playing with dolls

Dressing a doll can be a good place to gather ideas about garments.  The blue batik ‘shirt’, here, works off of the garment-as-a-series-of-rectangles idea (recently explored in Jude Hill‘s Boro class).  I learned that just by folding the ‘sleeve’ rectangle base in as a triangle, you achieve a class sleeve outline… simple, I know, but it is different to read, study, than to tuck, finger press, and stitch! (That’s Athena by the way, and I think I will give her a weapon or two).

This dreamer wears a fun assortment of charms, including a pewter, retro airplane.  I love that plane.  But, really? It’s her pigtails that make me smile. They are tied up with plastic-coated telephone wire. Remember hunting for remnants of that as a kid and making bracelets and rings?!  If she had arms, I’d give her a typewriter, just to keep the retro business going.  The blue floral linen was a dress, probably from the 60’s.

Here the garment idea is the basic triangle-shawl.  It is hard to get more simple than that!  This pristine doily came out of my vintage linens drawer.

Now the next doll is naked.

Every once in awhile, batik offers its swirls to the imagination in a very particular way.  Years ago, I saw a penis in the swirls of a yellow batik, and gave a two fiber-collaged primitive-styled men well endowed figures (here’s one below – not a great picture, but you get the idea).

On the new green female, however, the swirls suggested breasts… and as I wrapped red thread around the waist, it wanted to go up and circle one of the breasts, which turned into a meditation on mastectomy, which a good friend of mine’s sister had had just days prior (did you know that this is a seven hour operation?!!)

This started as the idea that playing with dolls can help one learn about garment construction, and turned into something quite else.

8 thoughts on “playing with dolls

  1. Michelle in NYC

    Intense post with it’s personal stories embedded within. Something about the doll having no arms puts it in another dimension. I doubt I can explain, but the fact of no arms rivets my attention.

  2. deanna7trees

    i’ve always loved dressing dolls and have also made quite a few without arms. i love how easy it is to drape the cloth on a doll to make it into a garment. love your additions of lace and vintage cloth. your dolls have very interesting faces. do you print the face on the cloth?

  3. deedeemallon

    there is something very soothing and fun about playing with dolls! the face is archival pigment ink stamped on muslin – the face is by Inkadinkadoo and is probably a moon….

  4. saskia

    I used to play with dolls, a lot; there no longer are dolls in our house, but I have kept a few of the boys’cuddly toys, small ones I really like and when they were younger I made some clothes for them, I could practice on these(they do have arms), as you mention Dee doing is very different from reading; and then the sewing turns into a meditation on Life and all the sufferings we endure…..yes, everything is connected.

  5. deedeemallon

    some of my comments are not popping through – sorry about that.

    Deanna – the faces are a Moon stamp that I love by Inkadinkado. I use archival pigment inks, heat set with an iron. Faces sometimes have some needle sculpting.

    Saskia – we have cuddly toys boxed up as well… even after giving aways tons of them, there are probably two bins. Reading “The Happiness Project” (chapter on “have more fun”) and Jude’s blog on Boro clothing has me thinking, though, about getting myself (or making), some PAPER DOLLS!!


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