Tuesday, January 03, 2006

My First Doll Pattern Was Named "Linda" - How Appropriate?

If you aren't a reader of my Linda's Blog you might not know that I'm a doll maker and doll pattern designer. I'm also a bit of a genealogy buff. So, I decided to combine my love of doll making and love of genealogy by naming my doll patterns after members of my family - past and present. I thought by doing so that it would be a nice way to honor my ancestors.

In any event, I thought that the first article in my "The Story Behind Each of My Doll Patterns" series should be the first doll and doll pattern that I designed. Her name is "Linda" and her picture is the one at the top of this article. And, "yes" she is named after me. What a surprise? Bet you could see that coming a mile away.

I gave a lot of thought to "Linda" as I wasn't quite sure where and how to begin. Besides being a lover of dolls and genealogy I also have a passion for the clothes of the Victorian Era. I wanted my first doll, my namesake, to be a Victorian. I also knew that I wanted my dolls to be able to stand up on their own.

I'd seen a lot of porcelain dolls which were all very beautiful but, wanted something different. I wanted to design a doll who had a "distinct" personality that was not determined by her face. What I wanted was to create a "faceless" doll. My feeling is that faces overwhelm the dolls personality and, therefore, have a greater impact on her personality. I wanted the clothing, hair, accessories, color scheme, etc. of the Victorian period to determine the personality of the doll.

So, I decided that the best way to accomplish this was to use a wooden ball for the head, a 1/4" dowel for the neck, a 1" dowel for the body, and a wood circle for the base. Her wooden head would be painted with a flesh colored paint. I added a little blush for color. Her arms were going to be wires covered with batting so they were bendable. Also, her hands were going to be made out of old lace, preferably old lace gloves (talk about hard to find).

Batting was wrapped around the wood dowel for padding for the body. If I wanted her to be a little chunkier (what's wrong with chunky?) then I would just add more padding. A fitted slip was added to the lower part of her body and glued to the sides of the fitted circle so she was self-enclosed.

The fun part was that "Linda's" personality started to develop as I went along. Now this might sound a little crazy, but the doll kind of spoke to me as she was being created. If that sounds crazy to you that's okay. I know all my doll making and crafting friends will understand this.

"Linda" wanted to be a prim and proper Victorian so she decided that an 1850 Street Costume would be appropriate for herself. She wanted a lined 2-tier jacket with a 3-tiered lined shawl. She also wanted a lined bonnet, lace trimmed parasol, lace trimmed dress with long lace trimmed and gathered sleeves, lace gloves, lace trimmed slip and long curly blonde hair.

I tried to talk her out of being "blonde" with all the connotations that come with that. She didn't care. It was 1850 after all and they didn't have "dumb blondes" back then. Who came up with that term anyway? I told her that I, her namesake, had straight, fine hair. It didn't matter to her whether or not she looked like me. It was going to be long, curly blond hair or nothing. So, "Linda" had her way. Of course, my Mother would tell you that she was just like me in that regard.

So, "Linda" got her 1850 Street Costume and long, curly, blonde hair. She was well suited to be a prim and proper Victorian "Lady" if I didn't say so myself. Plus, as she tells me, she doesn't look anything like her namesake which she is thankful for. I don't know if I should be insulted or not. What do you think?


  1. Linda - I thoroughly enjoyed your article on Linda - your first Victorian Doll. :) She's beautiful!

  2. Thanks for the wonderful comments, NeeNee.