Skater Girl Cloth Doll for Olive

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I really love the character of this cloth doll and was so much fun to make and photograph, which I tried to capture in this day dreamy pose.  I also discovered how real clothes can be cut, sewn and adapted to make mini versions for the cloth dolls.  Her T-shirt was taken from a section of a real skater Tee and the socks and beanie were originally a pair of socks.

The Outfit

Her outfit is fairly simple, so I am going to let the photos speak for themselves.

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The Skater T-Shirt

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Detail of the Dungarees

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The Beanie, Socks and Trainers

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The trainers were inspired by Adidas Shell Toes using a pattern that I made from scratch.  They were hand sewn using felt and embellished with eyelets and ribbon to create the laces detail.

I will be posting a tutorial on how to make the socks, beanie and trainers very soon.

Jane Austen Inspired Cloth Doll

“There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.”

Elizabeth Bennett, Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’.

The Jane Austen Look

Like many of my cloth dolls, I started by creating a Pinterest board to research the period and style of clothing that have been featured in the many Jane Austen adaptations in recent years.  This cloth doll is mostly inspired by the character Elizabeth Bennet who was played by Jennifer Ehle in the BBC’s televised period drama in 1995 and also Kira Knightly in the 2005 feature film.

The Dress

The dress had two main stylistic features that I wanted to capture.  The first being the high waist and secondly the long hem in line with the ankle.  I opted to go with the more fitted design used in the the BBC version rather than the fuller shape that was used in the film.  This is mainly because I was using silk, which I felt would hang better and lend itself to the straighter look.

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Using a technique described in Patti Medaris Culea’s book ‘Creative Cloth Doll Collection’ I created the pattern from scratch by placing, draping, folding and then cutting pieces of kitchen roll onto the doll’s body to create templates that could be turned into paper pattern pieces.

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This was a new way of working and really the first time I have attempted to create a more complex garment of clothing for my cloth dolls.  As a finishing touch, the dress was embellished with decorative blue trim, which I also used on the bonnet and shoes.

The Bonnet

This was by far the most tricky aspect to create out of the whole outfit and it took me a while to figure out even how to create the shape of the bonnet, and again kitchen roll came to the rescue to help me visualise the shape I needed to cut the fabric into.

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I opted to use felt, because of its rigid nature, knowing that would hold the shape and be free from fraying.

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The Shoes

The shoes were created using the same felt and trim as the bonnet.

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I found that hand sewing the trim around the edge of the sole was quite an effective way to create the sides of the shoe, without having to create a complicated pattern first.

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Two strips of trim were then sewn across the top of the shoe to create the top section covering the toes.

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Have you ever tried making a doll wearing period clothing?  What challenges or successes did you have?

Sea Goddess Cloth Doll for Penny

Inspiration

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This cloth doll was inspired by the colours of the sea.  My friend Penny is from Cornwall, she also happens to love blue and turquoise colours.  So when planning this doll I knew she would have to incorporate these ideas.

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The starting point was actually this vintage blue and turquoise patterned fabric, which I love and decided to use for some of the main body parts.

The Clothing

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Small scraps and lengths of of blue, white and turquoise fabric were sewn to the top of the bodice to create the essence of coral or seaweed.  Small pearls were sewn to some of the lengths to represent the creatures that may be found hiding amongst the coral reefs.

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A layer of netting was then added with additional embellishment of metallic foil stars to create a sense of depth and intrigue.

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Painting the Face and Body

Acrylic paint was used again to paint the face in cool blues and greens.  A little bit of silver was mixed in to provide some shimmer and sparkle to the doll’s skin.

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And as a development from my previous cloth doll’s, I ventured further to paint onto the body and arms.  To emphasise the sea goddess element I painted subtle fish scales down her arms, picking up more blue and green hues.

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Adornment

Additional beads, pearls and gems were sewn on by hand to adorn the body and features further.

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I was fortunate to have this perfect mixed blue textured wool to create her hair and finish the look.

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A Bob Marley Cloth Doll for Jill

We’re jammin’ –
To think that jammin’ was a thing of the past;
We’re jammin’,
And I hope this jam is gonna last.

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Bob Marley Doll, A new challenge!

This is the first time I have attempted to create a cloth doll inspired by a real person, and of course, the danger and challenge of this is trying to effectively create and capture the essence of that person.

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As with the previous two dolls, Rowan Foxglove and Lazuli, I used acrylic paint to try and paint a life like Bob Marley face.  This was such a challenge, because whilst I wanted the face to clearly resemble Bob’s features, I also wanted to retain a strong sense that this is still a cloth doll.  It was also difficult to fit the Bob’s features within the head and face template I had used, particularly his mouth.

The Dreadlocks

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Bob Marley’s dreads were created using a technique I first discovered in one of my earlier cloth doll’s, which is to rip up thin strips of T-shirt material. The ripping process slightly stretches the jesry fabric and in turn cause the raw edges to curl.  This, I have found is perfect for creating dreadlocks or thicker hair for your cloth doll and is a really effective alternative to using wool.

The Guitar

The cloth guitar was really fun to make.  Like the face, the details of the guitar were painted on using acrylic paint.

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Thick white thread and small wooden beads were used to create the guitar strings and tuning pegs.
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Black ribbon and rasta coloured beads created the final finishing touch of the guitar strap.

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A Cloth Doll for my mum, Guild Wars Inspired Ranger

“In a world torn by conflict, where human kingdoms are all but destroyed and guilds sacrifice all for a chance to control the Hall of Heroes, a champion must rise from the ruins of a once-proud land to lead refugees from the ashes and fulfill an ancient prophecy”. (http://www.guildwars.com/en/)

rowan foxglove

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This cloth doll, Rowan Foxglove, is the name of my mum’s online Guild Wars  character. Her design is loosely based on the ranger concept art for this game, however I have used a lot of creative license and adapted the look to suit the requirements for a cloth doll.

 eco warrior

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When designing Rowan, I always had the vision that her look would be influenced by that post apocalyptic, eco warrior aesthetic where clothing is fashioned and up-cycled from other garments in a thrown together need rather than for any fashion or style purpose.

make do and mend: the wrap top

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This was actually a scaled down version of customised top I had made for myself.  I took two small sections of the jersey cotton and part cut into tassels.  These were stretched to encourage the edges of the fabric to curl.

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This happened by chance, and it was really fortunate that when I draped the two pieces of jersey over her torso they hung nicely particularly when the tassels were tied together at the back.

the coat

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The coat is made from scraps of a mixed woollen fabric and sewn together using my favourite stitch, the blanket stitch.  I deliberately placed the stitching outside of the seam to make it visible and to enhance the ‘make do and mend’ design ethos.

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A small coordinating turquoise button has been used to decorate the front of coat.  I cheated a little and added a popper fastening in the inside rather than putting in a buttonhole.

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The design is asymmetric  and curves around the length of the doll’s body.

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the TRousers, boots and cuffs

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Real leather was used to make to boots, which were sewn together by hand.  The cooper eyelets were also punched through using a hand hole punch tool.

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Like Lazuli, Rowan also has leather wrist cuffs.  I discovered that this is a good creative solution to cover up the arm and hand join, which are made separately.

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The trousers are made from a denim material and when fitted to the doll’s body, they were a little bit wide.  So another creative solution was to include the golden thread at the hips and criss cross the thread to echo the laces on the boots.

the hair and face

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After the success of Amber’s doll, again I used acrylic paint to add the details and depth to the face.

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Once again, I used my stripped T-shirt material to create the hair, which is becoming my preferred method and it is a really nice way to use up old jersey tops.

A Cloth Doll for Amber

lazuli

“A bright blue pigment formerly made by crushing lapis lazuli.”

new design

Meet Lazuli, named by Amber, my friend and colleague at work and the person she was created for.

Amber has a wealth of creative interests and I always knew that this cloth doll would push me creatively to produce something that is entirely new.  This is the first doll that has been completely created from scratch, including the pattern for the body pieces.

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 The Inspiration

Now I must admit that I did a bit of Pinterest stalking to come up with the original design for this cloth doll.  I went through Amber’s boards with a fine tooth comb and picked out elements that I thought would work together.  Her pins had a strong presence of blue, turquoise and purple feel, which naturally found their way onto the design of the doll.

The face, head and hair

The design of the face was inspired by a pin from KelleeArt, an illustrator who has most notably worked on the Monster High characters.  I wanted to recreate the enlarged eyes and pouting lips from this style of illustration.

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Lazuli’s hair has been layered with different hues of blue and purple wool for each new layer, using a range of wool types to create texture and interest and to reflect the pinning board title ‘Hair’.

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The ear was inspired by another pin showing a leafy looking elf ear and I loved this unusual shape.

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painting the face

I have been very inspired by the painted cloth dolls from Pantovola Textile Folk Art by Anouk de Groot  I love the whimsical nature and individuality of these dolls and if I ever have any spare money would love to purchase one from  the Pantovola Etsy shop.

Therefore, rather than applying the details with water colour pencils and pigment pens, which I have been using up until now, I painted on the facial features with acrylic paint.  I referred to an image of Neytiri, the female character in Avatar to help create the blue tones needed on the face.  Painting definitely allowed me to achieve a greater level of depth on the face than the colouring pencils did.

the body, tail and wings

The body of this cloth doll was inspired 3D printed model from Bitgem.  When creating the pattern I narrowed the waist and accentuated the curves.

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This then led me to complete the look with a corset that was made out of real leather.  Matching arm cuffs were also added around the wrists.

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Like the image, I choose to include wings and a tail.

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the legs

The lower half of the legs are centaur shaped, again using my own pattern and I was pleased with the end result.

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However, I felt there was something missing when I assembled all the body parts.  I made a decision to recreate clubbing style fluffy boots.  This turned out to be an excellent way of using up tiny scraps of fabric.

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OOAK Handmade Cloth Doll by Vaudeville Hippie

A Cloth Doll for Barbara: Show Jumper

‘The essential joy of being with horses is that it brings us in contact with the rare elements of grace, beauty, spirit, and fire.’  (Sharon Ralls Lemon)

My cousin Barbara has been passionate about horses since she was a child, so naturally I wanted to create a cloth doll for her that reflected that.  More recently I had seen some photos of her show jumping so took my inspiration from there.

The show jumping look

OOAK Handmade Show Jumper Cloth Doll by Vaudeville Hippie

Show jumpers have a very distinctive look and I therefore wanted to make sure I included all the key details such as the jacket, cravat, jodhpurs, riding hat and boots.

the Riding hat and hair

OOAK Handmade Show Jumper Cloth Doll by Vaudeville Hippie

The riding hat was made from four slightly rounded triangular pieces, adapted from the head pattern, to create the helmet part.  Two crescent pieces were sewn wrong sides together and turned out before being sewn onto the main hat.  The straps were made from four strips of ribbon.  The hat was lightly stuffed inside to provide the rigid effect of a real riding hat.

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I tried a new way of styling the hair and opted to create a side parting for the fringe and adding in layers at the back, which allowed for a much longer length of hair without being too bulky.

OOAK Handmade Show Jumper Cloth Doll by Vaudeville Hippie

the cravat and jacket

The cravat was made from a simple piece of white cloth which has been wrapped around the neck like a scarf, folded into place and held with some small stitches to keep the shape and ruched effect.

OOAK Handmade Cloth Doll by Vaudeville Hippie

I have made several jackets for my cloth dolls now and with this one I really challenged myself by using a satin lining.  I really loved the design of this fabric and just knew it would be a lovely finishing touch to the jacket and to give it a classy feel.

OOAK Handmade Show Jumper Cloth Doll by Vaudeville Hippie

the jodhpurs and riding boots

Strips of black and white fabric were sewn together to make a base piece of material so that the jodhpurs and boots could be created in one piece.

OOAK Handmade Show Jumper Cloth Doll by Vaudeville Hippie

Additional details were then added once the legs had been stuffed and formed.  Patches of fake black suede were sewn on by hand to the white of the jodhpurs and I added ribbon to decorate the top of the boots and a small button at the back.

OOAK Handmade Show Jumper Cloth Doll by Vaudeville Hippie

cloth doll flower fairy by vaudeville hippie

A Cloth Doll For Esme: Flower Fairy

“And as the seasons come and go, here’s something you might like to know. There are fairies everywhere: under bushes, in the air, playing games just like you play, singing through their busy day. So listen, touch, and look around — in the air and on the ground. And if you watch all nature’s things, you might just see a fairy’s wing.” (Author Unknown)

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inspiration

Esme is a friend from college studying art and then Ba(hons) Contemporary Textiles Practice at UWIC together.  When I think of the textile pieces she created, I always remember a strong floral influence and therefore the cloth doll flower fairy was born. This doll has also been inspired by my childhood memory of flower fairies and our own beautiful flower border, which Steve has been slowly developing this summer.

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the wings

My biggest success has to be the padded wings, which developed on from a technique I tried on the ears if the Machi, adapted into fairy elf ears on this doll and then onto a much a larger scale to create the wings.

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To make them, I lightly padded the shape of the wing and top stitched the line details.  As you can see the wings have been decorated with pearls and small beads.

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finishing touches

I managed to tuck the raw edges inside the body before closing together with a ladder stitch. Buttons were used for strengthening stitches and extra detail.

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creating the look

I was fortunate to receive a selection of vintage fabrics including this delicate floral pattern used for the body.  This was my starting point for the colour scheme, choosing coordinating pale pinks and purples for the rest of her clothing.

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The fairy look has been completed by adding a simple, yet raw edged waist wrap detailed with a matching button and decorative ribbons.  This was inspired by one of the first dolls I made from my Jan Horrox book.

OOAK cloth doll by Vaudeville Hippie

A Cloth Doll For Natasha: Day of the Dead Fairy

This is probably the most original doll I have created to date and was made for my friend and illustrator Natasha Durley.  This doll is definitely getting closer to the style of doll I would like to make in the future.

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Like my Zombie Poi Spinner doll, this was also inspired by an original Vaudeville Hippie sketch.

Just Draw recent drawings by Vaudeville Hippie

I created the initial idea and Steve adapted it using his illustration skills to complete the figure as a whole and to develop this into an image for screen printing.

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This mysterious fairy has been positioned as close to the original as possible, even down to the fingers lace behind her back.  I really enjoyed bringing this drawing to life and to see a three-dimensional version evolve using the doll making skills I have gained since starting in the new year.

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Once again, I used cut strips of old T-shirt material as discovered in my Machi doll and was really pleased that I was able to recreate her two tone red and black hair.

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Her face and pattern details on the wing were drawn on using pigment pens by Pilot.

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I was particularly pleased that I was able to re-create the fishnet tights by doubling up the base fabric for her legs with a layer of black netting.

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I love how she looks deep in thought with her day dream expression.  I am hoping to create more Day of the Dead fairies and explore other colour schemes. The red, black and white has been heavily inspired by circus stripes.

I would love to see your Day of the Dead creations in the comments below.

Handmade OOAK Mapuchi Indian 'Machi' Cloth Doll by Vaudeville Hippie

A Cloth Doll For My Dad: Mapuchi Shamen ‘Machi’: 

“when the village is rocked by a series of gruesome and apparently ritualistic killings, it soon becomes clear the local police are up against dark forces…” (CRY OF THE MACHI, A SUFFOLK MURDER MYSTERY – Alan s. blood) 

story behind the cloth doll

This cloth doll was inspired by the title of my dad’s book ‘Cry of the Machi’, which is a fictional novel that weaves together a murder mystery involving Mapuche Indian shamanic rituals with the quaint English tradition of Morris Dancing.
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mapuche indian ‘machis’

Machis are usually female with a similar role to that of a shaman.  She plays a central role in traditional Mapuche culture.  They perform many rituals, which include; trying to ward off disease and evil spirits and influencing the weather for a better harvest.
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creating the machi look

Other than the descriptions in my dad’s book, I did not know much about Machis before starting this doll and naturally I did a google image search and created a Pinterest board to get me started.

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the clothing

The machi dolls’ clothing on a combination of images that I researched with the fabrics I already had in my material collection.  Many of the pictures showed the women wearing patterned dresses over long sleeved blue shirts, which became my starting point.
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the details

The look is accompanied with a tartan shawl (similar to my traditional Welsh doll) and heavily adorned jewellery, usually discs of metal.  Her main piece of jewellery and bracelets were adapted from necklaces and beads I bought from a second hand store and the cloak is held together with a crescent button that I already had. This, I felt fit in nicely with the shamanic and magical element.

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the machi headdress

The Machis’ outfit is completed with an elaborate and floral headpiece. My version was created from a piece of elasticated fabric, decorated with a handmade fabric flower and additional pieces of silver discs to echo her necklace using the same piece of adapted jewellery.  To create her thick black hair, I cut up strips of old T-shirt material that I stretched slightly to encourage the fabric to curl a little and to soften any harsh edges.

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exploring other cultures

This has been a great opportunity to explore clothing and culture from other traditions and at some point I would like to research and make other dolls inspired by people around the world.