Sunday, 28 October 2012

Boudoir Dolls ~ Cloth Figures

Boudoir Dolls

The term boudoir derives from the French verb bouder, meaning "to pout". 
The definition: 'a lady's private bedroom, sitting room or dressing room'.  Boudoir is also used in photography as a term that describes implied nudity/ revealing glimpses of a lady's undergarments, while still dressed. 
Historically, the boudoir formed part of the private suite of rooms of a lady adjacent to her bedchamber, for bathing and dressing 
(the female equivalent of the male cabinet)The boudoir later became used as a private drawing room for embroidery or to entertain intimate acquaintances. 

The pattern for Pampered Polly (above) is available exclusively from my book Fiddly Little Fingers and Tricky Toes

~ Artist’s Vision for Soft Sculpture Figure ~
     She’s my atypical version of a boudoir doll. I imagined the blissful expression on Polly’s face as she enjoys a pampering session of nail treatments and facial. Her slightly sun-bronzed complexion also denotes a visit to the solarium. Whilst her attire consists of towelling robe and head towel; to further the theme of luxurious indulgence, as well as for modesty,
she has sexy, black, lacy underwear.
© Cloth Doll Creations by S Maddocks 2007

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Topsy -Turvy Upside Down Cloth Dolls

It was at the middle of the 19th Century that doll manufacturers started producing dolls with a head at either end. A wide skirt attached to the doll's waist hid whichever head was at the bottom. The clothes were therefore, sewn on and not removable and the arms were flap hinged to enable them to hang easily from the shoulder, so as not to stick out from underneath the dress. These dolls were often designed to tell stories incorporating several characters or simply to provide more versatility. Some souvenir costume dollmakers used this method to produce pretty stockinette-faced dolls, one dressed in Spanish costume, but when turned over a Dutch doll was revealed.
The variations of these upside down rag dolls seem endless: Cinderella in rags/ball gown; black doll/white doll; happy/sad doll; awake/sleeping dolls; winter clothes/summer clothes; day clothes/ nightgown.

When making such dolls, you need to make sure that the skirts are long enough to cover the hands and head of the doll beneath and you must ensure that the hairstyles are secured so that they don't flop down below the hem line.

In the mountains of North Carolina craftsmen there were also known for these doubled ended dolls to illustrate the characters in their stories. Some of the dolls would have 2 characters some would have 3 characters all into one doll. In Cinderella, for example, there would be a doll pair representing Cinderella and her two wicked step sisters and another pair representing the step mother and the Fairy Godmother.   


Alice in Wonderland  set of 3 dolls: Alice, Mad hatter and Queen of Hearts . Made from stockinette created by a company called 'FUN TO LEARN',Co. Down, Northern Ireland. makers of excellent Topsy-Turvy Nursery Rhyme dolls and other fabric made toys.

Snow White/Wicked Step Mother pair. Made from stockinette. Made by 'FUN TO LEARN',Co. Down, Northern Ireland

FOR SALE £25.00 GBP (see below)

 Little Red Riding Hood double-ended dolls made in France. This version even has legs: Grandma, Red and Wolf. 

FOR SALE £30.00 GBP (see below)

Cinderella Rags to Riches 
Pattern Available

There's no high-tech way to buy items from me on-line. It's a question of emailing me with: Item Description; QTY; Country to be sent to; Listed Price (as shown beside each listed item) and I will check the postage charges and send you a payment request via Pay Pal, unless you are in the UK and wish to pay by cheque in pounds sterling (GBP).

Monday, 15 October 2012

Rising to the Challenge

Doll making groups often set challenge competitions on certain themes and sometime using certain fabrics or colours. Doll makers submit their dolls for judging to win prizes and rosettes. 

Sophie Goth
one of two 1st Prize Winners 2008

by Madeleine Sara

Our Internet Group set this Cushion Doll Challenge for 2005. 
This Challenge was inspired by a member’s encounter whilst trying to get local business to sell her cloth figures.  She told us: ‘One gallery owner  said “fabric doesn't sell well in my shop; people just don't want to buy cushions.” I didn’t see the point of explaining to her the difference between a doll and a cushion and just left the shop’. 
This comment sparked speculation on what a ‘cushion doll’ would look like and so the challenge competition was set.
Cushionella 1st prize winner 2005 
for group challenge set by
Designed and made by Sara Maddocks  

Cushion doll for me conjures up images of plump, soft, comforting, relaxing, zoftig (full-bosomed; having a full, shapely figure), flouncy billowing, puffs, folds, layers, sumptuous/opulent soft furnishing fabrics, tassel/ fringes/ piping/ bead/ ribbon embellishment. I also considered the different types and shapes of cushions and of course my colour scheme, which became red and gold. I felt that the ‘doll’ and ‘cushion’ should have equal emphasis, so I gave her a bust that looked like two cushions. I shaped the bottom of her body like a square cushion with tassels, resting on the cushion-bustle of her Marie Antoinette style skirt. Her arms were made to resemble combinations of round and bolster-shaped cushions, whilst her legs were made to resemble a combination of pretty, frilly square and bolster boudoir cushions. The whole effect was to look like a pile of cushions and yet look like a complete doll. Her hat gives her an almost Elizabethan flair. She is embellished with beads, fringes and trim.
Madeleine Sara Maddocks

Our Internet Group ClothdollmakersUK also

set this 'Hot Flush Challenge' (above) in 2004.

Entries from left to right by Linda Misa; 

Myra Mylott & Teresa Maylon.

Have you ever taken up a challenge?

Ben Flute Player

 Ben Male Flautist/ Flutist designed by Madeleine Sara Maddocks

I used to watch a lot of BBC Young Musician of the Year and this young man was inspired partly by that and by the wonderful music motif fabrics, though he'd look just as good in plain fabrics. He has needle sculpted and painted features, felted rug wool hair and wired hands. His pattern is available for purchase.

What inspires your textile creations?

Friday, 12 October 2012

Modular Dolls ~ Cloth Figures

Modular Dolls are constructed with standardised units or dimensions allowing flexibility and variety of useIn this way it is possible to mix and match elements from different compatible patterns.
Using the simple pancake body and leg designs from one pattern, for example, with the more sophisticated fingered hands of another and the complex profile/gusseted head from  another you can achieve the desired look you wish.
Such versatile patterns can be found in Patti Medaris Culea's excellent books.
This is my version of Vivianna, called Vivienne. She's sun bathing!
I was so lucky to get the last remaining place on Patti's 2007 Devon 2 day workshop, To see her beautiful creations 'in the cloth' is always fantastically awesome!   Thank you Patti.

 I wanted to learn how to do beading, (not being mathematically minded it doesn't come as easily to me as it does to others. On the beading day I did feel a bit of a dunce, at first)

Thursday, 11 October 2012

What do you use for Hair?

You can use pretty much any textile yarn and also feathers to create the style you like.

Supplier of Yadeno mohair. 
 Texere yarns variety bags

Some are applied by sewing onto the head, others by needle felting and others using PVA glue.

Free felting advice sheet (Sorry there's no way of uploading .pdf files to these pages)to those who email me.

What do you use?

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Stump Dolls ~ Cloth Figures

Without legs and often no feet, Stump Dolls are freestanding; instead the dome-like body is sewn to a rounded base. 

< Mme Geisha

An amusing experiment in 2001
By Madeleine Sara Maddocks

          Made by Madeleine Sara Maddocks 2008 from a Jill Maas pattern High Octave Hester>

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Pirate Jake ~ Cloth Doll Pattern

Pirate Jake
People often ask "are all of your dolls girl dolls?"  

"No" is the answer to that...

I was experimenting with stump limbs when I designed this doll. His face is embroidered and he has embroidery silk hair. His legs/ tights are of red cotton.

A pattern is also available.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Pin Dolls ~ Cloth Figures

Pin Dolls are a style of cloth figure that usually comprise the head or head and upper torso, with brooch pins sewn on the back so that they can be worn as jewellery. These dolls provide excellent practice for painting and creating faces
Sometimes, pin dolls are made as a complete tiny doll no bigger than 6" 
(15 cm)

My Free Hoe Down Pattern is HERE

< I can also provide a free Ascot Ladies Pin Doll Pattern to anyone who emails me.
Just put Ascot Pin in the subject header.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Wall Dolls ~Cloth Figures

Wall Dolls are a style of cloth figure that lends itself to adorning walls.

These are often dancers or mermaids. 

They have curtain rings ribbons or invisible nylon thread sewn to their heads or backs for hanging purposes. Some have gathered, tasseled bodies instead of legs, such as those made by Barbara Willis.

Atargatis by Madeleine Maddocks

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

The Body in the Cloth Figure Work Room

Which style do you prefer?

The OUTLINE/PANCAKE BODY is created simply by cutting the body shape out of a double thickness of fabric, which is then sewn around, clipped and turned.  All-in-one bodies are also created by this method. 

STUMP bodies are without legs and often no feet. They are free standing with the dome-like body sewn onto a rounded base. 

There is a technique known as CLOTH OVER, which involves making a body using one of the above methods and then making a stretch jersey knit over skin to cover the sewn seams, giving a smoother more realistic effect.

GUSSETED bodies produces a three dimensional shape, achieved by the addition of a gusset usually between the two continuous head & body outline pieces.

SEAMED/ TAILORED bodies are made up of sections seamed together to create the shape.

DARTED BODY produces a three dimensional shape, achieved by the positioning of darts at shoulders/ hips/sides/chest. 

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Soft Sculpted Heads

What kind of heads do you make?
OUTLINE/PANCAKE HEAD is created by cutting a shape out of a double thickness of fabric. Often the body and head outline are continuous. Sometimes the head and body pieces are separate and the two sides must be sewn at the neck before the front and back of the doll is sewn together around the edge leaving a gap for turning and stuffing. The face is usually shown on one side of the flat surface looking forwards.
It is also possible to create a continuous outline of the head following the profile of the forehead, mouth, nose & chin.

Shaped heads can also be made with a row of running stitches around the top, which are drawn together once the head is stuffed: The BALL HEAD is simply created using a circle of fabric around which a row of gathering stitches are sewn and inside which a clump of stuffing is enclosed, when the threads are drawn up. Two rows of stitches creates a stronger seam. The stitches are then tied off, knotted securely and neatly trimmed. The ends can then be hidden at the back of the head behind the hair. 

This type of head produces a three dimensional shape, achieved by inserting darts / sewing across the seam at chin/neck/eye level to produce better shape and dimension. 

Seamed head 
This is a clever way of manipulating the bias of the fabric in a 2D profile head, by sewing two rectangles of fabric together, refolding them right angles to the seam, applying the head template across the seam and sewing this before cutting, trimming and clipping.

Gusseted heads produces a three dimensional shape, achieved by the addition of a gusset usually between the two continuous head & body outline pieces.

Skinning of faces involves applying PVA glue to the needle sculpted doll head onto which another layer of cloth is applied. It is important to smooth out all the wrinkles and push the top layer of fabric gently into all the valleys and dips of the face. This can be achieved with a Clover Mini iron or any tool with a small flat surface. Once you have applied the 'skin' you are left with a needle-sculpted face that doesn't show the sculpting stitches. However, there will be folds of fabric around the doll head at the sides which need to be tidied up and secured with gathering stitches and covered with the doll hair.

Pin dolls are a great way to practice making cloth figure heads and faces.