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.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

An Awesome Opportunity

My family and I had the awesome opportunity to hear Kevin Ford, pilot of STS-128, talk about his adventure aboard the space shuttle Discovery.

Their mission launched last August, 2009 to the International Space Station and took 15,000 lbs of supplies, experiments, and equipment, and performed three space walks. They also took Nicole Stott to the ISS as a space station crewmember, and returned Tim Kopra.

Kevin was informative, funny, and gracious. It was terrific.

Thanks to my brother-in-law Roger for the pictures. I'm the wannabe with the braid :-)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Adorable Annies by De Powell

A friend on the 'Friends of Cloth Dolls' message board shared a link to these adorable Annie patterns a few months ago. In addition to crocheting, I also love to make cloth dolls, and De Powells Annies have snagged my heart. I've been working on the pattern 'Goody, Goody, Gumdrop,' which makes two Annies, a 10" and a 12".

Here are the body pieces for the 10" and 12" doll all stuffed and closed up. A great tip for stuffing a doll like this nice and smooth, with no wrinkles, is to spray the cloth with water from a simple spray bottle, before stuffing. Work the misted water into the fiber of the cloth, especially around the neck and head, then stuff. Keep the body slightly damp (not soaked), and stuff hard. You'll be amazed at how much better your stuffed doll body will look. Gail Wilson shared this tip on her website.

Here are the girls with their painted and embroidered faces, and all the limbs assembled :-)

And here we have very simple wigs. De uses a very simple wigging technique. If you want more hair coverage on the back of the head, you can just make a crochet chain a few chains long and hook your hair strands into this. Stitch it down to the back of the head and pull up the ponytails. Either way is very cute.

With bows in our hair, and our pretty matching bloomers. The clothing patterns for these dolls are very simple, but work up very nice.

And here are the completed dolls, all ready to warm the heart of a child, regardless of her age :-)