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Doll Toes

January 19th, 2014

One of the details that I enjoyed designing for my Kitty doll pattern was her toes. The current (Feb/Mar 2014) issue of Soft Dolls and Animals! includes an article that I wrote explaining how to add toes to a cloth doll foot pattern. Of course if you want a doll with toes, you can always make Kitty, but if you have another favorite pattern that needs toes, be sure to check out my article. The magazine has lots and lots of great patterns and ideas. SoftDoll2_2014

Pattern Making

A Brown Haired Kitty

September 9th, 2012

I have written a first draft of instructions for making an eighteen inch (45 cm) Kitty doll. I like to sew a new doll while I am proof reading new instructions. I made my new doll with brown hair. I used the wig instructions that I had already written, but I gave my new doll two ponytails at first to see if I could adapt the basic wig to different hair styles.

Then I braided the yarn wig. Here she is wearing braids like my first Kitty doll. The dress and jacket were made from my new A-line dress pattern for eighteen inch dolls. Now I need to edit my new dress pattern.

my patterns, Pattern Making ,

Meet Kitty

August 19th, 2012

Here is Kitty, my new 18 inch (45 cm) doll.

I am happy with the pattern. All I need to do is finish writing the instructions for sewing the doll and I can publish the pattern on line.

The doll can be made with lots of details such as fingers, toes, and ears.

I also think that this is an easy pattern to sew.  I am especially proud of how easy it is to sew the head together and join it to the body.

I hope that it will be available in a month or so, but things sometimes take longer than I plan.

my patterns, Pattern Making

More Progress

August 5th, 2012

I’m still working on an eighteen inch (45 cm) doll pattern. Here is a doll with braids.

She is wearing another outfit from Learn to Sew for Your Doll. I have made more changes to my pattern since I sewed her. It always takes longer than I plan to design a new pattern.

my patterns, Pattern Making ,

A Work in Progress

July 22nd, 2012

Here is the doll I showed you last week. This week she has a yarn wig.

Today she is wearing the sundress from my book, Learn to Sew for your Doll. Seven and one half inch (19 cm) Florabunda is standing with her to show the eighteen inch (45 cm) doll’s larger size. I had to give my larger doll an ear transplant so that she could have a hair style that showed her ears. I had originally placed the ears too high on her head. I have redrafted the original pattern to show the new ear placement. The new draft also gives the doll shorter arms, a slimmer waist, and a shorter neck. I think that these slight changes will improve the doll’s appearance. In a week or two I will show you the doll constructed from the newly drafted pattern.

my patterns, Pattern Making

Tweaking Toes, Ears, and Other Parts of a Doll Pattern

July 15th, 2012

I had a recent question from a reader about the feet/toes pattern that I was working on a month or so ago. If you are interested in cloth doll toes, I explain how to change a cloth doll foot pattern to add toes in an article for Soft Dolls and Animals! The magazine will publish my article in the January edition. (I think that it will be out in November.) The article also includes a pattern to add toes to their signature doll, Siggy.

I am using my new toe method in the eighteen inch (45 cm) doll pattern that I am working on now. Here is a picture of my work in progress.

The doll is wearing a purchased wig. I plan to give her a yarn wig before I start working on a new doll. The pattern will need a lot more tweaking before I can publish it. I put her ears too high on her head, poor thing. She also needs a shorter neck and a smaller waist. I am always surprised at how long it always takes to finish a doll pattern.

my patterns, Pattern Making

Subtle Pattern Adjustments

July 8th, 2012

I am currently working on a pattern for an eighteen inch (45 cm) cloth doll. I made a cloth doll pattern for my own use several years ago. I decided to revisit my pattern  and turn it into publishable pattern. I ended up making a lot of changes. I have now sewn four test dolls in muslin. This week I plan to sew a doll out of my favorite cotton broadcloth with colored in facial features and sewn fingers and toes. I’m making two small changes in the body pattern without making a practice copy of the doll body. I have adjusted the body front and back  to take a small amount of fabric from her tummy and hips.

Here are before and after patterns for the body back.

The horizontal double pointed arrows are the same length in each pattern. The pattern on the left is slightly wider than the newer pattern on the right.

A close up of the hip area of the patterns shows that the newer pattern is about half a grid box narrower than the older pattern.

One half of a grid box is about one eighth inch or 3 mm. In doll design, small measurements are important.

When I have finished a doll that I like, I will post her picture.

my patterns, Pattern Making

Adding Toenails to Cloth Doll Toes

May 27th, 2012

Three weeks ago I showed you my efforts to add toes to a cloth doll foot and leg pattern.

Today I have been experimenting with drawing toenails on soft sculptured doll toes. I have learned to use an air soluble pen when I draw anything on a cloth doll. When I am happy with the results I trace over the drawing with permanent ink, pencil, or paint.

In this picture you can see my two tries for adding toenails. For the first foot I outlined the nails with air soluble pen. Then I went over those lines with a waterproof brown pen. I filled in the nails with light orange pencil. For the second foot I colored over the first lines with waterproof red pen and then used the same pen to fill in the nails. I am not completely satisfied, but I am making progress.  My doll toes designs are taking longer than I had planned, but I am always surprised at how long doll designing takes.

Pattern Making

Using a Dream Seamer

May 14th, 2012

When I am sewing a cloth doll, I like to use a template to trace the arm or leg onto fabric, and then sew on the traced line. I think that using a template for arms and legs gives me more accurately shaped doll limbs. If the arm or leg pattern includes a seam allowance, I cut along the sew line to remove the seam allowance and make a template. Sometimes a doll pattern includes a seam allowance but does not have the sew line drawn on the pattern. A sew line can be added to a pattern using a Dream Seamer.

The Dream Seamer is a one half inch (12 mm) medal circle with a small hole in the middle. To use the Dream Seamer, first make sure that the seam allowance on your pattern is one fourth inch (6 mm). I like to use a mechanical pencil with the Dream Seamer, but I have used a red pen in the photo to make the illustration clearer. If you are right handed, hold the pencil in your right hand. Put the pencil point into the hole in the middle of the circle. Hold the pencil at a ninety degree angle to the paper. The Dream Seamer should be inside the pattern. One edge of the Dream Seamer circle should always touch the cut line of the pattern. Use your free hand to keep the Dream Seamer on the cut line. Draw all the way around the arm or leg pattern, one fourth inch (6 mm) on the inside of the pattern. Cut on the sew line to remove the seam allowance and create a template.

Sometimes you may want to alter a pattern to fit another size doll. You need a sew line to shrink or grow a pattern using a photocopier. To keep the seam allowance one quarter inch (6mm) on your new pattern, you should cut away the seam allowance, shrink or grow the pattern and then add the seam allowance back on. To add a seam allowance, the Dream Seamer should be outside the pattern. When adding a seam allowance, the Dream Seamer should touch the sew line as you trace around the outside of the pattern. You can order a Dream Seamer from A Dollmaker’s Journey. Scroll down almost to the bottom of the supply page.

Pattern Making

Two More Princesses

September 25th, 2011

I have finished Tender Heart and Twinkle’s ballgowns. Tender Heart’s gown has a slightly higher neckline than the ballgowns for the two smaller dolls.
I am happy with the design My husband copied the patterns into the computer and tidied them up for me. I still have to edit my instructions. I also need to sew the dresses with shorter skirts and less elaborate trims to make a modern version of the pattern.
Here are Tender Heart and Twinkle in their ballgowns.

my patterns, Pattern Making