SFM Cloth Dolls with Attitude! NZ

Saturday, March 2, 2019


My inspiration for the Strawman came from Pinterest - of course!  I saw an ornament someone had made in clay and loved the idea.  I began this project not knowing how it would work out, but I was excited by the idea of a bag head!  I used a good quality homespun neutral fabric.

 After needlesculpting and colouring his features in, I stitched down the seams with embroidery thread.  I used a natural colour rafia to represent the straw.
I am very pleased with how his head turned out!

Putting together the body, I wanted to keep it fairly simple. 

to enable him to stand so well, I inserted two glued together card soles into his foot, which also has a sole.  this worked well with the wire armature, which also inserted into his body for stability.  I chaped the legs to create buttocks, but they could have been fuller.  I wasn't worried about that  though, because after all - he's a scarecrow!

I was pleased with the two part arm that helped with the pose - thanks to Antoinette Cely design!

Next came the pants - a suedecloth that was soft enough to ruche and just the right colour!  The boots worked so well too!  Good old black calico!  Cut to slip on his feet and wrap with more calico strips!
Next came the jacket.  Easy enough, but took a while adding all the patches and buttons.  Next I had to stitch straw into the clothing.  Making the Scythe was a mission initially as I had to think through what would work.  I tried wire, but it was too heavy and pulled him over.  Wood would not work, in case it sold to someone leaving the country!  It had to be cloth, wrapped in masking tape, and then batting, and inserted into the tube. Painted with Gesso and then Fabric paint.  

The blade is made from card, lined with fine wire and wrapped with masking tape.  Painted with Gesso and  black fabric paint, edged with silver paint.  the wire attaches it to the handle.
I had earlier made this magpie for something else, but it was just right for this purpose as I was in a hurry to get it done
The finishing touches - add patches to the clothing, paint dirt on the clothing, stitch the head on and stitch the handle to the hand. 
Strawman was created to scare crows away, which worked on the first day.  then an old crow realised he was just made from straw, and allthe crows came and ate the corn!  The old Crow returned and informed the Strawman he had no brains! thus began the Strawmans quest to develop his intellect, and on his journey to Oz was actually the smarted one in the whole group!

Monday, January 21, 2019

Humble Bumble

 My daughter challenged me to make some bumble bees for her, so I, whoi have never even made a teddy bear, thought I'd have a go!
For the face, I had to find a cute expression to make the bee engaging.

You can see how tall this bee is.  

Of course I am inspired by My Finch!  he makes the most awe inspiring insects that are so realistic, from textiles!  
None-the-less, I am happy with mine!

Monday, September 10, 2018

Making Musufa - The Lion King

I have now made five characters from The Lion King, and I am at the stage of just about knowing what I am doing!  I feel like writing about my process now, to enhance my learning.  Of course, the more you do something, the more you automatically know what to do!  Sometimes if that is not captured, it can be forgotten, so I am writing.I actually started with the mask for this one, as I was curious to see how I would do it and what it would look like!  I was always planning ahead, and thinking about the next bit.  I knew the body would not be difficult, as I had the pattern modified sufficiently by then, so I didn;t think too much about that, except that I would do the feet differently!I left the head till last - not because I thought it would be hard, but because I had to source all the elements I needed to make the costume!  Eventually, after much searching and not finding the colours/patterns I wanted, a South African friend gave me some of her fabrics to try, and I found one that woudl work for the loin cloth.  Then I searched my own stash - and found enough of a scrap of lycra, from someone's dress that had just the right pattern on it - and it was black and white!  Yay!  It worked - and I painted it yellow so the black pattern showed through!

When I looked at the original Mufusa face I wanted to copy, I chose one with strong features. I designed the head accordingly, sewed it up , stuffed it and drew on the features I wanted.  I decided on simple needlesculpting techniques, as this face was mostly painted. I was not worried about the black stitiching line down the centre, as I knew it would be covered.  I needlesculpted the face and was quite happy with the result!

 Next, I drew the shadows on the face in a dark brown prismacolour pencil.  I later went over this with black prismacolour pencil, to deepen the shadows.  I also used the brown to put in the pupils of the eye.  I fill the whole eye shape with the circle of colour.  The eyes are outlined in soft lead pencil.
 I paint in the whites of the eye, mostly to outline the iris and not going in too correctly into the corners, letting the fabric tones give shape to the eyeball.  I used a fine paintbrush to underline the eye with white, and outline the top of the lip, which I rubbed lightly with Prismacolour crimson red.
 I used the blunt end of a bamboo skewer to dot the black pupils on the eyes.Right in the middle and hopefully evenly!
 Now, I use black gel pen to outline the eye, the eyeballs and carefully into the corners of the eye to create the curve of the eyeball.  I placve the white highlight in the same position on each eye. I also outlined the lips with the black pen for a theatrical look.  After all, I want these features to be seen at a distance!  I lightly highlighted the bottom lip with strokes.
 Using the midline as a reference, I drew out the brow shapes, and painted them in with black fabric paint.  I used a little cream prismacolour pencuil on the upper cheeks.
 I evened up the brows and drew the line down each side of the nose and chin, trying to keep it even.  I mixed red and yellow fabric paint to make the orange I was after, and marked out on the forehead the thickness, before painting it on.
 I usesd red fabric paint to paint in the cheek markings, the inner eye and a little orange on the outer upper eye under the brow.
 The sides of the face and chin are painted in red fabric paint and the other markings laid in.  I paint the orange and black brow markings, the eyeballs and the lips with Mod Podge, to give them a shine.
 I begin to try making hair, using embroidery silks.  I stitched it front to back, preferring not to use glue on dolls if I don't have to.
To finish the head, I thread some seed beads in red, to compliment the other colours on the face.  In this case, I had to use a spot of glue to keep the hair down and cover the beads, for the look I was after.   I could have made the hair longer, but not enough embroidery thread!

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Pix & Pax Pixies!

Peek-a-boo!  This is a playful little pattern I am having a lot of fun with!

I altered the legs to make the doll more poseable, and these pics show the range nicely!

 I used gauze soaked in food colouring, and fur fabric for the pixies hairdo!
 She can swing her legs or sit on them!
 It's great to make two at a time!  Twins!


Monday, July 23, 2018

Zazu Bird! Cloth body with a mixture of feathers, fur and foamcraft! At 9inches tall, he is actually standing on a felt bowler hat I made!
This is what is keeping me so quiet on my page folks! I am quite taken with the story of the Lion King and fascinated by the musical and the dancers, so I am trying to make the figures in cloth!
He's not the most wonderful creature you have ever seen, but he will suit my purpose for my Lion King Exhibition in December! Have to find the right fabric for Zazu's suit now!
Looking forward to making the complete figure and getting that bird to sit on his head! That will be a mission! Rather pleased with the three and a half figures I have made so far! Nala, Simba, Rafiki and now Zazu!