Thursday, 11 April 2013

I made a "Waldorf" doll

It's a year now since Mimmi's become part of our family. I almost feel guilty about not organising a birthday party for her... But you know how it is with second children. They don't get nearly as much attention as the first does and they're lucky if they even get a baby album or if anyone notices when they take their first steps.

Happily we don't have to worry about recording milestones with Mimmi.

The idea to make a Waldorf style doll came to mind some months earlier, in the dark, cold evenings of winter 2012. Sera and I were frequenting at the time 'tempo per la famiglia' a group for new mums and preschool tots to get together and play organised by the Comune do Milano, and one of the lovely teachers there was passionate about Waldorf dolls. Naturally, Fulvia eventually discovered that I like making children's toys and that I was quite good at sewing so she lent me some books from the 80's with illustrations and how-to's.

I'm a modern girl so the black and white books piqued my interest but just wouldn't do. I went online for more info and research, half thinking I couldn't be bothered to find the supplies. But then I came upon a post on Pinterest about a wonderfully talented doll-artist named Juliane Strittmatter (check out her blog here) who was offering online e-courses and that she would send you everything you need in a cute little packet and en teach you how to make the doll from scratch and by hand... No machine necessary. I was sold.

It took 8 weeks to bring Mimmi to life. I got blisters on my fingers while stuffing her and making her nose and strained my eyes completely while tying to embroider hers, but the hardest part was her hair. Initially Sera found the doll as I was working on her so I crocheted a hat for her until the hair would be done.

The hat went down well as Sera liked to put it on and pull it off again and I slaved away on this really intricate crocheted wig for Mimmi t have on her head.  And I've never crocheted before.

Months passed and finally the wig was complete and I proudly squeezed (should have been slid, but probably didn't follow the instructions properly) it onto the doll's head! Hooray for Mommy! Nope. Sera promptly began to cry... full tears, face squished up in a knot and wailing at the top of her lungs.

I was about to cry as well!!  I'd spent so long on that wig! For 2 whole days I fought with Sera over it (well, if you can call it 'fighting'.  Toddlers are really tough to fight with) hoping that she'd cave in and see things 'my way' and learn to love the horrendous carrot red wig I'd spent so long in making. She didn't.. tears tears tears... and then I realised that it was one of those things where my own selfishness was preventing me from being a good parent and so I gave in and put the wig away.  

Mimmi was bald for months. 

Lanar, Via Nino Bixio 7 - 20129 Milano
And then I found a cute tutorial online about yarn hair and simply looping it and sewing it on to make a style. So I went on an adventure to this fantastic yarn shop in Milan Lanar and fund a wonderful blend wool with some natural straw fibers in it as well... In Sera's haircolor.  It was perfect.

I got home and started right away on the new hair which only took about a week of sitting in front of my favourite TV shows in the evenings while doing and -VoilĂ !!- Mimmi as we know and love her today was born!


  1. Hi Jess,

    That doll is amazing, beautiful!!!
    I thought she looked quite cool with just hat also.

    1. Hi Denise,
      Thanks for your comments and compliments! The hat still fits on top of the new hair so Mimmi still got to wear it all winter long. Stay tuned for a post about my second doll... Princess Penelope... Just have to finish her first!