Monday, May 31, 2010

pippi by mail


I recently had tremendous fun making a Pippi Longstocking doll. I boxed it up and sent it along with the Lauren Child illustrated edition as a gift for a little girl I know who turned five.


I tried to make the doll have the same messy, sketchy look as the Pippi in the book, and I'm happy with the way she turned out. I used linen for her face, hands and legs. Cottons for her dress and stockings. Her braids are made of strips of felt. I toyed with the idea of including some kind of bendable wire inside the braids to make them stick out, but gave it up as too dangerous.


I thought I'd be smart this time and embroider the face before it was all sewn together, but that was a mistake. Stuffing really changes the expression, and the eyes ended up slanted in the opposite direction that I had intended. So I picked them out and redid them after it was stuffed. Lesson learned.



Somehow I had managed to come through my childhood having never read the book or seen the movie, so last year my eldest and I read this version out loud together. We really loved it. I especially love Lauren Child's illustrations of the characters with all her trademark textiles and wild typography. It's a beautifully designed book, and makes a great gift.

Since the book was so enjoyable for us, we also rented the classic 1969 movie. Mistake. I'm so sorry to those of you who love it. Maybe it is because it holds no childhood nostalgia for me since that was the first time I saw it. Thing 1 and I kept exchanging very puzzled looks. She also kept asking me questions like, "Mommy, why is Pippi the only one in weird clothes? Why is her green underwear always showing? Why don't any of these things happen in the book?" Maybe the movie gets better if it is viewed on MST3K.

But the book is delightful. See?



70 comments:

  1. I am in awe of your talent. What a lucky little girl.

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  2. Oh she's perfect! I think I need to hunt down a copy of that book and introduce my girls to Pippi Longstocking.

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  3. Your doll is outstanding! I am so impressed at how accurate it is to the drawing.I am going to have to hunt down that book too. It looks amazing.

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  4. Funny, Larissa, we here in Germany grew up with the nostalgic Pippi episodes, not only the movie though. I still love it and so do the little ones, maybe there is a difference between cultures as well?

    In Germany we have this new illustration of the old book, by Katrin Engelking and I love it. Different from the english version though.

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  5. Oh wow! I have always adored Pippi Longstocking and Lauren Child so I was in Katkin heaven when Lauren Child released her version of the book!Its such a great book and your doll is outstanding! You have such a great gift for sewing- it looks like Pippi has just jumped out of the book! 100000 out of ten! :D

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  6. That doll is precious! I grew up watching the 1969 and 1988 versions of Pippi, the 1988 was by far my favorite as a kid (and now).

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  7. I used to love that movie as a child. I haven't seen it as an adult so I have only fond memories of Pippi ;) I think I may get this book for my daughter instead, however. Your doll is beautiful!

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  8. I too was deprived as a child to never have seen Pippi. The artwork reminds me a lot of that disney channel show 'Charlie and Lola'.

    The doll is amazing! You captured the artwork in 3D perfectly!!

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  9. Eventhough I too didn't grow up with Pippi, I am amazed by your doll! I am a big fan of Lauren Child too and you really made her Pippi come alive!

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  10. Larissa, you are amazing! What a wonderful idea :)

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  11. I love Lauren....what an amazing doll...my daughter and I sit and watch Charlie and Lola all the time...I love It! The doll is perfect!

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  12. First of all I have to tell you how wonderful I think your Pippi turned out! She's really fine.

    Our entire family has always loved Pippi Langstrømpe as she is called in Danish. Astrid Lindgren, who wrote the story, was a fantastic author. Have you heard of Emil fra Lönneberg? There are some wonderful stories about him - actually he is one of the reasons why we love the name Emil. And named our son that. ;))
    Emil fra Lönneberg would make a fabulous doll too. :))

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  13. wow your pippi doll is super duper cute!! i love love her!

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  14. Aw, thanks everybody! Yes, the book is a great thing to read with your kids.

    Nö, yes, maybe a bit of a cultural gap? Definitely a time gap. I'm not familiar with the TV episodes. My main objection to the movie was it differed so much from the book we had just read. But that is my pet peeve with all movies based on books. Why do they change the story? I looked up your version of the book by Katrin Engelking and it looks so sweet!

    Ulla, no, I've never read it, maybe there is a translation of the Emil story in english? I'll have to research it. I love the name Emil, and that is so sweet about your son's name. When can I see your fabulous Emil doll? :-)

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  15. I want that doll! Would you ever consider making a tutorial or just a basic PDF file with the templates so I can make one for my me...I mean my own daughter? That is fantastic! I'm assuming the arms and legs were cut seperately from the body. Was the head and body cut from the same piece? And how did you get her hair that way? I'm a newbie so those are the questions that raced through my mind looking at that doll.

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  16. My Grade 3 teacher read me this one, so I remember it fondly and gave my girl this beautiful version a few years ago. Your doll looks so fantastic, and you have just given me the best idea for Stella's birthday in July! I especially love those plaits!!

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  17. Elizabeth, no tutorial or PDF is planned, but you can start with this great free doll pattern and video tutorial by Emily Martin. That should answer some of your burning construction questions. Then you can alter the pattern to make it look more like a Pippi doll. Yes, the arms on this doll were added afterward, not sewn in the seam. I hope that helps! Go to Emily's blog and click on her link "Watch Emily and Martha make dolls!" in the right column:
    http://www.theblackapple.typepad.com/

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  18. LOVE that doll. I'd like to second the motion for a PDF or a pattern, because that is too perfect!

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  19. Elizabeth, sorry LEFT column. sigh.

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  20. larissa, that is an amazing gift to give/receive. Thanks for the inspo!

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  21. Wow, I just love the doll. My nearly 6 year old daughter would love it even more. Any chance you might write up a pattern????

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  22. Love the pippi doll!
    groet, Helmi

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  23. That is such an amazing gift ... the doll couldn't be cuter.

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  24. Larissa, in German the book Ulla mentioned is called "Michel aus Lönneberga" so maybe it's a Michael?

    But it's a great story though and Madita (Madicken in english) as you have two girls) it's all by Astrid Lindgren and I'm sure your girls like it oh and "Kinder von Bullerbü" which is "The children of the noisy village" this is funny, too. I just looked it up, Emil should be the same in English.

    As you see I love all of her books...

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  25. Absolutely adorable! I am sure she will be happily received!

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  26. What an adorable doll! She is brilliant. I didn't know Lauren Child had made a book with illustrations for this story. I think I need to surprise my kids with a copy.

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  27. That Pippi doll is amazing. So, so cute! And, I do love the old Pippi movie, even with all of it's weirdnesses...

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  28. I just had to chime in and tell you how fabulous your little Pippi doll is. Nothing short of perfection there...well done! And, now I have a new book to share with my own little ones! Thanks!

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  29. i love the idea of sewing something fun for something fun!! she turned out spec-tac!! i am a bit jealous that a 5 year old gets it and not me though...

    we had the same reaction to the new around the world in 80 days. really-what are they thinking?

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  30. Wonderful Pippi doll! Inspiring! I just love handmade items inspired by children's literature!

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  31. oh please please please tell me you will make a pattern for her?

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  32. Oh now that is such a fantastic idea, wonderfully executed... I think I am in love... with you, with the doll, with the concept...

    Bravo!

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  33. Hey! I've been out all day long, so I just saw your post. We love, love, love Pippi and can't wait to read the book and enjoy the fabulous illustrations. Thank you, thank you again! My kids are so blessed to have you for their benevolent, honorary aunt.

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  34. You've outdone yourself. I love how this dolly turned out.

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  35. I LOVE THIS. Fabulous. Smart. Clever. Cute. Generous.

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  36. Larissa, the doll is really cute. I loved Pippi Longstocking, but the book I am familiar with had different pictures. My vision of Pippi is a little different (but not so much I wouldn't recognize her here!). I love your version!

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  37. Squueeee!!! I love love love her.

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  38. I LOVE Lauren Child and that doll is so perfectly inspired!! LOVE IT!!!

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  39. so very cute! What a great idea to send a doll with the book!! a perfect gift.

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  40. Your Pippi is adorable! Even without wires, her braids have that crazy good look. I never saw the movies, but I love those particular illustrations in your book.

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  41. I am just in awe of your talent, it is ridiculous how talented you are. Will you please rub some talent/craftiness off on me, please? That is one lucky girl who received this gift, the doll and the book. Are you possibly making more of these dolls in the future?

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  42. Oh my...so cute, I wish I had a Pippi when I was little! Too bad my girls don't have the same Pippi fondness as I did, I would attempt to make one...But first I need to finish Molly & Katy that are spread across my den, in pieces!
    :)
    Nicole
    http://blog.nicoleparkerphotography.com/

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  43. I found you on flickr, your work is fantastic ! I'm very impressed !
    I would invite you to visit my blog !!!
    à bientôt j'espère

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  44. wow, there are a lot of Pippi fans! Thanks everyone!

    Whitney, Anita, Hilda, and Tiffany, to answer your questions: No, I don't have plans right now to produce a pattern for it or to sell ready made dolls. Obviously there is some interest there and I'll take that into account. However, I would not feel comfortable keeping the face as close to Lauren Child's style on any future pattern as it is on my gift doll. I'll have to mull over the possibilities. Thanks for your enthusiasm!

    Robyn, thanks and it was my pleasure. You gave me the idea with your Princess in the Pea/book set you gave the girls.

    Nicole, good luck with your Molly and Katy! share pics!

    Idle, welcome!

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  45. I think I did read the book, but I am not sure if it did anything for me as a kid. Your crazy awesome doll and those illustrations make me want to read it now! Sooooo soooo good!

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  46. wow wow wow! That is amazing...big Pippi fans here! I loved it as a kid and my daughter loves it too :)

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  47. What a lucky little girl. Very cute!

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  48. That is the cutest little doll. We're addicted to Charlie and Lola at our house. My son wanted us to name his little sister Lola but we named her Maria instead, oops.

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  49. my daughter (22) would love that book! not sure if thats the same movie i saw or not, must be because i thought it was really weird and did not like it.

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  50. That is one FANTASTIC doll you've made. well done indeed.

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  51. Oh my gosh that doll is gorgeous.
    Found you from a post about the workshop at Whipstitch that I missed. Love your blog!

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  52. Oh my goodness, thank you for the inspiration! She is absolutely awesome. I have to make a lola & lotta doll for my daughter, she would flip!

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  53. OH Larissa, this is the most, most, most loveliest Pippi I have ever seen - I will post this on my blog!
    My daughter owns a genuine Pippi-doll from Sweden, but compared to yours, that ones looks boring and without the "typical" Pippi-soul!
    Congratulations!

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  54. Dolores, wow, thanks for the mention!

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  55. that is the best pippi-doll i have ever seen!!

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  56. Hi!

    I found your creative blog some time ago and I'm astonished by all the beautiful things you produce! And, as a proud Swede, I must say that your choice of character is quite good :) Pippi Långstrump (Swedish) is a strong and independent little girl that encourages little girls all around the world to be what they want to be! Not that I'm a feminist or anything, but I find it refreshing. Keep up your inspiring work!

    /Jennie

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  57. Hiskia, wow, thanks so much.

    Melkers Mamma, hey there, and thanks so much for the Pippi love. I had no idea what a cord the doll would strike for so many who love Astrid's book. It was the first time to read it for my daughter and myself and we both found the Pippi character just enchanting.

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  58. Hello Larissa,
    my daugther and I love your doll very much!
    Sophia wants me to sew a Pippi too...
    Maybe you will take a look?
    http://sternchen-design.blogspot.com/2010/08/meine-pippi-nach-lauren-child.html
    Kind regards
    Wiebke

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  59. hi Larissa,

    just wanted to send you a HUGE THANK YOU for the pippi doll inspiration. my son is turning 5 at the end of this month, and about a month ago, he asked me for a pippi doll for his birthday. had i not stumbled on yours, he may never have gotten his wish. but i pulled it off -- even learned to sew in the process! still stuck on the face. i love the lauren child illustrations, but want something a little different. feel free to check her out if you like. her picture's up on my blog (mr. nilsson, too). thank you again!!!!

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  60. How funny. I did a Lauren Child illustrated PIppi doll for my 4 year old daughter this past Christmas. I also did a Richard Scarry Lowly Worm doll for her best friend. Check it out! http://wp.me/pkcUM-wU

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  61. LOVE THIS! I want to do something similar for my daughter's birthday. Where did you find the fabric at? I've been looking ...

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  62. Hey, Ashleigh, the blue fabric is Anna Maria Horner, few years old and not sure how available it is. I got it online. The rest are scraps of this and that, including some Tula Pink Nest. Main body fabric is linen. Hair is wool felt. Online would have a great selection.

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  63. omigosh!! I just love this doll!! - any chance you would make another for purchase???
    Thanks! Lindsey
    www.pillowthought.com

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  64. Hi, Lindsey!
    Unfortunately, without cloning myself, I have no time to take custom orders! But thank you so much for asking.

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  65. I just found this on pinterest. I love her and my sweet girl would too. We have a Christmas tradition, my kids each get a new storybook each year. Pippi is the one my girl is getting this year. Do you think I could use a pipe cleaner somehow and braid the yarn around it, to make her hair bendy? This will be my first attempt to make a doll. Any tips for a newbie ;)

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    1. Hi, Annabelle, what a sweet tradition for Christmas. We love books around here. Yes, a pipe cleaner might work well to make the braids sticky outy. :-)

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