SFM Cloth Dolls with Attitude! NZ

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Patroness of TOTE 2016

I have finally finished dressing my latest Patroness of TOTE for this year!

Her gown is made from a bolt of furnishing fabric - not the whole bolt - which is rubber abcked, and therefore, quite stiff.  Such as you would cover inexpensive chairs - made from synthetics.  It came up quickly using the overlocker, which I used for all her edges, so the only hem is the actual finished length!  It doesn't matter on something like this, as it's the overall theatrical effect!  

She had her first photo taken by visiting Australians yesterday! She dwarfs people, as she is on a platform with wheels.


I have made a pattern of this one, which includes how to make the head and my whole process of making the dummy, excluding the dress, which is just draped pleated, tucked, edged, and embellished however you like!  Her hat is a dress-up one that I have made a cover for, that just sits on top  and is embellished with stitching and whatever.

  The contrasting fabric is two very cheap novelty woven synthetic scarves - found, and the roses also a furnishing fabric, just twisted into roses - learned from Utube!  I wanted to create a balance with the contrasts, to bring the colour down, so the skirt looked the right length, because as you can see from the last picture, she looked a bit stiff and without her hands placed in front, the skirt looked too short.
The pattern is available in my Etsy Shop, or you can email me and I can send you a paypal request.  I hope you like what I have done.  I am pleaased with the result, because I had the opportunity to see what I could do - because you never know if you can, until you try it!
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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Composition Doll Restorations - for a change! Happy New Year 2016!

I have spoken about these dolls before, but want to recount my journey with them, as they seem to keep popping up!  People bring me their broken old dolls, because they know I am a dollmaker.  They don;t care that I only make cloth dolls.  So the challenge to me is to make something of their treasures and try to bring them back to life.
This was the first one I made - from just a head!  I used Kezi Mathews toddler doll pattern to make the body, and she sits in her owners home now with pride of place - her childhood doll!

This one I got off an auction site. Her owner hoped I would make something of her as it was her childhood doll.  The dolls mouth was smashed in, so I had to make a new mouth and replace the teeth. This one and the next one were made in New Zealand.  The bodies are cloth and the arms and legs seem too small for the rest of it.  I copied the wrecked body shape of this one and put it back together, but hated the startled look and inflexibility of the body, so I undid it all and made a body of wool, but while it is softer, the body shape was not good, so at present she is waiting for a better body before she is presented again!  It's all about the process!

This wee one has had boots made and a straw hat was remodeled for it!

This is one of those mass produced porcelain dolls that I hated, but hate to waste anything too, so I gave her a complete makeover and kind of modernised it!

This is the result!

This is Barbara - a 1940's hard plastic 16 inch walker that I re dressed and touched up for a friend.  She's a sweetie!

This poor 25 inch porcelaine doll was given to me broken and reglued all over her face!
I cleaned the face and restored the neck with Kneedit clay, which worked really well!

I repainted all the body parts, except for the original stamp on the back!  Mended all the broken bits and even made new fingers!  She has been restrung and is awaiting her new clothes.  Will update soon!

Makeover time for the Patroness Of TOTE!

This full size needle-sculpted head has just been finished. I took my time with it and have spent the afternoon making it. I want to replace the head of my Patroness of TOTE!
She has had three makeovers with the same head, for the last three years, and the original head, which was only made from an old sheet - has lasted all this time in all sorts of weather, most days! She is looking somewhat faded now and she is due for her yearly makeover, and so another head is required.

The Patroness normally stands outside The Oamaru Textile Emporium where I sell my dolls and volunteer on Fridays! People love to be photographed beside her.








I have learned a lot more about doll making since I first made the original one in 2013. Having said that, she has stood the test of time very well! This time, I am thinking she will be dressed in Blue, because we have a large quantity of Furnishing fabric in a blue going begging!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

OCDC - Oamaru Cloth Doll Crafters - All about Eve Project!

This is a doll I have made & remade!  Sometimes it takes a while to get it right!  I called her Christel Belle, Seeker of True Love!  She reminded me of a friend of mine by the same name with an uncanny likeness, so last weekend I gave it to her!


 These dolls are our group attempt at making Sheryl D'Ath's "All about Eve!" Pattern.  We started it before the Wellingotn Workshop in Nov, but only completed it afterwards!  Our group found it very interesting to do and learned a lot of new techniques! 
They liked the way the doll is so pose-able  
and grouped together can imagine conversations!
  You can see how the dress designing skills kicked in here, with different styles presented by the dollmakers!

This cheeky little chap was made by Jean, who loves Frogs!  It's Jill Maas''s pattern -
Freddy & the frogs!  So cool!



Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Workshop in Wellington! 2015

 Sheryl D'Ath and I had the best time in Wellington last weekend, with a wonderful doll group The Dollectables!  Sheryl designed the doll and I wrote it up.  It is called "All about Eve"!  The pattern can be bought from Sheryl, or from Cloth Doll Designer, or Dollmakers Journey!
 I took all my gear - a better way of carrying it rather than my usual bucket!  It rolls up nice and small!  Not exactly elegant, but it does the job!
 Sheryl thoughtfully had body parts made up to show how it is constructed.
All the kits laid out and more fabric, plus dyed mohair that Sheryl had wefted ready for use! 
 Here is the line-up of dolls on display.  Mine is the little one standing.  Sheryl also made the bears!  She is world class with her bears!
 Everyone getting down to painting the faces!
 Someone is excited to learn how to fix mistakes and also to make an open mouth!
 Getting it all together!  this delightful lady gave us chocolate and made the most delicious lemon cakes!  We were spoiled and we so appreciated it!
 Here is Sheryl in full swing!  She's the one in black and the designer of the dolls we were making!
 A close up of Sheryl's doll.  This is the same doll made in many different ways!  Look at the shoes she made too!
 More of the dolls!  The small ones she called Trinket!Aren't they gorgeous with the wee bears?  The undies are made from stretch lace!  I made a 'Frock' Pattern and the one with the jandals (flip-flops) is wearing a 'Frock'!
 Working on the faces and getting the bodies sewn up!
A line-up of all the heads!  Fascinating that it's the same head made in twelve different ways!  Lots of learning here.  They were shown how potentially disastrous faces could be changed to look more like it, and how to undo and start again with more pleasing results.  These ladies were pleased to be able to learn different techniques from both of us and what other tools could do the job better and faster.   It was so worthwhile for us all!  They have invited me back next year, so that's a good sign!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

On display at the Oamaru Opera House!


We are all a bit like Alice - on a chequered path in life!
Alice's flexibility is continuously challenged as she walks past the critical flowers in her life, who look down at her. She follows a neurotic rabbit, meets up with bully boys, who always want to fight over silly things like a broken rattle, love to argue, but never contradict each other, talk about having a battle, but get too carried away with sports and things and in the end are scared of upsetting authority!
She takes advice from an old caterpillar, entering the early stages of metamorphoses and who asks her several times, the important question - "WHO ARE YOU?" Alice replies, "Well, I knew who I was this morning, but I have changed so many times since then!"
Her only real friend is the Cheshire Cat, who always leaves her with a smile, and she has to deal with Queens!
Yes. a lot like us!

I am delighted to be asked to display my Alice In Wonderland Dolls at the Oamaru Opera house until Friday the 13th this month, where Victorian Week will be launched from, so they will have a wide audience.   I have been making these all year, as well as four large Marionettes!  It has been a very enjoyable process for me and I am amazed at the response I have had from people far and near.
I hope you enjoy seeing them!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Off-White Queen!



Potential disaster happened when we had strong winds blow through town, whooshing through the swing doors of the Oamaru Textile Emporium, where my dolls are displayed.  This was my last Marie Antoinette Bust doll for sale and she was thrown to the floor in a gust, and the base was smashed!
Nothing is ever wasted, so I quickly decided she could be my White Queen for the Alice Series!  On went a waist and stump base and arms!  

Out came all my bits of white - not enough for a whole dress, so all the bits were sewn together to make the gown - hence, The Off-white queen!  (I love a play on words!)

I added a little more hair to give her lengthy tresses and add to her more delicate look.


Here she is - the perfect foil for her sister, the Red Queen of Hearts!


Monday, October 5, 2015

Mad Hatter Marionette # 2

All finished!  He didn;t take so long, because I had partially made him earlier in the year - then forgot all about it, untill I hunted for the pattern and found it with  all the parts already stuffed!  So pleased about that!  I even have half the pattern written up!

This Mad Hatter is 31 inches tall.  His hat is a bit smaller than the first one, and went together much quicker as I know what I am doing now!  

Playing with Photoshop!

Here he lies with his first pair of pants on - they were changed eventually due to being too tight!

He is taller - of course!