My Pretty Brown Doll
Have you ever seen something as an adult and wished that it had been around when you were a kid? I had that moment while reading through Yolonda Jordan’s new book My Pretty Brown Doll: Crochet Patterns for a Doll That Looks Like You. It is a first-of-its-kind black doll-making book launching on Tuesday, May 24.
You might be thinking, “I’ve seen doll making books that feature brown dolls,” but while you might have seen someone take a pattern that was created with white features in mind and then swap in brown yarn, you haven’t seen an entire book that was created specifically for black and brown dolls.
From basics to embellishments
The book walks you through the basics of doll making in a simple and easily understandable way. I’m a crocheter, but I don’t always love following crochet patterns and—on top of that—I’ve always felt a little intimidated by crochet dolls. Even though they are smaller projects than I typically work on.
Maybe because it’s something I’ve never done before, I felt a little nervous about diving in. But Yolonda Jordan breaks down each step of the process into bite-sized instructions. So instead of tackling an entire doll you’re learning how to create a doll head, and then you’re learning how to make the legs, and before you know it you’re picking out hairstyles. I couldn’t believe that it took me, a super beginner, only a few days before I had a fully intact doll.
Since we’re on the topic, can we talk about the hairstyles featured in this book? The variety in the hairstyles offered is incredible. No matter how the child in your life wears their hair there’s a hairstyle to match and make your doll look just like them.
I was tempted by the classic afro puff, but ultimately I wanted my doll to look like me now and to reflect the way I’m currently wearing my hair. However, I now understand how addictive doll making can be and I think that I will circle back and make another doll in the future using the adorable afro puff tutorial.
A fun gift for everyone
These dolls would make a great gift for the kiddos in your life but also the adults. Now that I feel a little more confident in my doll-making abilities, I could see these being super fun birthday gifts for some of my friends.
There is a wide range of outfits laid out in the book and it would be super easy to create an outfit that matches one that your friends have worn and then surprise them with a mini them for their birthday … maybe I shouldn’t share that, and I might have just ruined the surprise. I particularly loved the School Uniform pattern that included a backpack and the Parisian Look with an adorable beret pattern.
I ended up not having enough yarn in my stash to finish the body of my doll so I customized it by adding a bra tank to the midsection of the body. To add even more detail I went in and add a little chain stitch loop detailing to the bottom of her shorts. It’s these little details that start to make each doll feel unique.
I’m sure that some of you are thinking that this book isn’t for you since you don’t plan on making brown dolls. I would love to point out however, that is exactly what black and brown makers have been going through up until this very moment. Just as we were encouraged to make those patterns and swap out the recommended yarns for yarn that fit our skin tones, I offer that you can do the same with this book. You can customize these dolls in whichever way you would like. The difference is that in this book black skin, features, and hairstyles take center stage.
Representation matters, especially when it comes to imagery directed towards children. That’s something that Yolonda Jordan knows all too well. You can feel the love and care that went into every page and pattern in Yolonda Jordan’s new book. It’s exciting to support makers who are using the craft to make a difference in the world.
As publishers begin to expand their offerings to speak to a larger portion of the crafting world, I cannot wait to see what other ideas will be allowed to speak to underrepresented communities. When we support books like My Pretty Brown Doll: Crochet Patterns for a Doll That Looks Like You, it opens the door to other creators, and that’s something I think we can all get behind!