Sunday, March 25, 2007

Francesca- Free Doll Pattern

UPDATE 1/2/10
Lately I have been getting several requests for this pattern (yeah!)
FRANCESCA is no longer available as a free pattern. The pattern needed some tweaking and revamping, and there were never any instructions to go with it- just the drawn pattern. More than two and a half years later, I redid the entire thing and created a really fine doll called Tikvah.
Tikvah is made from the exact same BODY pattern that Francesca started out with, only now there are 20 pages of detailed instructions and the doll is not left in cloth (unless you want her to be). There is a process involved that makes the doll look like porcelain, and all the seams are covered up with Paperclay. She is needle sculpted, hardened, painted and glossed and has a beautiful shape! Her face is needle sculpted and her eyes are inset. However you can draw her eyes like francesca's. The instructions will show you how. All in all, the pattern teaches a great deal of very nice doll making techniques. You can use it to make a simple doll like Francesca, or a very exquisite doll like Tikvah.
Here is the Francesca/Tikvah body holding her head in her hands! Can you guess whose head it is? And here's how Paperclay is used...
If you would like to buy the pattern, it is available in my Etsy shop. (Please do!)

TIKVAH is wearing different clothing than Francesca (her clothes are a lot more sophisticated). But the shoes and the Dress are still free when you buy the pattern. I will be adding a link for them here on my blog. In the meantime, just write the word "FRANCESCA" in checkout and I will email you Francesca's clothing and shoes pattern. Please note there are no formal instructions for those, but they are easy to understand.

Thanks for understanding that I can't offer her for free any more because of all the extra work and improvements I put into her... I literally worked on the pattern it for months. This is a great value!!


Please meet Francesca, whose personality I still have not quite figured out...
Francesca (fran-CHESS-ka) Is another name I remember from my childhood, that my father happened to like. My mom loves the color red, and I put this doll together with the most absolutely bizarre fabrics I had. The dress is made from oriental silk, but I did not want her to look particularly oriental... just "francesca-ish. I absolutely love how she turned out. Sometimes surprises are the best avenues for creativity.
To embellish her simple garment, I added two "skirts" - one from organza, and the other fabric from India. Here you can really see the shimmer of the organza. The Indian fabric is right underneath that, and the hem from that was left raw. The organza has intricate beading on the bottom edge, and so does the bottom of the dress. That has some beaded leaf motifs, to blend with the pattern on the dress fabric. I also created a "ruffle" of beads on the bottom, using a 5-bead picot stitch. The beads really added to this doll's outfit. Time consuming, but I'm glad I did it! I also made her a couple of cool sandals. The sandals fabric is actually made from pure silk, with angelina fiber on top. I just embroidered them together. The soles are made from polymer clay, baked and stained with antique medium.Francesca's hair is made from SOY silk fiber. YES, you read correctly- soy.
I really dig the stuff. Can you believe, it's a biproduct from the tofu-making process. It leaves over a silky substance. Since it is a natural "fiber," it is easily dyed. You can fuse it and make a very interesting "fabric" with it, too. Lucky for me, soy silk fiber makes great doll hair, and felts easily with a felting needle.


  1. Dear Rivkah,

    Loved your Cloth Paper Scissors inspired piece! (Tried to comment underneath that blog entry, but was unsuccessful.) Love your use of color and wit. (and I'm also an Oscar Wilde fan!)

    Thanks so much for letting us know about your artwork!

    Warm wishes,
    Patricia Bolton

  2. Beautiful color and fabric choices ... love the red/hot pink hair color especially!

  3. Compliments,your doll it is very beautiful!!!

  4. Gorgeous embellished doll! I love her shoes and toes!

  5. She is beautiful. I love red too and she has part of my name. Love looking at your work.
    Love & Hugs

  6. Hi---I love your blog and your dolls! I am also a mixed media artist, but I do not dabble in the fabric arts and I do not sew. Because I do not sew, I am hoping that you will mentor me on a project that I am working on. I am in a collaborative "exquisite corpse" project and my part is the legs (from the waist down). I have a 12X12 canvas to create on and I would like to make doll legs to sew to the canvas with a skirt and funky shoes. I do not have a clue as to where I should begin. I have downloaded your patterns for your doll, but I really need help. I am sorry for the long post---but I could not find an email address on your blog. Please email when you have a few minutes.
    -shari schneider

  7. Hi Ritva,
    Thank you so much for the free pattern. She's lovely. I had a grandmother named Fransiska, so it was nice to see the name appear again.Your blog is wonderful and just full of great information. I have added your link to my blog and when you have time would love for you to drop by and visit mine as well.
    Thank you again, Romona

  8. Marvellous doll. Beautiful. You are a very talentuous artist.
    I'm a french doll maker too, but only for passion. I don't sell my dolls and puppets I give them.
    I downloaded Francesca's free pattern. I will send you a photo, when doll is finished. But... among the different patterns pages, I find neither straight leg nor feet patterns. I carefully checked the 11 pattern pages. But, I didn't find them. Maybe, this is on purpose. If not, could you add this patterns ? I am sorry to ask you this. It's so nice from you to give this free pattern, but I cannot make the doll without the missing pieces. Thank you very very much. Excuse my approximative english writing.

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. There was a pattern page missing somehow... 12 pages is a lot I guess! I uploaded the runaway page (straight leg and foot) Thank you Nijenn for catching that!


  11. Nijenn10:18 AM

    Thank you very very much, Rivkah ! I found the page and downloaded it. You are very nice. thanks.

  12. mpaule9:01 AM

    I'm Marie-Paule, I live in France and I love your dolls!
    I do bears, and embroidery. I'd love to make dolls, but I don't know how to do faces! what material? what paint?
    can you help me please?
    thank you for the free pattern.
    excuse my english, please
    thank you very much

  13. Anonymous9:41 PM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  14. Anonymous5:41 PM

    I tried to download Franchesscia the free doll pattern but I can't seem too. Any pointers on how? I love the dolls and would like to make her.

  15. Dear
    I admire the work you put into your site. I came across it and noticed that there are some similarities with our project. KiwiArt is the name of our website, in which we invest a lot of time. Please take a second to take a look at our domain. We are a Free Art Classifieds website that allows artists of all crafts to post their services or works free of charge (without registration, advertisements or hidden fees)! If our mission and website philosophy interests you, it would be extremely helpful and appreciated if we could obtain a possible link from your site. If you'd like to give us a hand, you may always contact us at If you'd like anything in return from our end, we are always open to negotiations. Thank you for time and consideration.


    Paris Fotis & Matheos Zaharopoulos


Thank you for leaving a comment and happy dolling!