top of page

the making of Tatty Rose

After bringing the making of Harriet Pink back to life last week, I was inspired to make another doll - this time just for the sake of it. I didn't look for a pattern, although I have several. I just drew one on tracing paper I found in a box in the study (no idea where it came from or how long it has been there) and made the rest up as I went. Her proportions aren't quite right, I'll change them next time, longer arms and a shorter body needed.

My favourite kind of project involves a good rummage through the supplies I already have, and not buying anything new if at all possible!

A handmade cloth doll with red wool hair and a tulle skirt sitting on a shelf

I have only got a heavyweight calico in the cupboard at the moment so I used a cloth bag - years ago I bought a multipack of them. Over time we are gradually decorating each one and giving them away. Actually, as an aside, they make a brilliant teachers thank you gift with a drawing done with fabric pens by the child in question, filled with a magazine and tea for a well earned tea break.

Anyway, I only used half a bag for this project so I think another doll is calling from the remnants...

Her slip is an offcut of one of my favourite fabrics from Merchant and Mills. I have used it for several projects before - the grandest being curtains in the wendy house.

I really struggle to throw away any fabric remnants. One day they might be useful, often they are, and although the hoard is fairly large now it does make finding the perfect one a little easier! It also gives my makes a character I think, a familiarity of sorts. To me at least.

Her hair is a reddish brown chunky yarn I have left over from a knitting project. I made the 'do' deliberately a little wild And unkempt, I think she suits a dishevelled appearance and I am not given to perfection anyway.The scarf I knitted with needles of a bigger gauge than recommended for the yarn as I wanted a loose knit.

Her skirt is made from one of my youngest's outgrown party skirts. I adored this skirt, still do, and am happy to have given it another life. Albeit in a smaller size.

I couldn’t quite decide if she wanted shoes, or if the bare feet balance the bare arms. But then I like the contradiction with wearing a scarf. As if that alone would keep her warm...

It's not important anyway, I think I may just leave her imperfectly finished because I like her this way, maybe she's a rebel. I'm going to name her Tatty Rose.

It turns out the name suits her well since the day after I photographed her, she was loved so much by a child-who-shall-not-be-named, who happily swung her around by the fingertips (if we imagine she has fingers) and balanced her on the door handles, that she somehow picked up a bit of a smudge of something on the behind. Or perhaps it came from a secret night out on the town. She can have a bath another day, for now she is not only Tatty by name. I’ve given her some secret gin...

P.S the little ceramic houses in the top photo are by Amanda Banham, I am aiming for a whole village of them one day...


bottom of page