Wednesday, September 30, 2009
This new release includes patterns for two types of ears as well as a wig template for Tibetan lamb (like my Treasures of the Gypsy doll). There's also a full-page color insert that reviews some of the face coloring techniques I use.
You can find the pattern HERE for $15 plus postage. Postage used to be included in the price of all my patterns, but with rising postal rates and the cut PayPal takes, I've made the decision to charge actual shipping (sorry). I wish there was an easy way (at the PayPal site) to update everything quickly and make adjustments with every increase in postal rates without having to generate code for every item!
Monday, September 28, 2009
For this particular challenge, the Reigning Dolls & Bears club is using the "Genevieve" pattern from the book "On Making, Mending, and Dressing Dolls" by Clara Hallard Fawcett, copyright 1949. I was more than a little disappointed at how hideously mis-shapen the head was after sewing and stuffing it. It really needed some alteration. So I decided to make a clay-over-cloth pumpkin head doll. This is kind of outside my usual box, and I'm looking forward to the challenge.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
From left to right are Roxanne, Ginger, and Rhoda. Wish I could say the dolls were completed in class, but we were able to focus on the trapunto style face (and attaching it to the head), the hinge joints, the shoes, and the face sculpting and painting.I also shared my "system" of logging/recording the dolls I've made. From my very first doll, they've all been recorded in a notebook. Each doll/entry is numbered and dated. The entries in the log include a description of the doll, the pattern used, size, etc. Once the doll's been sold or given away, the entry is highlighted yellow.
In about 2004, I saw a similar journal up for auction on eBay. This was Edith Flack Ackley's journal, and she included a little snippet of the fabric she used for each doll's dress by their corresponding entries. I thought that was a great idea, and started doing that myself.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
I received an email a couple days ago, asking when my "Under the Harvest Moon" pattern would be available. The abridged version of the pattern was in the September issue of Doll Crafter & Costuming magazine, but it's been my intention to release the full pattern with a few extras as soon. Yesterday's wig project makes me think the wig template and instructions would be nice to include, too. Just a couple more challenge dolls to finish, then I can focus on the pattern. Stay tuned!
The freezer paper is ironed to doubled fabric, right sides together. The sewing is done right against the edge of the paper. Then the fabric is trimmed to the appropriate seam allowance and the curves carefully clipped to avoid snipping through your stitching. If you remove the freezer paper carefully, you can reuse it over and over.
This technique is not applicable for all parts of some dolls. For example, you can use freezer paper to sew the center seams of the body front and back (for a 4-part body), but not when sewing the front to the back. If the doll is a simple pancake doll (one piece for the front, one piece for the back) you'll be able to use freezer paper. Does this make sense?
You can also use this techniques with all types of fabrics - below is craft velour. Using an open-toed foot really helps to see when you're going - whether using the freezer paper OR traced template method. My (green) presser foot is Teflon coated, so it slides along the fabric easily.
Monday, September 21, 2009
I've got a lovely piece of brown Tibetan lamb that I'd like to use for her hair. I'll draft a basic wig pattern using a paper towel first, darting it to get a good fit. As this is an all cloth doll (that is, not covered in Messy Mix and paint), I'll ladder stitch the hide/wig in place.
The last thing I'll do (and the part I find most challenging) will be the embellishment. I've got a lot of doo-dads from Pamela - some from this year's packet, some from other years. Wish me luck!
Sunday, September 20, 2009
When the entire head of a large, heavy cloth stuffed cloth doll is painted, permanent damage can result from an otherwise minor accident, and can leave permanent dents. Because the paint was applied directly to the cloth, the paint had soaked through and stuck to the stuffing inside.
...after trial and error and experimentation, the problem was solved with'Miracle Mess Mixture' - a mixture of one-half modeling paste and one-half acrylic gel medium, applied in multiple thin coats to the doll head and arms before they were painted.
Helen used Liquitex Modeling Paste and Liquitex Acrylic Gel Medium. Buy small volumes of each, as the paste begins to harden once it's opened. Use a good brush and save it just for the mixture. Helen prefers a 3/4 inch soft nylon "exploded tip" brush as it minimizes brush marks.
Mix one part paste to one part medium in a clean, small glass jar with a tight fitting lid. Add water sparingly, a few drops at a time, when the mixture begins to thicken. Adding too much water will result in poor adhesion which will eventually crack. Once the paste has been opened and partially used, wipe clean the top edge and lid of its container to avoid dried bits falling into the remaining paste. Before replacing the lid, cover the mouth of the jar with plastic wrap. Mix only the amount you can use within a few days.
Work quickly. The mixture begins to dry when exposed to air. Swish the brush in water if it gets clogged and press out the excess water from the brush. Allow the first coat to dry for a couple hours before applying the next coat. Then allow 1 hour drying time between coats. Apply a minimum of four coats. After the second and subsequent coats, sand carefully with medium sandpaper or a flexible sanding pad to eliminate brushmarks and rough spots. Wear a dust mask.
If the head will have a wig, you don't need to sand that portion of the head. Also, you can build up hair by applying extra coats to that area.
When coated to your satisfaction, paint with either oils or acrylics.
Disadvantages: Once the first coat is on the cloth and dry, the shape of the head cannot be changed.
Advantages: The coated head always remains flexible and the undercoating adheres to the cloth and remains on the surface, rather than soaking through and sticking. Clean up with soap and water.
The purpose of this method is to prolong the life of the paint and to help avoid permanent dents. It is not meant to imitate other materials or mediums.
In my experience, after applying the first couple layers you can smooth out some of the brush strokes with a light spritz of water and smoothing the surface with your fingers - do this while the Messy Mix is still a little damp.
If your doll's hands look flat and unnatural, you can put a little curve in them and the Messy Mix will help hold that curve.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
I received my fat quarter fabric packet from Helen Grossman, containing beautiful, non-traditional Christmas fabrics. The doll pattern was one designed by Kat Lees. I made him from craft velour and added the sculpted nose. Craft velour stretches in one direction, so I made him with the stretch running vertically - making him tall and thin. His hair, beard and eyebrows are natural wool locks, needle-felted in place.
I may make another Santa with the stretch going across the body to illustrate what a difference this makes.
I designed his costume, and his tunic and pants are removeable. Hopefully the clothing won't have to be altered too much to fit a short fat Santa. His hat is ladder stitched in place.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Sunday, September 13, 2009
I made her lower legs from dupioni silk. I'm glad I remembered to trim my seam allowances a little wider, as this stuff frays quite easily. I found a couple big buttons with which to joint the hips. The buttons will be covered with the skin fabric, so it really doesn't matter that they're mismatched.
I've got the upper and lower arms sewn. I just need to stuff and joint them. Then it's on to the challenging part - building her costume.
Friday, September 11, 2009
I did manage to cross one off the list when I made a simple Santa doll for the Fat Quarter Challenge hosted by one of the Ning groups to which I belong. They're posted on the Santa Studio blog for voting right now, and when that's done I'll post him here.
This is what I got in my Treasures of the Gypsy packet this year. Now I'm just trying to figure out what to do with it. I may kill two birds with one stone by using my pattern "Under the Harvest Moon" to make my gypsy doll, as I have to make a Harvest Moon sample doll for an upcoming class I'm teaching. Now to just make it all come together.
Of course, it's 88 degrees outside today, and it's even hotter in mt upstairs studio. I may expire before I get anything done.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Of course, I feel compelled to get up an hour early, just to make sure he's up and ready to go. Can't be late for Clinicals. Ever.