I love handmade dolls. I grew up treasuring a ragdoll that my great-grandmother made for my mother, who passed it to my older sister, who eventually (reluctantly) passed it to me. The doll must have been 40 years old by the time I got her, but she was completely intact, if a bit dirty, and came with a beautiful hand-sewn wardrobe. My favorite piece was a pink dress with a drop-waist pleated skirt.
25 years later, dolls inspired me to start sewing. Specifically, Hillary Lang's Make-a-Long dolls, Olive and Archie, got me hooked.
When I first saw Olive and Archie on Hillary's blog, I had to have one, so I bought the pattern and my sewing life began. Hillary doesn't usually have Olives and Archies for sale in her shop, so if you want one, you'll have to sew one, too (or become my friend so I can make one for you).
Jodie of Ric-Rac is another doll maker I admire. Her dolls have such friendly expressions, and they are always decked out in clothes I wish came in people sizes. Jodie occasionally lists dolls in her Etsy shop, but you have to act quickly.
Mimi Kirchner's dolls are so artful and lovely, I can only dream of approaching her level of skill and imagination. Even at 34, I can imagine spending afternoons dressing these girls up in their stylish wardrobes. A few of Mimi's creations are for sale in her shop.
The fact is, though you have to get lucky to snag one of the dolls above, there are plenty of gorgeous handmade dolls for sale on Etsy. Take your pick: