Centaur of the Serengeti - Rhapsody DollsRhonda Hagy blows me away with her designs. I’ve just spent the better part of an hour on her Rhapsody Dolls site, lusting after the one-of-a-kind soft sculpture dolls — ooh, “Centaur of the Serengeti: part fashion doll and part zebra! — or patterns you can purchase to make your own cats, dogs, fairies, or fashion doll gear.

Now, I’ve dabbled in the fascinating world of soft sculture just enough to have an idea of how challenging — but also how rewarding! — it can be to create a three-dimensional original piece of art from fabric and stuffing and bits of paint and trimmings.

But frankly, I’m working with a limited amount of talent in that field!

True, between sewing up a series of fist-sized dragon figures and a traditional teddy bear or two, I did manage to make one incredible piece — a life-sized man doll (we called him Trevor) to sit in my widowed grandmother’s front porch and make the neighbours talk…

But I digress.

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Plump Persian - Rhapsody Dolls Anyway, my point is that I do feel a lot more confident with a sewing pattern to work from, even if I end up making some variation to the original after I’ve got the basic technique down. But it is essential to start with a really good pattern — go ahead, sew your own Bichon Frise! Or maybe a plump Persian kitten-cat?

Medieval costume for paper doll - Rhapsody DollsCheck out the free Paper Dolls, while you’re there:

• Lady Berengaria is a fantastical paper doll (part Afghan Hound, part lady!) you can download and print out, color to your own taste, and then dress for display in Medieval couture.

• And then there’s Mimi, also available (with wardrobe) as a set of free printables, a “bright young thing” of 1920s fashion.

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