Diary of a Mad Dollmaker

Mimi's Weblog – Let's Talk About Dollmaking

Reminders – More Mermaids – Doll Club Discounts

Mimi is on the Left Coast this week attending the ODACA (Original Doll Artists Council of America) and preparing to teach the High Priestess at the IOLCC (Imitation of Life Construction Company) doll club in Oceanside, CA. She asked me to post these reminders:

1. There will be a get-together to meet Mimi in Oceanside, CA on Thursday August 4, 2011. For more information call Lois Boncer, 760-438-3431 or email Lois@AardvarkToZebra.Com.

2. The sale on the Mermaids DVD set ends at the end of July. Order now to save $11.99 or 20%.

Here are pictures of the latest Mermaids and Elves:

Orange Overhead Tail - $275

Gold Wall Doll - $275

Burgandy Satin Sidetail - $350

Cyan Overhead Tail - $275

Brown Overhead Tail - $275

Black Wall Doll - $275

Pink Overhead Tail - $275

Prince Elvin - $425

Prince Elvin

Prince Elvin

Doll Club Discounts

We offer a tremendous discount for doll clubs. Here’s the deal:

1. A single person must place the order, pay for the order, and receive the shipment.

2. Discount is about 50%. Pretty Faces is $20, Mermaids is $30. Plus you pay the postage on the box (usually under $20).

3. You must order a minimum of ten (10) copies, but you can mix Pretty Faces and Mermaids to make up the ten.

Email Firebird-JMW@Comcast.Net for more information or to order. (Or you can email Mimi@Mimidolls.com, but it will take longer since she is out of town.)

Happy Dolling,

Jim Winer

Thursday, July 28, 2011 Posted by | Mimi's Elf, Mimi's Mermaid | , | Leave a comment

Mimi’s Elves Attend ODACA – Turning Fingers – New Free Video Tutorial

Prince Elvin and Trilby will be in attendance at the Original Doll Artists Council of America (ODACA) convention at the Anaheim Hilton, Anaheim, CA on Sunday July 24, 2011 from 2-10pm. A lot of mermaids will be there too. (rooms CL AVILA A and B)

Prince Elvin

Prince Elvin

Prince Elvin



There will be a get-together to meet Mimi in Oceanside, CA on Thursday August 4, 2011. For more information call Lois Boncer, 760-438-3431 or email Lois@AardvarkToZebra.Com.

Turning Fingers for Cloth Dolls.

This new demo is chapters 3 and 4 of Lesson 6 Posable Hands from Mimi’s Modular Mermaid. It takes ten minutes and discusses making and using finger turning tools and turning fingers for cloth dolls.

To see the previous videos, please visit Mimidolls.com. they are listed on the front page or under the “Video Tutorials” button.

Don’t forget to subscribe by email by using the button over in the right column.

For more information, click Mimi’s Modular Mermaid!


Tuesday, July 12, 2011 Posted by | Instructions, Mimi's Elf, Mimi's Mermaid | , , | Leave a comment

An Elf Named Stretch is Here – Free Pattern (& Mermaids Too!)

Mimi’s New Elf doll is a twelve inch male Elf on walk-about. One leg is armatured so he can be posed mid-step. He wears breeches and has a vest and shirt (which he totes in his carryall so he can expose his manly chest). He also has shoes and a woodsmen’s hat.

Some of these instructions, patterns, and photographs were printed in the December and February issues of Soft Dolls & Animals! Magazine. This new free pattern with instructions is the original version from which those articles were adapted.

To get a copy of the 27 page instructions and the 5 pattern sheets, go to Mimidolls.Com and click on the download link.

Stretch Clothed Hello

Hello, I'm Stretch

stretch Bare ByeBye

Bye Bye

Here are some of the Mermaids in Progress from our soon-to-be-released Mimi’s Modular Mermaid Dollmaking Workshop on DVD. It will have 6 discs and 13 – 14 hours of video:

Mermaid with Overhead Flukes, Webbed Arms

Mermaid with Overhead Flukes, Webbed Arms

wall Doll with Posable Arms

wall Doll with Posable Arms

wall Mermaid with Webbed Arms Out

Wall Mermaid with Webbed Arms Out

mermaid on Side with Arm on Head

Mermaid on Side with Arm on Head


Monday, May 23, 2011 Posted by | Free Patterns, Mimi's Elf, Mimi's Mermaid | , , , | 4 Comments

Stretch’s Clothing Patterns – Auction Format – Christmas Sale Ending Soon – More Mermaids

The second part of the An Elf Named Stretch was published in the March 2011 issue of Soft Dolls & Animals magazine.

An Elf Named Stretch

This article includes his clothing with shirt, vest, pants, hat, and boots. Since the patterns in the magazine are printed on both sides of the paper, we have put the original clothing patterns up on the web site  so you can download them for printing on one side of the paper. You can print them on regular paper or on card stock (if your printer will take card stock) to get instant templates without having to trace patterns or paste paper printouts onto file folders. Both the Stretch body patterns and clothing patterns are in the same file that you can download by clicking Mimi’s Complete Stretch the Elf Pattern Sheet.

We expected the article on how to needle model his chest would appear before the clothing. It may appear in a future issue. If it doesn’t, we’ll publish it on the web site.

Our Christmas sale is ending on February 15, 2011.

We will be discontinuing the Mimi’s Child Interactive Video pattern. If you are a pattern collector, and you want this one, now is the time.

We need your help!

We have hundreds of out-of-print cloth doll and animal patterns by other designers and dozens of out-of-print books. I’m so busy designing my own work at this point that I will never get to any of them. We would like to auction them off to other dollmakers and pattern or book collectors.

The problem is EBAY is not a good place for this kind of thing. We are looking for a better auction site or we could do a silent auction on out own web site. We don’t know what to do. If you have any suggestions, please let us know. Here are a few examples of what we have:



Fantasy Fashions 1981: Pattern for ADULT human for Renaissance Maiden. Includes instructions for adult, girl’s large, and girl’s medium and small variations. Includes guide for M’Lady’s Bonnet, Wizard’s Hat, Jester’s Hood, Renaissance Cap, Cindy’s Bonnet, Flat Cap, Renaissance Cap, Mob Cap, Bag Hats. Also includes 2 hand written pages by the designer on how to alter some parts of pattern to create another style.

Victorianna Petite by Elizabeth Biship, 1990: 20-inch cloth doll with ball gown, high-heeled boots, lacy undies, Gibson girl hairdo. Flexible, posable limbs with another strapless ball gown that has bouffant skirt and petticoat. Miniature satin ribbon rose trim. Color cover picture. Muslin body is embellished to look as if she is wearing Victorian underwear. She looks great just in her unmentionables seated on shelf in bathroom or bedroom. Other clothing patterns available.



Marionettes Onstage by Leonard Suib & Muriel Broadman 1975: Divided into three major parts. 1) The New Marionette – words, drawings and photos show how to make and manipulate a new type of figure that has cardboard as its base — lightweight and perfectly balanced. You don’t need a workshop or complicated equipment. 2) Becoming a Puppeteer – presents a full discussion of playscripts,  performing, stages, scenery, props, music, sound effects, marionette magic, multi-media, putting on the show, and safety. 3) Puppet Theater Management – useful suggestions on how to save time and money, business procedures, professional ethics and affiliations, etc.

Mold Making with Martha Armstrong-Hand 1992: The famous NIADA artist tells you in 32 pages how to make plaster molds for porcelain dolls.

We need your help!
If you can think of any way we can get these patterns and books from us to you, let us know. We don’t really have time to run a silent auction on the web or to mess with EBAY where everybody complains a lot. If you know of a better way, or want to volunteer to help us, let us know as soon as possible. Thanks.

More Mermaids

Wall Doll - Small Tail

Straight Arms with Fins

Wall Doll - "J" tail not included in pattern but easy to figure out

Incidentally, if you sign up for an email subscription using the button on the bottom right of the screen, we’ll tell you by email every time something new is posted.


Friday, January 28, 2011 Posted by | Auction, Diary, Mimi's Elf, Mimi's Mermaid, Sale | , , | 5 Comments

Mimi’s Elf Named Stretch Takes Cover of Soft Dolls and Animals

Mimi’s Elf Named Stretch is featured on the cover of the current issue (dated January, 2011) of Soft Dolls and Animals. Inside is a free pattern for Stretch and an amazing ten pages of simplified instructions on how to make him. (His needle modeled chest and clothing are in a later issue – we have just sent them in.) If you’ve ever wanted a FREE Mimi pattern, this is it! If you’ve ever wanted a simple Mimi pattern, this is it!

Mimi's Elf Named Stretch Takes Cover of SD&A!

We’ve also promised our SD&A readers some video demos to help make Stretch. The first video is Mimi’s Ladder Stitching Demo. This brand new demo takes exactly five minutes and shows you how to pin, mark, and ladder stitch everything you need to make a doll.

We hope you enjoy it!

One more thing for our SD&A readers (and everyone else) — we have a copy of the free pattern for download. The copy in SD&A had to be printed on two sides of the paper to save space. Ours is printed on just one side and can be printed directly on card stock if you want to. You can download it from http://mimidolls.com/Stretch_the_Elf.PDF. Unfortunately, if you want the instructions, you’ll just have to get the magazine — we won’t be publishing them until the magazine (and the additional articles) have finished their run.

Saturday, November 20, 2010 Posted by | Mimi's Elf, new patterns | , | Leave a comment

Another Free Pattern, A Litter of Elves, 32 Years

Jim and I celebrated our 32nd anniversary on March 16th.  No cake. I have discovered the best recipe in the world for chocolate chip cookies. I make up a batch but only bake six every other day for three days.  They are thick, crisp and chewy. They are  wonderful and they are  large so one per person is enough.  I have to hide the other three for the second night to keep me from getting into them.  Well, it’s better than baking up a three-dozen regular sized cookies  that will only last one day around this crowd.

A Litter of Elves

I finally had to make that fancy jacket that I messed up last week.  The last Elf is Goldie. The jacket is a Renaissance style men’s jacket but my little girl Elf loves it.  It is fully lined with a pale yellow silk.  The jacket is a bit fiddly to make this small but would be lovely and easier to make if the size was doubled. It would fit a 15 or 16 inch doll. I am not planning to include this vest it in the pattern for the Elves because it would require dozens of photos and text to describe making it. But for those of you who are adventurous, click here to download the pattern. I adopted it from a wonderful book called Patterns for Theatrical Costuming, subtitled Garments, Trims and Accessories from Ancient Egypt to 1915 by Katherine Strand Holkeboer. It is published by Costume and Fashion Press, New York. It is available from Amazon.com and other online booksellers.

Continue reading

Sunday, March 28, 2010 Posted by | Diary, Mimi's Elf | , | 6 Comments

Simple Mimi Oxymoron (Free Pattern)

Easy Elf Jerkin Pattern

Easy Elf Jerkin Pattern

I spent three days designing and making a fancy vest for a seven-inch Elf.  I need my head examined! Yesterday I decided to spend some time looking through several of my costuming books and found a renaissance jerkin that would do nicely.  Elvin folk don’t mind mixing styles and even centuries.  I draped the little guy’s upper torso to make the pattern and, as I was “truing it up,” I realized that as long as I was using a non-woven fabric (ultra-suede) I didn’t have to think about grain lines. This means that I can make this up as a one-piece pattern! A “simple” Mimi pattern. Now that’s an oxymoron!

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Tuesday, March 9, 2010 Posted by | Mimi's Elf, new patterns | | 1 Comment

Isn’t it strange how life keeps getting in the way of studio time?

Sorry I missed a couple of days. I had a bit of family stress to deal with and a jacket for “Fancy Pants” that didn’t work out.

Mimi's Elf - Fancy Pants - Unfinished

Fancy Pants- Unfinished

The elf I am trying to dress is called “Fancy Pants” because he is wearing “pansied slops” (Shakespeare pants). Over time this was simplified to “slops.” These are the pants worn by men in the mid to late 16th century (Elizabethan times). They were worn over canions, extensions (fabric tubes) from slops to knees, then stockings that were tied above the knee with ribbon “garters.” I made tights to simulate both of these. The slops were stuffed, usually with the torn garments of the men whom they defeated in duels.  When they were lengthened almost to the knees they were called breeks (or breeches).

Continue reading

Sunday, March 7, 2010 Posted by | Diary, Mimi's Elf | | 2 Comments

So Lunch Became James

Mimi's Elf - Unfinished

Unfinished Elf

I got interrupted several times yesterday and didn’t get this elf finished.

Cassi has three pet white mice. It all began while she and her mom were living in Virginia last summer. Her mother had a small (about two feet long) bald python. Snakes don’t eat at easily predictable times, so Lunch became James (named for Harry Potter’s father), because when Cassi got bored, not knowing any kids in the area, she began to train the mouse. He is a really cute pet; she bathes him often and keeps the cages clean. He rides on her hat when she goes outdoors or rides in the car, especially to PetSmart to pick up bedding material, food and toys…

Cassi & James

Cassi & James

She also has two females who need separate cages because they are not friends. James is not allowed in their cages because we don’t want more mice. This drivel is background about why I got interrupted yesterday afternoon. It seems that Alice’s cheek began to grow and it looked like she had mumps. (Bella is the other female. Can you tell Cassi is a great Twilight fan now?) Cassi was so distraught as it continued to grow that she convinced her grandmother to pay for a visit to the animal hospital. She made the appointment herself. It turns out Alice has an abscess. The Vet drained it a bit and now Cass has to give Alice antibiotics (via syringe) twice a day until she is better or not. This visit cost $127!!!!!! For a mouse that cost $2! Anyway that is why this little guy is not yet dressed.

I plan to make him a tight fitted jacket with a short peplum. His tights are called cannons and over that pansied slops (“Shakespeare pants”) as they were called back in the 15th century. Because the jacket will be fitted I don’t want any bulk; so instead of a shirt I just gave him sleeves. The jacket will be sleeveless with a sleeve cap over the shoulder. So this little nameless and half-dressed Elf is today’s photograph.


Thursday, March 4, 2010 Posted by | Diary, Mimi's Elf | | Leave a comment

A Pot of Gold — Going Through Puberty for the 4th Time

Mimi's Elf - Padraic


I thought I would call this elf Verdi, or some other word meaning green, since he is dressed mostly in green velveteen and cotton with some leather accents. However, when I plopped the crocheted wig cap of red/orange mohair on his head he became Padriac. I’ll call him Pat or Paddy for short. His boots and legging straps are made from a pale faun colored leather. I reversed the leather and used the suede side for his vest. The vest closure is made up of several beads to look like buttons. I decided he didn’t need or want a hat. Maybe I should give him a pot of gold so he can attract a rainbow to hide it behind.



Cassi - Not an Elf

I have the time for dressing one of these little guys down to about 7 or 8 hours. I have a lot less studio time these days now that I am a full-time mom again. Jim and I have temporary custody of great-granddaughter Cassi. Her mom, Chris, is my natural granddaughter. Jim and I adopted her when she was eleven years old. So she is his daughter, but both my daughter and granddaughter, which makes her her mother’s sister and her own aunt! Cassi has figured out that she is her own first cousin and her own second cousin. What can I tell you? I’m from the South.

Chris is in rehab trying to get healthy again. This could take some time… Cassi is twelve years old and in 6th grade. The only part that is really difficult is having to get up at 5:40 each morning to get a good breakfast into her and drive her to school. I didn’t realize how much her mom took care of until she was no longer doing it. This is the fourth time I am going through puberty!!! I always said little girls should be locked in a closet at 11 and not let out until 17 or 18 when they become human again. Talk about PMS… I had forgotten they have it 24/7!

I try to get into the studio around 9 AM. I drop Cassi at school at 7:20, come home, clean up the kitchen, start the laundry, then have breakfast myself. I can get a few hours work in until I have to pick her up at 3:15. (She stays an extra hour for private tutoring. She fell way behind due to emotional stress for a couple of months but is beginning to bring her grades back where they used to be. I expect she will be back on the honor roll by the end of the term.) Often I can get another couple of hours in after dinner is cleared up. My bedtime is between 11 and midnight so I am sleep deprived. I live for the weekends when I can sleep in until 7:30 and get two full days work in the studio before Monday morning arrives again.

I hope to have these little guys all dressed by the end of the week so I can get back to photographing and documenting the naked guy (Mimi’s Nude Male Sculpture) and finish the re-shoot for the Needle- Modeling a Pretty Face DVD. Then I have to make heads for two different fellows I call Stud Muffins and a “Bo-Jangles” figure I call And All that Jazz. I also have the High Priestess in progress. I had to stop work on her months ago and put her lower on the priority list. I Hope to have it all done by early June.

I wish some of my readers would ask questions about cloth dollmaking or designing that I can answer. It’s hard to come up with new stuff to talk about every day.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010 Posted by | Diary, Mimi's Elf | , , | 2 Comments