SFM Cloth Dolls with Attitude! NZ

Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year 2012 - New Pattern!

It's been wonderful to have time to design a doll and make a new pattern, which I have spent 25.85 hours doing so far and it's not finished yet! I've been counting up my hours of progress this time, as it's a question I am often asked.
It's taken me 10.55 hours of that to write up 10 pages!  I have to make the doll as I write, draw and scan - and often redraw, then photoshop, take photo's,download  and insert, so it does take a little concentration.  Putting the doll together is like doing a puzzle.  Checking that all the parts are correctly scaled to the overall figure.

Of course the dog distracts me often, which reminds me I need to get some exercise, so it all takes longer and then, for some reason, we all have to eat! 

The new pattern is the long awaited Thenardier, The Innkeeper inspired by the theatrical show Les Misrables. He will go with his wife Jeanne, one of my other patterns. They should make a good pair! Currently Jeanne is a class with CDA.  Thenardier is such a cocky character and I am depicting him in a pose that shows this attitude.

All I have to do now is make his jacket apron pad & pencil, then sew on his arms, hair & Phyrgian Cap and that's the doll done.  For the pattern, I have to write up the construction notes for all the clothes, shoes cap etc and photoshop all the pattern pieces, then insert them.  Lastly - take a great picture  and design the cover.  So still a bit of work, but it helps to tick them off!  I really wanted to have it all done by last night, but I'm an old lady now - I must remember this!  LOL!


Sunday, December 18, 2011


I have given this porcelain doll a modern makeover!  She was one of those dolls that flooded the market and then gathered dust and was neglected!
This one has been completely dismantled, unstuffed, rewired, had eyes replaced, face painted, hair cut & restyled. Her body has been relpaced with new cloth, restuffed and embellished.
Now she looks lovely and is just waiting to be collected and enjoyed!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Finally Olive's finished her lovely fairy!  We've had great fun playing with it tonight.  These jointed dolls are so posable!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Little Bit 2011 Free Pattern

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A Little Bit!
By Sharon Mitchell 2011

Little Bit is easy to put together in the usual way. The whole body is calico, but I used a strip of two-way stretch fabric to make the tail and it worked really well for turning.  Trace the pattern on to freezer paper, press piece s on fabric and stitch around the paper shape leaving the marked openings.  Cut out leaving a small seam allowance.  Clip curves and peel off freezer paper, which can be used several times. Only the hands and feet have Chenille stems in them to stand and pose.
 Colour the inner ears, toes and paws with light strokes of crimson red Prismacolour pencil, before you hand sew them on with a fine needle & matching thread.
Fold the openings of the ears in and run a gathering stitch over the edge before sewing them on, to make them curve inwards.
Mark the eyes with Prismacolour pencil crimson red before sculpting in two 3mm black beads  from one side of the face to the other side, to indent them in.  Not too loose that will make them stick out.
‘Pink’ up the nose with Prismacolour pencil red and outline with tan pigma pen, or copper gel pen (if using the gel pen, spray first to seal, with hairspray).
Sculpt in a little mouth from the eyes, to pull up the cheeks a little and give a cheerful face! 
 Make a little scarf from a small scrap of gauze, soaked in blue & red cochineal and dry with hair dryer so it’s nice & wrinkly.  (Wear gloves so you will not stain your hands!)
Find a sheaf of lavender or other fine stalk flowers and cut to size – hold with string and pose arms around them for effect!
And there you have your own... Little Bit!

 

Clicking on the pattern should open it to print off


Saturday, November 19, 2011

At last we had the Victorian Fete today and here is our stall all set up with three of us selling things.  Olive & Jean's dolls were on display and very popular!  No one bought any, but it was more an advertising exercise for our group and we managed to give away a few flyers, so here's hoping!  Raelene's table in the front was a good drawcard and there were plenty of people she knew. The rain held off until about 2pm - similar to last year!  We had plenty of street entertainment and between us all we made enough to make it worthwhile.
Here I am in my silly hat I threw together, with lots of clothes on to keep warm!  I look like a pitiful little flower seller!  Like the sign?  Applique using florals on black!  We drew a bit of attention from a wide range of the public, so it was good!  Going to bed now though!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Well loved Walkie Talkie Doll
Before restoration
This is my accidental buy on Trademe!  I didn;t intend to win it because I was sure someone else would place a higher bid, but I was wrong!  I had a problenm then - how to restore a plastic 1950's Pedigree Walkie Talkie Doll!  I started with the head - Used my expensive hair shampoo & conditioner!  Then drilled a hole in the iron stem to attach it to the mechanism it had broken off from.  Restrung the arms and tackled the broken foot with Selleys Knead it putty to seal the hollow so I could make a clay foot.That was surprisingly successful, so I painted it with acrylic and matt Mod Podge  to hold it in place and it looks reasonable enough!
After restoration

I'm feeling Rather pleased with my efforts to restore this doll that's close to may age!  wish I could do as well for myself!  LOL!  I was delighted to find she has real hair, so could do something with it.  My friend Kris made the machine embroidered shoes which fit beautifully!  Some leftover dress fabric made the dress, embellished with dupion silk collar and silk ribbon roses with satin leaves.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

 I've been trying my hand at restoring a couple of dolls.  This one is 36 years old and has had a rough life.  Many children have played with her and a dog chewed off one foot! For years she has been discarded in various toy boxes and I retrieved it a while ago  - don't ask me why!   Anyway, I've made another foot with clay and painted it with acrylic paint and a matt Mod Podge, so hopefully it will stay in place!  I recoloured the lips and Mod podged them.  I replaced the blinking eyes with plastic ones backed up with clay, and to take the staring look off them, the glasses did the trick!  I made her a gymfrock so she could look like a little student!  She's waiting for new shoes and I'm about to make her a little suitcase for her schoolbooks!  My daughter, who was the original owner, named her Lesley, and now she wants her back! 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Little Bit!
Here is a little bit of a mouse I put together to see what it would look like.  It didn't look too bad, so I carried on and now I am very happy with it!  My friend Jeanne liked it and named it 'Little Bit'!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Look at this colourful doll in the making!  The exquisite wings are a delight to behold and Olive is very proud of them!  this doll will be a real cracker when she's made!  Olive is fone of beadwork and many hours have gone into sewing one lots of tiny beads.

Now there's a real resemblance here - we all agree!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Innkeepers head.

Here I am - home for a week with a virus!  Have to recuperate with something, so thought I'd make a start on the Innkeeper Pattern.  This is the easy part - the fun part!  The hard part is transcribing what I've just done to paper, describing all the sculpting steps and how to colour it!  Hmmmm!  Might have to make another one and watch what I'm actually doing!

On the good side, I have actually begun to write the pattern up and have done quite a few drawings already too!
What a profile!  Hard to get a high forehead, but he will have a most interesting hat on and some of my favourite whispy hair!  I think he'll be an interesting character to go with his wife. No his face isn't dirty - that's his five o'clock shadow of course!

Thursday, September 8, 2011


OCDC
Raelene studiously working on sculpting her second doll - a Jill Maas.
Olive making hair for her new doll.  She's quite pleased with this one!
All very industrious tonight! Jean with her nose down working on another doll.  She's starting to crank them out now!  I've missed a few photo opportunities the last few weeks, but some lovely dolls being made here! 

"Ragtime Rats!"
This is my latest pattern called "RAGTIME RATS!"  I don't know if they will be very popular, but someone might like to make them for something fun!  They didn't take long to make and easy to do in front of the telly - if you don't have a pup who thinks everything on a low lying table is fair game!  I've been watching Swing Dancing on U tube!  LOL!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Tred & Bee
This is my interpretation of Ute Vasina's Wee Folk!  She needs jandals!  Her teeth are made from shell.  He ended up being cute!  I think I will re-dress her!

These are my swinging Rats!  Not sure what to call them, but I have just finished making the pattern for them! It's interesting that it doesn't matter how big or small a doll is, it all takes just as long to put together!  Same for the pattern!  Now I just need to get a decent pic to make a cover - and a name!  Anyone got any good ideas?

Friday, August 12, 2011

My entry for the Steam Punk Exhibition October 2011

Maximillion Masterfell, fresh from adventurous explorations in the stony Isles of Mauritias, with his guide and erstwhile companion, Professor Theodosia Thrumm, are escorting fierce diminutive ‘Con’, a wee-mannie conservationist Eco Warrior  from ‘way back’! Con is determined to save the Dodo from extinction by introducing them to NZ shores. He hopes to re-categorise them as the forerunner of the pigeon, and thus afford them the sanctuary they deserve!  Masterfell & Thrum are in talks with local Iwi and Doc on the subject and the South Island of NZ will be a natural choice as a suitable location to begin the breeding program!
Sharon Mitchell ~Designer,Maker, & Writer of silly stories! 2011

Professor Theodosia Thrumm!
Close up of Theodosia Thrumm.

Theodosia gets her knickers on!

Notice how I've put the legs on a bit crooked?  That's to give her a more relaxed stance - not that it's noticed when she's dressed!  This body piece is from my new pattern Miss Kate, though I did modify the botoms of the legs with this one.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Dodo Eco Warrior!
Dodo  Eco Warrior!
If it seems I've been quiet lately, I've actually been very busy!  It's middle of winter here and there's been lots for me to do in preparation for the Steam Punk Exhibition in October.  I'm doing a three piece work this year - just for fun!  The Dodo Warrior here is part of it and he will go with Maximillian Masterfell and his companion, who you will see soon, so I'm not saying her name yet!  I have aslo made up a quirky story to go with them, which I will share when I get a pic of them all together! She's almost done!  Loved making the Dodo!  This pattern is Suzette Glastonbury Rugulo's, but I chose different fabric to make it and a few additions of my own of course.  I made the wee warrior's shield from the lid of a jam tin stretched with wet leather. (He reminds me of Billy Connelly!)   Sorry the pictures aren't all that clear.  My camera is on it's last legs!  Or maybe it's the winter light - can't be my bad photography!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Double click on the picture to enlarge.  Right click to print.

...........  This is the Trunk I made from a tissue box and here are the construction notes that you can copy and paste to your computer and make them big enough to read, if you want to make one for yourself.  It's all illusion ......the trunk does not open, purely decorative!  Copy some images online of hunges and a clasp, and soem travel labels.  BAck the hinges and clasp with leather or thick card to make it stand out and look like a real one.  Paint the whole things with Mod Podge for a good effect.  I guess if you want it to look really old you could use some of that crackle paint! 
Most of all - have fun!


Saturday, July 9, 2011

This is Biscuit!  He is a free pattern for you to use, but please give me the credit for designing him.

Requirements for making "Biscuit"!

Knitted short nap fur fabric - a must for this look!


  • Prismacolour pencil - black



  • Three black beads 5mm for eyes and 6mm for nose


  • Scrap of fabric or ribbed ribbon for collar & leash.  Small buckle for collar.

    This is the pattern.  Double click to enlarge.  Right click to print.  In Properties, set to landscape. I made it so it was seven inches tall standing.
    Because I am a novice at soft toy making fabrics, this dog was a happy accident!  If I’d tried to make it like this, it wouldn’t have turned out so well.  This is how I made it!
    Construction notes.
    v Place the pattern pieces on the fabric.  Because it’s knitted, and depending what size stitch you use, the nap is liable to move.  Pin it as much as possible, but little stretches in the fabric will give the fabric a twist, causing the pieces to be an un-uniform fit.  This is what gives the curl in the tail, or the turn of the dogs head and the limbs to look like they are moving.
    v Stuff the pieces and put together in whatever pose you wish – or can!
    v Using Prismacolour pencil black, mark in the eyes, creating shadows.  Also the nose and mouth.  If  the marks need darkening, wet the pencil and rub into the fabric.  Do the same on the back and the tips of the ears and possibly tail.
    v Using the smaller beads, stitch back and forth to create the indent for the eyes and bridge of the nose.
    v The larger bead in the nose – or you can be more creative than I about that!
    v I stitched the ears on, and then bent them forward, anchoring them with thread. 
    v Make a collar.
    v All done – make a pair!  There are two different forelegs for this one!
    Save this to your computer and enlarge to your requirements.

    Saturday, July 2, 2011


    Haven't managed to get a good enough picture for the cover yet - still working on that.  Got to get the angle and the light right. 

    The trunk is just a tissue box which I boxed up in Balsa wood, with pieces over the top to hold the shape.  Wrapped in brown paper, painted it with Gesso to firm it up.  Top coated it with acrylic paint, using black, yellow and a hint of red.  Had some green leather, cut it in strips, wet and stretched it over the edges and pinned it in place.  Squeezed the corners and snipped them.  They just stayed there and set in place as they dried out!  Marked a lid in felt pen, found some travel labels online and stuck them on. Found some hinges and a fastener and stuck them on leather, cut out and stuck them in place. Mod podge'd it all and it was done! It could probably do with some straps and buckles around it, which I have here. Needless to say, it doesn't open - and still has some tissues inside!  LOL!  Actually, it would make a novel tissue box cover! 

    The other round thing is a very unrealistic looking hatbox, which will have to be replaces with something better.

    The dog I designed ages ago, but it looks ok in this setting - gives her something to be doing!

    Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    Olive treated us to the sight of her lovely Embroidered quilt she is making for her mother - lovely!

    Raylene decided to make a really difficult face for her first attempt at doll making!  It's the Black and white one - Patty culea pattern and Arley Berryhills rendition of it.  Talk about complicated!  I had to take the pattern home and learn how to make it myself before I could teach her!  It's been interesting - they laughed at the tutor having homework!  LOL!

    Here's Jean hiding behind her doll in the pink bathers.  My new doll is in the green on the table.  Not far from completion now and it will be a bnew pattern, so watch this space!

    Olive coming to grips with a new doll, while her other doll looks on!  Jean meantime has turned her doll around so we can glimps her face!  She's going to be a cracker!  Jean has great plans for this doll.

    Raelene keeping an eye on the quilt, with Olive's doll making a clean sweep of things! Olive wants to reffle her doll at the Trillium Club she belongs to.  She's a keen gardener too!
     We had fun tonight!

    Friday, June 17, 2011

    This is Olive's doll Edith.  She's just come from church and is sweeping the leaves form the path in the garden before she goes inside to finish cooking the Sunday roast!

    She's listening to the fantails twittering in the apple tree!

    Now she's heading back inside and thinking about puttting the spuds in the roasting dish!


    This pattern is Jill Maas' "Maid Aggie" pattern.  Isn't she sweet?  She's so practical!  The outfit  and story was Olive's idea.

    Saturday, June 4, 2011

    At last I have actually made a new pattern!  I have so many unfinished patterns on my computer, but I have followed through with this one - perhaps because it's so uncomplicated, and the more I made of them, the  better they got, so I didn't have to think too hard about the process!

    So here it is - the Baby Buntings!
    The good thing about these babies is that they are five inches tall and fit in the palm of your hand!  They don't take long to make and no-one can resist them! 

    They'd make a great gift for a new mum, put wings on them and they are baby angels, make a wee bed and blanket and they are a toy for a tot, a comfort for an elderly person or just for yourself!  They are a pleasure to make and you can almost hear them gurgling!  Make boys and girls, twins or one offs.

    What do you think?  

    Thursday, May 26, 2011

    I'm off to Timaru today - having a day off from work to help my friend Mary Horn set up her painting Exhibition.  I'm quite excitied about it.  I can learn a lot from this exercise, as I want tp have an exhibition myself one day - it's on my list!  Who else has got a list?  Mary's Blog is down the dside of my page here, so check out her paintings!

    Sunday, May 22, 2011

    I just had to make this little bookworm too!  Terrible photo, but the dog.......you know?  The tassle on the camera was too much for her and the temptation of the bookworm had her squirming on the floor beside me while I was holding her down and taking a photo at the same time!  Then I had to take her for a walk so this is what I've got!  At least I feel like I've made something this weekend!

    I've been making babies!  I call them 'Baby Buntings' of course! Sometimes I just have to make something small when big things seem too hard.  I was drawn by some fluffy fabric I had, so had to experiment.  It was successful so I went and bought more! 

    These little cuties don't take long to make and would be nice as a a gift for a mum of a newborn!  I happened to have two little baskets and made them very comfortable, so they have been cooing and sleeping all afternoon!  Even my dog Pips liked them, but I had to whisk them away from her in a hurry!

    I am making a pattern for them.  Their little faces are slightly sculpted to make them interesting.
      

    Saturday, May 14, 2011


    These are collages of Jeanne - the Innkeepers Wife made by some of my students and others who have used my pattern.  Aren't they amazingly all different!  You can click on the pictures to enlarge them.

    I've put the bodies in because it shows the results you get from using different fabrics.  Some with two way stretch, some with ine way stretch and some with very little stretch.  It's good to have such an example to compare what results you want ot have. I have thoroughly enjoyed my involvement with all the dollmakers who have contacted me and shown me their creative works of art!  Thank you all!
    For those who haven't yet tried my class, I hope you will consider doing so! 

    It gives me great pleasure to present Jeanne Kalcevic's interpretation of my pattern Jeanne - the Innkeepers Wife!  Jeanne worked hard on this doll and persevered by makeing several heads to get it to a satisfying likeness.  she said she really enjoyed making it and now is waiting for me to make her counterpart - The Innkeeper!  Jeanne was the instigator for me making this pattern at all, so I dedicated the pattern to her for keeping me motivated!  I am so lucky to have such an online friend!  Thanks a million Jeanne! 

    Monday, May 9, 2011


    
    Sprite for May 2011
    Inspired by the fabric - given by a friend, and made for another friend who will finish her with beading.  This is a fun doll to make - Patti Culea pattern of course.  The hair was a scrunchie!  Lends itself well to something a little wild!