Where do ideas come from?

Where do ideas come from?

How do I come up with ideas?

Thinking about my most popular pattern, my little crochet doll


How did I decide to make a doll pattern?

Well, I suppose the main reason was not finding what I wanted and seeing a need.

I remembered as a child I loved dolls and had Barbie, Sindy and Pippa dolls galore, I had many dolls, but a couple favourites and clothes aplenty. I regularly visit toy shops because I collect dolls and like to know what’s popular,

One thing I noticed was the lack of clothing for dolls, specifically Barbie dolls. It seemed if you wanted a new outfit you had to buy the doll to go along with it. One problem with this is that while an outfit could be pocket money prices a new doll isn’t. I also noticed the growing trend in charity shops of naked Barbies.

Times have not changed. Children might have many dolls but only a few favourites and they still want clothes aplenty. Since you couldn’t buy dolls clothes anymore used dolls are passed on without clothing, which explained the mass naked Barbie shelves in second hand shops.

For the doll companies it makes money sense not to make clothes, why sell a chef outfit for £3 when you can sell the chef doll for £15?

Or maybe the giants at the top of the doll market forgot what it was like to play. Even action man was better back then, a human doll with many outfits.

I watched children playing and saw the same thing over and over. A child got a doll, undressed it and dressed it.

That’s what children liked.

What we needed was a doll with a huge wardrobe and that’s why I started the crochet doll pattern.

Going back to traditional play values I made a simple doll with a few adjustments, the hair colour is integrated onto the scalp so young children don’t have hair to chew on, but hair can be added as the child grows. There are two body shapes, one with a waist and small bust and one simple body for parents who don’t want shaped dolls as role models.

I speak to children and find out what they want to be and check toy shops for trends in play. Kids want fairies, princesses and mermaids but shops are filled with goth and ghost dolls. I might make a goth outfit at somepoint, but I’m sticking with what the kids tell me they want.

As with other creations my Tardis bag came from teaching myself a bit of electronics. Where can I use my new skill in making lights work?


My crochet dummy pattern came from a request by a doll shop owner


My Suarez mask came from a joke in the pub!


But on the whole my ideas come from…

What I love – Dolls, bears, crochet, fun…

What is needed – clothes for dolls, dolls that are cute, something to stop footballers biting other players

Skills I can do – Crochet, clay, electronics

Published by bettyvirago

Betty Virago is an award winning textile designer. Based in Yorkshire, England, and known for her Northern Folk dolls and the Quilts of Hope project.

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