Challenge Dolls

Challenges are activities that stretch a dollmaker's skill and imagination, while allowing the doll to remainin the dollmaker's posession. Challenges often involve a theme, a grouping of fabrics, a specified pattern, etc. Dolls may be physically displayed (doll shows, doll club meetings), or may be shared on the internet via photographs.

Swaps differ from challenges in that the dollmaker is not allowed to keep the doll they have created. Dollmakers are paired, usually with someone of similar skill level. Each makes a doll for the other person. Swaps are similar to challenges in that they often revolve around a theme, a groupling of fabrics, a specified pattern, etc. Swaps are a good way to make new friends.

Return to Home Page

Doll No. 467
October 2019
First (annual?) nurse doll challenge, 2019. A friend proposed this challenge: use the same doll pattern, create a doll dressed in a nursing uniform from an era in history. She selected my Verity pattern (22 inch size) for us to use, and we both chose to make Red Cross nurses from World War 1. We based the uniform on resources found online.
Doll No. 430
May 2014
Amandine, my 2014 Hoffman Challenge doll. I used a new pattern I'm developing. Click on the thumbnail to see the really varied results achieved with this one pattern! Amandine has wire armature in her torso and hidden behind her legs.

Amandine is about 16 inches tall including her wooden stand. She is all cloth. Her hair is a wig made from Tibetan lamb on the hide. Click HERE to see some other Hoffman Challenge entries.

Doll No. 424
July 2013
Emmaline, Hoffman Challenge entry 2013. Original, OOAK doll. Approximately 16 inches tall. Made from camel doesuede fabric. Jointed shoulders, hips sewn in a fixed position. Needle sculpted face.
VR-hoff12a-small.jpg (102175 bytes)
Doll No. 417
July 2012
Viola Ruth, made for the 2012 Hoffman Challenge. I used my pattern/mold of the same name. She's about 18 inches tall. Her face and the back of her head are made from polymer clay, sandwiched over a basic stuffed head. The gaps are filled in with paperclay. The head and upper chest/back are covered with knit fabric, then painted. Viola Ruth's clothing is removable. A weaving technique was used for her pinafore to break up the very large print of the challenge fabric. For this challenge, the doll is affixed to a wooden base and stand (which can be removed after she returns home). She does not stand alone. Click HERE to see the other challenge dolls. SOLD

Viola Ruth was the 3rd place winner in the doll category.

alice413a-small.jpg (98934 bytes)
Doll No. 413
March 2012

In February 2012, the MAIDA (Making Antique Inspired Dolls & Accessories) online group hosted a challenge with the intention of submitting the dolls to Prims Magazine. our dolls were featured in the Autumn, 2012 issue. The accompanying article was written by Dixie Redmond who also has a MAIDA blog.

We made dolls from books/characters old enough to be in the public domain. I chose Alice in Wonderland. She is made from my "Verity" pattern, reduced. She stands about 17 inches tall. Her clothing is removable, though the pink flamingo is sewn to her to maintain a stable position. Her hair is Tibetan lamb. SOLD

hoff_11_dhogan1.jpg (113997 bytes)
Doll No. 404
July 2011
Eolande, made for the 2011 Hoffman Challenge. I used my "Under the Harvest Moon" pattern reduced to 90% to meet the size requirement for this challenge. I used a woven fabric for the doll. She has jointed elbows, knees, shoulders and hips, but has wire armature fixing her to a wooden base. Her hair is Tibetan lamb. Eolande was the 2nd place winner in the doll category. Click HERE to see the other challenge dolls.
patriotic-2010c-small.jpg (115996 bytes)
Doll No. 394
June, 2010
Freddie, Waiting for the Parade was made for Cloth Doll Artistry's (Ning Internet group) Americana Patriotic Doll Challenge. Participants used the same pattern, designed by Sherrie Nordgren. My doll is made from unbleached muslin. Creative Paperclay was applied to the head and upper chest/back, then covered with a cotton knit fabric, gessoed and painted. He had blond wool locks for hair. His clothing is removable.
hoff_10_dhogan1.jpg (99351 bytes)
Doll No. 345
July, 2010
Harmonie made for the 2010 Hoffman Challenge. I used a design-in-progress for the body (one of my many unfinished projects), made from craft velour. She is in a fixed seated position. She has a polymer clay face that has been covered in a cotton knit fabric, then sewn to the stuffed head and painted in acrylics. She has wired fingers. Her skirt is made from petal shaped sections, alternating the challenge fabric with a coordinate. Her hair is made from an elasticized multi-fibered trim. Traveling until Fall, 2011. Click HERE to see the other challenge dolls. SOLD
380a.jpg (97086 bytes)
Doll No. 380
Feb., 2010
Tiana was made for a doll club challenge. As a group, we selected two patterns from the now defunct The Cloth Doll magazine. Both were angel patterns, and we could use one or both of the patterns for our dolls. My doll was made using Patti Culea's pattern "Silvery Nights Angel" from the Winter 1995/'96 issue. She stands about 21 inches tall, and her clothing is not removable. Her hair is Tibetan lamb. I strayed from the instructions, in that I omitted the armature and added paperclay over the muslin head. Her head, upper body and arms are painted. You can see some of the other club members' August Challenge dolls HERE. SOLD hall09-deanna2.jpg (73790 bytes)
Doll No. 384
Oct., 2009
Pumpkinhead is my Halloween Challenge doll. Members of the Reigning Dolls & Bears club used a vintage pattern to create their dolls. Our assignment was to use the "Genevieve" pattern in the book "On Making, Mending and Dressing Dolls" by Clara Hallard Fawcett, published in 1949.

Pumpkinhead is 16 inches tall and made from muslin. Her sewn and stuffed head was shaped oddly, so I covered and sculpted it with paperclay. She is painted with acrylics. Her clothing - dress and bloomers (designed by me) is removable.

tog2009e.jpg (115881 bytes)
Doll No. 382
Sept., 2009
Anorah, made using my "Under the Harvest Moon" pattern for the Treasures of the Gypsy Challenge. She stands 21 inches tall. Her clothing and shoes are removable. She's made of cotton woven fabric, and has hinge jointed elbows and knees, and button jointed shoulders and hips. Her trapunto style face is minimally needle sculpted, and colored with acrylic paint and colored pencils. See more "Harvest Moon" dolls HERE.
little red1sm.jpg (83172 bytes)
Doll No. 376
Sept., 2009
Little Red Riding Hood Challenge, for the online group "Coffee with Tea." I used and modified Lucinda Durbin's reproduction Presbyterian doll pattern, incorporating a transfer for the face from a vintage photo. Little Red is made from dyed muslin, and stands about 18 inches tall. Her clothing is removable (bloomers, skirt, bodice, cape). Her apron is a vintage hankie, sewn into her skirt.  Her hair is a wig made from Tibetan lamb, sewn in place.
DONATED to ODACA Day Raffle, 2010
4elements3.jpg (115738 bytes)
Doll No. 378
July, 2009
Mermaid, created for the 4 Elements Challenge sponsored by the online group ADO (Art Dolls Only). For the body/head/arms, I modified a pattern by Kith & Kin. I omitted the legs and designed a fishy tail section instead, which I made from cloth I dyed at my friend Jean's house.
penny_dhogan7.jpg (118762 bytes)
Doll No. 369
March, 2009
Penny Doll Challenge, sponsored by FOCD (Friends of Cloth Dolls). This 20-inch doll is made from doesuede fabric. Her Head/neck/chest and forearms are painted with Messy Mix, gesso, and acrylic paint. Her hair is Tibetan lamb. Her clothing is removable. Her boots are painted. She does not stand unassisted. This doll was made from a pattern by Claire Pruitt. She was the 1st place winner in the advanced category.
hoff_08_dhogan2.jpg (105290 bytes)
Doll No. 360
July, 2008
Frances, my Hoffman Challenge doll. Frances is from my "Verity" design, reduced to 85% of the original pattern. She stands 19 inches tall (including her stand), and is made from muslin.  Her face and hands are needle sculpted, then painted with layers of "Messy Mix" - half acrylic gel medium and half modeling paste. Then two layers of gesso are applied, and flesh-colored acrylic paint. Her hair is Tibetan lamb on the hide, hand-dyed. She has wire armature from her head, out her bottom, and into the wooden base. Her pants and tunic trim is dupioni silk.
See more Hoffman dolls HERE.
meditrina2.jpg (107427 bytes)
Doll No. 342
June, 2008
This is Meditrina, the Roman goddess of wine, health and longevity. The Reigning Dolls & Bears club to which I belong had a wine or grape themed challenge, as our June meeting was held at member Roxanne's home. Roxanne and her husband have a small non-commercial winery.

Meditrina's made of Alabaster velour, with a cloth-covered clay face. Her head is jointed to the neck so it can turn from side to side. Her fingers are wired. She holds a goblet made from Fimo.  Her hair is Tibetan lambswool on the hide. She's in a fixed seated position, about 12-1/2 inches tall. Her gown is silk Georgette in a very dark (almost black) navy color. 

verity6.jpg (94484 bytes)
Doll No. 344
April, 2008
This is Verity, which means "truth." Verity was made for the vintage cloth doll Yahoo group patriotic challenge and for the "Rags to Riches Dolls" eBay group launch scheduled for 4/27/08 (go to eBay and enter R2RD). Verity is made of muslin, and stands almost 23 inches tall. I used the same pattern I made for Carlie (bottom doll).  Her face and finger divisions are needle sculpted. Her head, upper chest and arms are painted with a mixture of modeling paste and acrylic gel medium for durability. Acrylic paints, colored pencils and pastels provide the coloring. She has buried bead joints at the knees, and her lower legs are made of striped fabric. Her boots are painted; the heels are Paperclay. Her dress is removable. 
lydia2.jpg (81955 bytes)
Doll No. 338
Jan., 2008
Lydia, my doll for Soft Dolls & Animals magazine Interpretive Doll Challenge (January 2008 issue).  The pattern is by Aletha "Ike" Putney.  Lydia is made from muslin and is 13 inches tall.  Her head and upper torso has been covered in Creative Paperclay, and her face is sculpted, then painted in acrylics.  Her arms and legs are also painted. Her clothing is not removable.  She wears muslin pantaloons and a celery green print dress with a vintage hankie over-lay. 
fh_mermaid18.jpg (99779 bytes)
Doll No. 326
Sept., 2007
Merryl, my 2007 Treasures of the Gypsy challenge doll (Merryl means "bright as the sea"). She's mounted on a shelf sconce.  The design was inspired by the figureheads of old sailing ships.  She is 15 1/2 inches tall (25 inches tall when on her shelf sconce), and about 8 1/2 inches wide. She's made of dyed muslin.  Paverpol was applied to her yarn hair.  She's embellished with lots of vintage jewelry.   I documented her construction on my picture site, which is no longer a thing.  You can also see my previous Treasures of the Gypsy challenge dolls HERE.

hoff_07_dhogan3.jpg (155874 bytes)
Doll No. 325
July, 2007
Adah is my 2007 Hoffman Challenge doll. Adah means beautiful addition. She is 17 inches tall (seated). She's made of muslin, and has a cloth-covered polymer clay face (gessoed and painted). Her hair is Tibetan lambswool. Her shoulders and hips are button jointed. Her arms and legs are wired for posing. See more Hoffman Challenge dolls HERE. Eventually, this pattern will be made available, with the pressmold for her face...Stay Tuned!  SOLD
alabama18.jpg (108634 bytes)
Doll No. 321
April, 2007
Reproduction Alabama Baby Challenge. This doll (named Viola Ruth) is made of muslin and stands about 17 inches tall. Her face (and occiput) are made of polymer clay, glued to a simple cloth head/body. Gaps were filled with Creative Paperclay, then covered with cotton knit fabric.  he fabric was gessoed and painted skin tone acrylic paint. Arms and legs are also gessoed then painted. The original Alabama Babies were made by Ella Smith in the early 1900s. Pattern and Pressmold Available  SOLD marisol2.jpg (162252 bytes)
Doll No. 320
March, 2007
Marisol made for Doll Street's "2-D to 3-D" artist challenge. Participants selected an artist from a list and created a doll made in the style of that artist. Marisol was inspired by a Diego Rivera print. She was made using my "Amity" pattern, from Buttersuede knit fabric. She stands about 20 1/2 inches tall. Her face is lightly needle-sculpted, colored with acrylic paints and colored pencils.  Her hair is chenille yarn. See more artist dolls hereSOLD
angel_dhogan1.JPG (132498 bytes)
Doll No. 317
November, 2006
Peace and Unity angel made for the "Angel for the New Year" challenge sponsored by Noel Wolfman ( The doll is made from velour, from a pattern by Sherry Goshon. I lightly needle sculpted her face and colored her features with acrylic paint and colored pencils. The wings are my own design, made from muslin, quilted, then painted with Gesso and acrylic paint. She sits on a candlestick base. Her bodice is covered in puzzle pieces, representing the many people of the world, separate, but with the hope of coming together. The dove, of course, represents peace. SOLD carlie1.jpg (94788 bytes)
Doll No. 299
June, 2006
"Carlie" is a new design prototype.  She is my 2006 Hoffman entry.  She is made from velour, and has beaded hip joints, button jointed shoulders, and buried bead joints at the elbows and knees.  Her face is colored with acrylic paints, colored pencils, pastels and pigma pens.  Her hair is knitted eyelash yarn. SOLD 
Click here to see other Hoffman entries
joy1.jpg (86976 bytes)
Doll No. 284
Sept., 2005
"The Joy of Creating" challenge, sponsored by Camp Doll U, 2005.  Participants purchased a kit of fabrics and trims (including a small glass bottle that had to be included with each doll).  At the time I made my doll, I had just purchased dried gourds on the internet.  This was an excellent opportunity to experiment with making a gourd head doll with a acrylic painted face.   Her body is dyed muslin, her fingers are wired. SOLD  averill_hoff1.jpg (59124 bytes)
Doll No. 270
June, 2005
Averill, made for the 2005 Hoffman Challenge.   Made from peach craft velour.  Averill has a cloth covered clay face, painted.   Hair is knitted eyelash yarn.  Hand-beaded trim on vest.  Received Honorable Mention
averill18.jpg (73262 bytes)
Doll No. 266
April, 2005

Made for the Reigning Dolls & Bears doll club - Four Fat Quarter Challenge. This jointed doll is about 19 inches tall, and is made of velour.  Made from my Averill pattern and pressmold, with cloth-covered polymer clay mask. Fingers are wired, and even have fingernails. Wears panne velvet slippers. SOLD

collage05a.jpg (73693 bytes)
Doll No. 293
Dec., 2005
The November 2005 issue of Soft Dolls & Animals magazine offered up a "Creative Cloth Collage Doll Challenge." Dolls were to be made from a Patti Medaris Culea pattern featured in her book Creative Cloth Doll Faces. This doll is made from hand-dyed muslin. Her dress is of beaded velvet and gold stamped fabric. Her sleeves and skirt are silk. She wears tights and velvet slippers. Her hair is fringed upholstery trim.  SOLD
tribal7.jpg (50915 bytes)
Doll No. 285
Oct., 2005
Tribal Dance, made for the 2005 Treasures of the Gypsy challenge. This year's theme was "Adventure of the Gypsy." Dolls were displayed at the International Quilt Festival in Houston.  This one-of-a-kind original doll is made of doe suede, and stands about 21 inches tall. She has armature in her fingers and legs. Face is lightly needle sculpted, with hand-painted and drawn features. Her finger cymbals are made from Apoxie Sculpt. Tribal Dance won the Gypsy's Choice AwardSOLD bw_averill2.jpg (115606 bytes)
Doll No. 256
Dec., 2004
Doll made for the Reigning Dolls & Bears doll club "Black & White" challenge. This doll is 19 inches tall, and is made from a heavy white muslin. She has buried bead joints at the wrists, ankles, elbows and knees. Shoulders and hips are button jointed. Her hair is knitted "eyelash" yarn. Her face is made of polymer clay, covered with fabric and painted. Click on the thumbnail to go to the Averill page (then scroll down).  SOLD
gypsy_04c.jpg (480997 bytes)
Doll No. 249
Sept., 2004
Zhorina, made for the 2004 Treasures of the Gypsy challenge.  This year's theme was "The Spirit of the Gypsy."  Zhorina is about 18 inches long, and is an original one-of-a-kind doll made from doesuede (fuzzy side out).  Her hair is Tibetan lambswool.  Face is needle-modeled and colored with acrylic paint and colored pencils.  Dolls were displayed at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas. See more Zhorina photos HERE   SOLD vanessa2.jpg (47083 bytes)
Doll No. 238
Vanessa is my 2004 Hoffman Challenge doll.  This year's fabric is a butterfly pattern, multi-colored with gold.  This doll is from my "Fiona" pattern.  She stands 20-21 inches tall on a wooden stand.  She is made from a woven fabric, and her head and arms are jointed.  Her face is needle sculpted, and colored with acrylic paint and colored pencils.  Her fingers have chenille stem armature. SOLD
jubi3.jpg (92481 bytes)
Doll No. 225
Jubilee is my 2003 Hoffman Challenge doll.  Participants in this challenge were required to use the "Black Cherry" Hoffman fabric. Jubilee is made from my Serafina pattern (angel stump doll), with a Creole flair.  She stands 15 inches tall, and is made from Springmaid Southern Belle muslin.  I used a cloth-over-cloth technique for her face, with some light needle sculpting.  Her fingers have chenille stem armature.  She was selected to travel with a Hoffman collection.  SOLD dawn10.jpg (138147 bytes)
Doll No. 216,
Delta Dawn is an original one-of-a-kind doll made for a doll club project - to make a doll from a song.  Dawn is 19 inches tall and stands on a mahogany platform.  She is made from Springmaid Southern Belle muslin.  She has sculpted features and applied eyelids.   Face is painted in acrylics, with colored pencils and pastels.  She has jointed head and arms, and leg armature.  Hair is mohair.  She holds a suitcase and wears a faded rose (as per song lyrics).  SOLD
bilbo11.jpg (83195 bytes)
Doll No. 213
Bilbo, a character from JRR Tolkien's book The Hobbit, was made for my doll club's storybook challenge.  A one-of-a-kind original made from dyed muslin, Bilbo has armature in arms and legs.  His face is  needle sculpted, his hair is crepe wool (head and feet).  His fingers have chenille stem armature, as do his slightly pointed ears. SOLD monique13.jpg (76987 bytes)
Doll No. 198
Monique is my 2002 Hoffman Challenge doll, selected to travel the country for a year. Participants in this challenge were required to use the multi-colored paisley Hoffman fabric. Monique is an original one-of-a-kind doll. She stands about 18 inches tall, and is made of Springmaid Tremode (woven) fabric. She has armature in her legs and fingers, needle-modeled face and appliqued breasts. Her face is painted in acrylics, with pastel shading. Her hair is a synthetic wig. Her shoes are leather.  SOLD
eva5.jpg (64771 bytes)
Doll No. 188
This is Eva, an original doll made for the 2002 Antelope Valley Doll Show in California. This year's theme was "Once upon a time..." and Eva is my interpretation of a character from an obscure children's story. Eva is 17 inches tall, and is made from woven fabric. She has full armature. Click on the thumbnail for additional photos and a link to her story. She earned a blue ribbon and won Best in Class and the AV Doll show, as well as a blue ribbon at the 2002 Clatsop County Fair (for her costuming).  SOLD josie2.jpg (54171 bytes)
Doll No. 185
This 18-inch doll is my representation of Josephine Baker, my entry for Lisa Risler's third 3Q challenge. Her muslin body is from an Antonette Cely pattern and is painted with acrylic paint & Createx textile medium. Her cloth head is an original pattern, sculpted and painted. She has armature in her body, legs and hands/fingers. Josephine received a First Place award in the advanced category.  SOLD
Ramona5.jpg (65355 bytes)
Doll No. 183
This is Ramona, made for the "Gypsies of the World Challenge" for Doll U, 2001 (sponsored by Treasures of the Gypsy). She is 18 inches tall with her wooden stand, and is an original design. She's made of Doe Suede, with armature and sculpted face. Hair is wefted mohair. SOLD Frieda7.jpg (75965 bytes)
Doll No. 179
This is Frieda, an original 18-inch doll made for the "QQQ Challenge" hosted by Lisa Risler (May/June, 2001). This challenge required selecting a packet of fat quarters and creating something that utilized these fabrics plus the extra doo-dad included (a button, in my case). Frieda is made of Doesuede and has wired fingers and sculpted face. Her clogs are made from polymer clay. Her hair is wefted mohair from Sandcastle Creations. Frieda was awarded Judges Choice First Place and Publics Choice 2nd Place (Intermediate Category). Featured in Soft Dolls & Animals! magazine, October/November 2001 issue. SOLD
waiting2.jpg (64529 bytes)
Doll No. 175
This doll was my "Winter Wonderland" entry at the Portland Quilt and Doll Festival (Oct., 2000), called "Waiting for Santa." She is an original design, and has jointed elbows, knees, ankles and neck. She holds her favorite rag doll (which doubles as a pin doll). The chair is from a pattern by Virginia Robertson. Other accessories include table, centerpiece candle and plate of cookies).
pippi.jpg (19610 bytes)
Doll No. 172
This is Pippi, a "Cut from the Same Cloth" challenge doll for the "Reigning Dolls and Bears" club in NW Oregon (June, 2000). She is an original design, using many of Judi Ward's techniques. Pippi is made of robe velour. Her fingers are wired, and her head, arms and legs are jointed. The pirate hat was made using the guidelines in the book Creating Heavenly Hats for Discriminating Dolls by Bonnie B. Lewis and Mary Ann Kaahanui. The Oregon Coast's wreck of the Peter Iredale in the background is the setting for this photo.  SOLD
nancy_allison.jpg (64741 bytes)
Doll No. 170
Miss Nancy Alison Delacourt Cooper, from the book Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox was an assignment for the "Reigning Dolls and Bears" club (May, 2000). She is made from Meo Feroy's pattern "Fanny Annie." Includes hardback book, chair and basket of "memories."  SOLD  brunnhilde.jpg (54408 bytes)
Doll No. 165
This is Brunnhilde, my No Picture/No Instruction Challenge doll, created from a pattern by Anne-Marie Brombal for "Friends of Cloth Dolls" (online group). Made from robe velour, she stands about 25 inches tall. Helmet and breastplate are made from polymer clay. Her sandals are leather with polymer clay soles. Exhibited at the local county fair, she won the Reserve Champion and Blue ribbons. $150, includes shipping to US addresses.

Copyright Deanna Hogan, Blue Heron Crafts