Creation: Elegant Rag Doll
The Visionary: Katerina, bloglexandliv.com
Our Thoughts: Katerina from bloglexandlive.com made this gorgeous rag doll for her daughter to play with. What a unique and beautiful toy!
Selecting the fabric was really fun but it was also really hard to narrow down; so many options.To create the body of the doll with a textured cotton muslin I had originally thought to use their organic cotton muslin, I also ordered a yard of their exceptional hemp muslin. I’m so glad that I did because it has the most incredible texture. It just has a lovely weight to it and I think it imparts a more rustic, handmade quality than the more tightly weaved cotton muslin.
The matte side of the silk/ hemp charmeuse shown here in the background, while the doll’s dress shows the shiny side
My absolute favourite (possibly one of my favourite fabrics ever) was the silk/ hemp blend charmeuse, which I used for the white formal dress. It has the weight of hemp fabric (almost a linen feel) with the extravagant sheen of the silk. One side of the fabric is muted and the other side shiny. I used the shiny side for the dress but I think I may use the muted side for the coat. One thing to keep in mind with this fabric is that it frays very quickly, which is one of the reasons I chose a zigzag stitch on the bottom of the dress, rather than a simple stay stitch (that is, a raw edge with a single row of stitching above it to prevent fraying). It should be noted that the harvesters of this silk take special precautions to ensure a high survival rate for the worms.
What I am most looking forward to incorporating into one of the doll’s outfits is the extraordinary organic lace. I had initially intended to use it with one of the white fabrics but the lace was a little more beige than I pictured and I feel like it really needs to be paired with the same colour. For now, our doll will have to settle for a bit of lace negligee. You can see in the images below how intricate the detailing is in the lace.
For stuffing, I ordered sheep’s wool as well as organic cotton stuffing. I opted for the organic cotton stuffing because it was so soft and just felt really pure. I love that it was undyed and you could see the little tiny cotton seeds. Delighted to discover what cotton really looks like. I probably had to use more cotton than I would have with wool but I really needed very little either way. I felt like the wool might have appeared a little lumpy and found that using little pieces of cotton at a time was a good way to maintain a rounded appearance.
Fabrics (all organic, unless stated otherwise)
- Doll hair piece: Organic Baby rib in coral ($10.60/ yd). This fabric is similar to a thicker T-shirt material. I think it would be great for baby leggings. It doesn’t really fray, which is another reason why I chose to cut it into strips to make the doll’s hair.
- Doll’s body: Organic Hemp muslin ($20.22/ yd). A great, weighty fabric with an open weave. Similar texture to linen, only a little knottier (and far less expensive). Unlike the cotton muslin, this fabric has been treated with hydrogen peroxide to achieve a bright white colour. I confirmed with one of their representatives that all of their hemp fabric and hemp/cotton blends are organic, even though it is not specified on their website.
- Stuffing: Organic cotton batting ($10.78 for 1 lb bag)
- Sundress: Organic Miraleste voile ($14.74) A very lightweight, slightly translucent fabric that was perfect for a casual little sundress. It’s so lightweight, that it draped really well, even though the dress is tiny.
- Bloomers: Batiste, in natural ($14.88/ yd). I have to admit, before receiving this fabric, I had no idea what batiste was. As stated on the site, it’s soft and lightweight, and used to make handkerchiefs and underlayers for dresses.
- Apron: I used the same hemp fabric as the body, utilising the selvedge to create a little raw edge effect on the bottom.
- Evening dress: Silk/ hemp charmeuse ($27.70/ yd) A great option for evening and bridal wear. This silk is grown as a companion crop to the hemp, which is cultivated without the use of chemical fertilisers or pesticides. The workers are paid a fair wage and the worms are handled ethically, allowed to emerge from the cocoon, unlike most silk harvesters.
- Muslin (extra wide greige/ unfinished)- this particular muslin has to be washed before using but is similar otherwise. I ordered it because the regular cotton muslin was backordered but ended up using the hemp muslin instead)
- Sateen, extra wide ($19.96/ yd). The most vibrant cornflower blue colour sateen; slight shimmer. Cannot wait to use this.
- Sateen in Stornetta blue, extra wide ($23.38). Had originally planned to use this for the evening dress but found the pattern was a little too large for a doll dress. Beautiful fabric all the same.
In the next part, I’ll go into detail about making the rag doll and her attire. It was a very straightforward project but I think it helps to have images of the process to compliment the instructions and diagrams in the book.