The little girl in me has always had a fascination with dolls – and an even bigger fascination with handmade dolls. As a little girl, I adored Barbie of course, but I had so much more fun playing with handmade dolls – unique, dainty dolls with personality and imperfections, and their own stories to tell. I have always loved sewing and crafting and that makes me appreciate handmade dolls even more, which is why I was so excited to find the following talented doll makers on Instagram.
Poppy and Owl
Annika van Loon’s dolls come straight out of a fairytale. In a word: Precious. Their intricately detailed, cherub-like faces and furry hoodies remind me of the characters from Where The Wild Things Are. She uses earthy colours and textured fabric to add layers of charm to her already charming creations. Her Instagram feed is gorgeous too – I’m a sucker for a dreamy feed! Have a look-see.
Studio Escargot is the small Dutch label under which Sophia Smeekens has been making “loveables for kids”. Sophia started making dolls when she was a little girl growing up in the Netherlands. She worked in the fashion industry after her studies (upholstery and interior design) and now designs dolls for her own label fulltime. Sophia makes all of her beautiful dolls by hand. Every. Single. One. My favourite is the unicorn, obvs, but her other dolls are just as beautiful:
Luna and Fig
Sierra started making cloth dolls for her daughter nearly a decade ago. This year she opening her first Etsy store, Luna and Fig, where she sells her completely one-of-a-kind dolls. Sierra has a unique approach to doll making: She starts by stitching the face – without a sketch or any markings on the fabric – and she only starts planning the hair and clothes once she’s seen the new doll’s face! Each doll has a unique name and a beautiful story to tell. Luna and Fig dolls are “charmingly imperfect, quirky, and totally unique”.
Filome Luna dolls are just darling. Marlena Parra makes handmade heirloom dolls, or as she calls them; “huggable friends for a lifetime”. Marlena specialises in cat dolls (carrying mice in their dungaree pockets nonetheless!) but she also designs merbunnies…yes, that’s correct, MERMAID BUNNIES. The dolls’ perfect faces are hand embroidered and their joints can move thanks to button joints. Button joints! With fluffy faux fur tails, and names like Libertad, Gaticia and Ale, what’s not to love!
Les Petites Mains
Les Petites Mains was imagined from the owner Sarah’s desire to “slow down the world we are living in”. Sarah creates her dolls with natural fabrics like silk, linen, cotton, and wool. Her creations are absolutely dreamy. Just…perfection. She creates her whimsical dolls for children and adults alike. Her main ingredient: simplicity. She creates one-of-a-kind dolls who she hopes “will steal a lot of hearts” – and they sure have stolen mine! In addition, Sarah also creates the most precious clothing items (on clothing rails nogal!), accessories, bedding, and furniture sets for her dolls. You absolutely have to wander on over to her Etsy shop to have a look-see.