Cooking, stitching, art, craft…there’s hardly a creative skill that is not in Sharmila Sengupta’s repertoire. And she derives the most pleasure in, not just making but also, gifting these lovely items to her friends and family. In the run-up to 2023, the senior citizen from GD Block has created dolls to fit the festive theme — teddies and ladies all decked up for New Year’s Eve parties.
Sengupta shares with The Telegraph Salt Lake her experience and the steps for you to make these dolls in the coming year.
The first dress I ever made was for myself, aged 10. I had cut up my mother’s sari and made it. My elder sister loved playing with dolls and soon I was making the doll’s clothes, bags and accessories. I never learnt any craft-making from anyone but have always loved exploring this world.
Over the years, I’ve made bags out of discarded jeans, animals out of paper mache, stained glass wall-hangings…
The “ladies” dolls are some of my favourites. I had seen similar dolls on the internet and have been trying to replicate them for three years now. It is very difficult as the limbs of the dolls are too slender and I’ve wasted much cloth over it.
Sometimes I send these dolls for exhibitions but I have also gifted them to under-privileged children through NGOs.
I ran a boutique for nearly 30 years but sold it in 2017 as it was eating into my me-time. And what do I do in my me-time, you ask? Why, create these crafts, of course! It wasn’t possible to pursue these alongside a full-fledged business.
I would love to teach the craft to children and have often thought of holding workshops for them. Not everyone can make these but anyone who wants to make them can be taught. It’s not rocket science but you need a knack and most certainly, an interest in the craft.
Winter is the time for celebration and I await Christmas as it gives me a chance to bake cookies and create beautiful gifts and cards for my loved ones. It refreshes my mind before the new year and this child-like excitement is what keeps me going.These days my husband and I no longer head to clubs to ring in the New Year but something tells me that the ladies who do, wear fashionable clothes just like the dolls I’ve stitched.
Make and deck up your own doll
Deck up a doll. Decide on the desired outfit and materials for the doll. To contrast, you may choose a single colour for the body and a printed material for the outfit and sleeves.. Draw a template of the doll, cut out the pieces and place on the dress material (as shown in picture). Mark it and cut out the cloth.
You need two head pieces, four hand pieces, four leg pieces and four ear pieces, besides a white and brown piece for the face. You will also need two googly eyes..
Now stitch the head piece with the body piece. One should be the front and another at the back. Stitch the ears by placing them on both sides of the head with a little stuffing of poly-fil that is available at craft shops.. Stitch the legs with the outfit. Place both the pieces in front and the back.. Stitch the doll on the wrong-side out, leaving an opening of two-and-a-half inches from the poly-fil. Ensure to leave openings on the sides to insert the hands later..
Now turn the doll right-side-out and stuff the hands with poly-fil. Stitch the ends and fix on both sides.. Stuff the legs, face and body with the poly-fil and tuck the end with needle and thread.. Stitch on a white piece of cloth for the mouth and a brown one for the nose as shown in the picture. Stick the eyes with adhesive. Your teddy is now ready to attend his New Year’s Eve party.