Making a Reggie: My softie competition entry – David Bowie!

If you have been following my instagram you will have seen that over the past few weeks I have been making a ‘Reggie’ – a doll to submit to the first ever Reginald Award for softie portraits. I have been soooooooooo excited about this competition and been racking my brain trying to decide who I could choose to do a portrait of.

If you read this previous post, you would already know about my love of David Bowie 🙂 But it wasn’t until last year when I watched the documentary David Bowie: Five Years in the Making of an Icon that my interest was sparked in discovering all the colourful and unusual personas he created through out his career.

THE PROJECT

The softie for the Reginald Award had to be created from an original pattern so I decided to start my foray into softie designing with a very simple outline shape and add the character details to the key features. David Bowie has had some very complex costumes in his time (!), but I decided to keep it simple and chose David as he appeared in the music clip to ‘Life On Mars?’.

From concept to completion - David Bowie softie

From concept to completion – David Bowie softie

Because of the chunky human form I had chosen, I decided to go with a more interpretive way of presenting his features, especially since the video is so blown out you can’t see much detail anyway!

You might be wondering where the nose is...I have officially decided I don't do noses - they never look right!

You might be wondering where the nose is…I have officially decided I don’t do noses – they never look right!

THE OUTCOME

Overall I am pretty happy with the way he turned out!! I love the face especially, but I can see there are a lot of areas for improvement. I think he jacket isn’t long enough and some of the seams I sewed in blanket stitch would probably have been better in applique or back stitch.

David Bowie - Life on Mars?

David Bowie – Life on Mars?

IN CONCLUSION

Making a Reggie has been so much fun! I am thinking I miiiiiiight be able to squeeze in another go before the deadline and make something even better to submit instead… but I know my procrastination level, so no promises there!

Are you making a Reggie too? Tell me how you came up with you design!

A Handmade Christmas

I decided to try a handmade Christmas this year, and as usual despite my forward “planning” I only began three days prior. Add to that I spend most of Sunday procrastinating by watching ‘Midsummer Murders” instead of designing the doll I was going to make, it’s nothing short of a Christmas miracle that they were ready for unwrapping at our Christmas eve family dinner – PHEW! 😀

handmade christmas

The fruits of my sewing labour – a handmade Christmas!

What I made:

DAD-SHIRT CUSHIONS

My darling Dad passed away earlier this year. I had an idea of making something with some of his old clothes, so my Mum and my sister chose a shirt each of his that they liked and I decided to make a Dad-Shirt Cushion which is good for hugging. 🙂

dad pillow

Yes, the red and white pillow does have pirate ships, skulls and hula girls on it!

DAD DOLL

Through my obsessive softie research on Pinterest I had seen a number of amazing custom people softies so I decided to make one of my Dad for my sister. His pants and shirt are made from some of Dad’s clothes we kept – he even has a tiny hankie in his pocket!

I used some fur to make his hair – it was much too long (perfect for a Christopher Llyod doll!) so I gave it a hair cut and OMG my room was COVERED in flyaway hairs! (Being hot and having the fan on didn’t help the situation) but I really like the added ‘realness’ it give.

dad doll

Do you see a likeness? I wish I could have captured his smile, but all teeth ideas I had just looked creepy!!

FOX SOFTIE

My mum bought me the sewing book Hop Skip Jump and when my niece found my trial version of the Quick Red Fox she was smitten, so being the good aunty, I made one especially for her. Her excitement when opening it was magic 🙂

I used fleece for the first time which was relatively easy to sew, but despite the fleece being suuuuuuper soft and delicious, it piled on the red one particularly, so I ended up spending an additional hour snipping off all the piling. (A bit overboard?! I cant help it, I like to make things neat…except maybe my craft room!!)

fox softie

A cute fox, but the piling is annoying!

SUPER HERO SOFTIES

Since we had Christmas Eve with the family, we spend Christmas day with friends. They have two boys and having hit up their Mum for their favourite things I ended up making Batman inspired ‘Flynn-man’ and a Skeleton who was later christened ‘Robert’. Fair enough. 🙂

super hero softies

Robert still has pins in him – there was no time for photos after he was finished!

CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS

Lastly I decided on Christmas morning that I needed to make something last minute for our friends that we were visiting – WHY DO I DO THAT?! So at the time we were due at their place I was frantically wrapping and showering and trying to get ready – lucky their place is only 5 minutes away.

felt christmas ornaments

THE AFTERMATH

Remember how I said I like things neat???

craft room reality

Exhibit A – evidence of a crafting explosion 😛

CONCLUSION

It was definitely worth the time slaving away in very hot craft room, I am already thinking of ideas for next year – let’s just hope I learnt my lesson from this year and get started early! (sha, right!)

How did you go making your Christmas gifts this year?

Custom Doll: Jareth & Sarah from the Labyrinth

I don’t ever remember watching it as a kid, but when I was introduced to the movie the Labyrinth as a teenager I was smitten. The costumes, the singing and dancing, the puppets, Jennifer Connelly’s teenage acting and let’s not forget David Bowie’s infamous crotch! (it’s a thing)

I adored it so much, that I even had a ‘Nursery Rhymes & Fairy Tales’ themed 21st just so I could dress up as Jareth the Goblin King. OH YES I DID!!

OH YES I DID!!!

No fairy princess dress for me thanks!

If you don’t know the story, the gist of it is spoilt teenager Sarah wishes to the Goblin King (Jareth) that he take away her annoying baby brother, and because Jareth loves her, he grants her wish. Then Sarah claims she didn’t mean it, so Jareth sets her the task of getting through the impossible Labyrinth in order to get her brother back.

THE PROJECT

My previous project making the Beauty and The Beast pattern by Noialand, sparked an idea of what I could make next. So I started researching (ok watching the movie again) and drawing out some ideas and got to sewing…

My inspiration was the masquerade ball where Jareth tries to convince Sarah to forget about her quest - very sexy is a weird and slightly wrong way!

My inspiration was the masquerade ball where Jareth tries to convince Sarah to forget about her quest.

I chose these costumes as the masquerade ball is my favourite part of the film – filled with dancers wearing elegant 18th century styled ballgowns accompanied by hideous goblin masks. Sarah is stunningly beautiful and her wide eyed innocence is perfectly contrast against the creepy feel to the ball. Jareth keeps appearing and disappearing before her, and the best part is when he comes over to dance with Sarah and sings to her – *swoon*! (For a children’s movie, they sure weren’t afraid to work the ‘Lolita’ element!!)

"Though were strangers till now, Were choosing the path between the stars, Ill leave my love between the stars..."

“Though were strangers till now, We’re choosing the path between the stars, I’ll leave my love between the stars…”

The basic cut of each of the dolls was very similar to the original pattern, although I added a base to Sarah’s dress and lengthened Jareth’s jacket at the back. What took the most time was the beads…. OH THE BEADS!!! I had enough for Sarah’s dress, but was sifting through my big stash of random seed beads to find ones for the jacket and quickly ran out of blue. I had the opportunity to buy more blue ones at Spotlight, but me being a tight-arse decided not to spend $6 on the blue ones but $2 on another bag of random seed beads and the proceeded to struggled to find enough blues in that one too! Will I ever learn? (history points to ‘probably not’)

"Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City..."

“Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City to take back the child you have stolen. “

Their facial expressions turned out pretty well, I think I captured Sarah’s wide eyes but maybe she looks a bit more pouty than I planned! I enjoyed taking all the elements I had seen of their costumes and trying to bring it back to the basics where they are still identifiable characters. And I loved the research element and being able to dig into the detail. (Although I am pretty sure my husband was sick of me playing this video on loop!)

IN CONCLUSION

No ‘Note To Self’ this time! The new felt worked so much better and made the dolls feel really special and sewing these two up in a familiar pattern made it pretty easy on the whole. I am keen at looking at maybe moving away from such ‘cute’ patterns to try and develop a more creative style of doll, so Jareth will probably make an appearance again in the future. 🙂 <3

"Live without the sunlight, Love without your heartbeat, I, I can't live within you..."

“Live without the sunlight, Love without your heartbeat, I, I can’t live within you…”

What kind of movies do you love? Have you ever tried to make your favourite character?

Custom Doll: Making My Own Mr Darcy

In my final year of high school I unsuccessfully auditioned for one of the sisters in Pride and Prejudice. I remember reading the text and not having an understanding of how a Jane Austin conversation would sound like, so I am not surprised I didn’t get a role (plus I am a pretty terrible actor!!). Afterwards I enjoyed the performance (and in hindsight it was excellently cast!) and then thought nothing more of it.

Like a many of the time (circa 1995), it was the BBC version that sparked my love of Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice – I clearly remember the end of the episode five, Elizabeth being driven away from Pemberley, looking back at the changed Mr Darcy and I COULD.NOT.WAIT. a week until the next episode, so spent my very limited student savings on buying the VHS copy and watching the final two episodes straight away. Since then my VHS copy wore out and was replaced by the DVD (and again the remastered version) and the book has been read and re-read more times than I can remember.

So naturally when creating a doll of my own design for the first time, I thought of Ftizwilliam Darcy. <3

MR DARCY DOLL: ATTEMPT 1

This first fellow was created using a basic ragdoll form, which I like because it is very versatile and created a neat edge for the pants. The felt used was the wool/viscose felt as before, and the same issues arose, especially on the skin coloured felt – there are a lot of fly aways and if you look at the face up close, you can see how thin and almost see-through it is. But I think in the end I think he turned out rather handsome, don’t you?

text here

Mr Darcy soon drew the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien and… him having ten thousand a year. *swoon*

MR DARCY DOLL: ATTEMPT 2

As in the previous post, I decided to use the Noialand Peter Pan pattern as a  the basis for my second version of Mr Darcy. He ended up with a very big head! (which may be appropriate given his abominable pride in the first half of the story!) And the portions of this pattern don’t lend him the kind of aristocratic, respected feel such a man requires.

Inspiration and creation of my Mr Darcy dolls

Inspiration and creation of my Mr Darcy dolls

THE OUTCOME

So, I really like doll 1, not so keen on doll 2 🙂 I can see I still have a lot to learn in getting the details just right when making a character, and I probably need to increase my stash to make sure I have plenty of fabric to choose from when creating a custom doll. (uhoh – more spending on the way!!)

The Darcy lads and some of my Pride & Prejudice collection :)

The Darcy lads and some of my Pride & Prejudice collection 🙂

NOTE TO SELF

1. Turning my original Mr Darcy inside-out was a bust-my-chops! I always seem to underestimate the hole needed and get angry enough to consider just ripping the whole bloody thing in frustration! Persistence eventually prevailed thank goodness.

2. I like working with felt (because I am afraid of seems!) but it doesn’t have quite the authenticity I was hoping for. I did really enjoy embroidering the waistcoat though, so will look into doing some more of that.

3. I don’t like how his arms spread out to the side, but there wasn’t enough room inside to sew him up on more of an angle. Although he doesn’t actually have any shoulders, so that might help next time!

4. The face – I officially don’t like noses. I tried on on him, but it looked stupid. I do like the eyes, they give a good sense of brooding, but again the felt and stuffing came through as I sewed them, so will have to look into alternatives to fix that.

It was really fun working off a character and trying to figure out how to make them look as authentic as possible. I can guarantee Mr Darcy will make more appearances in the future!!

Have you made a doll based on a character or person?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...