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How long does it take to make a German Doll?

Often people will ask me if there is a discount when they buy more than one of my dolls. Then I have to tell them that making a Waldorf style doll takes many hours of work. Most of the work is done by hand. If you know how to sew or have ever attempted the task of making a cloth doll from scratch you may know how hard it is, and how much labor goes into the production of a single doll.
Aside from the fact that the materials I use are high quality, hard to come buy, and mostly shipped to me from faraway places because I cannot buy them at the local store – the price of a Waldorf style doll is mostly explained through the many hours go into making of a doll. Here is a list of the many steps it takes to create a doll:

1. Washing every piece of fabric and materials that goes into the dolls, ironing: 1 hour
2. Tracing and cutting out the body from interlock fabric: 20 minutes
3. Making a shaped doll head : 1 hour
4. Sewing and turning the body: 30 minutes
5. Stuffing the body: 45 minutes
6. Sewing on legs, arms, head: 1 hour
7. Embroidering the face, putting on blusher: 30 minutes
8. Making the hair/wig, sewing it to the head: 1 – 1.5 hours
9. Making the doll clothes: 1-1.5 hours
10. Putting on final touches: 30 minutes
Total: 8 hours
Of course each doll is different. Depending on the clothes and what hairstyle, the production time may vary. But when you look at my list, please understand that I cut no corners. Whether I make 1 or 10 dolls the labor remains the same. Maybe I can save a few minutes if I trace and cut 10 doll bodies and make a number of heads at once. My husband and children find it quite amusing whenever I am having a “ head making day.”
To turn out a high-quality German Doll I must put in at least 8 hours of labor per doll. It also takes time to order and search out materials. After a doll is finished it has to be put on my virtual “store shelf.’ Taking pictures and listing an item is one more step not included on my list. Getting it to the customer all wrapped up and pretty another…
So really when you consider all the hours of labor that go into one of my sweet dolls, my asking price does not seem all that high any more. I have to pay myself at least minimum wage to continue…
Each doll is a little work of art. I enjoy the process of creating each little personality.
I tremendously enjoy being able to stay at home with my kids. I also like being my own boss, manager, advertising agent, photographer, shipper, wrapper, accountant, and and and….
It sure beats working at Walmart…

Your German Doll Maker
Ulla Seckler

10 thoughts on “How long does it take to make a German Doll?

  1. Great article!
    Most people really don’t realise how much time it cost to make something entirely by hand. And when you are very realistic in value-ing your time a doll would be unaffordable……
    So it’s kinda gift from you to the buyer…. selling it for the price you have set.

  2. you can tell you love making them and a lot of time and skill goes into your dolls! These are treasures that will become a part of a family and be passed on. thanks Ulla!

  3. These are so sweet. I wish I had that kind of talent!

  4. Well said Ulla!

  5. Thank you for writing this article Ulla.
    There are many people that don’t understand why our dolls cost what they cost and what time and commitment goes into making quality dolls.
    Hope they read your post! :0)

  6. A fantastic behind-the-scenes look! I love hearing about “head-making days”, as I do the same in my little workshop 🙂 Viva la Handmade!!

  7. Nice article Ulla! It’s great to show folks how much love and time you have put into something and that it takes no less time for 1 than it does when you make 10 at once!

  8. seriously! and that’s 8 hours by an experienced doll maker! Impressive order of events that go into the making of your sweet creations. Thanks for sharing.

  9. your work is beautiful-you are an artist.

  10. There is some sticker shock behind hand-made toys. It’s hard to appreciate what goes into it without experiencing first hand. Thank you for breaking it down the way you did!

    ps. 8 hours start to finish is pretty darn good! I need to get faster at wigs!!! 😀

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