Sunday, August 19, 2012

Tutorial-Cora's Hair and Bonnet

I look forward to creating my dolls hair.  I try
very had to use period appropriate styles. 
  Whether the pioneer created hair similar to mine
 I couldn't say but, I did read an account from a pioneer
girls diary, that described the doll her mother had
made for her.  She describes her dolly's hair as wool
yarn pulled from an old sweater that was plaited
into beautiful braids. I have to think a doll's hair was as
important to the early doll makers, as it is to me.
Many of the early settlers that came to this
part of the Ozark mountains were Scotch Irish.
My sister has the most luxurious naturally
wavy auburn hair as proof.  Surely a home made
Ozark dolly or 2 had red wool hair!
Cora's auburn hair is flattened over the ears and
pulled back into 2 coiled plaited buns on the back
of her head. Oh, so mid 1800's stylish!
 To create Cora's hair I used
hand dyed wool yarn,  
coiled & sewn
into a bun with doubled matching thread.
The interior.
I made two buns & 2 small balls of wool roving.
They will go underneath the coils to give
them some stability.
I started by sewing a single strand of
yarn at the front center of Cora's head.  The
yarn hung about 6 inches on each side. I sewed a
single stitch using the same yarn threaded onto a
large needle with a large eye.
 I continued sewing rows with a single stitch
(basically a back stitch)
 until I reached the mid way point at the back
of her head.
I then pulled it to the side and twisted it.  I made
a few stitches (with coordinating thread)
underneath and at the back to secure it.
The side front view.
I used a curved needle with double thread
to stitch the coils down.
I pinned them in place.
Stitching each coil until it was very secure.
This is Cora's simple straw spoon bonnet.
It's functionally lined with muslin & ties
with a green silk ribbon. Cora's doesn't want her
coiffed hair getting stuck in the straw plaiting. 
She has all the proper under garments,
pantalettes with pin tucks, a lace edged
petticoat, and chemise with flat felled
seams and gussets.
I also added a tiny hand crocheted lace collar to
Cora's dress.  I have a wonderful lady friend,
that crochets all the lace and shawls for my dolls.
She's in her seventies and still hand quilts, knits,
and crochets.  Her hand work is just beautiful.
 Much to my dolls delight & mine!
After many enjoyable hours of sewing and
taking photos she is finally done!
(I may do a touch more aging)
I hope in some small way
these "how to" posts have helped
 to make your hand sewing experience
 more pleasurable!
Happy Sewing!


  1. How neat. Perfect hair for her. I was wondering how you did that.

  2. Hi Sherri,
    you are a wonderful teacher, it is a gift and you must born with it.
    A wonderful post,

  3. As always Sherri, your workmanship is impeccable. Thank you for sharing! :~)

  4. Sherri, how I have enjoyed seeing Cora's creation from start to finish. Julie is so right about what a wonderful teacher you are. Thanks for the great lessons and for so much inspiration!

  5. Your workmanship IS impeccable, and I too have enjoyed watching Cora's creation. There's something so solid and durable about your dolls, as if they'll last forever, yet gorgeously detailed and feminine. Of COURSE some Ozark dollies had red hair! :~D

  6. Your work is astonishing! Such detail and care in every stitch! So lovely!

  7. Sherri, Your work is truly amazing and all your dolls are lovely. I think this is my favorite thus far. I love her red wool yarn hairdo and you did it perfectly. I love the red yarn color. The face stitching is perfect too! The lined bonnet is beautiful. I hope to make one like yours one day.

    I'm sure every little girl wishes she could have one of your sweet dolls.

  8. Sherri, I have really enjoyed your Cora Bea. Her hair is just perfect. Love that color. I am always so impressed how lovely your hand sewing is. "ART".
    Artis Corwin


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