Yasha, the 50-year-old doll

I don’t really enjoy sewing, it’s just a means to an end for me. I always imagined that if someone requested a substantial sewing favour from me, I’d try to politely explain that and decline. However, when a situation like that finally came up, it played out rather differently.

Recently, an older friend asked whether I would make some clothes for her doll. She said that the doll’s name is Yasha, and that he got him as a gift from a boy who liked her when she was a teenager living in Russia – some 50 years ago. She explained that Yasha came with an outfit, of course, but he was played with a lot over the years, also by her children, and the clothes were lost in the process. She said she made him a makeshift covering, as seen below.

I’ll be honest: this is not my favourite type of doll. There may be some actual style and design to it that I’m overlooking, but all I see is a doll like the ones that I used to see when I was a child, that already seemed out of date and kind of strange back then – I can’t undo the conditioning of these years. Also, I was disappointed to find out the doll was a boy – I would have liked to make a cute dress instead 😉 But all my personal preferences aside, I was honoured to be entrusted with such a precious keepsake, and I said yes 🙂

When I first got Yasha to work with, he was kind of… dirty. I don’t mind, and I’m assuming he stayed this way simply because we get used to things gradually collecting dust and such, and stop noticing it. I knew where to look for doll cleaning tips, but I was hesitant whether it would be a welcome intervention or not. In the end, I decided to only gently clean him with a damp magic eraser, no detergent, no submerging in water. (Spoiler: my friend did notice and seemed pleased).

The difference isn’t too clear in the photos, but still…

Before cleaning:

After cleaning:

Yasha looks like a toddler doll to me, but since I wasn’t sure, I wanted to go with something versatile age-wise. I decided on a fairly classic-but-cute outfit: overalls, a top, and a bandana.

I made the overalls according to the tutorial by MyFroggyStuff (it is my go-to for overalls for all sorts of dolls). I made one alteration, though. Instead of folding and hemming the bib, I added lining. I find it both easier to make and better looking.

The top is as simple as it gets, a white cotton tee. I really thought that it would look best this way – simple and classic. I also find that white is a good colour choice for dolls because it doesn’t clash with reddish vinyl tones, as many other colours tend to do. I used an Animator’s pattern and it was almost spot on, I just had to make the shoulder seam narrower.

Probably because of my relative inexperience, this already took me a couple of hours, but I still wanted to send Yasha home wearing shoes. I went with the simplest shoes that weren’t ugg-looking (I do like Uggs on dolls, but not necessarily worn with shorts…). I roughly followed a set of instructions I found on Pinterest. Unforunately, I don’t know who the original poster was. Nonetheless, the link to the image is here.

I also glued my shoes to craft-foam soles.

Honestly, mine did not turn out perfect… On one hand, I had considered making the shoes going the extra mile, but now that they were done, I mostly felt guilty for making them kind of wonky – unintentionally. I didn’t have the time to re-make them, so I settled for this pair. In the end they turned out a big hit! 😀 Both the doll’s owner and other friends present at the meeting (to which I brought the doll to return it) seemed to genuinely like them. I’m both glad and relieved, and still a bit embarrassed. There was hot glue showing here and there, and they are kind of uneven…

I topped everything off with a bandana – a simple hemmed triangle of fabric. Here is the final result:

I’m happy to report that my friend seemed happy with Yasha’s new outfit 🙂 Complementing the handiwork is the customary reaction to a gift and a favour, but beyond the words, it was the way she kept glancing at the doll throughout the meeting made me believe she really meant it 🙂 If so, I truly am glad. It’s wonderful to think that my craft played a part in a long story of a cherished doll and brought more enjoyment to it.

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Isi Dawndancer: October Colours

It all started with a sock. While shopping, I noticed a pair of socks with a pattern that was just the right kind and scale for a sock sweater for a doll. Then I though both the colours and the style were very reminiscent of Isi Dawndancer. From there, all other things just fell into place…

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To make the sweater, I followed the tutorial in this video. I also wanted a warm, cozy accessory of some sort, but not a scarf – that would cover the sweater – so I went with a simple sock cap (socks are definitely the heroes of this post ;)). It needed holes for Isi’s ears. I chose to finish them off with needle and thread, but that wasn’t even essential. It’s kind of hobo-ish in the back, but very cute on her 😉

I added signature Cerise Hood’s boots and a faux leather bag that I made in the past. I really like these two accessories and use them a lot.

Even though I like to keep things simple, I felt like this outfit could use some jewellery, something in keeping with this doll’s unique style. At first, my thoughts went to jewellery bits and pendants from the craft store, but then, I had an epiphany! Warhammer bits 😀

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These leftover pieces from Warhammer minis – kindly supplied by my husband – look more appropriate for core Monster High characters, with all the skulls, skeletons and skull-encrusted shields, but I also noticed a wide assortment of arrows. That’s more like Isi…

I picked these two:

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I cut, glued and painted them. I went with gold, to indicate that it was indeed jewellery,  and turquoise, because it suits Isi (and because I’m not too too adventurous with combining colours).

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Later in the process I changed the arrow pendant (on the left) slightly to have the turquoise ‘straps’ hang downwards. I put it on a piece of brown thread.

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The other piece went straight into the doll’s pre-made earring hole and stayed there no problem. While I’m very happy with the earring, I can’t help but seeing the pendant piece as a bullet, and it’s not at all what I intended >.< Nonetheless, the accessories were meant to add detail to the outfit, and they did.

Autumn is so delightful right now. Without it, the photos would have not been the same. The golden leaves contrast with Isi’s hair so nicely. Even beyond dolls and photos, all the sunshine fills me with optimism. What you cannot see is that it’s also incredibly warm for this time of the year. I dressed the doll in a sweater, but I myself was comfortable in a t-shirt.

I took many more photos than I ended up using. In fact, I probably could have been even more selective – less really is more, at some point all the pictures become all too similar to one another – but it’s so hard to decide what to let go of. As a last stretch, I decided to include the green hut because I like its colour against the doll. The hut belongs to the local fishing club, but I don’t know what purpose it serves. It would make the world’s smallest headquarters, if that’s what it is.

I’m grateful for the lovely sights that became the backgrounds for these photos. I am sure they won’t last long. I have not ceased to be amazed at how awesome this dolls is, too – one of my favorites for sure. I am also happy to have stumbled upon the right pair of socks at the right time. And guess what – I bought two pairs, so when I wear them, Isi and I have matching outfits 😉 Sort of, anyway 🙂

Thanks for stopping by 🙂