Monday, May 30, 2011

A New Doll Ernestine

Posted by: Paulette
This post was supposed to go on my blog Craftewoman's workshop, but for some reason, I am unable to get back into it. So, I guess this is going to become a catch all. If you'd like to see my previous works, you can head over there.

I was contacted last week by a new author of children's books who wants a doll to take with her on her book signing tour. This is exactly the kind of challenge that I like. Give me a character to create, and my mind starts spinning with the possibilities. The last dolls I've made have were for Christmas. I've been focusing on home decor, and had no desire to make any more dolls this spring, until I got that Facebook message, and then I was excited to pull out the fabrics and stuffing and paints and all of the stuff needed to bring a character to life. It doesn't even matter to me that I will not be making a profit on this girl, and my new friend has some more characters in the works. Let me show you what I've been doing up until now.
 What you see here in the next few pictures is about 6 hours worth of work. I drew the pattern, copied it onto the fabric, sewed and cut it out. Pieced the head and body pieces together, stuffed and needle sculpted and jointed her in that amount of time. Her fingers are wired with pipe cleaners, and are poseable. Since I'd already died the fabric for some other dolls, I had just enough for this little girl. The fabric I've used is called Alova Suede. It's a knit that is a bit fuzzy.
Fingers wired with pipe cleaners


Freezer paper stencil ironed onto face
 Here you can see the freezer paper stencil that I've made to paint the whites of the eyes. I like to use this method because it keeps the eyes the same size and shape, and makes it easier to paint.
Face painting finished
 I've finished painting her face. I use acrylics with fabric medium.
Curly ponytails
 This is the first time I've made ringlets from yarn. I wrapped the yarn tightly around a dowel, wet it and then placed it in the oven set to 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes. It's like putting someone's hair in hot curlers. After removing the dowel from the oven, I let it cool completely before sliding the yarn off and then wefted it on my sewing machine using a stretch stitch between two pieces of paper. Each weft was hand sewed. First down the center of her head from forehead to nape of neck, and then around the ears and back to center of forehead. Then I caught the yarn into two pony tails and tied them off with some of the yarn, leaving out some shorter pieces.
Mostly dressed
Here you see her mostly dressed. She's still not done. I plan to make her some tennis shoes and a jacket. I made the daisy chain on her head from a scrap of lace that I beaded and painted and then sewed to her hair.
This doll is a character from  a book by Linda Lodding called The Busy Life of Ernestine Buckmeister which has yet to be published. It has great illustrations and a clever story line. And best of all a moral. I can't wait to get my copy!


  1. Ernestine lives! WOWZA! As the future owner of this lovely little lady, and author of the upcoming THE BUSY LIFE OF ERNESTINE BUCKMEISTER, I am thrilled so see Ernestine come to life. Paulette, you are a doll-maker extraordinaire and I'm so delighted that you took on the challenge of bringing Ernestine to life. I especially love her thick (oven-baked curls) and her beaded daisy chain crown which ties in so beautifully with the story. Her poseable fingers and body will be a big hit with my young readers as I do author visits at schools, bookstores and libraries.

    Thanks for giving us a sneak peek. For anyone interested in seeing Suzanne Beaky's illustrations of Ernestine (that inspired Paulette), the book is available for pre-order (due out in soon!) from most online retailers and from Flashlight Press at

    Can't wait to see her finished! THANK YOU!


  2. This is amazing! Paulette - you are a true artist...and Linda - the kids will LOVE this when you visit! Win WIN! Can't wait for the book...hope to see the doll AND the author in person someday (SOON)!

  3. this is fabuPLUSH!!! (okay, so maybe it isn't made of plush - but I couldn't help myself!)

    I think my sweeties would love this one. Congrats to Linda on the book (YAY!) and Paulette for stepping up to the challenge. Great job!