Saturday, 22 October 2011

Pet Hate

It is no great secret that one of my pet hates is old sewing machines, many ladies turn up to my classes very proudly with these wonderful forty year old sewing machines that belonged to an auntie or their grannie. I must agree that they do wonderful straight sewing and their longevity is a testimony to their stamina,which probably modern machines do not have. However I am always encouraging these said ladies to go out and invest in a new machine. I am openly a Janome fan and think that for value they are a good machine and for $500 to $600 you can get a really decent machine. I suppose making dolls is a little different to ordinary sewing, one minute you are sewing on the line to make a body and then swapping to a 1/4 in seam to sew the clothes. Most of these old machines don't posses a 1/4 in foot and are so old that the parts are no longer available. On my Janome I can either change the foot or move the needle width over to sew a 1/4 in seam which I mostly do, I only usually put the 1/4 in foot on when doing patchwork. The other little but important feature on the new machines is the needle up and needle down position, once again when sewing a doll body it is important for the needle to stay in the down position when you stop to sew around a fiddly body part, this way your sewing line won't go off. They also have a better range of decorative stitches and for me the totally best feature now that my eyes are not so good is that they thread themselves Yipee !!! I love that feature. The other part that is really important is an open toe or clear craft foot, this makes sewing on the line for doll body parts so easy and accurate, the old machines don't have these.The picture is an old Bernina that belongs to a lady that comes regulary to my class in Orange, the sewing machine has now become a joke between us as I constanly keep giving her brochures on new machines. So if her husband by any chance is reading this !!! Christmas is nearly here !!!!!!

Although she didn't do so badly in a class at Marally Craft in Orange lately, making one of my designs Pip Berry, just think how good she would be with a new machine !!!
. This lady Leanne was really pleased with her finished doll it was "I bekieve" from Homespun Christmas in July issue
 Anyway that's enough of me being on my soapbox for today.
Still in Christmas mode and been making lots of Christmas goodies for the Homepatch shop in Bathurst. These Santa's are an adaption of a Simone Gooding pattern that was in Homespun Christmas in July issue last year Vol. 11 No.7. Its such a fun, quick and easy project and very addictive to make. I can never stop at one, they look really good when you get  away from the typical Christmas fabric

This is a Christmas version of my Hugs and Kisses angel that was in Septembers issue of Homespun. I reduced the pattern and chose a very bright Christmas themed fabric. For something different instead of sewing her wings I got some really lovely Christmas scrapbooking paper and glued the paper to either side of some stiff cardboard and cut them out and glued them to the back of the doll. Don't look at the stand I havent painted it yet.  Still in the Christmas theme I made up some Christmas angels using a cone shape, they have painted wooden bead heads and again the scrapbooking paper wings and  the bright fabrics.                                                                                                 

I recently got a new supply of doll hair from my favourite place in Wales U.K The black wool that arrived was so long and curly, really soft too. I just had to design a black doll, well she's more brown than black. I made her with unwashed calico and then painted the fabric with a mid brown paint and then sanded it back with a very low grade sandpaper 320 grit. her nose is sewn around onto a double thickness of calico and a small slit was made in the back and filled with tiny pieces of filling, the lips are made out of felt and sewn on, the eyes are painted. The feet are sculpted, very easy and the whole thing was shaded with pastel pencils. I was very happy with her. I've called her Mae Belle
  I've done quite a few round headed dolls lately I really like them, they seem to have a much more realistic look to them. Anyway keeping in with that theme I've designed this doll, they are both the same doll just different hairstyles. My preference is the red haired one. She has such a dreamy look about her so I've called her " Dolly Daydream" I thought I would show you the picture of the two dolls so that you could see what a difference a different colouring in the hair and clothes can make to a doll, it looks totally different . I haven't made the patterns for these two last two designs yet as I'm concentrating on my Christmas stock at the moment but hopefully I'll have them soon. I'm also trying to get to visit my new grandson who is now a month old and I haven't seen him yet, I'd better get going or he'll be having his 21st soon the way the time is just flying by. Anyway hope I've given you some new ideas for your dolly making and I'll see you next time
.............Best Wishes   Annie                                      


  1. Fabulous dolls as usual. I also have an old Janome and a small one to take to craft but this year I bought a new one and I love it.... I called her "Flossie". I'm trying to keep up with your lovely dolls, they just cry out to ba made.


  2. Congratulations, your works are wonderful. I am also passionate about dolls... hugs
    Margot from Brasil

  3. Hi Annie... I was just reading an e mail from Desley Boland and she mentioned your blog.... then I thought why have I not ever googled your blog... so I did and as you can see I found it... I just love your dolls. You are one of my favourite designers in the world..... I have become a follower and will pop back often so please update as often as you can... I know how easy it is to forget to do it.. I have been a slacker in that department as well. I keep forgetting about my BlogSpot blog and only update the Typepad one... and not as often as I should....

    Cath Ü

  4. hi such beutifull dolls love them....hope I was closer to you
    so I can take a few classes.....thank you Maritza from Puerto Rico

  5. Just landed on your adorable blog from Pinterest. I have a New Home computerized machine from the early 1980s still going strong. I love it. Lots of feet included with it too. What year and model Janone do you recommend? Does yours do embroidery? I'm interested in getting a new sewing machine and Janone and Bernina are the ones I'm most impressed with - especially for embroidery. I agree with you I want the needle up and down feature and I won't give up my overlock foot/ability at all. I have a Viking serger that I bought when I retired four years ago but haven't used it at all. Too much work to thread and why bother when my New Home has an overlock feature that is so easy to use. Since you sew a lot and are a teacher I thought I would pick your brain for choosing a good computerized sewing machine. PS - I have my grandmother's old Singer from the 40s and it sews beautifully especially through very thick fabric.

  6. I love your Santas and would love to make some but we don't have the magazaine over here in the UK is there somewhere I can buy the pattern online.

    Your dolls are amazing, such talent.

    1. Unfortunately the Santa pattern is not one of mine, it was one that I adapted from a pattern by an Australian designer Simone Gooding her patterns are May Blossom. You can get her patterns on

  7. Love the Santas! I would love to make some. Where can I find the magazine?

  8. I love your Santas! I have purchased the pattern from the website that you listed above. I would be interested in purchasing your modifications to the pattern if you are willing to sell them. I love to give gifts at Christmas time and love what you have done to the original pattern. My email is Please let me know what you think.

  9. Your sweet Christmas angel caught my eye on Pinterest, and I just had to see more. What wonderful children you design. I send my sympathy in the loss of your husband. You must have just been so sad, but I hope you will continue on with your designs because they are wonderful. Have signed up to get your blog and will enjoy following you very much. I'll have to look up how to get some of your patterns. God bless you and your family.

  10. Me encantan tus muñecas. Gracias por compartirlas con nosotros . Yo vivo en un pequeño pueblo de Colombia y hago muñecos hace muchos años. Un abrazo