on fire for captain charmley

The heavy lifting is done and I’m at the perfecting stage. Making lots of tiny adjustments, in the zone. This is the fun part, the woodshedding.

Captain Charmley has been through some changes since his first appearance here. The original soldier dolls sprang out of  this experiment and were much smaller. I do want him to be a companion to the elegant rag doll so his size and proportions were all re-worked. This is also known as pretty much starting over.

soldier rag doll and elegant lady doll in progress in ann wood's hand

legs and boots stitched form cotton in ann wood's hand

Through all his iterations I’ve waffled on a couple details. Expressive feet and sideburns mainly. It comes down to a balance between effort, complication and effect. Is a tiny detail worth adding steps to the pattern. I’ve decided that the sideburns and expressive feet are definitely worth it.

The other big hurdle is his lined jacket. The mechanics have been worked out and I’m super happy with the process. You’re gonna love it. PS – the fabric was a gift from artist indira johnosn  and marketplaceindia – i love it.

The Captain Charmley pattern will be available later this year. Stay tuned.

stitchbook progress

15 minutes a day is magic. One of the big lessons of this process for me is not getting too attached to previous work, not falling in love to early. Composition is king.
I post each day on instagram and here. I’ve included a 5 day page cycle below.

Are you stitching with me? Checkout out lots of reader stitchbook pages here.

PS – Happy almost daylight savings time! I sure do love March.

PPS – I usually stitch features on dolls after I sew and stuff them – how about you – before or after? Let us know in the comments.


  1. Love Captain Charmley! I have done both painted doll faces and stitched and I did them before stuffing.

  2. michelle

    Will the captain also ever be indiscreet? [blush]

  3. I definitely do the faces after stuffing. Poor things sometimes hang around faces less for months because my embroidery skills were a little rough. I have a good disappearing marking pen now, so they’ll at least get a blue tattoo face to start off with.

    I love the idea of a naked Charmley

  4. Yes will the captain ever be indiscreet? Also blushing. Please include the Napoleon hat and clothes if you haven’t already. Love these folks so much ! You truly have a gift and esthetic that I appreciate so much!

  5. Julie Fisher

    Captain Charmley is most dashing! Yes to the sideburns! No to indiscretions. He would help a lady over a fallen log when out walking and then pretend he didn’t see her ankles.

    Also, I think the “elegant rag doll” really should have a name.

    I am in love with these dolls! I may need to dive in as soon as I get my sewing room reorganized.

  6. Marcy Mahle

    So excited for the pattern for the Captain. Will be wonderful to make this sweet couple.

  7. I have made quite a few of Miss Pennypacker. (Had to name her) I have done some faces after filled but now do them before. It’s easier for me. However, all of mine have not been nude and I have a real problem with the shoulders and arms lining up and looking good. Can you make some clothes for her too like you are doing for Captain Charmley? I will definitely buy him when he is available. I will try to post some of them to IG.

  8. kUDOS to you for such a marvelous new Captain Carmley!, Also since you have not named you elegant rag doll, she should be named “Lady Anne of America. (we do not want to offend anyone).
    PS: If you contact me, I would like to send you some fabrics for the uniform of you Captain and
    Elegant doll.

  9. ¡OOOH! ¡¡Las chaquetitas son preciosas!!¿ No habrá otro capitan (Barry por ejemplo) un teniente Adams, o un coronel Smith? Me gustaría hacer chaquetas forradas para todos ellos.
    Yo leo tu blog con un traductor de Google, espero que tu puedas hacer lo mismo.

  10. Nancy Anton

    Eagerly looking forward to the Captain. I have really enjoyed your very creative patterns!

  11. Judy Klem

    I definitely do the faces after stuffing. I always think if I do them first they will be distorted by stuffing. Thank you for the inspiration! And I love the name Miss Pennypacker for the Elegant Rag Doll. Maybe Genevieve Pennypacker would suit her.

  12. Looking forward to the Captain!!! I am hoping that charming dress that the Elegant Ragdoll is also a pattern in the works. I would want one my size.

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