SFM Cloth Dolls with Attitude! NZ

Monday, July 7, 2014

Needle-sculpting a face Tutorial

This is part three of my tutorial of Needle-sculpting and colouring a face.
 Now we will finish colouring the face




Outline the eye and part of the eyelid in a tan Pigma pen, or copper Gel pen. and go over the eyelid with black Prismacolour Pencil.
With Crimson Red Prismacolour pencil make a vee on the top lip.  Make the bottom lip wider than the top.
Outline the lips with Pigma Pen Tan.  The top lips slope down to the mid-line.  The bottom lip swings up wider than the top lip, but neither top or bottom lip will meet where the thread begins, or the mouth will be too wide!  Generally, the top lip is usually thinner than the bottom lip - on most people.  In this case, both lips are much the same in thickness.
Draw in the lines on the lips and also outline the nostrils.  Not too much here.  Less is more with noses!
Draw in the pupil with black gel pen - or paint, close to the top of the eyelid
Outline the Iris with black gel pen, very lightly.  Outline thickly on the top of the eyelid to indicate eyelashes, but don;t stroke them in yet.  With the bottom eyelash line, just do a half line, so she doesn't look like a Drag Queen!  Keep it subtle.
Colour the cheeks with Red prismacolour pencil or blusher.  I sometimes use chalk pastel and a brush to blend it in.
You will see I have made some more marks under the eyes with pigma pen, to indicate the bottom lashes.  Be careful with lines - practice.  Too many lines could indicate age or weariness.

Draw in the eyebrows - left one first!  Put on a bit of eye shadow colour.  Put some tiny lines on the Iris and shade the top of the iris to look like the eyelashes are creating a shadow.
You may want to practice eyelashes on scrap fabric first.  
Now draw in the lashes, starting on the left side first.  Begin in the middle and curl outwards and upwards.  this gives a less startled look.
Lastly, dab a bamboo skewer or toothpick in some white acrylic and put the dots on the Iris, close to the pupil. I have also put a dab on the top of the eyelid, the tip of the nose, the mid cheek and the bottom lip, to highlight.

I hope you have enjoyed these tutorials and that they will be helpful to you with your dolls.

I would love to hear any feedback comments - especially if I have missed any steps or something you are curious about.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Needlesculpting a Face tutorial

Here is part two of how to needle-sculpt a face.

There are no hard and fast rules about needle-sculpting a face. Here, I am doing one side at a time. 

As you saw previously, I marked out the face with a bit of colour, so I could see how I want it to go and how even I could make the features.  I don't do it this way every time, but I have been doing it this way lately with some success.
Thread your long darning needle with a good length ( approx half a metre - 30 inches) of strong thread.   
 Make a holding stitch at the back of the head, enter and exit at the corner of the eye.
 Take a small stitch beside it, re-enter and scoop stuffing up with the needle to make a bridge for the nose and exit at the corner of the other eye.
 Follow the line of colour down the nose length, making three stitches on each side.  Remember to scoop up stuffing each time you go back and forwards.
 Reinsert the needle, scoop stuffing up with the needle and exit at the opposite nostril. 
 Take a smal stitch beside it and re-enter the needle, exiting back in the original place.  You can do this twice to encourage the nostirl indent upwards.  make the last exit in the same nostril hole. 
Re-enter the needle, scoop up the stuffing to make the nostril flare, and exit at the end of the row of three stitches above the nostril hole.
 Take a stitch to the side, following the curve of the nostril flare as above.  Insert the needle and exit in the opposite nostril.  You can do this twice to create the indent, as with the other nostril.  Exit in the nostril.
  Take a small stitch, scoop up the stuffing and exit at the end of the row of three stitches above the nostril.
 Take a stitch to the side, following the curve of the nostril flare as above. Reinsert the needle and exit in the cheek dot.
 Take a stitchsideways and with the needle, really scoop down into the stuffing, to make a good cheekbone.  Exit at the outer corner of the eye.
 Take a small stitch, re-enter the needle and exit at the cheek dot again.
Gently squeeze and pull on the thread to pull the corner of the eye down and the cheek up!
 Now for the other side of the face!

Take the needle across the mouth and enter at the cheek dot.  Really scoop down into the stuffing, to make a good cheekbone and exit at the outer corner of the eye.
 You can see the tension in my finger there, as I am slowly pulling the thread to indent the mouth and cheek at the same time!  you can use your thumb to squeeze the mouth shape and keep it there while you keep the tension on the thread. Take a small stitch, re-enter the needle and exit at the cheek dot again, same as the other cheek.  
  Take a stitch sideways, to assist the cloth to hold the stuffing up , enter the cheek and exit at the nostril flare.
 Enter at the top of the nostril flare and exit under the lip.  This makes the indent between the lip and the chin.  Take the stitch across to the other side. (Notice how the stitches under the nose and chin stretch the cotton fabric?  I could have eliminated that by making my stitch length smaller - but I didn't.............sigh!  Never mind.  no one will notice it when it's all finished - unless it goes into a competition and my needlework  is JUDGED!
 Enter the needle and exit up at the back of the head.
 Gently tug the thread to create a soft indent and not too much so it creases.  Make a holding stitch or two and cut the thread.
And there you have it! 
I hope this tutorial takes a lot of the mystery of needle sculpting away for you and I hope you will practice it and gain confidence with needlesculpting.

  I would love to see any pictures anyone wants to share with me.

Next week, I will follow this up by showing how I colour the face.  

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Preparing a cloth face for Needle-sculpting Tutorial

I have decided to share how I sometimes needlesculpt a face.  This is pretty much the process I go through most times, though I always seem to vary it depending on the expression I am wanting to convey!

This is a nice head pattern I designed and it works very well.  I like the shape of it!  Some things to note when working with cotton fabric.  You will see places that pull on the threads.  Be careful not to overstuff these tight areas or it may fray.  Something else to note - that now annoys me!  Because the nose refused to fill with fibre, I popped a tiny pompom at the tip, but you can see it has moved slightly to the left of the nose, leaving the tip empty!  If I was any sort of needle-sculptor, I would use my needle to move it back into postion.   The idea with pompoms is to hold them in place with a pin till you have finished stuffing the face.  I didn't  - too much of a hurry!  Still, it's an opportunity to show what should be done!


Before beginning to mark out the face the most important step is to spray the face with a fixative, or hairspray, to ensure that no colours will run into the fabric and ruin the face!

When planning a face, I like to use my fingers to see where the eyes should be placed that would give the best effect for what I want to do.  This is usually on the bridge of the nose.
 I mark out in pencil, roughly where I will put the eyes, checking if they are evenly spaced and the right size.  Notice the distance of the corner of the eye from the mid seam?  Not too close - not too far!  About the size of another eye.
 Now I mark it out roughly in Crimson Red Prismacolour pencil, to begin to develop contour and shading.
Down the side of the nose and around where the nostril flares should be.
 Next I mark out the midline of the lips and add the marks for the cheeks and chin cleft, which creates the shadow under the bottom lip.
 I go over the eye shading it with black prismacolour pencil, to add depth.  You could leave this till later if you wish, because as I found out - it smudges!

A dab of acrylic white paint on the eye - I just do the bit that won't have eyeball in it, because white paint under the prismacolour pencil with  make it milky.

So there you have it.  The face basically prepared for needlesculpting.

Riversdale Arts Exhibition Dolls

These are the dolls I have chosen to send to the Riversdale Arts Exhibition, coming up in July!

I loved making this one.  It was the paper hat that got me, but I just happened to have made a wee head accidentally when I was making the Anzac Dolls!  Then I saw an idea that someone had done in Art Doll Quarterly, in clay and knew this would fit!  

I call this "Bird Watcher!"

This besom lass is what I have called "Moulin Rouge"!

 She has that Tarty, coquettish look of confidence and resiliance that I admire!  And she stands alone!  Since this pic, I have added Earrings.
This is my "Old Friends Keep You Sane"! It is a pattern I designed and for sale on Etsy and Fabric Addictions. I made a stand for them and she is resting her hand on his shoulder.  Her stick is glued in place too.

I am in the process of designing another pattern just now too, so watch this space!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

ANZAC DAY 25th April 2014


 Anzac Day is on Friday 25th of April, here in NZ.  At The Oamaru Textile Exchange, here in Oamaru, we have put together a display to honour and remember those who sacrificed lives and lost so much in the 100 years since the First World War.  My father was a returned serviceman, thankfully, but so many of his compatriots did not return and so many were imprisoned.
 The quilts were made by my friend Tracey Shepherd, who is a Quilt Artist.  Many hours were put into this painstaking task of putting the quilts together for this exhibition, by Tracey and other members of TOTE who contributed time and made many poppies, wall hangings and even a Stalag Cake!
This quilt Tracey made in honour of a local serviceman Jesse Rogers, who is an uncle of her husbands and had a memorial Oak tree planted with a cross beneath it.  This is depicted on the quilt and the story is told through the quilt.  Sorry thie picture is not clear here..
Sandwiched between the quilts is my display of the Soldier and nurse, in honour of the services rendered by the Red Cross, to military Prisoners of War whoever they were.  The nurse was able to offer a care parcel delivered from Geneva and packed by someone in the world who leant their support by way of showing their care in putting together a parcel with specific items as outlined by the authorities.  This had to be checked and a special label stuck on it, to be deemed fit to send to captives and prisoners of war.  Above is the ANZAC Symbol, a poppy, with the Red Cross Colours in a circle, made from thin old woollen blankets.  It is flanked by the Australian and New Zealand flags.
While the flags indicate Australian and New Zealand Forces, these figures represent any soldier, from any war, at home or abroad, anyone suffering pain, fatigue, disillusionment, battered about, injured, deafened by noise, wet and cold.

 Somewhere, somehow, there is a pocket of peace where compassion is present in the form of a human touch, a word from a loved one in the form of a letter and a parcel from a stranger who cares.
This is what helps the human spirit to carry on.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

City Girls

I needed a change, so I have been making up Jill Maas's pattern of City Girls!  

You can't just make one!  There has to be two, so they can conspire together and gossip!  Not to mention go shopping and having coffee at all the latest café's!

Oops!  They have discovered a Tilda Angel on her break!

Had great fun making these!