Archive for the ‘Tutorial’ Category

Attaching a doll head to the doll body

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

Probably the number 2 question I get, after how do I do the faces on my dolls, is how do you attach the head.  In my patterns and books I explain it, but it does help to have photo's.  Thus this post.

DollHeadAttachment1 After filling the body with stuffing, firmly, I slip a pipe cleaner down the spine and have a bit of it sticking up out of the neck.  You can barely see it in this photo.  The neck on this particular doll body is quite long so the pipe cleaner doesn't need to stick that far above the neck opening.

Using a pair of hemostats grasp the neck firmly and squeeze it small enough to insert into the opening at the back of the dolls head. 

On the sample I've locked the hemostats so I could take a photo.  Generally they are in my hand.

DollHeadAttachment2 With my free hand I rock the head onto the neck.  Using the hemostats I push the neck fabric up into the opening at the back of the head.

Nearly all dolls have an opening in the back of the head, but check with the pattern designer you are working with.  Theirs might be different from how I do doll heads.

DollHeadAttachment3 After I have the head placed as I'd like it, I pin it in place.

Thread a needle with about 1/2-yard/meter of strong thread and anchor at the back of the head, or neck.

Ladder stitchDollHeadAttachment4 the head to the neck all the way around.

A ladder stitch is the same as a hidden stitch.  You don't want your threads to show as you get to the sides and front of the head.

Once around anchor the thread and cut.
You can see the sample to the right how the stitches don't show.  Click on the photo and you'll get a larger image so you can see it a bit clearer.

DollHeadAttachment5 When attaching the head angle it in a way that gives her more of an attitude.  This dolls head is turned slightly to her left, your right as you are looking at the photo.  When she's finished she'll look more interesting rather than a straight on attitude/look.

This doll is a work in progress.  She'll be a new pattern once she's dressed, wigged and accessorized.  I've not come up with her name yet.  I generally don't until they are completely finished.  Sometimes a name I've chosen beforehand just doesn't fit her when she's done.

I hope this little tutorial gives you a better idea of how I attach heads.

One final note.  I can't live without a pair of hemostats (forceps).  I use them for turning, stuffing, adjusting, grabbing things, you name it.  I have turning tubes for little fingers and Barbara Willis' small stuffing fork for small places, but my number one tool is the hemostat.  Thought you'd like to know.

Also, and this is my final note, I can't live without my Bernina sewing machine.  They have a magical foot, #37, that allows me to see my drawn lines as I sew, yet keeps the fabric stable. 

Happy doll making!

Stamping on Fabric

Thursday, January 3rd, 2008

Earlier I had a very short tutorial on how to stamp images on fabric.  This time I’m going to go into more detail.
First, what type of stamps and stamp pads should you use?  Any rubber stamp will work on fabric.  And, any ink based stamp pad will work.  I like Tsukineko’s Fabrico and VersaColor stamp pads.  Also, Jacquard’s Pearl EX stamp pads. 
To keep the fabric stable I like to back it with a double sided bonding sheet such as Wonder Under. I prefer unmounted stamps because if I want to stamp around a doll leg, or arm, I can wrap it around easily.  But, for stamping flat, I use the back of the lid of the stamp pad, or an acrylic block to give an even stamped image.
The photo shows both Fabrico and Jacquard’s Pearl EX stamp pads.  I also used an acrylic block and a handle to stamp the image.
The stamp pad is unmounted for this project, even though it is a flat surface.  I don’t buy mounted stamps anymore.  If it is mounted, I place the stamp on the wood base in my microwave and nuke it for 20 seconds.  This softens the glue and I can easily remove the rubber from the wood.

After the image is stamped to my liking, I iron to set the inks.  This guarantees that I’ll have no bleeding depending on what medium I use to add color  the images.  I also prefer using a brown ink pad.  That way I can use soft colors if I want.  Or brighter, darker colors.  It is always easier to go darker, than lighter.

Copic makes a wonderful alcohol ink based marker for paper and fabric.  I can use it straight from the marker, or put it in their airbrush system.  For this project, I used the markers as is.  I used a flesh tone for the bodies, then a darker color to add shading to the faces and upper bodies.  Iron again to set the inks.

Using colored pencils I added highlights, deepened the shadows, and blushed the cheeks.  The colored pencils I prefer are Prismacolor by Sanford.  But Lyra, Derwent, Van Gogh, etc., make nice colored pencils that work well on fabric.  They need to be waxed based.  After the colors are added, I blended with a scrap of fabric wrapped around my index finger.

Detailing is next.  I used colored pencils to color in the irises, then Copic’s Multiliner SP pens to add the details.  If you don’t have these pens, which are new, you can use Micron Pigma pens.  The colored pencils blurred the detailing from the stamping, so you need to go over the features with the pens.  I used a toothpick dipped in white paint to add the whites to the eyes and the highlights in the pupils.
Lastly, I used the Copic markers to color the hair, flowers and clothing and acrylic paint such as Stewart Gill’s Byzantiums and Jacquard’s Lumiere to paint the background. 
The sample was used in a project for Stitch magazine in the UK.  I made it into a postcard size, beaded an edging and added some silk ribbon flowers along the bottom edge.  I’ve also used the images to decorate a purse, alter a tote, create bookmarks made from fabric and quilt blocks.  The images are from my line of rubber stamps, which are made for me by Ready Stamps, a division of the United Cerebral Palsy Foundation.

Happy Stamping!