Sunday, 3 February 2013

Cloth Figure Busts

In the past, rag dolls have tended to be flat-chested, relatively sexless figures whose gender was only distinguishable by hair, face and clothes. These days more sophisticated techniques and changes in culture have enabled cloth doll figures to be more obviously anatomically female.

When making bust, remember they can be made round and representational or pendulous and more natural-looking. Think about positioning, too. Breasts do not sit right in the middle of a woman's chest, but hang slightly either side. Think also about how they hang in relation to the arm and elbow joint.

So which breast is best? There several ways to create a bust for your cloth figure:

1. Drawn/ Outline
The bust shape is achieved by the outline
of the body shape to produce a more abstract/representational looking doll.

Using fabric/artist pencils it is possible to draw and shade the outline of the breasts onto a fairly flat surface. See Patti La Valley's Nile Dancer pattern.

2. Appliqu├ęd / darted (e.g. Anemone)The bust is made separately, with a dart or without and filled with stuffing before gathering stitches are sewn around the outer edge and the breasts are attached to the doll's chest.

This type of bust pattern is an integral part of the body of the doll and requires the use of two or more pieces of fabric to make. The upper chest is in skin fabric whilst the lower part will be made from fabric you have chosen to make the clothes. A bikini effect uses only a strip of clothing fabric between two sections of skin fabric. 

4. Clothing (My belly dancer doll)
By applying and stuffing bras and corsets to the dolls torso, you can create breasts for your doll.

5. Flap/hinged (e.g. Madame Geisha)
This type of bust pattern involves making the entire bust piece in one separate section from the same material as the body and attaching it to the neckline of the body like a flap, so that it hangs down naturally.

6. Tailored (e.g. Antonette Cely)
This type of bust is achieved as part of the tailored body. This will involve inserting darts and seams.

Stuffing the bust
This can be a rather frustrating challenge at times. To make it easier you may consider using little pompoms. 
It is best to stuff the bust after you have stuffed the chest cavity. You may also consider temporarily pinning the bust stuffing in place to prevent it 'popping out' or becoming redistributed as you continue to stuff the torso.