These Elegant Crocheted Dolls By Swedish Doll Maker Camilla Yu Will Make Your Little Girl's Room Prettier
When designing your child's room, there are a lot of things that need to be considered. Will he like it? Does the color of the walls match the accessories? Is the bed comfortable? Are there enough toys he could play with? The list goes on. As with all the other rooms in the house, it's great to invest in timeless, multi-functional pieces that you may opt to style with trendier pieces.
For your kid's space, we found a unique toy that doubles as beautiful décor. What makes this piece a truly interesting one is it’s a classic, endearing item that even adults can take delight in, too! Meet Lillyabelles, a collection of elegant crocheted bear dolls made by Swedish doll maker Camilla Yu. These new playmates will surely be your little girl’s newest favorites!
Lillyabelles founder Camilla Yu
Camilla started the brand last year. With her mother and grandmother used to making jumpers, socks, and cardigans for her and her siblings as they were growing up, it’s no surprise she has adopted the same love for creating and delved into the wonderful world of crochet. At first, the hobby was a relaxing break of sorts from her wife and mommy duties to her son and her two daughters.
One Christmas, when her sister Elisabeth came to visit, they decided to start a crochet business. “I started designing and making my own pattern. Then, my husband gave us the idea to offer work for housewives who wouldn't have time to attend to a regular day job, the same way I created dolls from home,” she says, adding that “as my 5-year-old son Matteo would say, ‘This is a great way to help our community,’ and so the ball kept rolling.”
With such a unique concept, Camilla's dolls were a hit, so much so that new designs and items, such as adorable security blankets, are also being offered now. We got to chat with Camilla to know more about Lillyabelles—from her inspirations in making these toys to stories of women whose lives were changed when they joined her team.
What is your inspiration in creating Lillyabelles dolls?
“When I design our dolls, I, for most, think about timelessness. If I look back at photos, it would still be beautiful. I wanted to create a doll with a childlike elegance, leaving 'clutter' to the minimal, as I want to leave it as much as possible up to the child's imagination—a toy that could be passed on through generations without being out of style.”
What was the first ever doll you've made?
“The first doll I ever made was a gray and white mouse. All dolls I make give me a little idea on what I wanna do next, and since they're all handmade and I do all finishing touches, it's rare that two will look exactly alike. It’s truly a unique piece, each of them.”
What are the materials used in each doll?
“The material for me is the most important aspect of the doll—more important than the design itself. While I was sourcing materials, my mother had already taught me about different kinds of yarn such as organic mixed with bamboo, organic cotton, silk, and more. I was able to find very nice organic cotton locally made, while some of the details on the dolls are made from wool and silk. What’s important to me is to find materials that are safe, especially for the delicate baby skin.”
Can you describe your design aesthetic?
“When I create something, I always try to think of what I would have wanted as a child. Sometimes, I just sit and draw with my kids and observe what colors they choose, what toys they prefer. I even analyze how they hold their stuffed toy. As a result, the long arms were created, all of these aspects come in when I design. The colors I choose are simply what comes to my mind and the elements that are most comforting for me.”
Can you share more about the community/group of housewives who make your dolls? How have they evolved ever since they started making the crocheted dolls?
“Like myself, these women are housewives—busy with taking care of their homes and children, but still want a sense of independence. Due to the fact that they are not able to take on a regular day job, the empowerment and fulfilment you get from earning your own money would not be possible. With Lillyabelles, women can start working from the comfort of their own homes. They can work as much or as little as they like or are able to.
“I heard some stories that are truly heart-warming. Like how this single pregnant woman was able to pay for all her medical bills and the newborn products she needed, such as clothes, diapers, and towels. It’s something she had worried about not being able to do before she joined us. Another story I was happy to hear about was that instead of being on their gadgets, surfing the internet or being on social media, these women actually get together to socialize and crochet together as a group. For me, the women I’m working with all seem more independent since I first met them. It’s been a wonderful transformation for me as well.”
What are your future plans for this business?
“To build our website so that Lillyabelles products could be available worldwide. That way, more housewives would be able to work and join us in this wonderful experience. Also, as an interior designer, it has always been in my mind to make Lillyabelle include home interior products.”
How are the dolls best enjoyed?
“I do get a lot of clients wanting the doll as a decoration piece. This is, of course, a great idea, but what I really like is for it to join you for a tea party, be your friend on a car ride, or a toy you would hug going to sleep. Bring this doll to imagination land.”
Photographs by Paola Aseron
Shot at Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bataan