The Doll Design Process – Felt Character Dolls

It’s funny to look back on how things came about isn’t it? I really love pop culture and have been working on a doll design that I could replicate the general look and feel, but change up enough to make any particular person I wanted – and I think I have done it! But first let’s take a trip down memory lane…

There are the first few dolls I made, based on the Gingermelon Best Friends pattern, Mimi Kirchner free felt doll pattern on Purl Bee,  pattern and the Black Apple free rag doll pattern on Matha Stewart.

Dolls - first doll comparison 29 January 2016

It was exciting times, with my hands busy sewing and my Pinterest account getting alarmingly high with inspiration pins. I did experiments in how long it takes to hand sew a doll and tried a lot of Gingermelon and Noialand designs. From there I kind of combined the two styles of smaller felt dolls and the larger ragdoll pattern which became my next doll incarnation – a David Bowie Doll. His minimal design meant it was for someone to identify the character but without too much detail.

David Bowie - Life on Mars?

Given my limited sewing skills/impatience I wanted to keep using felt, but looked at making the doll a little longer, more human shaped. You can see below the different head styles and calculations I was doing to get the right look and feel.

Developing Designs - Mr Darcy spread 3 April 2015

The one you can see in the middle is pretty much the prototype I went with but added some seam allowance so I could sew it with the sewing machine – hand sewing was way too much bustamychops for me! And this is the final outcome –

TADA!!!!

Developing Designs - Mr Darcy felt 25 June 2015

How have you gone with creating your own unique design?

Playing with Fimo Polymer Clay Jewellery

My sewing machine is making funny noises and making a big mess on the back of my fabric and I cant figure out why! I also realised that I perhaps may not, … ever…. have had it serviced, which you are apparetly suppoed to do regularly – WHO KNEW?!! 😀 So with that in mind my sewing machine it has been sent off to the repair man for maintenance and repairs and will be back in three weeks…

WAIT, WHAT? THREE WEEKS TO SERVICE MY MACHINE!!!

So with some free time now up my sleeve I decided to give another craft a go –  polymer clay beads! It is quite therapeutic rolling each ball, but I did then get frustrated when I left fingerprints on the bead (is it weird that I think about people stealing my identity from these balls?! Did anyone see the CSI episode where the guys used his hand to create a fake arm prop which then left his fingerprints at a crime scene? SEE, it could happen!!!)

Anyway…

Fimo - bead making 7 Mary 2015

Fimo - display 10 May 2015

I also got frustrated by uneven sizing, so I did get the scales out to try and even out each ball weight. They came together nicely though and I strung together some necklaces in some bright colour combos, plus a few earrings as well. It was also around the time of Mothers Day/Mum’s birthday (on the same day! Double present ideas – urgh!) so I created a necklace and earring set for her. Trying to glue the leather into the silver clasps was bustmychops (so cross your fingers it stays together long term). The glue also has a warning ‘Toxic, use in well ventilated area –

CAN CAUSE CANCER…”

HOLY CRAPOLA! I did used it and hold my breathe, but I also touched it when it blobbed out so hopefully this jewellery making doesn’t result in my premature death! That wouldn’t be the best outcome for a mothers day present…

Fimo - mothers day 8 Mary 2015

Anyway, lets just say while it was fun, I couldn’t image rolling a bazillion beads all day long, so I think that will be the end of my polymer bead escapades.

Have you tried a craft that just wasn’t for you?

Luna Markets – I’ve gone legit!

So my first ‘official’ market stall at the Luna Markets was a success! I sold two of my new softies and got heaps of great comments about them, so I think I will have to get sewing in anticipation of selling more around Christmas. 😀

All set up and ready to go! Aaaarrggh!!

I will be adding a shop this week so anyone who was interested in adopting one of “The Remnants” softies can order online… now to just work out the shipping costs!!

**Update** The shop is now online! Etsy – A Life In The Making Shop

Thanks everyone for stopping by!

 

To Market, To Market – An Unsucessful Experiment

My friends run an awesome business called Upcylced Stories where they take unloved furniture and turn it into something unique and awesome! Each month they attend the Handmade Expo to sell their wares, and this time they decided I must bring my creations to sell at her stall.

Whoa, talk about daunting!! I am really only learning about creating dolls and soft toys and am in experimentation stage trying to figure out what stuff I love to do and what my style will eventually be, so I didn’t have anything definitive I knew I wanted to make. And of course instead of knuckling down, working through some designs and creating something awesome, I procrastinated and avoided thinking about it until about three days before the market. Yay me.

WHAT I DID

I had been experimenting in making small calico dolls that were styled a bit more grown up, so I spent some time making a few dolls with different looks and dress fabric. While I like this type of doll creation, they were quite labour intensive and I only ended up with three finished dolls.

Experimenting with doll design and clothing ideas

Experimenting with doll design and clothing ideas

In a last minute, self inflicted mad panic I decided to make some large ragdolls aimed at children. I double the pattern size I had and they ended up being way more humungous that I had planned! I gunned the sewing machine and created some girls, a boy and a few animal softies, naturally finishing ON THE MORNING of the market and then had a second mad panic about not having any bags to give to people if they bought something. Last minute stressing SUCKS!!!

Some of the ragdolls I made for the market - cute but no creative challenge

Some of the ragdolls I made for the market – cute but no creative challenge

THE OUTCOME

So, I had a lovely day hanging with my friends at the market. I didn’t sell a thing. In fact they were hardly looked at. I had secretly hoped they would be a success (easy money – yea!) but then again I wasn’t really surprised either. But it was a very good learning experience (standard philosophy upon failing!!).

On the plus side my market friend loved the pensive doll in the red satin dress called “Heather”, so I gave it to her as a thank you for having me gift. She took her home and photographed her in her daughters doll house and that made me happy 🙂

Heather in her new home <3

Heather in her new home <3

NOTE TO SELF

It was frustrating, but also eye opening too, so I am glad I did it. Things to take away from the experience:

1. While sewing a basic pattern doll on the sewing machine is relatively easy, it’s also rather boring. I have figured out that I like the creation of a character and experimenting with clothing and other ideas. There are plenty of Chinese factories churning out same-same generic dolls – I need take my time and follow what interests me to discover something unique that I am passionate about making.

2. Fark dolls need a lot of stuffing! They were huge dolls anyway, but I definitely didn’t stuff them firmly enough. They were much more pillow like that a solid doll should be.

3. I need more time to find what I love doing. I have a habit of always thinking about “how viable is this to sell?” before I even start a project and that takes away from the joy of discovery and creation. When I finally get my groove, then I will think about how I can make a living from it.

4. Next market I try a market I will aim for a stall of my own. I think people walking past were confused by the dolls sitting on the furniture, so they didn’t really know what what to think. With a stall of all my creations, hopefully that would peak peoples interest and come and have a closer look at my wares. (And BUY something!)

Have you tried markets before? What was your first market experience like?

Hello & Welcome

Hello Internet!

I have been thinking, writing and rewriting this first blog post for far too long. I wanted to start off strong with a explanation of who/what/why but all this waiting until everything is perfect is preventing me for just actually starting. So starting I am!

So, the lowdown:  I work in a creative field already, but seem to have gotten wrapped up in the every day and are not taking any time for myself. I love instagraming my cats, sewing felt creatures, research and planning and am interested in living a more simple/authentic life. Which all sounds exciting, except that at the moment the only thing I have been doing is pinning future ideas on Pinterest – essentially no actual DOING!

So this blog is to track my journey into making a creative, fulfilling life. I hope it will help keep me accountable and drive me to get out there and live more. And hopefully find some like minded people along the way!

And here goes the first step….

~ Emily

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