SFM Cloth Dolls with Attitude! NZ

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Where are the Clowns?

I was one of the first people to sign up for Colleen Babcocks delightful Mystery Doll Pattern.  I knew it would be good and it was well worth the wait for all the pieces to arrive!  Because of my heavy work load, I was late starting and then other things got in the way so my poor doll was left standing on her her long armature legs waiting for me to get back to her.
 Meanwhile all the other people were posting pictures of their completed dolls and I just couldn't get going with mine.  I think it was also that I hadn't planned what I would dress it in or what colour hair - and I hate shopping, so never had the fabrics etc that would make it something I would really like.

 So she stood on her long legs and stared at me.  Then we had our yearly Victorian Fete and who should be there, but the Twisty Twins - young twin women on stilts, who said nothing, but struck poses and made graceful gestures. Suddenly inspitation sturck, I saw the connection and hurried home to my long legged doll and got to work.

Luckily, last year I had completed a shoemaking class with  Diane Keeler and had these cute shoes on the last I had made for them sitting doing nothing and they were just the right size!  So I painted them black, Modpodged them to look like patent leather and attached the lasts to the wire armature legs. 

I added some extra wire and moved it up through the legs for strength and wrapped the wires together with masking tape and painted it all with gesso, then with white acrylic.  Now I had a long legged doll with shoes on that stood alone!  I went on to change the arms, then the mouth, because it didn't match the look I was going for in the end.

I designed the outfit, with the curvy little body Colleen has designed in mind - a great shape!  I wanted to have black and white stripes, but the best I could do was this.

To finish it off, I found a velvet scrunchie already decorated that I've had for years and I made her the mask holder. 

To make the mask I drew the same face on both sides.  Because she is smiling I thought it safe to have the sad face on the mask.  I dangled some tiny bells on silver cord and wrapped a long bamboo kebab stick with fine ribbon. I placed it between the glued faces and modpodged over it.

So there you are! Colleen's wonderful doll pattern re mystified!  Sorry I didn;t make your pattern up fully Colleen, - but I do love your dolls body!  It makes this figure look really good.  Thank you for the inspiration!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A little challenge for me!

I entered a challenge on Cloth Doll Artistry in the Animal Studio.......... a Puppy Challenge - a pattern with no instructions!  It is just a shape, a blank canvas to make something from your own imagination.

 I was needing something uncomplicated to do, so thought I'd have a go. 

Well, I only undid several bits of it a few times...... before I got it assembled. LOL!  Nothing is that simple! 

I had several thoughts of what it could be but in the end this is what I made and am very happy with it, which just goes to show that you can make something out of the simplest ideas!  It surprised me that I would even finish it, but not only that - I am the first to post a pic! 

The secret is.....always keep a little pair of knitted red boots waiting to be used for something!  Ha!  LOL!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Krista Pattern

The talented Sandra Eggett sent me a picture of the doll she has just finished making and I am very proud to show her off on my blog!  This is what Sandra had to say;

Hi Sharon
Just had to send you a picture of "Firefly" . I created her from your Krista pattern that I downloaded a couple of weeks ago . I love her and have thoroughly enjoyed using your pattern . I am new to cloth doll making and need more practise but I am thrilled with my first interpretation of Krista. From all of us here in the UK a big thank you for allowing us to use your pattern.

Sandra obviously has a natural talent if she is new to dollmaking! This is delightful!  Well done Sandra!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

SFM Cloth Dolls With Attitude!: Online Classes!#links

Online Classes!

I am very excited to tell you that I have two online classes starting today on Fabric Addictions!  Here is the link http://www.fabricaddictions.com/c/145978/1/online-classes.html  and here is one of the classes: The Innkeeper!  This class runs for 8 weeks, so be quick to grab it!
The other online class is "How to make an expressive face" Though Di has called it "Needlesculpting Online Class"  This will be an ongoing class on FA and a great tool to have to upskill your needlesculpting techniques and facial expressions!
I also have a few other patterns on fabric Addictions, so click on the link and go and see!


Sunday, November 4, 2012

I am developing a pattern of these little babys. Ideal for quick sellers at a country Fair.  No joins or movable parts, just straight sewing.  Minimal needlesculpting and a little colour. What do you think?

Well - here she is - still not completely finished, but enough to give you an idea of what whe looks like!  She sure stands out on the street!  This is not a good photo, but you can get a good idea of her height here beside my granddaughter Frankie and her partner Tony.  I'll get some better pics soon and by then she should be finished properly with a much wider belt, etc.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Patroness of TOTE - The Oamaru Textile exchange in the Victorian Precinct!

Remember this Mannequin?
The neck was too stiff and unsatisfactory, so............off with her head!  Abit of paint to the base - it's already looking more like it!
I decided to see if I could just make a cloth one that didn't have anything hard in it, so I tried this out - Just like any ordinary doll head, and needlesculped it with a BIG needle. She's a big gawky, but hey - she's eyecatching! 
 I changed her wig and made a false dress front that looks like a shirt dress with a high collar.  She's wearing the toile I've made for her coat, which I hope to get together shortly.  It's not the finished length, but you get the drift?

She's looking quite excited at having a makeover don't you think?  The coat will be interesting..............I hope.  Certainly a different colour - or two!  Had to work some magic with the neck to hold it all up, but Colleen Babcock gave me a great idea with her new mystery pattern that has worked a treat!

I bought a big picture hat and have tried to make it kind of victorian.  Eventually it will have colour on it to 'doll' it up a bit!

All I hope is that it will weather well enough this summer!  It will be outside most of the time as advertising.  I can just see tourists standing beside her for a photo opportunity!  LOL!  She's over six feet tall!  I'll keep you posted about the next step!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Check out these little treasures that Adrianne's been busy making fior her grandchildren's family heirlooms!  Aren't they just amazing!  She's not able to come each week and does night shift, so hand sewing works for her.  They are lined with good fabric too! I love the 3D effect!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Steam Punk Exhibition 2012

I've been working on my entry for this years Steam Punk Exhibition.  I'm putting in three pieces this year, because for various reason's my students are unable to and I wanted a representative from the textile group to have a part to play in this genre of artistry where it's mostly metal.

I will enter my Steam Punk Magpie which I made from
made from Susan Barmore - aka Frowning Frances, fantastic Steam Punk Crow pattern, and made from bits of my friend's old handbag!

Each piece has to have a story of it's history, so here's what I've put together.

“Quardle-oodle-ardle ”
An Alarmist, attached to the Hedgerows Emergency Team in the Magpie Territorial’s, Quardle-oodle-ardle is always on the alert for intruders!  He takes his job very seriously, ever ready to ward off low-flying, marurdering hawks or unsuspecting passersby, who hear his warning Quardle-oodle-ardle battle cry as they make a hasty retreat!
I think people will be amazed and delighted to see that Steam Punk has hit the doll world and what can be made.

Next I will have my version of a Steam Punk Vehicle - driven by MORTIMER CROSS-ETHERINGTON, Inventor of the NZR Aeronautalis     

The Aeronautilis was the prototype for the first Steam powered jet hover craft. Built by genius inventor, Mortimer Cross-Etherington, in whatever year was required.  This fine machine was fitted with the latest technology and therefore able to be used for purposes where stealth and deliverance was necessary, because no-one could guess where it would appear next!
 Last but not least is:
Veritas Seeker – In the second half of life, VERITAS seeks to discover what truth she can about gender, race, creed, sexuality, intelligence and all the restrictions of the time she is stepping away from. She walks through this long dark time with the dim lamp of the past and the Staff of Enlightenment that helps her stand firm in her quest for Accountability, Truth and Justice in an ever-changing world!
I had trouble getting this doll to come together for some reason that doesn;t happen very often. I used dark fabric for a change.  I've had it undone so many times, added and subtracted and I didn't know if I liked the face enough. Still not sure if it works.  I liked the idea of the coloured dreads and a helpful granddaughter who is into the Playstation3 game of The Final Fantasy, so got some ideas from that.  She's got a slightly Gurnge look and is definitely alternative!  Not as Steam Punk as last years I think.  Still, it's done and it's going in!

My last years efforts of three pieces have been invited back to the Art Gallery for the summer, so that's good - I don't have to store them at my place!  LOL!

These pieces will go in the Custom House Gallery here in Oamaru, where this years Exhibition is being held.

So what do you think? 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

I've signed up for Colleen Babcocks Mystery Doll Pattern - which seems to have taken off into the worlds biggest cloth doll class!  I think she'll hardly have tiome to do anything for weeks while she answers all her emails!  And here's me thinking I might hold a mystery doll Online class...........I'll have to think about that one.  It's a pretty massive undertaking.

Anyway, here's my effort at making the delicious little head. Lovely skull shape and the neck looks promising, but not on yet. I think I'm way behind the others.

The fabric is Hoffman Watercolour Batik and lovely to work with and gives the skin an iteresting tone.

 I've never done the eyelids like this before either and what I found most interesting was following someone else's process after doing my own thing for so long!  Always something new to learn as a dollmaker and Colleen knows her craft so well!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Good Dog! Mutilated the head for I doll I'm making for an Auction!  Luckily (for her) I didn't really like that head and was in two minds about redoing it, so it was easy enough to rescue the ears off it (untouched) and make another head!  She ripped the eyelashes off too - pest! 

Here's the windswept culprit - talk about Hairy McClary! This is Pip the Pillager! It's the paint she's after - loves the smells! She can't resist anything that smells like glue, so sellotape, masking tape - you name it - she'll grab it if she can!
And here's the dear lady herself - restored and thankfully finished - looking for all the world like Barry Humphries dressed up as Dame Edna............ Darlings! 
What do you think Possums?  Where are those gorgous spectacles?  She's actually being auctioned as a fundraiser on Melbourne Cup day, so she's dressed for the races!  I modified a Jill Maas pattern to make her.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Here are some faces Raelene & I have made.  We did one each together so she could get the hang of sculpting the face.  She hated it until she put the whiskers on, and - what a transformation!  I did the one on the left, using a finer Pigma pen, and she did the other using a thicker pigma pen, which is noticable on the eyes and look so much more dramatic!  Not exactly cheerful looking, but a step on the way!  More like a couple of the Dwarfs escaped from a Snow White story!  LOL!

Here's another bigger Santa face - practicing! 
The other smaller ones I have used in my new Class on fabric Addictions, available very soon.

What a great idea - a
green Troll!

These other dolls are all Adrianne's.  She's been very busy and loves making dolls for other people.  She can only join us infrequently, but is enjoying her dollmaking.
This cheeky chappy is a Jill Maas made by Adrianne   So cute!

Saturday, September 1, 2012


July/August has been cold and extremely wet, so two classes were cancelled and only the odd one turning up to work on projects, but they've been staying in touch, telling me they're all working away at home on their projects.

Seems a bit creepy this time!  LOL!  I've been playing around with Steam Punk Softies - great fun to make, but takes longer than you would think!  My grandsons think they are way cool!

Joanne has had her pixie in body parts for weeks, and was pleased to finally get them together and have him actually stand!  Clothing will make all the difference.  She did all that without any instructions - pretty darn good for a new doll maker!
Now this cute face belongs to a Troll out of a magazine, that Jo has had on the go, also for months!  She learned a lot about sculpting making this!  Love the hair!  Could be a male or female!  The name Fabiano comes to mind!  LOL!  Can't wait to see him finished.

Meantime, I'm busy enough making patterns flat out, setting up for a new workshop with Fabric Addictions, starting soon.  I'm also making dolls for the Steam Punk Exhibition, making a dress for the Massive Mannequin - earlier posts, and preparing some bits and pieces for the Strawberry Fare in November. I'm on the hop, so to speak!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

I was unsatisfied with the mouth, so I changed it to an open mouth which gave her a more engaging look, as there was plenty of room on the lower face. 

This is an example of how you can critique your own work and make improvements.  If I had botched it up, I would just have had to make another head, so it wasn't a biggie.  However, I think I am happier with this now.

Of course then I had to add all the other bits to finish her off and make her live up to her name, which is "Practical Pindora!"  She is to be my new pattern, which I am in the process of finishing off as we speak!  What do you think?

Friday, August 3, 2012

I've been experimenting with needlefelting on fabric.  What fun! I made a pincushion doll!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Remembering our youth!

 A friend asked me to make a doll for a 50th birthday.  She said her friend had a horse that they never saw - it had either just died, or was at her grandad's, so they never saw it.  A mythical horse - so I made a unicorn hobby horse!  She had been a professional marching girl, a follower of fashion in the 60's, loves the Races and at school, always shouted for Wales - hence the Welsh flag!
The hat for the races!  She is an out-there sort of person - an events organiser!

Ready to challenge the odds!

Full of energy, encouragment for her friends - able to string them along and hold their interest in a vibrant, but gracious way!  Her birthday's in August - does she look like a Leo! 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

So far, so good!  this will give you an idea of the size of this Manniquin.  I'm quite pleased with the arms - thank goodness for lycra gloves!  I think she's ready to go to The Oamaru Textile Exchange now, to be dressed!  I'll have to dismantle the top from the base, to get it in my car, so that will be a mission!  At least a seat belt will hold her up!  I have no idea what she will be dressed in yet.  The women at TOTE will help me design something.  I think it will include some painted cloth and some wool!  Not sure about the hair yet either, but time will tell.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

So tall I had to lay it down to put the face on!  Used a two way stretch, but if I did this again, I would make a two piece face, so the nose would protrude better.  As it is, it's not too bad, but the profile is a little flat.

Dramatic eyebrows and lashes of fur!  Got a wig too, but not sure yet how I will do her hair.Can't do much about the wrinkles under her chin, but upright, it's hardly noticable.  Talk about irregular features!

Looking so self possessed now but she won't be wearing that hat!  She's got one arm (so far) that can be posed.  I made a joint in the elbow so it can easily be bent into any position, which will be good for dressing too!  She's wearing long black gloves and my mothers old corset!  I'm just amazed how well she is coming together!  She's nearly ready for a name!  Any ideas?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

 I'm making a BIG Doll!  I have an opportunity to make a figure for Spring season.  This is the old Dressmakers dummy and I am giving it 'bones' and fleshing it out.
 Lots of padding............
 Now a Toile..........
 A fitting..........
 Back view......
She's a buxom lass - 44 - 30 - 44!  She's got a bra on under there to give her a more definitive shape. Not bad eh?  Can you see the face waiting in the background?  I didn't use it in the end. This will be a Victorian woman, possibly Steam Punk.  It's for The Oamaru Textile Exchange - an entrance eyecatcher!  Hope it all works!