Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Prairie Flowers, an original cloth doll

Last spring I designed a cloth doll I called Prairie Flowers. She is a simple cloth doll, 11 1/2 inches tall, made from 100% woven cotton material. Above is Lillian, one of the dolls I made a year ago.

I've come back to these cloth dolls, to make the pattern available, and to see what kind of different looks can be achieved with this cloth doll pattern.

The pattern for the doll is located here: http://sites.google.com/site/designbybethann/home/links/PrairieFlowersDoll.pdf?attredirects=0&d=1

A picture tutorial for making the doll is located here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/29184580@N04/sets/72157623903215816/

The pattern for the doll is a 'template' that is traced onto freezer paper (available here: http://www.dollmakersjourney.com/supplies.html, near the bottom of the page). Trace the pattern to the non-shiny side of the freezer paper, cut out, and iron the pattern to the fabric. The edge of the template is the sewing line, so make sure to leave plenty of space between pattern pieces for the seam allowance.






After the pattern pieces have been sewn and turned, stuff the pieces with your favorite stuffing material. I've mentioned this before, but the best way to stuff a cloth doll is to lightly dampen the pieces with a mist of water. Work the material in your hands after it is dampened, and stuff the body firmly. Dampening the material will help to eliminate wrinkles when you stuff.






It is also VERY important to pay attention to the stretch of your fabric, and how you lay the pattern pieces on the material. These two bodies were made from the same pattern piece; but one was laid on the fabric with the stretch along the length of the body, and the other with the stretch running from side to side. The pattern pieces are marked how they should be placed. Before ironing them on, stretch your material along the grain and across it to determine which way the maximum stretch runs.

After all the parts are nicely stuffed, it is time to make the face, and perhaps add a touch of embroidery to the neckline of the doll. The tutorial shows a way to make the faces you see here; they are a combination of paint (for the iris and pupil of the eye), embroidery (mouth, nose, eyebrows, and iris), and crayon, to blush the cheeks. It is easier to do this and the embroidery before the limbs are attached to the doll.


Two new Prairie Flowers :-) I called them this because of the flowers embroidered around the neckline.

37 comments:

  1. Just beautiful. What an artist you are!

    Lois in Cincinnati

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  2. Just gorgeous Beth. I love her.

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  3. Beth, I love Lillian! Thanks for making the pattern available.
    Lisa

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  4. Very beautiful! :o). Am I allowed to ask where you got those figure-stands / figure-holders from? I have been looking for some like those, but I haven't been able to find them here in Germany. Thanks very much,

    Tracey-Ann

    oglewing@googlemail.com

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  5. Lois, Jenny, Lisa, and Tracey-Ann, thank you so much for your kind words :-) If you make a Prairie Flower I hope you enjoy the dollmaking; she is very easy and sweet.

    Tracey-Ann, I got those stands from Magic Cabin Dolls; here is a link to the stand:

    http://magiccabin.com/product.asp?section_id=0&department=0&search_type=normal&search_value=doll%20stand&cur_index=&pcode=2230

    If the stand is too tall, you can take a hack saw and cut off an inch or two of the white part of the stand, which is what I did. Or, you can make your own doll stand from a small wooden plaque and two 1/4 inch dowel rods. Here is a picture and a brief explanation:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/29184580@N04/4075534164/in/set-72157621188943546/

    Happy dollmaking!

    Beth

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  6. I can't sew to save my life, Beth, but I admire your work. Thanks for sharing.

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  7. I am looking forward toward making her. I especially like to make dolls less than 12 inches.

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  8. Very Adorable! Great job on the dolls! :D

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  9. They're lovely Beth! Love their painted faces too!

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  10. Thank-you, Paperpest and IcePrincess :-)

    Shelly, your words mean a great deal to me; thank-you!

    Beth

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  11. I was sure I posted here the other day? I guess not.

    Anyways, Beth, what a wonderful job you did on these dolls! And I love the tips...I had no idea about using the spray bottle while stuffing. I'll use that on my next batch.

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  12. Hi bybido!

    Thank-you so much for your kind words :-) I've been using the spray/mist technique for a couple of years now, and it is amazing how much easier and better the stuffing process is. The dampness actually helps keep the stuffing in place, and works especially well with wool roving for stuffing, although I've also used the technique with polyfill.

    Have a lovely day,

    Beth

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  13. Reminiscent in some ways of Babyland Rags. Love your pattern. :-)

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  14. Hi Dixie! Thank-you for the good words; I've always been enchanted with simple, huggable, cloth dolls :-)

    Beth

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  15. I wanted to download the tutorial from flickr but couldn't do it, is there a secret to it?
    Elaine

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  16. Hi Elaine,

    Hmmmm, I don't know how to download a set from Flickr. You might see if there is something in their FAQ's (frequently asked questions), or maybe you can email them this question. It is something I've never tried to do.

    Beth

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  17. I like your cloth doll, they are beautiful
    Congratulations
    have a good day
    Joaefina
    tijerasycuchar.wordpress.com

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  18. Thank you for sharing such a delightful doll pattern, You are very talented.I have blogged about it and i am making some for my charity drive.

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  19. That is really cool, Sue! I'm delighted you are using the Prairie Flowers pattern for your charity work :-)

    Beth

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  20. You do beautiful work just like my friend Carla Finley who makes beautiful dolls by hand!

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  21. Thank you very much, Jennie :-)

    Beth

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  22. I love your dolls and am planning on making a couple of my own, i was just wondering what wig size do they wear?

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  23. I used size 6 to 7 wigs for these dolls. I got them from Antina's Doll Supply. Here is a link:

    http://www.dollsupply.com/shop/index.php?cPath=57&sort=2a&page=1

    Have fun!

    Beth

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  24. Dear Beth, I am so happy to have found "your place." I'd like to get back to my 1st love, my gretest love, cloth dolls. These 2 are sweet! As for Arugami crochet,
    Waaaa,I cry,looks like algebra to me! Can't "get" knit symbols either. But I can
    stitch! Looking forward to finishing one,maybe I show it to you? Thank you,Tammy.

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  25. Hi Tammy,

    Glad you like the Prairie Flowers! They are easy, and a lot of fun to make :-)

    Beth

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  26. Thank you for providing the pattern - but when I tried to open the pdf - the writing was jiberish (sp?) Maybe because it's in wordpad and I have wordperfect -- anyother way to obtain the pattern? Thank you, Barbara

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  27. Hi Barbara,

    I used LibreOffice to create the document, then exported it to PDF. If you like, I could email the pattern to you, if you will give me your email address.

    Or maybe, just try again?

    Beth

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  28. Hi, When you say you mist the material, are you meaning the fabric or the fill? Not sure which you mean.
    Thanks, Beth Stephens

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    1. Hi Beth,

      Mist the fabric prior to stuffing, and mist it a bit if it appears to become dry as you stuff. You don't want to soak the fabric, but by damping it you will find that the wrinkles that usually form when stuffing a fabric doll will be much reduced. I think the damp cloth stretches a bit more, allowing the stuffing to 'take' better.

      Beth

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  29. Here are some cloth doll patterns you might be interested in...

    http://www.teresecato.com

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  30. Hi! I love the pattern you made. I am 12 and have worked on making dolls, but these look wonderful! I've been looking for dolls to make to use instead of American Girl dolls (because AG is getting rid of the good dolls -- most of the Historical Characters and renaming it BeForever) These are prefect for me because they are so old-fashioned and have the embroidered flowers. I will definitely make these.

    ~ Azure

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    1. I hope you enjoy making this doll, Azure :-)

      Beth

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  31. I made one for my grandma and it turned out great! I'm not that great at crocheting but I crocheted a pretty good wig and I have no idea how to replicate it. :P

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  32. Absolutely gorgeous love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bout to make one! :)

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