Maplelea Doll for Christmas

The spouse bought me a nice gift for Christmas, a Maplelea doll. I had never heard of them until a couple of weeks ago, but I ran into some American Girl doll collectors online and got interested in sewing and knitting for them, and they told me that the Maplelea dolls are comparable to these other 18-inch dolls, but are available in Canada.

I have a few dolls and dollhouses but I am not a collector. I once had a vinyl child doll but the vinyl had a smell that nauseated me and I eventually gave the doll away. Some of the cheap vinyl dolls are like that so I have avoided them. But now and then and see something really special like Saila (pronounced Sigh-la), the Maplelea doll who is an Inuit girl. My husband and I have enjoyed learning about the Nunavut Territory and the floral emblem of the territory, the saxifrage. She was expensive but the vinyl is free of the vinyl smell that makes me ill.


I bought an extra outfit for the doll so I would have some regular shoes and leggings, suitable for wearing with other clothes I sew. This is the outfit she wears for throat singing, and there are several sites online where you can hear some throat singing samples. I was interested to learn that the Tuvan throat singing described in the book about Richard Feynman called Tuva or Bust, is very similar to the Inuit throat singing.

I made her a Twirly Skirt from a free online pattern. I don’t have many micro-mini fabric prints, but I scraped together enough to make this. It was made to match her original t-shirt.


My major delight when getting a doll is to make them a quilt. For this one I used a miniature version of the Disappearing 9-Patch technique using 2.5-inch squares to make the initial 9-patch. I am still piecing together the backing for this, and I will be machine quilting it.

In this picture she is wearing the complete outfit she came dressed in while helping me arrange some extra blocks for the backing of her quilt. She has a very unusual face sculpt and a gentle smile that I find to be cheerful and uplifting. It is rare to see such a unique and interesting doll.


I hadn’t been expecting a gift like this, but I was so impressed with the quality of this doll and the Maplelea presentation and marketing that I’m glad I received one. There was a wonderful catalogue included with my order that had many snapshots from a recent contest that the company ran. I was fascinated to see girls from across the country with various Maplelea dolls wearing outfits for hiking, karate, swimming etc., that suited both the clothing of the girls and the activities.

I find that certain dolls are like books, they encourage and release creativity, no matter what your age.


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3 Comments on “Maplelea Doll for Christmas”

  1. Jess Says:

    So lovely! I was over to their website and look at all dolls, I must admit that I want one for my self! The doll is just as long as my oldest daughter was as newborn.. I hope to see more of the doll and all stuff you make for her, Big Hugs!

    • JJ ColourArt Says:

      Hi Jess! You have more snow in Sweden than we do here in Canada. Strange weather this year.

      I am embarrassed to tell you that I did try to knit the doll a sweater. The body turned out fine but I made a mess when I tried to do one sleeve on double-pointed needles. The sweater is resting for a bit until I get some different knitting needles.

      • Jess Says:

        Yes the wather is really strange! But right now it isn´t so fun with the snow, it was a little to warm yesterday so it start to melt and then it get icecold so if you don´t have iceskates it is totally dangerous to go out. You look like Bambi on ice.-) Hope you sweater gets ready one day!

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