OOAK Cloth Dolls

Liliella: A Cloth Doll for Lily

IMG_6201

This fairy princess, Liliella, was created for my cousin’s youngest daughter Lily. She is based on the final, most complex pattern, ‘Titiana’ from my Jan Horrox book.  This was definitely a challenge and took a lot longer to create than the previous dolls because of the moveable joints for the arms, elbows, hips and knees.  However, I enjoyed the challenge and the process of making all the intricate details for the doll.

IMG_6207

The colour scheme was developed from this original piece of textiles that I created for my degree over ten years ago.  Initially I dyed the fabric pale blue, then added red dye on top of the blue to create a bleed effect and purple dye to add texture.  The purple and pink stripes were created through a hand cut screen print.  Finally I stitched basic linear petal shapes over the purple textured areas.  It was nice revisiting an old piece of work and to give it a new lease of life.  My plan is to incorporate other textiles pieces that I have into my doll making.

IMG_3178

Fortunately, I already had a mixture of pink, purple and blue fabrics in my collection like the range of textured wools that I used for the hair, which also includes strips of off-cut fabrics from other parts of the doll.  I particularly like the vintage pink and purple floral fabric that I used on the lower arms and legs.

IMG_6205

Fortunately it was a really sunny day when I came to photograph Liliella so I made the most of this and hunted out interesting areas in my garden and had fun posing her in different areas.  I was particularly pleased with this image below and the featured image because I feel these tell the most interesting story.

IMG_6204

IMG_6189

Gwyneth: A Cloth Doll for Jenny

This OOAK cloth doll is Gwyneth and has been inspired by a Welsh doll, wearing traditional Welsh costume.  She is a part of my birthday challenge and  was created for my stepmother, Jenny.

I chose a Welsh theme because my dad and Jenny have just moved from the Welsh village of Caersws to the Welsh town of Twywn, in the county of Gwynnedd (which gave inspiration to her name of Gwyneth) and Saint David’s Day coincided with my decision making of the type of cloth doll I would create for Jenny.

This is my modern interpretation of a Welsh doll and I had to adapt the look slightly to fit in with the fabrics and supplies that I already had.  I even had the little wooden daffodil brooch holding Gwyneth’s shawl together!

OOAK cloth doll, Gwyneth

Gwyneth before I made the traditional Welsh hat

 

Again, I based the body on a body pattern by Jan Horrox’s, ‘Anastasia’.  I as make each new doll, the process becomes easier, simply because with experience, the need to constantly refer to the instructions becomes less.  Therefore, I found the foundations for this doll fairly quick to put together.

OOAK cloth doll, Gwyneth wearing the hat

Gwyneth’s top as is made from a tube of lace and her skirt has been simply gathered around the waist. I love the little felt shoes and was pleased when they worked out, as I created these from scratch without the help of a pattern.  The hat, however, was the most challenging aspect.  I eventually used a pattern from my Patti Medaris Culea book.

OOAK cloth doll, Gwyneth, close up of felted shoes

OOAK cloth doll, Gwyneth, side view of hat

I love how the personality of each doll develops as the fabrics and details are added.  This is my favourite part of the whole process!

My OOAK Cloth Doll Birthday Making Challenge

I have set myself a challenge this year, which is to make a OOAK cloth doll for my friends and family as birthday gifts.  The plan is to blog about as each new creation as it is made and sent off to its new home.

I kick started this challenge with Elizabeth back in February and I have been busy making two more dolls; one based on a traditional Welsh doll and the other is developing into a fairy princess!  Hopefully these will be ready by the weekend.

IMG_5975

 

I would love to hear what your creative challenges are this year…

IMG_5975

Elizabeth: A Cloth Doll for my Auntie Carole

Introducing Elizabeth, a cloth doll for my auntie, Carole (Pitt) and author of the DI Elizabeth Jewell  murder mystery series.  She is named after Carole’s main character and is the reason she is sat on a note pad!

IMG_5971

Elizabeth is based the Anastasia pattern by Jan Horrox, which I dressed and adorned in a completely different way to the original.  Elizabeth is an independent, professional  woman who likes to wear simple, but smart clothes and therefore is dressed in slim fitting jeans, a black polo top and a fitted tweed jacket.

IMG_5974

Layered hair and fringe, wrapped in a gingham scarf complete her smart, casual look.

IMG_5970

I adapted the jacket pattern from Patti Medaris Culea’s Helen doll in the Creative Cloth Doll Collection book.  This was by far the most fiddly item to make out of the whole project, even more so than turning the fingers.  It was awkward to attach the sleeves to the main part of the jacket.  The instructions suggested using the sewing machine, but lack of experience and not having the correct sewing machine foot meant that it was easier to sew it by hand.

IMG_5976

IMG_5979
IMG_5982

I really enjoyed the new challenges that Elizabeth created and have already started on the next project!

IMG_5990

My Cloth Doll Making History So Far

I first tried cloth doll making about three years ago when I made a friend a cat doll based on one of her favourite youtube animations Meow it was incredibly fiddly but I enjoyed the process none the less.  This initial success, was followed by a miniature dachshund for Steve’s parents one Christmas and a circus cat for a friend who was moving away.

IMG_1513

IMG_1533

IMG_1747

We therefore discussed the idea of designing and making dolls, which would have printed versions that could be applied to shirts etc as apart of the Vaudeville Hippie brand.

IMG_5994

I attempted the doll above about a year later, however I just felt frustrated that although I could make the dolls, it was a struggle and I felt that I was not quite doing it correctly so the idea was put on hold.

Gladly things have changed and as I mentioned in my previous post ‘2015 the Year of Transformations’ I bought a couple of  doll making books: ‘An Introduction to Making Cloth Dolls’ by Jan Horrox, ‘Creative Cloth Doll Collective’  by Patti Medaris Culea and ‘Designing the Doll: From Concept to Construction’ by Susanna Oroyan.

I have made two dolls from my Jan Horrox book.  The first doll shown below is based on the doll pattern called Miranda.  This is the most simple doll to make in her introductory book and teaches key methods in how to create and attach a basic head, body and limbs, with some ideas of dressing and adding detail.

IMG_5989

My version is very different to Jan’s, this is for two reasons: one; I did not have the colours that she used and two; I wanted to keep within a more vaudeville style.

IMG_5991

I also happened to have a lot of red, black and white striped and black fabric leftover from previous projects.

IMG_5993

Despite already having a little bit of experience, I was still really pleased with the outcome and now I completely hooked, once I realised that I was capable of creating a quality cloth doll.

The second doll, Anastasia, is much closer to the original by Jan Horrox.  I  wanted to try out some of the more advanced textile techniques used to create this doll. Plus really I loved the charming elf and fairy like character of this doll, which fits in with my other hippie theme.  She also reminds me of a Cirque Du Soleil character,

IMG_6006

By creating this doll, I was able to re-try some forgotten textile techniques; a simple cold wash dye for the body and clothing detail and free machine embroidery on the arms and leaf details.  I even managed to find some old curtain material that had a batik effect and fitted perfectly with the colour scheme for the legs.

IMG_6007

It was interesting to try out other methods of creating the hair, other than just making hair piece out of lengths of wool.

IMG_6009

Whilst making these dolls, it has allowed me to think about how I might go about developing my own designs and characters.  I already have some ideas and I am looking forward to revisiting drawings that can be transformed into three-dimensional cloth dolls.

Please feel free to share your love of cloth dolls below!

2015 The Year of Transformations

IMG_5898

January seemed to come and go without even noticing and as we are stepped well and truly into February I have taken an opportunity to reflect how the first month and a half of 2015 has gone compared to how I imagined it.

Now I am not one for massively making resolutions, however, at the turn of the new year Steve and I really got into yoga and started a 30 day challenge set by Adriene on YouTube. Sadly, once I returned to work after the Christmas period, life got in the way and I only managed a couple of weeks. But I will return to it, because I would be crazy not to.

Whilst practising yoga on daily basis, I noticed an increased level of motivation to return to my art and craft (as an art teacher I am normally so worn out nurturing other people’s creativity, that I have nothing left for myself!).  Yoga is beneficial for both mind and body and I think you have to maintain a regular practise to really feel the long term benefits because I could also feel changes happening on the inside.  On several occasions I envisaged myself transforming and therefore I decided that 2015 would be the year of personal transformation.  Yoga to transform the mind (and hopefully tone up the body) and a new lease of life when comes to creating my own work.

Despite easing off the yoga, which was definitely doing me good on so many levels.  I have maintained enthusiasm to work on my own creative projects.  For a long time, I thought that designing and making various bags was the one thing that I wanted to peruse and sell at craft stalls and online.  This notion has drastically changed since buying a couple of books about making cloth OOAK dolls with some Christmas money I had.

I plan to blog about the process I have gone through so far.  But I am addicted and have thoroughly enjoyed what I have created so far.  Making these dolls has already got me thinking about how I can develop them into my own style using drawings I have created over the last couple of years.

So thank you yoga and here’s to the year of transformation!

I would love to hear about any transformations you have experienced.