28 April 2013

Same, same.... But different??

I've had an idea sloshing around my head from a couple of weeks now, involving the doll pattern with the 2 piece head.

Ears... Tails.... Animal heads?? Could it be done and actually look OK?? Many a sleepless night I spent thinking about it, till last night I did some preliminary drawings. I started with the usual domestic animals, cats and dogs, and went on to pigs and cows. I got a bit carried away, methinks....

I traced the same head shape as the boy, minus his ears, and drew the eyes in the same place, although I could move the angles and sizes, but the intent was a type of human/animal hybrid rather than "pure" animal. I quite liked the way the line drawings turned out, so today I took some fur pieces I bought at Doll Club and started experimenting!!

I toyed with the idea of just a single pieced head, but went ahead as I had done before separate back and front head pieces stitched up the side over the neck. Why change now, eh??

So, I found some matching coloured fabric, traced my lines and got painting. Tried a technique I modified from using "freezer paper" (not available here in Aus) and thought I would try using clear book covering. Was NOT successful!! It didn't stick as well as I had hoped it would. Back to the drawing board on that one.....

With the eyes a failure, I thought about redoing the face from scratch, but then I thought, why not just paint over it?? Use a pic of a tabby cats features as a guide and just started laying down paint!

As I suspected... Painting is NOT my strong suit!! Turned out OK, but not completely convinced....

In the end, the head is on, ears are on, it's now time for arms and legs!!

25 April 2013

Bridal bears - the Groom

I think I've mentioned before that I promised to dress some bears for my cousin who's getting married in September, but as yet had not been motivated. Can't put it off any longer, so here goes!!

I thought I had better start with the Groom, since his coat was going to be the most complicated part. But how??

Brainwave!! The bears are about the same size as a CPK, so I hunted through my patterns and found a basic shirt and pants, which fit perfectly!

Having not made a "proper" jacket since I was at TAFE, I got my old trusty reference book out and got to drafting the perfect coat with notched collar. I am not sure exactly what the groom is wearing, only "black suit and white shirt", so I've taken a lot if liberties with the style. Still deciding if pockets will be added, but that can be done later (I have a couple of months up my sleeve...)

As I decided that this will not be removable, and I have not neatened the internal seams, only those that will be seen. With this in mind, there was no point making a full bulky shirt, so I made a kind of "dickie" (fake front), which looks like its full but really isn't. To further help the illusion, I put a ring of white around the cuff of the coat. I used that same shirt pattern as the coat, only redrafted the collar and neckline. Still unsure of colours for his tie, but I'm sure the bride will tell me in time *fingers crossed*

Since I still need access to the shirt, I have not yet attached the buttons, but that will only take a short amount of time to complete when the time comes, so please excuse the pins holding them on!

The bride is next. I have a pic to go on for her, but that doesn't make her less of a challenge! I hate working with satin.... LOL!!

19 April 2013

Foster Children...

Not sure if I have already talked about these dolls, but I was trying to find a pic to show a friend the other day but couldn't (they were all on my computer!!) so I thought now would be as good a time as any to show some of the Foster Children I have made....

It all started when I bought a pattern from Sales Day at Doll Club. It was for a doll called a Foster Child Wee Tot, created by a lady called name Esther Lee Foster, around the same time as the CPK / Martha Nelson Thomas craze hit in the 80's. This version is 12" tall, and shows the "new" joints that were made available, the type with the plastic spigot and ring that lock into place. This was a whizz-bang new invention back in 1984! And, to top it off, this one had the new designed foot (whatever that meant..!)

Anyway, Esther Foster was also making soft sculpture dolls, as I mentioned, in the early 80's, in a 26" size, and using a method of fully sculpted faces with transfer eyes and wigs.

I tried one, and LOVED IT!! He was so cute! I used long fur to make his hair, but essentially, he was step-by-step from the book. Mum had some old style "dollskin" fabric, that made the job a breeze. I painted the eyes, and that was interesting, but turned out great. And even the "new style foot" turned out brilliantly, first time!! Right now, he stands proudly on my shelf, alongside my gollies and ET.

 I then discovered that the "dollskin" fabric that I had used was no longer available, so I started to experiment with different fabrics. I bought this piece of brown from Spotlight, which I think was a piece of suiting, and made my second.... She is so difficult to photograph, but is really gorgeous in real life!

So, of course, I loved the way the fabric worked, went back for more - discontinued! From there I had to experiment even more! I found a single knit in skin tone from KnitWit, and made my Grandmother a Dutch girl, complete with a little pair of clogs.....

The fabric worked OK, although a little hard to get definition in her little nose, so she is a bit piggy. I tried again, and ended up with this Indian girl, who I gave to a girl at work...

 Still a bit piggy, but better.

I discovered that the Foster Children pattern was also released as Elves. I HAD TO HAVE IT!! Found a copy on eBay, and discovered that, essentially, it was the same pattern, just with pointy ears and the "old foot". So I blended the 2 patterns together, to make the coloured fairy below....

Not sure at this stage if they are getting better or worse! The eyes always work, but the fabric just does not want to make a nice face..... time to have a rethink. I went back to KnitWit, and bought a whole bunch of rainbow colours, with the intention of making my own tribe of fairies! Here is my first attempt...

Not totally convinced, but he looks OK. But how about this guy??

A little creepy?? I think so. Such a rushed job to get him ready for the Canning Show, he is not my best work... Last but not least??

Soccer guy! Again, a rush job, and it shows!! I changed the ears on this one to be more normal rather than elvin, and they turned out quite well. Its just the rest that I am not happy with. 

I wonder if I just painted on the face without all the sculpting, I would be much happier with the final result?? The head shape is so beautiful when its stuffed, maybe that is the solution to the problem?? Hands and feet are fine, just that nose doesn't work for me anymore.

Back to the drawing board for this pattern. Its not forgotten, its just on temporary hiatus, until I can perfect the the perfect face.....

14 April 2013


About 10 years ago, I made a rabbit from a pattern I photocopied out if a library book. Just recently I was cleaning up, and I found the fabric I had used for his shirt and kept it aside. I found the pattern - complete with the original rabbit! - a few days later. So I matched them up with the intention of making his female companion.

So, rather than work on the bridal bears like I should have, I dragged out the bits and pieces, and made another rabbit!

It took only an hour or so to make the body, but the rest of the day to make the clothes! They have been stitched on, so will for display only. Originally, I only had the heart fabric and the burgundy, but realised I would need another contrasting fabric for the wings and apron. I found some checked fabric that worked OK, so made a little heart out of it to match in the boy with the girl.

Even better, I didn't have to buy anything!!

So, here they are....

07 April 2013

A new face...

After looking at my burlesque girl on my table for the last week or so, I decided I did not like her face and her hair dropped so much fluff I couldn't take it anymore!!

So, off came her hair and her face, and I replaced them. That's the beauty of this type of doll!!

I used the new face with the ears, and used the same eye position as the boy, made the nose smaller and new lips... I like her better, now! Here eyes could have been closer together (and I have changed my design already), but overall she is better. I also thought I would see what would happen if I coated the paint with top coat and it gives it some shine, but it's not smooth. Perhaps if I try the proper stuff I would get a better result??

Her eyeshadow is done with pencils. Also an experiment tested out with mixed success.

The wig is one that's been hanging around for a while, and it works ok. Its not properly secured yet - only pinned - to get an idea if I like or not. Oh, and she got some earrings, just for good measure! With ears like that, how could I not??

Oh, and since I was unpicking anyway, she got new arms. Made them thinner - maybe too thin? - and added elbows and smaller hands. Still not sure if I like them, but I can still unpick and make some more if need be...