how a doll is created..

The inspiration for this doll comes from a few places. First is from Little V, who wanted a doll that she could change the diaper on, looked like a newborn, was little and was heavy-ish. The other source was from Miss Polly- a teacher at my sons Waldorf School. Miss Polly noticed that quite a few children in her class were taking the sand/bean bags and cuddling them like babies – she asked me if I could make essentially a sack with a head with a hat on it. So, I mixed the two together and came up with this…

baby1.jpg

So, first I drew up a rough pattern.

Then, I traced it out. Because the doll is quite heavy, I put a layer of muslin, then tricot, then tricot, then muslin – so it’s nice and sturdy. I triple stitched the seams.

baby2.jpg

I attached it to the head – I have to figure out another way to do this more neatly. The body is filled with wild rice (it’s what I had around!) – but next time I’m using quartz sand – then I’m going to try quinoa. There is a bit of wool in there too.

baby3.jpg

I will revamp this pattern at least a dozen times before I think it’s ready for sale – sharpen up my technique and rework the pattern. I’m going to run the sleeper through Constance to perfect the pattern (it is what she does, I’m not so great at pattern drafting).

I worked on her for about 4 hours today, it’s always like this for the first doll. Be sure to stay tuned for these babies in my shop in the new year.

This is really interesting (to me!) – Lose Weight Exerciseed dolls are used therapeutically in Europe with children who have ADD and autism. It’s thought that the physical Lose Weight Exercise of them and the act of  lugging them around grounds and calms the children. Jasper yesterday was kissing and carrying around a very, very large sweet potato. Ha! I should just put a head on a potato and sell those. Nutty kid!!

Subsequent dolls will have noses on them – totally forgot to put one on her!

Leah - December 16, 2008 - 9:36 pm

I think I may need this- will you have it ready by February when my baby is due? I think my daughter will need her own baby :-)

Jenny - December 16, 2008 - 10:20 pm

I love it! I am going to want a new baby in May for my daughter’s birthday. =)

Kerry - December 16, 2008 - 11:00 pm

It’s true. Autistic kids get comfort from things that are a heavy weight. That’s why they are often seen wearing heavy vests year round. I imagine the weight of the doll brings a feeling of safety. Interesting stuff!

Meike - December 17, 2008 - 1:43 am

O wow – extraordinary! I’ve always loved the idea of weighted dolls, although I have never tried one myself. I noticed my daughter too loves to carry around my bigger, heavier dolls more than the soft floppy one I made her for her first birthday.

So exciting to see your doll process! Keep us posted. :) And you forgetting the nose made me laugh! Happens to me too when I’m really excited, LOL!

P.S. Thank you for your sweet comment on my weblog! Happy holidays to you and your family too! :)

Lauren A - December 17, 2008 - 1:49 am

Adorable!!! I’m surely going to want one!

pascaline Legros - December 17, 2008 - 5:27 am

what a great idea this doll… so cute too with her nappy… well done for your work… bises
pascaline

Monica - December 17, 2008 - 9:08 am

I am so happy to see this. :) We love heavy around here….I think we’ll be needing one of these too….shall I admit that I was doll crazy as a child and I’m living vicariously through my children now? {blush}

Monica - December 17, 2008 - 9:09 am

Oh, and this baby will certainly need a woolie soaker too….rofl….send me some measurements when you have one perfected. 😉

Alicia - December 17, 2008 - 10:52 am

Just let me know when to order! Willa will love one of these. She’s getting another cousin in August, the same month as her birthday! Perhaps one in pink or purple….

Amber - December 17, 2008 - 11:26 am

It’s so cool to see the creative process at work here. I love that kids are involved in the design process. :-)

Bonnie - December 17, 2008 - 12:21 pm

I absolutely love it!

Tressa - December 17, 2008 - 2:01 pm

Put my name on the wait list too, for real – this is EXACTLY what Ruby wants, though not yet able to articulate the design features and considerations. She works sooo hard at changing her baby doll – Vi is an excellent source of toddler wisdom. And you, a doll maker visionary. Love it.

Melissa V. - December 17, 2008 - 2:38 pm

My son has autism and this is such a wonderful idea. Currently my mom made him a rice filled “pillow” that he lugs around and puts on his lap when I need him to sit still for longer amounts of time. A doll would be much “funner” to lug around and to eat dinner with at the table. Thanks for this…

kirsten - December 17, 2008 - 4:29 pm

she’s so cute! love it…

Theresa Wood - December 17, 2008 - 4:55 pm

We will be “needing” a couple of these methinks. Just adorable…I almost want one myself! :)

cheryl - December 17, 2008 - 5:41 pm

My child has heavy babies at his school, and the kids love them. I must admit yours is soo much cuter because it has a body. Theirs is a potato as you said. They also put lavender in them for a calming scent.

devon and v - December 17, 2008 - 6:34 pm

Yay! This is so exciting. I’ve already planned on “hiding” our little babies in Sillycon’s slings on Christmas morning for the children to discover! It will be a baby-wearing day! It’s kind of making me wish I had a real one of my own in a sling… How can this be happening?:-)

Chris - December 18, 2008 - 5:23 am

Melissa V, I hope you little guy gets to be a test subject. :) Early research with the prototypes.

Very cute doll. I’m sure my little one will want one in a few years too.

Erica Hildebrand - December 18, 2008 - 8:09 am

I would so snatch one of those up already! You really are amazing!

Shannon - December 18, 2008 - 10:24 am

So very precious. My second youngest would love it and so would my only girl out of eight. :O) There is always a baby in the house – so playing with babies is fun too. To be just like mom. You are so very creative.

Emily - December 20, 2008 - 8:08 pm

Love them! We will certainly order one when they are for sale!

Rosaleen - December 21, 2008 - 5:21 am

Wow, I’ve been wanting a weighted doll for a while now for my LO. Do you think you might put something like lavender or dried rosebuds in it to scent the doll too? I think it would be great if they were scented too.
XXX

Catherine - December 21, 2008 - 2:30 pm

It’s funny you mentioned the autism bit at the end. As I was looking at the pictures and reading the description I was thinking how perfect this would be for Asher, who is autistic. Looks like when these come out that I’ll have to hold off buying new dolls for Freya for a second to get her big brother a new one too. :)

CanCan (MomMostTraveled) - December 22, 2008 - 11:19 am

How neat!
We have a sand filled “gekko” that was made in Thailand…I can’t stand it b/c it looks real (like a huge dead lizard), but my boys have always loved it. I never considered it might be the weight that they like about it…

Ella - December 23, 2008 - 9:10 pm

cutie. how is it that you have time to come up with a whole new design in the midst of Christmas madness. you are amazing CHristina.

xo Happy Holiday.

emilykristin - December 24, 2008 - 10:13 am

I love this baby! Good ideas. I worked with autistic children for a little while, and they did use weighted vests and weighted packs (like those heat-able rice or flax packs), but looking back, I would have loved to have a weighted baby doll. They would have been comforted by the weight while potentially forming an attachment (or sorts) to something resembling a person – it could be so helpful. If I ever go back to that work, I will definitely revisit these fellows!

heather t - December 26, 2008 - 11:41 pm

just want to say i think this is awesome; i work with kids for a living and think this would be a great thing to have in my office when kids come see me… beautiful thought process…

Denise - December 27, 2008 - 1:48 pm

Love this design. Can’t wait to get one of these diaperable babes. My daughter loves to put her small cloth diaper on her bears.

Donna E - January 2, 2009 - 5:15 pm

Oh Christina,these are just perfect,and the the thought of maybe lavender in there is just the thing! I spoke to the older twins OT about this and she thinks it’s a wonderful idea,can’t wait ’til they’re available.You’re amazing!

sarah A - January 3, 2009 - 4:38 am

Ou yummy. My Grama use to make us bean bags growing up. I really did love them. The feeling of the beans moving in my hands, the substance. I think I may have liked the smell too, whatever that was. One thing I think about when choosing the inside is what will happen when it gets wet, a little? will it get mushy, sticky.. or will it pretty much dry out and be cool. I wonder about mung beans. I am excited to see what emerges. My daughter loves the plastic?! baby dolls a school, she has some organic cotton, but what is missing is the ability to change clothes, and the very necessary diaper. One of these cuties will work.

Ramona - January 9, 2009 - 6:33 am

this is a great idea-. i can’t wait until it’s up. i seriously plan on buying a doll (or two?) from you. just need to get my mind sorted out about the how and what.

Melissa V. - February 4, 2009 - 3:29 pm

I have a crazy question, how do you make the cute smiles on your dolls? I assume you use embroidery thread and needle? It looks like one long stitch, but that can’t be the case… would you be willing to share your secret? Do you sew them on before putting the skin over the head??? Thanks so much!!!

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