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Little Izzie “Emma”


My Izannah Doll workshop included a really fun pattern by Dixie for a companion doll and a smaller scale Izannah. So I made one up to practice(and practice) these little Izzie faces…. which seem to escape me and challenge me. Izannah’s features were smack in middle of her face and trying to achieve that and still have them look so cute like the originals … well, this is a challenge for me.

At any rate, I love little small dollies and how you can hold them in your hands. Here is my first little mini Izzie, “Emma”

She has a new mama and is going to a very true and dear friend of mine. My dear friend is an extremely hard working woman, independent and beautiful woman inside and out. So when I think of Izannah back then, I think the same thing. A hardworking woman she must have beeen to actually make, patent, and sell these amazing dolls.

She leaves Saturday for her new mama. Her new mama is thrilled! Which of course, makes me thrilled when someone is so appreciative of something handmade. It warms my heart to know one of my dollies is with a special person that I know will take good care of her.

Her entire dress was hand sewn because she is so small. She is 7″ which is not real small, but when you are trying to make clothes for a doll this size, your like .. woooooooooaaaaaaaaaa this is small! So a lot of sweat in this one and unfortunately during her creation my 3.75+ glasses even broke. LOL. I have yet to replace them. Something I need to do. I have 20/20 vision but whenever I sculpt I wear these pharmacy glasses that really work to help me see better!

I am working on another large Izannah like my first, but will also try to perfect these smaller ones as well!

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My First Izannah Walker Doll Eliza Rose


She is finally done!! I hung out with this girl for 2 weeks! From mere stuffing, cloth, thread, clay and paints, here she is … little miss Eliza Rose, an Izannah Walker inspired doll.

See her creation/WIP here (posts prior to this post):

Part III; Part II; Part I

First off, this workshop was the most amazing workshop. From start to finish everything fit together perfectly. This is important, because someone like me, who somehow can find a way to travel off the beaten path and mess things up … LOL… that did not happen here. It is a very well put together class and there is really no way to mess up … not even by me! That is the kind of workshops I like! I am still amazed at all the photos she has of real original Izannah dolls she provides to her students for reference. This was a huge help!

The hardest part of me was probably her thumbs as they are sewn on after the hand/arm is sewn. Second to that was the difficulty in the sculpting. I am not totally comfortable still with air dry clay for faces. Also, sculpting the likeness of Izannah is harder than I thought. Her face relatively simple and youthful and perhaps I over analyze and try to gain too much detail. So next time I will try for simpler.

Her outfit consists of a chemise (undershirt) and petticoat. I distressed them to looked aged, stained, and old. I would say I am an average novice sewer. I learned some neat sewing tricks during this workshop too, so that was a bonus!

She also wears pantaloons under her petticoat hemmed with lace. This is a photo of her pantaloons.

This is her petticoat, again, I like to distress … stain and age these articles of clothing. It is a replication of an old doll. I love this part of making new cloth looked old!

Her dress pattern/fabric was not the first choice I had for my first Izannah Walker Doll. I want to save the fabric I initially chose for my next doll. I knew this first one would have some bumps and hurdles and didn’t want to waste fabric until I was more sure about what I was doing. So even though her dress is not truly reflective of that time period, she does look good in blue. 🙂

I truly enjoyed working on her. It was nice to wake up everyday and know what I had to do next. Every night I would go to sleep and lay there for a while thinking about her. Sometimes I couldn’t fall asleep and I would jump out of bed and go do a few more things on her.

Most of her is sewn on machine however there are many areas that are hand sewn. Which, is not my favorite thing to do, however, I did find it very relaxing task of pulling a needle and thread through cloth.

I was creating something with my bare hands with the sweat of probably half of what the real Izannah may have gone through to make her amazing dolls. After all, I had some modern day conveniences available to me .. like hopping into my car to visit Joanns fabric shop. LOL

Well, here is a photo of original IW dolls. I hope my next one I can acquire a bit more likeness however Dixie said it may take another 10-12 dolls! Whew! Am I ready?

Update on Izannah Walker Workshop Week 1


I am still in week 1 of my workshop. I am surprised I have accomplished this much so far. However, this has been the only project I am working on at this time. I take many breaks to sit back and think about next steps.

Her legs and arms are sewn and stuffed. I chose to use wool for her stuffing instead of synthetic fibers. I love touching wool and stuffing with wool was just such a pleasure. The hardest sewing aspect was the fingers and thumbs. She is not yet assembled as there is much left to do on her head. These next steps are easiest to do without the arms and legs on the doll. Right now I am working strictly with the torso.

I have just about finished sculpting the face and will do a bit more sanding on her. Sculpting a head this large was truly a challenge for me. I usually work on a much smaller scale. The largest size head/face I have done is probably 1-2 inches. This doll is a 17″ doll so her head is about 11″ circumference at widest part of skull. I must say it is easier to sculpt larger. For the most part I used my fingers and thumbs.

Her face turned out sweet however I am unsure if I captured the original Izannah Walker likeness (most likely not). However, she is a blank canvas at this point; unpainted. Perhaps after painting her face and her hair she may have more of a resemblance. Her eyes look like they are closed/sleeping but they will be painted to be open eyes.

Up next is the stockinette covering for the face/head. This adds a nice texture to the head and a soft covering. This is where soft cotton knit is adhered to the sculpted clay face. It is an optional step however I need to attempt it because I want to learn this method. I am a tad concerned doing this step and think it is quite possible to totally wreck the doll head if done incorrectly. However, I like the look this gives to the doll. Since this is my first doll I must learn all aspects of her creation and just take that risk and see how it goes. The best time to test this step is on this first doll …. although she is cute, she will not be a masterpiece IW doll.

This weekend I hope to complete the stockinette, then paint her face and her hair. I will then work on painting arms and legs. Assemble her and then work on her beautiful dress.

This is so exciting because I have never owned a handmade doll of this size. I will most likely keep her since she is my first one. I have another body ready to go and undoubtedly I will be forging ahead on more Izannah Dolls.

… stayed tuned this weekend for more progress.

My Pre-Workshop Izannah Walker Doll


By the end of the week I should have more information on the Izannah Walker workshop. However, officially it does not start until January 18th.

I am so excited to start the workshop that I decided to do a small project of an Izannah Doll on my own. Just to ‘gear up’ and get ready and to see how I would do before I start the doll for the workshop.

I took the free pattern by Dixie and reduced it to the size of a 9 inch doll.
Working smaller scale is always more difficult. She is 9″ doll. Which you don’t think is small until you sew and try to turn those limbs right side out! For the workshop we will be making an 18″ doll.

I had not a clue as to where to start but the focus of this little doll was to try out the sculpting of the clay head on the doll body. Before sewing the pattern I treated the fabric with over-dye paint stain. I then sewed it up, stuffed it and then detailed the limbs and her boots.

Time to sculpt the face on the doll. I am trying to sculpt to the likeness of the real Izannah dolls.

I am still getting used to sculpting a face in the air dry paper clay. I use the push and pull method with polymer clay and with air dry clay it is very different. The best method is to add the clay features. I have to switch gears and do the ‘adding clay’ to build a face instead of the push and pull method. As it dries, you can then keep adding additional pads of clay for features such as cheeks, forehead, etc.

Here is my first little Izannah Walker doll. I dinged her up good and antiqued her because I like that old feeling and primitive look to these types of dolls. After she is painted and dressed, the fun starts! I get to attack her and apply some wreckage to her. Oh what fun! You can’t be intimidated and think your going to wreck your piece — you probably won’t, but for me, the more dings and dents, the better she started to look! She has only a few assemblage flaws and defects but nothing that compromises her in any way from being sturdy.

Despite her flaws I do love her. I think she may end up as the ‘the bigger Izannah’s little doll. 🙂

Here she is!