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I've been designing and making textile figures for many years. I have also recently taken up knitting and crochet again after a lengthy break  and I'm LOVING IT!  Textile Creations UK (http://textilecreationsuk.blogspot.com ) is my new website/ Blog, which includes all my knitted, crocheted, sewn, woven textile creations.

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.

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