Welcome to my 'other blog' the one that explores my crafty side. I have been a maker of 'things' since childhood. By nature I'm creative. I still love to write, and you can click on this link to visit my blog: Hanging On My Word, which is where I indulge in the thought and word side. Although a teacher by profession, I don't offer tutorials. This is my showcase of projects I like to share. So pull aside the curtains and let's begin (I'm a bit theatrical too!).

Saturday, 2 April 2011

If You Knew Susie Like My New Susie

The vintage doll pattern
When my son was born in 1979 I decided to make my daughter, then aged twenty months, a soft baby doll which she could dress in the same clothes as her new baby brother. Babygrows, and all-in-one garment, were the fashion for newborns then; a great invention. I used McCalls pattern 5796 'Awake or sleeping baby doll, wardrobe and quilt'. The doll was christened Susie as this was a nice easy name for a toddler to say. She was much loved and, although she is now somewhat raggedy, my daughter still cherishes her.

How it appeared in the Pattern Book

Susie (Mark One), with Pink Bunny and Blue Bunny 

I have kept the pattern (I expect it's what would be called 'vintage' now), and thought it would be fun to make the doll again for my three year-old granddaughter.

It was difficult finding a fabric to reflect my granddaughter's skin-tones and I found some tee-shirt material that I thought would do the job. It was certainly the right colour and was lovely and soft; however, I hadn't bargained on the knit-fabric wanting to ladder, so I will have to reinforce all the seams by hand. Susie 2 has been sewn and stuffed and is now awaiting her hair; I just have to work out how I am going to attach the thick black wool as I can't sew through the head as I did with the 1979 version - watch this space. In my post 'Dolled Up’ you can see the new Susie completed and some more pictures in ‘Hello Dolly’ and ‘Hair Today’.

The original is still cherished, even though raggedy
Susie 2- in need of hair!


  1. This takes me back to my doll making days! I once made six Holly Hobby dolls all at once, like a production line... Never again!
    Perhaps machining strands of wool onto tape, would let you then sew the tape to the head with fine needle and tread?
    You can email me pennysmith5@btinternet.com if you'd like me to make a diagram, or give further ideas!

  2. Thanks Jinksy, I too have fallen victim to Holly Hobby. You will see in my subsequent post that I solved the problem and Susie 2 is now complete (almost).

  3. She's too adorable! I checked the next post and I think you did a fabulous job with the hair. The only other option might have been to knit or crochet a cap and attach it, then add extra around the edges. Your granddaughter must love her to bits!

    Is the original Susie made from woven fabric? Are the eyes embroidered or painted? And is she jointed with discs inside the arms, legs, and body?

    It's hard to tell her size from the photo but I almost think she's baby size. Do you want to loan the pattern? (Or I can try to find an old one online.) I love making dolls and doll clothes. Maybe it's a way an adult can continue to "play dolls." Not like I have free time, but for a gift for a grandchild or great-niece....

    Thanks for letting me know about the other posts about Susie.

  4. Little Nell, thanks for the link to the pattern on Etsy. I bought her. I hesitated, then thought of adorable little Susie and couldn't resist. Thanks so much!

  5. Great Nancy. I think it was a bargain; I’ve seen these vintage patterns go for as much as 18 dollars. I looked again at mine, and it is fairly fragile, having been used twice, and being made from tissue paper! I’m so glad I kept it though. I hope you’ll have lots of fun when you get to make your version. Do let me know how you get on.