SFM Cloth Dolls with Attitude! NZ

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Southern Royal Albatross 2016

I needed the symbol of an Albatross to take up to a group in Auckland, and rather than a picture - to represent our Southern Group - I thought a needle-sculpted Albatross might be interesting to try. (It will be interesting travelling with a 28 inch wide x 18 inch long bird!) Do you wrap it, or put it in a suitcase?

I had no idea if it would work. I just drew a shape - copying off google images, but there are no really good closeups, so made a good guess. It's not perfect and who knows if the dimensions are right? I know the tail is not right - too wide, but it looks like an albatross, so that's near enough for me!

Needle-sculpting the wings was a mission and hard on my fingers, but I am pleased with the results. Once I drew in the features and painted the wings it looked more like it!

For an armature, I used a thin wire coat hanger with the hook straightened and wrapped in masking tape. The end part of the wings has a bamboo skewer wrapped in batting. Stuffed, the wings were quite round, and I didn't know if needle-sculpting them would produce the results I was looking for, but it worked well enough!
 I am pleased and glad I have made it! You never know what you can do till you try!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Exhibition 2016

Here are some dolls I have been making for an exhibition In Manapouri. 
The exhibition theme is "Living in Manapouri!" A small town community of retirees, artists, readers, knitters gardeners and trampers! A little bit of eccentricity helps!
 These dolls are conversationalists!

  Someone gave me some knitted fabric that lends itself so well to dolls and makes them touchable!
 The doll faces are made from quilters muslin with a bit of 'give'! I make them stump dolls because the fabric will speak for them and make them 'colourful characters'! I can vary the sizes and shapes accordingly. They go together quite easily.

This man is inspired by a good friend of mine - an artist who is a bit of a character!  I didn't get the head shape right, but the facial features went quite well and certainly the 'stance'!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Free Pattern Biscuit, the Pet Dog for a doll!

I made up  my free pattern  of Biscuit, the dog I made to go with my pattern Miss Kate!

 The first one was difficult because I made it with the stretch going long ways and it was hard to turn, but gave the dog longer legs.
The second doe was much quicker and easier with the stretch going across, so turning more easily!

The dog is finished with either prismacolour pencil or Inktense pencils dipped in water to make the dark smudges around the neck tail and back!  
You can find this patterns here on my blog, under free patterns, or from this link to my Website.  Enjoy! 

Saturday, June 11, 2016

St Catherine of Siena

I have just finished making this figure of St Catherine of Siena, a Tertiary Sister of the Dominican Order of Preachers & Teachers. She was the 24th of 25 children, a twin born to a well off couple in Siena, in the 14th Century. Known as a Mystic, she became a force for good, working tirelessly for the poor and sick. Although illiterate, she wrote a book that is still studied today by Dominicans all over the world, called The Dialogue. She died at age 33.

I had fun draping this figure in medieval costume and figuring out how it all goes. I didn't want to make her look too holy, but to look like someone to relate to. Her arms move, so she is easily posed!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Just finished this doorstop doll for someone and am quite pleased with how it has turned out!

One of the longest parts of doll making for me is finding the right fabric in my stash! Luckily this time I found an umbrella skirt! Thought it would come in handy some day! Already circular and stitched, so trimmed off the pointed ends and decided to use them as is to make ruffles further up the skirt! So easy! I didn't have to hem it either! the bodice took a bit of doing, because it is a little fiddly being shaped, but I have to say it is a very effective style!

And the hat! A straw hat. Topped with polyester stretch velvet, then a tube with the hem (It was previously a top!), and gathered at the other end. This is inserted in the hat with the hem rolling out over it all! Hand stitched on, add some plumage and a big bow - two hat pins and - all done!

The brief was for a Victorian Lady in a black dress, but I added a hint of red overlayed with a lace panel, to keep it subtle. I really should have given her a burgundy choker, for better colour balance, but only found that after I had done this. Accented with burgundy roses. I wondered if she needed something around her shoulder- neckline? She is rather exposed for one in a hat I thought?

This doll was made from my pattern Hello Dolly, and you can find it on my Etsy page, Designer Doll Patterns, Dollmakers Journey, Fabric Addictions or Craftsy! She is a Door Stop Doll and not that difficult to make - once you decide on your fabric! hah! She has a plastic milk container for her lower body, so no legs to deal with!
Both of these dolls are going to live in the same house!  

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Dwrfbred - eco warrior!

 I love a play on words, and when I found an illustration of this little warrior, I just had to have a go and see if I could replicate him! 
 I felt I had succeeded pretty well and enjoyed the problem solving of - how to make his forehead high enough to actually fit the helmet on.
- how to make the body rotund, yet wide enough/tall enough to fit all his gear on.
- how to make the 'bread' out of cloth
- howto make the feet/boots
- how to make the horns from fabric
 He's an eco warrior, because so much of him is recycled. I used an old pair of leather sandals & embellishments in his helmet and belt, leather scraps and strips given by other people, strap off someone's handbag around the helmet edge, the sealing tops off pill containers for the horn holders, painted with paints I was given, and boots made from sweatshirt scraps. His hair - offcuts that someone gave me! Even his armature was an old wire coat-hanger!
 The Bread is made from Quilters muslin.
I love that he stands so upright and filmy on his feet.  I felt this design is well balanced and I have almost finished making the pattern for him!
This doll sold within a week of being made!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Matchsticks on Strike!

Not everyone is on Facebook, and some of my dollmakers saw this first piece that I made and were a bit  - ahem - bemused, by it, and so I thought you might like to see how it all ended up!  

While I had mixed feelings about reactions to it, I felt I couldn't waste it because I knew it would have some appeal to some people, so I ploughed ahead- a little bit defiantly!  Ha! 

I was taken by the illustration and the story about the life of matches, from a Hans Christen Anderson story, told by the ugly duckling, who grew up and turned into a swan! 

 One of the illustrations looked like the Major from "It aint 'alf hot mum!'  I decided to see if I could emulate parts of the illustration in cloth.  

 The first one looked a bit - funny - so to speak, but with them assembled all together it becomes a novelty ornament that will amuse someone!

  My enjoyment from making this came from problem solving, and the process - how to do it, what to do to it to make it 3D and how to set it up and make it look amusing. I love a play on words!  

Meet‬ the Major Matchsticks!
They're standing for their right!
They reckon they are too old to burn,
 and so have gone on strike!

Majority rules and all that,

Says Major Horrified, Major Frown, and Major Laugh!

Ha! Sometimes you have to do something novel, just for fun. I learned a few more things in the process.

Hope you enjoy them!