The Free Motion Quilting Project: Experiment #3 - Dollmaking

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Experiment #3 - Dollmaking

Is it weird that this experiment has really nothing to do about quilting? my defense, I could always make a miniature quilt for the doll, and technically a doll must be sewed with cotton fabric and have clothes (more fabric) and be stuffed with polyester batting, so really it's a lot like a quilt, except in 3D form!

free motion quilting | Leah DayAnd it turns out dolls are an amazing source of inspiration and creativity. I can experiment with new techniques to make their clothes, body, hair, and challenge myself to finally get comfortable drawing faces.

My very first doll is a sort of cheat because I'm using a pattern. This is Ample Annie, created by Susanna Oroyan (also the author of Anatomy of a Doll). She's big, bold, voluminous, and beautiful!

It will be fun dressing and accessorizing this doll and I can't wait to get all her pieces together so she looks like this picture and less like a collection of random pieces.

So far I've learned that you use WAY more stuffing that I ever imagined. I've been cutting strips of a fluffy polyester batting and shredding it with my fingers before stuffing the doll, and already I've used an entire crib sized quilt worth of batting just to stuff the head, arms, and body!

Eventually I'd like to create my own patterns, but for now I'm just learning how this process works and it's nice to not have a huge guessing game to frustrate me. I've already sketched a pattern for another doll to make after this that looks a bit like the goddess in Release Your Light.

It's putting on the hair that intrigues me the most. I want to create the same effect that I have in my quilts - big, flowing, wild hair. It should be fun to play with at least!

So now I headed back into the studio to finish stuffing and start assembling Annie. I'll be sure to post a photo of her gorgeous figure when she's done!

Let's go quilt,


Extra Note - After writing this post, I did a few more searches for the pattern and for more information on Susanna Oroyan. I'm very sad to say that Susanna passed away in 2007 from cancer.

I'm also very sad to say that I can't find this Ample Annie pattern anywhere online. I picked it up from a quilt guild yard sale, and it was used and it pretty bad shape, but it's still an excellent pattern that fits together perfectly.

It would be a real shame to see this pattern go out of print and disappear forever. If you happened to know Susanna Oroyan or her surviving relatives, could you please forward this post to them. I'd be very interested in reviving this pattern to make sure we can all enjoy using it for years to come. Thanks! ~ Leah


  1. I've recently started doll-making too (although I don't blog about it on my quilt blog *le gasp* lol); if you're interested in doll-making, you should check out "While She Naps" by the author of The Artful Bird A while back she did a series of A-M-A-Z-I-N-G tutorials on doll making.

    And have fun - I love your sassy plus size Ms. :)

  2. I tried doll making and decided it was not for me but I did enjoy trying it. I even took a class from Eleanor Peace Bailey in Houston. She is a hoot and I love her dolls. I just don't have the imagination. I'm glad to see you try to save the pattern and hope you succeed. Enjoy

  3. I love making dolls I just never get the time. I am always amazed too at how much stuffing you need. It seems never ending. I can't wait to see your end result.

  4. I too jut made a boy doll for my son. It was fun and exciting. and very different from quilting. I made him out of wool!

  5. Sent you info on the dollmaker by regular email. Hope you get in tough with some of the family.

    It is interesting to see you grow and branch out creatively. Keep up the great journey!


  6. I found the book you are writing about here:

  7. Seems you can buy Anatomy of a Doll from Google Books for $10.

  8. I've been making dolls for about 10 years (OMG!) and although I have all of Susie's books, I've not seen any of her patterns for sale. At least not lately. But . . . If you are interested in seeing how patterns go together and such, check out and There are literally hundreds! of patterns out there! I'm looking forward to seeing where you go with this.

  9. have you been succesful finding the pattern in the meantime?


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