Creating cloth dolls

Cloth doll adventures 042So on Thursday and Friday instead of going to work I went off to frolic in the fantastic Ardington School of Crafts for 2 days of learning from the fantastic Ray Slater. Our task was to make contemporary cloth dolls and by gosh we did. Our first task of the day (after tea and biscuits and a short introduction from Ray was putting together the head.

Cloth doll adventures 013 We started but cutting out the templates, ironing them on to our doubled over flesh coloured material and sewing round them. Once cut out they were sewed together and stuffed (paying particular attention to the nose!).

Cloth doll adventures 015Look at her little nose! After stuffing and needlefelting in the features (no photos of that bit I was too busy concentrating) was the part I was least looking forward to, painting the features on the face. Ray suggested we make 2 heads so we could use the one we liked the best. Here they both are:

Cloth doll adventures 020I went for greens and yellows with pink lips on one (Arianna) and vamped it up with red lips and smoky blue shadow on the other (Martha). The faces went better than expected due to some truly awesome instructions from Ray (which I will keep by me always). Then it was on to cutting out the body, arms and legs.

Cloth doll adventures 022I sewed round these before we broke for the evening. My homework was to stuff them and have them ready to sew up the next day. Stuffing is harder work than you think, the body parts have to be really firm (in fact mine had to be redone). So the next day it was time to make the hands (Ray structured it so we did the hard bits in the morning, and boy were the hands and head hard). So on to the hands, they were so small, but perfectly formed:

Cloth doll adventures 025Here are the hand cut out next to some forceps (excellent stuffing tool) for scale. See tiny (and a nightmare to sew in between the fingers, but I managed).

Cloth doll adventures 026We had forceps to do all of the stuffing which really helped and even these had a bit of stuffing inside as well as pipe cleaners in the individual fingers, here are a pair of finished hands.

Cloth doll adventures 027So with all the parts ready we were able to start the assembly.

Cloth doll adventures 028This was my desk mate Jean’s doll, isn’t she lovely? Once the body was all joined we got the opportunity to embellish, I did a couple of stitches but I couldn’t get my holding knots right so i took them out again. Ray also encouraged us to wrap the legs in textured yarn, it looked fabulous on the other dolls but I couldn’t quite find the right colour for Arianna, so another ongoing search.

Cloth doll adventures 029

Legs being wrapped

After the embellishments were added it was time to grab some hair. I went for yellow, blues and greens to match Arianna’s body colour.

Cloth doll adventures 030Here she is with the start of a fine head of hair. And so in no time at all she was finished.

Cloth doll adventures 046(Well I say finished I’ve still got to add decorative stitching and make her some little skirts, but she was sewn up). There were however many beautiful dolls created by my classmates, here they are:

Cloth doll adventures 036Cloth doll adventures 031Cloth doll adventures 041Cloth doll adventures 032Cloth doll adventures 039Cloth doll adventures 040Cloth doll adventures 045These two were made by Ray herself.

Cloth doll adventures 024

She will hopefully be teaching a class on how to make the machine embroidery clothes for a doll like Cobweb (below) . Can’t wait!

Cloth doll adventures 023In the meantime I can get some practice in making the body for my spare head Martha, that should keep me busy for a while!


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