After finding a few blogs with cloth doll patterns and doll making instructions or tutorials I decided I wanted to check out what books were available at my local bookstore.
So, I took a trip to the local bookstore (a chain that normally has a wide variety). Unfortunately, I didn't find much in the way of cloth dolls. Only books on crocheted dolls.
After my failed excursion to the books tore, I decided to shop Amazon. There is an amazing selection of doll books, with reviews, descriptions, and more to help you find the books that will most help you.
I spent a good hour or two reading through descriptions and looking through the pictures, and reading what the reviewers thought. Eventually, I narrowed it down to 3 books that I'd order to help me get a kickstart into making cloth dolls on my own. Here are the books I bought:
Teach Yourself Cloth Dollmaking by Jodie Davis
Of all the doll making books, I liked this one because of the reviews it had on amazon. Many of the reviewers mentioned that she teaches the basics and then with each doll you try from the book they increase in difficulty.
She also teaches new skills with each new doll, so I'd be able to build up all of my skills over the course of the book. I was really looking forward to this doll making book because it covered not only putting the dolls together, but also adding their hair, creating faces, and clothing the doll.
Once I received the doll making book I scanned through many of the patterns trying to decide which one I would make. I took some time reading her instructions for each doll trying to picture the process.
I have to admit that I was a little under impressed with how much direct instruction she had on adding hair and faces, but the dolls and patterns are great. She gives step by step instructions and with many of the patterns she includes pictures of the process.
The best part of the entire book are the small tips scattered throughout the book, sent in by others that have taken her courses. In the introduction of this doll making book she explains that it started out as an online instruction where she'd send out the patterns and people would make them.
When they were finished, they would send in the pictures of their doll and any tips they found helpful along the way. These small tips are by far the best part of the book as they add in that extra instruction the beginner is looking for, but the teacher might not think of adding in.
Wee Wonderfuls by Hillary Lang
When the book arrived, it lived up to every one of the reviews on Amazon. There are 24 patterns. Each pattern, has a different difficulty level, but also teaches different stitching techniques and more. For each creature, she goes into detail on how to do the hair and faces so that you're learning a variety of designs that you can use for future projects.
Another great feature that this doll making book has is the basics section. In this section she covers what each type of stitch is, when to use it, and how to do it. She also goes into how to trace faces (or transfer them) onto your doll. Let's not leave out the patterns.
The patterns in the back of this doll making book are great - they are easy to copy on my home printer. They are clearly labeled on how many to cut. They also include he faces she has on the dolls, but she does encourage you to try out your own creativity to make your own faces.
The best part of the entire book is that it doesn't just have cloth dolls... she includes monsters, teddy bears, and animals. This is great because it gives me other cloth dolls/creatures that I can create with my son - who isn't that interested in just sewing and decorating "girl" dolls. This book was definitely worth it's cost, and will get its use over time.
Doll Fashionistas by Ellen Lumpkin Brown
However, in this doll making book the author breaks down the doll making process by chapter and goes into great detail on how to do each step. For example, she starts out with building a doll; sewing it, stuffing it, attaching the limbs, etc. Then in the next chapter she talks about adding a face. Later in the book she goes into making clothing from your old clothes, hair techniques, and even sculpting.
This doll making book is set up in stages of experience. The chapters are clearly labels basic, intermediate, and advanced so that you're not jumping the gun and getting yourself in to over your head. To be quite honest, I've been so busy with the Wee Wonderfuls book, that I haven't had a chance to really dive into this book.
One of the reasons I am still glad I purchased this doll making book is for future projects. I liked that these dolls have a more modern feel and look to them. They aren't just kid stuffed animals or rag dolls, but a quality doll that I could give to a girl friend for display or to an older girl that will appreciate a more mature looking doll (not one that looks like grandma made it in old "grandma" clothes.
These are the 3 doll making books I've added to my collection so far. I'm looking forward to getting a few more over the coming months once I've worked through these patterns. I'll share more as I get them. In the mean time if you have a favorite book, or have a comment on of these doll making books leave a comment below.