So I’ve been on this doll kick lately, but I’m still a pattern-maker at heart and for me the best way to understand the proportions of little dolly-bodies is to make little dolly-bodies and play with the pieces until I get something that feels right. (No, really, you can tell if a pattern is right while you’re still cutting it. If it’s awkward to cut, it’s going to be awkward to sew.) I’m finalizing patterns, but here’s some preview pics….
I started out working from my Tyler clone. This was the first “working” pattern to emerge – she’s roughly the same size and shape as Tyler, but I changed some of the torso curves. That was partly to make her easier to sew, and partly in the name of realism. She’s close, but slightly less … perky than the original.
That was one of the pre-requisits for this little project – I wanted cloth doll bodies I could use for display, as well as for impromptu dress stands. Sometimes, it’s nice to be able to stick a pin into your dollies – not in a crazy voodoo sort of way, but as a practical “I ran out of fingers” kinda thing.
I think she looks slightly ghoulish. I’m not sure if that’s the lack of hair, or the prototype head she has on. I didn’t clone a pattern for Tyler’s head as a starting point, because I didn’t want to remove her hair. Because, seriously, bald doll. Ick.
So, she’s pretty cool, but I’m not really a doll maker and I found this to be a major pain in the patouty to put together. Those who have the joy of soft doll making are probably blinking a bit, thinking, “But… she doesn’t even have fingers. What was so difficult?” The legs, that’s what. I mean, sewing them was fine, but getting them on the silly little body was annoying! And da-FEEEETS! I had no idea that something so small could take me so long.
And that’s when I realized that if I was going to make multiples of this little &*!@#, I was going to need a different pattern. Something without legs would be a bonus…. So I reworked the torso a few more times, and came up with doll 2.0:
The doll with the wider base came first, because I had some sort of joy of angles going on. She’s great – sews up smoothly, no problems, but she’s a little big in the skirts. Actually, she’s bigger than my dolly hoop-skirt. Great news! I won’t need to make her hoop skirts! Yay!
They’re both full of sand, which is nifty for two reasons: 1) It makes them slightly moldable. You can moosh extraneous amounts of doll body around to get them into corsets, or just fluff up their little chests once they’re in there. You can also accommodate layers of waist bands. That makes them a lot more like working with a human form. 2) They make dandy door stops. No lie – I have images of the Pheonix dress ushering me into my study some day…. ;)
I’m working on finalizing patterns for the dolls. The more basic doll (the skirted one) is almost done (although I haven’t figured out anything exciting to call it, aside from the incredibly poetic “Soft Doll with Skirt Base”.)
For right now, I’m just totally geeked out about making a little army of costumed sandbags, and giving them little hair-dos and junque like that…. Tee! (I’m also seriously geeked out about paste-stiffened canvas and medieval bodices, but that’s another story…)