Posted on 58 Comments


I’ve had the idea for this doll forever and then had her half finished for another forever. Feels so good to have her done finally. Shoeless, but done.

Back when I was tearing strips for this rag knitting project I had the idea that it would make pretty cool doll hair. I really like how it turned out. Kind of primitive raggedy ann-ish but at the same time, still more polished. She needs a little beret I think. She has beret hair.

The book I was showing yesterday is a Japanese book on embroidery that had some smocking projects in it. I thought I’d smock her dress up all fancy. First time out with smocking and I thought it’d all be made clear after looking at a few diagrams with Japanese explanations. So, yeah, not so much. I had to get out my Guide to Needlework and try the simpliest smocking pattern they had and still.. so hard! I think I’m going to have to actually read the directions or something. piffle.

Oh and about the dress fabric. I’m stumped. I think I got it at a quilt shop in Wisconsin this Summer. I emailed them to see if they had any info on it. I only got a 1/4 yard and it didn’t catch any of the selvedge info. I’ll post here if I figure it out. I’d like to get more of it myself. Why do I get all cheap at the fabric store and only get quarters!

58 thoughts on “experiments

  1. she’s adorable. i love her hair. what kind of fabric do you use for the body ? I am about to attempt my first dollie.

  2. Very pretty idea the hair… love that!

  3. WOW! Love that ‘do and the fabric choices.

  4. She’s so sweet! I too love the dress fabric. Thimbleberries came to mind. Maybe.

  5. So adorable, Hillary! And I think smocking is easiest if you use gingham – the little squares give you a pattern of where to stitch. I remember making a smocked toilet roll cover out of gingham in my Junior Girl Scout troop. (Yes, I grew up in the 70’s).

  6. She is very cute. I could send you the handout for my smocking class.This is the easiet book to read…A-Z of Smocking by the Australian publisher Country Bumpkin

  7. Cute dolly! Fun hair and the smocking is a nice touch. I’ll second Laura’s suggestion for the A-Z of Smocking book by Country Bumpkin. It is the best how to smock book ever!

  8. she is so cute!
    I do the same thing with fabric, & then I’m always scrambling around later trying to get my hands on more. I figure, at least it gives me a quest at the fabric store!

  9. she is SOOO cute!! i love that raggedy hair – it is perfect!
    i love the dress fabric too – for some reason it reminds me of owls (and i love owls too!)

  10. I love how her hair coordinates with her dress.

  11. The smocking is very cute! I have some smocking transfer paper somewhere in my stash of weird old sewing notions.

  12. You are truly amazing!!!!!! She is ADORABLE! What’s her name?

  13. She’s beautiful. Smocking? Wow!

  14. She is so cute I am almost having convulsions. lol
    So sweet!

  15. echoing…very cute. i especially like her eyes!

  16. cutest doll ever!

  17. I love the smocking. Maybe it’s not so perfect, but it just makes it all come together. What kind of fabric do you use for skin? I’m never quite happy with the quality of felt I find on bolts at the fabric stores, and have been thinking of trying to find a skin-tone flannel.

  18. Hi Hilary – The dress fabric was part of a Thimbleberries collection from quite a few years ago. I don’t know the name of it, but it also had a puppy dog fabric to go with it – cute, but not ultra-vintage looking. I made a baby boy quilt for friend out of it.
    Your doll is adorable!

  19. Really cute! I love the hair and I think the smocking looks just fine.

  20. ADORE the hair!!! LOVE it!

  21. I really like her. I love the way her hair and dress coordinate but don’t “match” and I like her shape and face details too.
    So, you tore your strips? I just made some scrap fabric balls (posted today) and was wondering how you made yours back when you did that apron…

  22. She is so cute, and I love the hair. I think that sometimes the hair is the hardest part, so that is a great idea to use when I make another doll. Lincraft actually sell strips of fabrics in packs so maybe I will sneak a look next time. I also love the smocking, and it sounds hard to do, although my MIL used to make her daughter clothes when she was young, and used to smock everything. She said you need to see the dots though, so I assume that is where the thread goes through.

  23. this is just too cute. love it. everthing you make is so unique and carefully crafted…even the smocking!

  24. super cute doll Hillary! and your smocking isn’t bad for a first attempt. it helps if your fabric is pleated before you begin, then it’s super simple. email me if you want more info – i have a great smocking book somewhere.

  25. I’ll send you this little doll beret if you’d like:
    although it may be too big.

  26. Great hair. I’ve had a Japanese smocking book sitting here forever – you may just inspire me to try something small.

  27. oh man-she is so flippin cute! and the hair is so good I love it that you used patterned fabric for the hair. . .and smocking. sigh, you brave woman. I love it.

  28. hello. I have said this before: every darn time you post something new, it blows me away. they get cuter and cuter!!!

  29. she is so cute, I love the hair….its dueling with the smocking as my favorite bit!

  30. I love the hair!

  31. She is adorable! The hear is genious, and looks so funny. I’m about to sew dresses for my girl’s teddies (Santa’s local workshop…), now I have to take some smocking in consideration. Or for a shirt, that would look good too.

  32. She looks so sweet.
    And the idea for the hair ist great.
    So she wears flowers in her hair.

  33. Hillary she’s very cute and I love the hair. I had a raggedy doll when I was little and her name was Amy. The things we remember 30+ years later!
    Love the smocking too!

  34. wow!
    her hair is fabulous.
    i love this doll.

  35. She is adorable! What a lovely idea.

  36. In that dress, she reminds me more of the Fisher Price lapsitter dolls I had in the ’70s.

  37. She is precious! I love the hair.

  38. you are going to share this little dollie pattern with the rest of us aren’t you?!!! You just amase me. I feel very blessed to be able to come and see all the wonderful things that you make. But i really think we all need this pattern!!
    I love the dollie!!

  39. She’s awesome. I think you should name her Ethel Louise, for no reason other than I like the name Ethel Louise.

  40. She is a beautiful doll I would love to have a pattern. I have some design images but need a good pattern. The hair reminds me of something I saw in a japanese craft book. But the dolls were much smaller. Can’t wait for the next installment. Thanks as always for the inspriation.

  41. She’s a sweetie, I love the hair.

  42. What a little cutie-pie! The Alice I made for MOS in 2005 had rag hair. ( It’s a fun medium. One of my most well received dolls had ribbon hair. It was a last-minute design decision since it a was a gift and I was working on it the night before the party! (Of course!)

  43. This doll is so lovely! The hair reminds me of my own….raggedy but but in a cute way…

  44. Hey, I just saw your article/profile in a sewing magazine at Borders. It was great, congrats!

  45. LOVE the hair, and the sweet little dress – reminds me of my Holly Hobby doll, for some reason!

  46. oh, she’s adorable.

  47. the doll is so sweet. great job.. and thanks also for the directions you sent via email for me.

  48. adorable.
    simply. adorable.

  49. Love the doll so cute and the hair great idea.
    Also great article about you in Cutting Edge….love the little wees now I have another thing on my forever growing Christmas making list.

  50. Oh I love her!
    I just redid a doll who had similar hair. It was so wrong for that doll. It’s wonderful to see a doll that is so suited by that style of hair.
    She’s stinkin’ cute!!

  51. hi hilary-
    love the doll and esp. the hair! the fabric is from a thimbleberries collexn called, i think, “kids under cover”
    i made some baby quilts out of it
    i bought it at
    i’ll check to see if i have any left/the selvage after the baby wakes up…

  52. hi- the selvage i have says “just kids” by thimbleberries for r.j.r fashion fabrics…what i have is a greener version of your fabric
    ps: i also would like to know what you use for “skin” fabric 😉

  53. Excellent. I love the way that just the tiniest bit of smocking makes all the difference.

  54. Her hair is so wonderful. I think she’s my favorite person yet!

  55. oop, guess I answered that skin question in email instead of here. It’s flannel. I always end up going with flannel 🙂

  56. What a beautiful doll, I love the fabric both for the hair and the dress it’s adroable and your work is amazing!

  57. What a beautiful doll, I love the fabric both for the hair and the dress it’s adorable and your work is amazing!

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