the mini 'Girl Squad' dolls that didnt need to be enlarged.

Armed with felt, threads and fabrics, we settled down together to make our first doll. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy the instructions were to follow - i've read a LOT of dollmaking books and nearly all of them are really difficult to follow. Complete with helpful illustrations, the book guided us through putting the little doll body together, making little doll knickers (SO ADORABLE) and making a dress.

The book guides you through sewing felt eyes and embroidering a mouth and nose - however we only had cheap felt to hand which had a habit of falling apart when we tried to sew it so I painted a face on on instead.

Though im not usually a fan of hand sewing (and most of the dolls in the book require hand stitching), Lucy and I both really enjoyed sitting on the sofa together quietly backstitching little arms and legs together.

I managed to get out to the library a couple of days later and enlarge the other patterns, so we're already working on a huge collection of new dolls!

As a dollmaker myself, i have read a huge range of dollmaking books and there are very few I recommend to others as they are often hard to read, awkward patterns, stuffy and old fashioned and in no way suitable for fairly novice stitchers. This book, however, i whole-heartedly recommend to sewers and makers of all levels. The patterns are easy to follow, the dolls and clothes are trendy, fun and gorgeous, and they are all customisable so you can put your own spin on the designs.

There will be many more afternoons sitting with my daughter creating beautiful dolls from this wonderful book. Buy it now - you'll be addicted to making them in no time!

S xx

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