Doll Sewing Books, Njombo Would Be Pleased

I finally found some patterns for a 6.5-inch doll and clothes. One of the reasons I bought the 18-inch Maplelea doll Saila was so that I could make her dolls for a doll. I have a couple of clothed, ceramic Christmas ornaments that make great dolls for Saila, but to-date I have found it frustrating to find patterns for smaller dolls.

The book Sewing for Mini Dolls by Sherralyn St. Clair has recently been published and looks promising, so I ordered it. It has a basic pattern for a cloth doll and outfits you can sew for her or the American Girl mini dolls. I know it’s heresy, but I don’t like American Girl dolls, never did like their toothsome genetic clone look, but the cloth doll looks pretty good.


Sherralyn calls the little doll “Twinkle” which is a name I know from the book The Flame Trees of Thika by Elspeth Huxley. Elspeth found a duiker fawn named Twinkle in that book and was helped in her rescue of the animal by their headman on the coffee plantation, Njombo. This literature tie-in seemed most apt. I might try to hunt up some suitable dark cloth for a black doll in honour of Njombo.

I have Terese Cato’s first book, but lately due to buying some good art supplies for painting doll faces, I decided to get her other book Fanciful Cloth Dolls. her instructions are so clear and the photographs are good.


I ordered two of Patti Medaris Culea’s books from the library and thought they were good. At the time, I had none of the supplies to make or paint a doll but things have changed in the art supply department here so I ordered a book by Patti called Creative Cloth Doll Collection which gathers her four previous books into one book.


Admittedly, due to my interest in drawing portraits of people, this idea of fantasy portraits appealed to me. There are many examples of fantasy face painting on the Internet that are inspiring for dollmaking.

And lastly, in my ever-consuming quest to find a good pattern that fits and is easy to sew, I bought a book on sewing for 18-inch dolls called Sew Trendy Fashions by Chris Malone. It also has some cute accessories.


I like sewing but making large items often hurts my hands or my knee if I’m too long at the sewing machine. So with these books I can make small items, satisfy my interest in fabric and sewing, and learn some new techniques. I have been frustrated by a painful flare-up of tendinitis in both arms, so can’t knit at the minute and I need something small to work on.

Really though, it’s about painting something different with my Derwent Inktense pencils.


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6 Comments on “Doll Sewing Books, Njombo Would Be Pleased”

  1. Roseanne Dix Says:

    Judith that is a truly fascinating story.
    Fantasy portraits – now that should be right up your street.
    Wonderfully interesting blogs you send. thank you – always – for sharing nd making our days so much more interesting.

    • JJ ColourArt Says:

      Thank you Rose, I shall try to complete a project from one of these books at least.

      Put “fantasy face painting” or “fairy face painting” in Google–see what comes up.

  2. murielmakes Says:

    Some great looking books there Judy. Will be interested to know how you find the one for small dolls especially.

    Did you get my email?

    • JJ ColourArt Says:

      I am so slow at sewing anything but I will post when I get something sewn from the book about the small dolls.

      I didn’t get an e-mail. Try again, I was having a bit of trouble with that account over the last two days–think it was a Yahoo glitch.

  3. ironwing Says:

    A friend from the Tucson Mineral Shows nicknamed me “Josefina” more than ten years ago because I looked like Josefina Montoya, the “American Girl” from New Mexico. She meant the drawings in the book more than the doll, but there’s definitely a resemblance either way – I even have the clothes, LOL!

    I’m hoping to finish my cat doll pattern this year. I’ve fiddled with it off and on for several years, trying for a realistic 3D cat head that can be sewn in muslin instead of furry plush fabric. I’m almost there but it seems like there’s always something else to do instead. Now that the coat is done, maybe I’ll pick it up again.

    • JJ ColourArt Says:

      Hah! The American Girl doll infiltration in society rolls on. Now that you mention it, some of your clothes do look like hers!

      I remember the lions you sewed and embellished–they were gorgeous. I can see a cat pattern by you.

      I was looking at some cat patterns, it seems either sewing wedges of fabric together or making darts in the head is the key to getting a realistic head. Then I suppose you need to do needle sculpting–something I haven’t been brave enough to try, but I’ve been doing more beading in the last 18 months so I could probably tackle sculpting a doll head.

      That coat must have taken you forever, it is…the embellishment is so original. I would love to see a cat done by you.

      I need practice in all these things. Onward!

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