Monday, 30 July 2007

Spring is bursting out all over......

Here she is wearing her flowered headdress

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Her bodice has beads, her skirt has butterflies and she is wearing bracelets:

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Saturday, 28 July 2007

Spring Greens!

Here's Spring in her new clothes. A top and skirt, ready and waiting for a bit of embellishment!

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The background fabric is calico (muslin) dyed with dilute silk paints. The decoration is strips of dyed muslin (scrim) cut with pinking shears and machine stitched on with a zigzag stitch. There is also some fancy machine embroidery yarn zigzagged onto the top and around the edges of the top I have laced the machine top-stitching with stranded cotton.

Friday, 27 July 2007

Spring's on the way

This is my second go at patterns from Patti Culea's book 'Creative Cloth Doll Making'.

A spring sprite to go with 'Autumn not so Sprightly'.

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I used the second, intermediate body and head patterns from the book, and the straight leg and the arm I made for the 'Ginger' doll. I also used the ears from the book.

I got a much better nose this time, but I'm still not satisfied with it.

Here's a close-up of her face:

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I wanted her to look much younger than 'Autumn.....' so although I shaded her face, I tried to keep that 'bloom of youth'.

She's going to be wearing cotton clothes in light, fresh spring colours, with pretty bead flowers in her hair and at her wrists.

Thursday, 26 July 2007

New simple doll..........................

I made some mistakes with the simple doll. The seam was weakened where the legs joined because it had to be cut close to the stitching to make it turn out properly. I used polyester and cotton fabric because it was finer and easier to turn and stuff, but it wasn't strong enough. I used a small stitch to sew the pieces together, I thought it would make the seam stronger, but because of the fabric I used, it 'cut' or 'perforated' it, making the weak spot where the legs joined together even weaker.

Lessons learned!!!! Here's the new improved version. The legs are in one piece, then stitched in the middle.

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Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Update on simple doll.

My six month old grandson loved his simple doll and played with it happily for a week. Then his six year old brother suddenly decided to see if it could do the splits, grabbed both feet, pulled and split it like a wishbone.

I've made the little chap a new one in stretch fabric, but I can't bear the thought of a baby eating that stuffing, so its back to the drawing board.

Sunday, 15 July 2007


I didn't waste all those "baby" faces I was experimenting with. They looked much more like older children than babies so I enhanced them a little, added extra stuffing and needlesculpting and here's what I've been doing with one of them.

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I moved on from the Patti Cularis pattern and branched out on my own! (Well, all except for that bent leg.

I'm very pleased with Ginger. She looks cheeky and she's got attitude! And look! She's got separate thumb and little finger. Her skirt is a piece from the bottom of a sari remnant and her crop top is made from a piece of hand dyed silk from my reject bin. The standing foot needs refining a bit for later models, but for now, shoes will cover it. She's all ready for some embellishment!

Friday, 13 July 2007

Simple doll revised - knew I'd get there in the end!

It's been a long process, getting this right. I thought about it and decided that for very small babies, with all that chewing, teething and dribbling, a painted face maybe wasn't such a good idea. This is the final version, ready for my smallest grandson when he comes to visit tomorrow!

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Making faces

I've found it difficult to reproduce the painted faces on
  • my little doll that wouldn't come out

  • and
  • the twins

  • I tend to gradually make the features bigger and bigger and then I lose that 'baby' look. I've tried a few out and drawn up the ones I like best. I want to produce a face that makes you want to smile back. Also, I thought it would be nice to have two or three different expressions.

    I tried to get a couple of smiley faces, a laughing face and a naughty face.

    Then made a colour map:

    Part of the problem was transferring the design onto the blank doll face. I tried drawing each one by marking a grid and lightly drawing in with a colouring pencil, but it wasn't successful because apart from the time it took, I still kept making the features too big, I was finishing up with 'scary' not 'smiley'. I solved that with the 'prick and pounce' method. I traced the faces onto card 'masks' and pricked out the features with a needle, placed it on the doll face (before stuffing it) and rubbed over with a chalk pencil, then joined up the dots. That works quite well.

    Of course, stuffing distorts the features a little and I hadn't taken that into account.

    I've tried several methods for colouring in. Because these are intended for babies they must above all be safe, and that restricts the materials I can use. Non-toxic watercolour dyes work well for colouring in the eyes, and so does non-toxic gouache mixed with a little fabric medium. Non-toxic colouring pencils produced for children to use work well too for colouring in the cheeks and noses and can be heat fixed with a light coat of fabric medium dabbed over. I thought maybe I could make it easier by using permanent pens to draw with. I tried gel pens but they bled too much. A black laundry marker is good for the pupils in the eyes. Faber-castell permanent pens only bleed a little and dry quickly but the colours come out a little too dark. I ordered some Pigma Micron pens as recommended by many doll makers, but I have found that although the colours are really good and they are permanent and waterproof they take a very long time to dry. This may be partly due to the fabric I am using, which is a kind of doe suede. The pigma pens are fine for drawing lines around the features, but not good at all for colouring in.

    It's all been a bit trying!

    I think maybe I've been trying to do something too complicated and maybe I should just use one face with very simple features and minimal needle sculpting.

    So now it's back to the original!

    Monday, 2 July 2007

    Autumn not so sprightly!

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    She's perhaps a little bit blowsy, a little bit overblown. She looks thoughtful, not sad but a little bit serious. It's because she's in the autumn of her life, a good bit past the middle, but still quite a way from the end. She has enjoyed her life up to now, so she still likes to dress in bright colours, but not as bright as she did when she was in her summer, spring now seems a long way behind. She still loves to wear necklaces and bracelets, but now the colours are muted, berries and fruits instead of summer flowers. Sometimes now, she finds she needs a light stole or a shawl to guard against the cold in the chilly autumn evenings.

    She doesn't like those crochet slippers. She still likes to wear dainty, pretty shoes and kick up her heels now and then. She has good feet and her favourite shoe colour is red. She wants me to make her another pair. (I will, when I've figured out how to do it!).