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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!

About The Author

Samantha Brunson is the owner of, a knitting and crafting blog that chronicles the crafting community with stories from a diverse group of makers.

A self-proclaimed elderly millennial, Samantha is always looking for new ways to share her love of knitwear and crafting with the world.


  • OMG i love this so much! I cant wait to make it!!

  • OMG I love this so much! I can’t wait to make it!

  • Thank goodness the comments is workin agin

    I love this book and I am learning to crochet SPECIFICALLY to make a doll with lacy bloomers like Samantha’s! (Samantha’s doll, not Samantha herself.)

    • Oh my goodness, your dolly is just gorgeous!! Well done! I can’t wait to get this book. Whenever I get a bit shy about stepping out in my knits or sharing my interests in certain spaces I remind myself how important representation is… how much it matters.

      I’m a plush sized, wild gray curled, Spanish speaking, fun-loving red-blooded American knitter and crocheter, hey now!

      • Hi Olga!

        • Hey there Margaret!

  • This is a great idea. I am putting this book on my list. And would love to see a full picture of your completed doll when she’s totally finished!

  • This is so sweet – I love the variety of the dolls and their clothes. Also really happy to discover Samantha’s blog. What a beautiful space!

  • What a creative, inspiring idea book! How I would have loved to make a rainbow of dolls to reflect my diverse kindergarten students beautiful faces.

  • Phew, it makes my eyelid twitch when the comments aren’t working!
    I really need to up my crochet chops, these are so cute! I love the variety of clothes and hairstyles.

  • I love this! I felt my girlish heart stir at the prospect of dressing those dolls in all the outfits and I’m 72.

  • Love this. Representation is so important. Might have to get this and try a doll. Never crocheted a doll before

  • Love this book idea! I too have trouble even thinking about following a crochet pattern. I love each section being broken down in little, doable parts. And I have a couple friends who will have to be getting these dolls, just because!

  • This is wonderful! Yolonda Jordan brings us a great, and highly creative book, whose time is long overdue. The dolls are absolutely lovely. The clothes are very pretty and sophisticated. Such attention to detail throughout the book! Looking forward to soon seeing more of Ms. Jordan’s creations.

  • What a beautiful book! I am looking at the fashionable outfits on the cover and at my very adult age, these still make me excited to play dress up!

  • This article made me smile so much. As a white woman I am thrilled to see that diversity is getting its day finally in the crocheted doll world. Why did it take so long?

  • Glad the comments are working. Thanks so much for bringing this book to my attention, such adorable patterns!

  • Love the outfits on the cover! This is wonderful. Now I need to learn to crochet!

  • Was so glad to see this book on here yesterday. I preordered when GG showed it on Instagram and it’s coming in Tuesday. I plan to make one for an almost 6 year old, but also felt a need to do my small part to celebrate and speed up the inclusiveness of the fiber community

  • Your Doll came out soo cute! Thank you for shining light on my friend! So deserving

  • I am asking my local public library to buy a copy and PUT ON DISPLAY. Love it.

    • YES! Me too!!!

    • I’m starting a crochet class in a few weeks and a pretty brown doll is now my goal project!!

  • Absolutely love this!

  • So cool to see this, especially as Cabbage Patch dolls are gone now; they came in black and brown. Wonder if my CP knit & sew patterns will work on this doll, hmmmm. And get one for the library, yes!

  • My god, those dolls are freakin’ ADORABLE. I love small projects because the tiny finished size alone gives me that gooey lovey feeling. What a cool book!

  • Wow, is this the coolest! I’ve never been interested in crochet before, but this tempts me.

  • Looks like a worthy addition to the bookshelf! Thank you for letting us know about it.

  • Morrow

  • I would like to buy your book,so i can make dolls for my grand children. Please let me know the information and how much

  • Thank you – ordered immediately! (welcome back comments!)

  • These dolls are gorgeous. I am not a crocheter but I am telling friends who are. Many of my friends make dolls to send out in Christmas gift boxes so I am hoping some of these dolls may find their way into these packages for the children.

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