Trillium- girl doll #5

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I guess I’m fickle. I think I have a new favorite… not such a bad thing really- what I have just finished is often my favorite. This is Trillium. She is 19 1/2 inches tall. She is made of wool knit with wool flowers and leaves appliqued onto her torso. Her skirt is made of cotton organdy and scrim with some vintage rayon tape for a bow-

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I would have finished this doll yesterday morning, but I got sidetracked with the skirt. I wanted a certain texture and color and ended up spending time playing with dyes and paint- fun!

I took various sheer fabrics and any red dye I could find in my stash and experimented. The fabric I ended up used is organdy and started out orange. I over-dyed it with dye labeled scarlet. Then I painted it with washes of acrylic paint. Stripes and dots. The skirt is 3 layers- on top is the painted organdy, then a bronze sort of color scrim and, on the bottom, a dark purple scrim.

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This is a view of her back-

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and a close-up of her face-

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There are 2 more pictures of her here on Flickr.

Poppy- girl doll #4

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This is Poppy, my girl #4. She is also 19″ tall. She is wool- her pink body fabric is wool crepe, her flesh tone fabric is cashmere. Her hair is from knit wool sweater.
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She is decorated with wool cut-outs.

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Here is the back view of her hair-

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This was the doll where I figured out the hair. It is a 2 piece pattern with a dart. I am very pleased- it is flexible enough that once I figured it out, I was able to use the same pattern for the rest of the dolls. And have slightly different hair-dos.

Violet- girl doll #3

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I know you aren’t suppose to have favorites amongst your babies but… so far, I’m loving this one! I think it’s her hair. There is always a certain amount of magic in this doll making thing- you can do the same thing on any number of dolls and sometimes it comes out better… well, and of course, sometimes it goes the other way- inexplicably yuck! 326violet.jpg

She is made of fulled (felted) woven wool. Her tutu is vintage cotton organdy. She is 19″ tall. Her hair is made of wool knit from a thrifted boiled wool vest. I also used it for Kitty 10 and it is almost all gone- too bad because I love the color.

Here is a back view-

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Interview

Last September, I was interviewed about my work by Carley out in Utah. It was fun to spend an hour on the phone talking to her. She recently sent me the interview- I was really nervous to listen to it… you know that feeling you get when you hear your own voice? And, of course, I was worried about what I’d said- did I sound like a complete idiot? Well, I listened to it and survived. I needed to know if I should post it, so had husband, then daughter listen. Consensus?- go for it. It is in 5 sections. I will post a segment a week x 5.

So- hear Mimi talk- (approx. 8 minutes)
Part 1 of the interview

Hyacinth- girl doll #2

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Hyacinth is the smallest of the girls at 17 inches tall. She is made of woven wool. Her face is a twill and the body is a Pendleton fabric that a friend gave me. Neither of these fabrics changed texture after machine washing and drying. The body fabric has very little stretch, which is why she came out the smallest.

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Her hair is made from a sweater. Her skirt and hair bows are cotton.

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I stuffed her hair- that sounds funny, doesn’t it!

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this week- 3 dolls and sweet treats

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I was planning on (hoping to) finishing all the girls this week but … didn’t happen. I have finished 3 so far. It was a beautiful day today. Excellent for taking photos. Spring was here. But before I introduce the girls individually, I’ve had some sweet treats this week.

On Tuesday, a wonderful write-up on Turkey Feathers to celebrate the first day of Spring. It made my day! Wednesday was spent at the Flower Show. On Thursday, I went out to Wellesley to see Abby and her show. The show was fantastic- so many pieces! It is always interesting to see a large body of work from one artist. It tells you so much more about what they are doing then seeing just one piece. It is also interesting to see pieces in life that you’ve seen in photos. I realize that there is so much you don’t see in the photos. It was great- if you can get there you won’t be disappointed. Then today, I just found out that I’m here on PlushYou blog!

Now onto girl doll #1. All the girls will have flower name. This is Rose-

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She is all wool with a recycled and felted sweater body and and hair. I used black sweater ribbing for her hair- I thought the ribs looked like hair. Her flesh tone is wool knit fabric. She is 20″ tall.
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She has rickrack embroidered at her neckline. And, a polka dot tutu-
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Here is a side view-

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I will post more dolls tomorrow- I’ve run out of steam tonight, after accidentally deleting this post and having to start over- arg!

working with recycled fabrics

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Here are all eight dolls lined up, next to a 15 inch ruler. I used basically the same pattern for all of them. #1, 7, and 8 have bigger heads. Some have sleeves, some bare arms. The bodies and legs are all cut from the same pattern pieces. As you can see, there is a range of sizes. That’s what you get when you use a variety of fabrics. I would have guessed that the knits come out bigger then the woven fabrics, but that turns out not to be true. I also would have guessed that the linen doll would be the smallest- wrong again.
I try to use woven fabrics together and knits together, don’t mix materials that I’m going to stuff. Now I’m wondering if it really makes any difference.

This is one of the challenges I think about when I consider making patterns. How do you design clothes for dolls where every one might turn out a different size?

I’ve posted an annotated photo on here on Flickr.

girls in progress

The girls are coming along. I’ve got 8 that I’m working on. They now all have faces, hair, and stitched fingers. Next comes clothes or whatever extras they each need.

faces-

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this is the round head style-

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and this is the VERY round head style!

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This is a photo of my worktable today- I love the pile of dolls-317table.jpg

The one on the far right was the last to get hair so she isn’t in any of the other photos. Actually, she had hair but I wasn’t satisfied so I redid it. My challenge on these dolls (so far) has been the hair. I wanted to make fabric (wool knit) hair and I was able to come up with a pattern/style that I’m very happy with. It is flexible enough that I can make different hair styles, but still use the same basic idea to cut out the fabric and attach it to the dolls head.

more postcards and more info on the joints

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I finally finished these postcards and have put them in my Etsy shop.

I thought I’d highlight Judi’s comment to make sure that everyone sees it. I love the story of how she invented the hidden button joint technique-

“Hi Everyone:
Thank You Mimi for the great explanation of my invisible Jointing method. It is such a great method for jointing and safe for children.
Safety for children was what made me invent it in the first place. I had a doll and craft shop in Idaho, and a customer came in and was exclaiming over the dolls, but would not buy on because the covered buttons were on the outside of the limbs. (I covered them with the dolls skin fabric so they didn’t show much)
She said they were dangerous…soooo….a bit of serious thinking transpired, inside they went, and WOW! What a better way to do it, unless the buttons are for decoration of course.
Mimi, your Emma Rose bears no resemblance to the “real” Emma Rose….WOW! what an adaptation! A combination of a Vintage style with contemporary. Love It!
I hope all who try the inside jointing will persevere through the part where you are pulling the joints tight….That is the hardest part as Mimi says. I have done it for so many years (1975 or 76) that don’t even think about it,,,,but here is a hint…Pull, press the dolls body with the thumb on your right hand without letting up at all on the pulling. Then with the cords in the left hand do the quick wrapping between the body and limb, …Then tie…
It is the Pressing down on the body that makes it a one person job. BUT…If you have a second person, they can press the joint area down after you pull, for the same result.
Dolly Hugs, Judi”

hidden button movable joint

I thought I’d show you how I do the hip joints since people commented on them. First of all though, I have to give credit. I learned this technique from a Judi Ward pattern. Judi Ward’s patterns are about the best way to learn dollmaking that I’ve come across. Her directions are clear, the pieces fit together, she invents techniques that are so useful, they become part of your design thinking. I would highly recommend her patterns as a learning tool, although she also teaches online classes, another excellent way to learn new skills. I think her babies are especially endearing. Here is a doll I made from her Emma Rose pattern. **Disclaimer- this is my way of doing this technique- it might not be exactly the way Judi described it originally, but how it works for me.

I’ve got the legs lined up, ready to finish. They are sewn and mostly stuffed with an opening at the top. The buttons used are the metal shank buttons - the kind you can cover with cloth, but not for this project. I buy them online from Joanns, because I can never find them locally when I need them. And, I like to have them on hand. You can use either the flat or domed style. I usually use 7/8 inch or 1 1/8 inch size.
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-Snap the 2 parts of the button together- the top and the back. Slip the button into the opening at the top of the leg and safety pin into place. I don’t worry about the direction of the shank when I pin it- it can shift around a bit. The green legs on the right show the finished leg with the button sewed inside.
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-finish stuffing around the button/hip area and sew shut. I use a ladder stitch to close the leg.

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-I use nylon upholstery thread to make this hip joint- it is super strong and is available at my local sewing stores. I’ve switched doll legs here, because the thread shows up better on the green. Measure off a long piece of thread- at least 36″. Double it up (I cut it into 2 pieces at this point) and stitch through the shank of the button. Center the thread and then stitch around the shank one more time. Even up the 4 ends of the thread. I am using a doll needle here- it is about 3 inches long.
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-Take the four ends and thread them through the eye of the needle-

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-Pull the 4 threads through the hip.
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-Remove 2 of the 4 threads from the needle. Stitch through the shank. Unthread the needle and rethread with the other 2 ends. Sew through the shank going in the opposite direction. Hopefully the picture makes it clear.
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-Take one set of threads in each hand. Pinch the hip area as you pull to tighten up the threads. Yes, I know, sounds like you need 3 hands- try pinch, then pull, pinch and pull again.

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Now this is the really hard part because I couldn’t take a photo! Pull the threads tight. This is one of the reasons you wanted a long piece to start with- you might want to wrap the thread around your hand for leverage. When you think it is tight enough, wrap one side of thread around the joint once or twice and then tie a solid knot. Clip off the excess thread, leaving about an inch. I usually just leave it like that, although I suppose you could sew it back into the body where the thread came out at the hip.
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If you get it right, and it is usually a matter of getting the thread tied tight enough, your doll should be able to sit up, very nicely, all by itself. It takes me 2 tries about half the time.
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In case you can’t figure out what the heck I’m trying to say, I found another description of this technique here.