Thursday, January 12, 2012

Topsy Turvy Dolls

I don't remember when I bought Wee Wonderfuls by Hillary Lang, but it's been hanging out on my crafting bookshelf just waiting for me.  There are so many neat doll projects in it, but the one that caught my eye was the topsy turvy doll.  Do you remember these?  I think I had one as a kid -- one half of the doll was grandma and when you flipped the dress over grandma, the other half became the wolf from Little Red Riding Hood.

This summer I had big plans to make like five or six of these topsy turvy dolls and give them to all the little girls I know.  I had a whole list of recipients, most of whom were under a year old.  But given the fact that I tend to procrastinate on making almost everything, I didn't get around to my little doll assembly line that I had planned.  Oh well.  In the end, I made two dolls:  one for my sister's daughter and the other for my little four-year-old next door neighbor.

For the Wee Wonderfuls topsy-turvy doll, she's got one side that is dressed down with an apron and braids  and the other side is dressed up with a scallop-edged dress and buns.  The pattern pieces are all in the back of the book and I just had to trace them onto some lightweight interfacing in order to have my own pattern.  

For my niece:
I messed up a bit on the length of the apron, so I added the ric-rac.  The hand stitching was a bit tedious and I'm not the neatest handsewer, so the stitching is a bit uneven.
The whole process took about a week (per doll) to the evenings, while watching TV.  All the pattern pieces fit together nicely and the instructions were clear.  The only thing I didn't like was the face.  I went with the template on the first doll, but on the second one I tried something different.
I just didn't like the smallness of the features on the first doll, so I sort of just made up my own face.  First I had to draw out the doll pattern onto the muslin and then I had to sketch a face with some blue marking pen on one side of the doll.  Then I had to flip the doll and sort of assess where the other face would be and then I had to sketch another one.  Here she is all ready for embroidery:
I guess the faces turned out okay in the end.  Next time, I need to remember to snip the embroidery tails a little closer to the fabric, because once the doll is stuffed you can see the different colored threads up against the interior of the face.  Live and learn.

So here is the finished doll for my neighbor:
Oops.  One is not a giantess.  I got to see my one-year-old niece hold her doll via Skype, so when I gave this doll to my neighbor I was surprised by the fact that she actually played with it.  After I had completed these dolls, I "played" with them by just sort of pretending to walk them along in a lah-ti-dah fashion.  It's been a while since I was a kid, but isn't that how kids play??

Um, no, of course not!  The neighbor girl labeled one a dancer and the other a baker and then proceeded to move the arms about, undo the bow in the back, tug on the braids...  She actually played with the thing!  I'm not complaining.  This is good.  This is what is supposed to happen...I just hope my stitches hold up!  Do they look sturdy enough to you?
The Wee Wonderfuls topsy-turvy doll is called "Margot" in the book and can be found on page 25.


  1. These are so cute and I most definitely remember topsy turvy dolls. You are so talented!