Project Dolly

Say hello to Willow.

She is just about complete. I am getting somewhat addicted to adding layers of hair. I want it thicker. I have enough practice at hair extensions that I used to clip in a few years ago and can apply this skill to wool dolly hair too so Willow will be fit to appear in Desperate Housewives if they ever make another series.

I have elaborated on her eyes. From plain black circles I have added in some eyelashes, some blue thread loosely around the outer sides, a small triangle of white in the corners and a small fleck in the middle of her pupils which the children and I agreed brought her to life strait away.

I chopped out half of her mouth. It needs a little wearing in after ‘mouth reduction surgery’ but I think it gives her a cheeky charm and makes her look a little more mischievous.

The hair was the biggest amount of work. As the material underneath the existing hair was black I knew I had to cover it well so I took three long strands of wool and sewed in a plait in rows.

I alternated plaiting and then stitching it into the head so that I was not working with too long a bit of wool at any time. Once this was done and all sewn along it made a secure and easy base to start sewing the strands of hair into. I used the plait I did right down the centre to thread one strand through, knot and divide to make a centre parting.

Secured with a simple knot    

 I took this parting through to the crown of the head where I started the first of the horizonal rows of hair.

For this section I doubled up the length of wool and threaded the middle through, taking the ends through the loop and pulling it to sit flat. I repeated this on a few different rows to thicken the hair and this is how I’ll continue to add thickness.

I’m not yet sure if I’ll need to secure the ends of her hair. I guess some sort of varnish, perhaps clear nail varnish or wax, to stop ends fraying but for now I’m going to leave it and see if they will stay together. I know either of those options will not be safe for a tiny person to play with.


For the last step I made her a little dress. I was desperate to get her out of pink. I did want her in a bright spring green and have a dress of mine in mind which has a big hole in it and may be in the recycling pile soon. I am so UBER keen on reusing old clothes for craft projects. When my children have a favorite t-shirt or dress etc and wear it to death it’s often not in good enough condition to pass on. I also don’t really like passing on those favorites that are then looking tatty as the people you pass them to never know how loved those things have really been and simply will not like them. Instead I pass on the hardly worn things – with few memories attached and keep the faves for making new things. (such as cushion covers which I am about to post about) So Willow will soon be wearing my old favorite green dress but for now she is modelling a lovely yellow maxi made from some leftover fabric I had from making summer tops with Holly and her friend Maisie when they had a sleepover last year (and went out the next day in matching outfits) I made this in 3 mins max – it was very simple! I held her to the fabric and cut out a rectangle a little wider than her and double (plus a bit) her length from shoulders down. in the centre I cut in a cross shape and then sewed that as a diamond shape. (a little bigger than the picture shows and one side deeper than the other) I then (colourful sides together) sewed down the sides, leaving the top open for the arms and the hemmed the bottom and the arm holes. I used the diamond shape to slot it over her head. The front looks like a wide v shape and the back is a much deeper V (the hussy!) which means I didn’t need to add any alternative way for her to get in and out of the dress- the diamond is big enough to fit her head through. I do not need to faff around with buttons or zips! I also made this a maxi as she has pink and black stripy legs. (and who doesn’t love a maxi?!)



So we love Willow. Holly is now requesting that I make another one for her. I may order 10 plain doll bodies and get a bit creative. Elijah keeps giving her new hair dos while he watches the world cup and, most importantly, Niema really likes her. There are 3 toys that really make her smile; a happy caterpillar, a little red cow and (my) Willow. This makes me a happy mummy.


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