Thursday, November 25, 2010

Making My First Cloth Doll - Part 3

WOW making cloth dolls has been a HUGE learning experience! Today I completed my dolls hair and started working on her face and boy oh boy has it been interesting.

First thing I'd like to say is... WHY doesn't anyone have training on attaching hair to a dolls head??! I scoured the internet for HOURS looking for a way to attach hair to a doll without using a sewing machine. It took some time, but I found a short blog post with very little pictures to follow to walk me through it. (No worries - I'm making a video that shows how to do this. Once I get it complete I'll link to it here).

Ok so, I'll break how I made this cloth doll up into two sections - first how I did the hair, and then how I'm planning to the face.

Making Cloth Doll Hair
1. In this first step I decided I would keep the hair style very simple especially since this was my first making cloth doll experience. I layed yarn across the top of the head and held it in the middle where the hair part would be. I then pulled the yarn until it was at a length I liked. NOTE: when I cut the yarn to sew onto the head I cut it about 1/2 and inch longer than I planned just incase I needed to trim at the end.

2. Now that I have the length of the hair I wanted I cut about 20 strand of yarn. The yarn I purchased for this project was a thick yarn with multiple strands twisted. After cutting the yarn into strips I pulled each strand apart - in one of the doll making tutorials I found online they said you could get curly hair this way - it worked perfectly. The yarn pulled apart easily and gave my doll wavy hair (similar to the little girl I'm making it for).

3. The next step was to figure out how to get the hair on the dolls head. After scouring the doll making websites for hours I found a way of individually sewing the yarn onto the dolls head right down the center of the head. You could do this off to the side if you want a side part. I was planning on pigtails so I kept the part down the middle for the entire head.

4. The following steps get so complicated but I've tried to make it simple.
push in 4 pins down the middle of the head where you want the hair line to start making a straight line back. Now wrap a string of yarn around the first pin so that the ends lay to the side of the doll equally. Now pull your thread through so that it comes up the midle of the yarn where there pin is. Now wrap around the yarn and go back into the head at the hair line. You pretty much just made a loop around the hair coming out of the dolls head and back in.

I did this repeatedly for about 50 strands of yarn. Your first 10 will be the most time consuming and then you just get into a grove of sewing the hair down the hair line - after a while you wont need the pins to wrap the yarn around, you can just hold it in place (which makes it easier).

Like I said - it's extremely hard to put the details here - so I'll try and get some pictures up in the next week or so as I work on making my second cloth doll..

Making Cloth Doll Faces

The face is such an important part of the doll - the rest has just been following a pattern and a set of instructions, but when it came to the face I had a hard time finding the one that had a personality that fit the design of the doll. So here's the steps I took... for my first cloth doll face - I think she's turning out GREAT!

Of course I first turned to the internet to see what I could find in the way of printable doll faces, but didn't turn up much. Most of it needs to be ordered and I am just too impatient for that. So I landed on a site that had faces and I used my computer screen as a light box. I traced a couple of the eyes and a couple mouths onto a sheet of printer paper.

Then I played around with colored pencils trying to get an idea of what would look good on the doll. The next step in making cloth doll faces was to try them out on the doll. So I cut the paper and placed the design on the doll where it would eventually get painted on. Here are a few pictures I took of the decision making process:

Making Cloth Doll Faces Process:

First draw out some different faces. 

Then cut out the faces and try them out on the doll.

This one was my favorite so I added some color to see a little more of what she will look liked with a painted face. The final step is to draw on the doll.

I just used a regular #2 pencil to draw directly on the cloth doll.. I drew lightly so that I could erase any errors and fix any off balance. Finally, (after running back to the craft store for some paint brushes) I painted the face onto the doll.

Picture of the completed doll to come!

This making cloth dolls experience has been really fun and inspired a LOT more dolls to come. Next up on my list is to make some cloth baby dolls for my sis-in-law that's due next month. Look for those posts to come - I'm starting next Monday.

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Let me know which patterns you love, and want
and I'll scour the internet for them :)