art dolls · Blythe dolls

Blythe Doll Top Hats

Blythe wearing a pink top hat

Hello fairy folk and doll lovers,
How are we all doing today? Very well I hope.

Isn’t that Niche enough?

Today’s blog post is about Blythe Dolls. I do love Blythe dolls.
I know as a small business I am supposed to niche down, but I find this impossible.
It is not in my nature to just make wooden puppets or Waldorf dolls or cute teddies with porcelain faces. I want to do it all. I also realise that a lot of people not in the art doll world would not understand the differences and think well they are all dolls so isn’t that niche enough?

Well, no not really. If I really wanted to niche down seriously I would only make dresses for Blythe or carve wooden puppets or make ribbon jointed polymer clay sitting dolls, or clowns, or teddies. This is how (it seems to me) you find your audience and get big on social media. Niche down to make sales is the main message on so many workshops and on-line tutorials aimed at the small businesses and sole artists.

But I don’t want too!
(sulky face, I pout quite well it has to be said, and when batting my eyelids I can often get my own way)

I want to make what I want regardless. And so I will! and I would like to thank all of you wonderful people out there who follow me regardless, the Blythe collectors who will still like pictures of teddies and vice a versa.
Oops got a bit distracted there, back to the original subject.

ok Blythe hats

I had the urge to sort out my Blythes as I hadn’t played with them for a long time. And because I was supposed to be working on porcelain BJDs, I decided to make something completely different.

dolls top hat in pink made for a blythe doll

A Blythe top hat.

With such lovely big heads, they are perfect for hats. And it fitted with the MarchMeetTheMaker prompt of ‘from idea to product’; so I could put some photos together for Instagram.

Well I thought having done that I would go a little more in depth for you here and tell you about a part of hat making.
A problem I can have with making hats is them coming out a little small. And not fitting on a head properly. Making a hat to fit and taking into account the amount of material that would eventually be inside the head band can be tricky.

Making the Crown

sewing the out fabric on to the crown
sewing the out fabric on to the crown

The process starts with measuring a head, either human or doll, where you want the hat to sit . Then decided on the height. In the case of Blythes cut a rectangle of cardboard that size. (I’m not too worried about their comfort, I wouldn’t use cardboard for a person). This is rolled up glued and covered in material and the material is folded into the inside to hide the raw edges. That’s the first layer of material in there. Now attach the brim. The brim usually consists of 2 layers of material. This material is folded up inside the crown (technical term for round of cardboard) and glued down too.

wip of a top hat for art dolls
wip of a top hat for art dolls
wip of a top hat for art dolls

So now we are up to 3 layers, and they can be quite thick material, wool or velvet etc. Technically you now have a hat. But it all looks a bit messy on the inside, so the next stage is to add lining material. This is yet another layer of material. All this adds up. When you are dealing with dolls hats especially, a few millimetres can make a huge difference.
I have no formula for working this out. I started with trial and error and in fact erred on the, way to cautious, with my first attempt and made a hat that is too big. So, out came the compass and I adjusted my figures and tried again.

Recycle when possible

A little word on the crown of the hat, these ones are made with a cornflake packet. If I can recycle in my work I will. If it is a vintage skirt to be reworked into a dolls dress, or my breakfast packaging. I would hope that my collectors would be with me on this one and there is no sign of breakfast in the finished product.

feathers for decorating a dolls top hat
a fabric flower on a dolls top hat
feathers for decorating a dolls top hat

Before the lining though, trims need to be attached. I love adding feathers and flowers. All the thread ends are hidden inside under the lining, so neat.

custom blythe in a pink top hat
planning and making a top hat for a blythe doll
custom blythe in a velvet top hat

So, there you have it, now I have the template. Should I make more, do you think there is a market? Would you like to buy one? And should I niche down? let me know in the comments.
Till next time

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