While on my Valentine’s date with my husband last week, I came across Flip Dolls & Other Toys that Zip, Stack, Hide, Grab & Go by Laura Wilson. This might be the most fun sewing book I’ve ever come across. The St. George/Dragon doll and the Alter Ego into a Superhero doll blew my mind.
Not having really played with dolls, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a flip doll before (mine is a topsy turvy doll–a doll with 2 heads joined at the torso). The idea is that you sew two doll bodies and attach them in a way that when one is right side up it is concealing the other. Turn it inside out or turn over the skirt, and the other doll is revealed. Topsy-turvy dolls have a long, debated, controversial history, showing up in the Civil War usually with one black head and one white head. It’s interesting as a maker of dolls how these issues of race can be forgotten. I mean, why wouldn’t you make a doll that looked like you and yet, for a long period of time and I’m sure even now it may not be so easy to just go out and get one like you.*
History aside, I love that a flip doll makes for two dolls in one, giving you the opportunity to have 2 outfits on your doll in one go. And the flipping action is a fun surprise and a good opportunity for young kids to work on their motor skills. I’m totally fascinated by this concept now, and might be making up various things that turn into other things just for my own amusement.
Making my flip doll
For my flip doll, I made up a simple pattern as I am wont to do. I drafted a little top and hair too. I cut the bodies out of some gold flecked knit. I’ve never made softies from knits before, but I really liked how nice and smooth the knit was once stuffed…reminds me of the Cabbage Patch doll my Gram bought me as a child of the 80s.
I sewed on pieces of felt for hair, adding decorative stitching and some bows out of bias tubes and embroidery floss. I painted on the faces with fabric paint as I am more skilled with a brush than a needle.
The necklines of the dresses are bound in a strip of bias. My favorite detail is the twee little pocket on the purple side, made from a tiny piece of a vintage linen handkerchief.
* If you’re interested more in topsy turvy doll history, here’s some places to get you started:
Also, Sew Mama Sew is hosting 6 Weeks of Love for Softies which includes some great giveaways and a soft toy drive for children in foster care. Check it out, it looks like it will be an inspiring line-up for soft toy making enthusiasts.