Sunday, September 21, 2008

French Budoir Costume Pattern

I found a perfect pattern. It's the pink and yellow one below.
After much debating and curling my nose up, I have finally figured out just what to do with my penny doll (described in post from August 16). I think she should be a whimsical French Budoir Doll.

This pattern is an antique French Budoir doll's dress, probably from the 1930's. I think it will be just right.

The dress is meant to fit a 30" doll, and the waistline looks extremely small. I will need to tweak the pattern and make it my own, so it can fit, but it should work. It gave me the inspiration I needed- which [for me, at least] is more than half the battle. Somehow this doll did not tell me what she wanted to wear, and I could not figure it out.

Now I have to start looking for fabric. I think I want some sort of antique silk or something. It's hard to tell what's used on that drawing, and it doesn't say in the instructions. Maybe I need some lace? I'm not sure. I don't think I want hot pink and yellow- I guess when I see it I'll know. I haven't found what I am looking for yet and believe it or not I'm not sure where to look. (Local fabric stores have not done much good). Does anybody have any suggestions?

You can find the pattern here:
Read more ...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

painting shoes

I'm working on my Penny doll, and just realized I had something to share!
Have you ever encountered GOLDEN paint? Oh I love this brand. The paint colors are delicious with high quality pigments, and they paint on like a dream.

The doll I am working on has feet shaped like high heels. I never made a doll this way before- always made separate shoes to go on them. So this is a nice twist. I'll just paint the feet and make boots.

To paint fabric, it is necessary to prep it first. What do you use?
GESSO (jess-oh). That is the stuff they use when making canvas for painters. The fabric is stretched over the frame, then primed with gesso. For dolls, we just paint it right onto the doll, after it has been sewn and stuffed.

Gesso can be sanded. Therefore, I apply it generously everywhere- especially over any stitches or areas that might have some imperfections.

Let the gesso dry, and sand it a little. Apply more, and sand it again. Repeat this process 3 times or more if needed. Then go ahead and paint ! I'll show you how my boots come out when I am done.
Read more ...

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Make a Baby Challenge

Thinking about making a baby?
Read on...

You know how sometimes you get involved in something that starts out small, for pleasure... and it turns into something that was poorly planned, should have been a little better organized... (sounds like pregnancy, right?) Well such is the case with a little challenge I have gotten myself involved in. I think I have been doing a lot of this behavior lately! (don't worry, I am NOT pregnant!) Here's the story:
I decided to host a fun "make a baby" challenge based on one of my patterns. The pattern involves very interesting techniques that I discovered while reconstructing a vintage doll. Anyway, I was only expecting a small handful of signups, so I didn't really take the time to properly publish the details. Well I should have known better, because I'm kicking myself for it. Ah well, my next doll will be a self-portrait. A silly woozle-kopp lady with all kinds of "stuff" hanging out!
Soooo.. I'm going to write the details on my blog and the challenge is formally open to all!
The challenge deadline is January 1.

Where to get the pattern? This pattern was published in Soft Dolls and Animals Magazine. If you don't have the magazine, you can buy the pattern here on the right hand column for a nominal fee. (all proceeds are very much appreciated!) If you are unable to pay then email me privately and I'll send the pattern anyhow.

Skill Level: ADVANCED
Becky is a cloth version of a vintage Arranbee (R&B) doll. She was inspired by a lady in Jerusalem who had approached me with a very important task: restore her childhood doll. It’s easy to see why this doll has been so well loved!

To restore the doll, I took the original body apart and traced around it to redraw the pattern on paper. Much of it was decrepit, so there was guesswork and room for ‘originality.’ It is a very interesting pattern, and not easy to assemble. At one point when I was sewing the new body, I got scared that I would not be able to remember what to do again. I have to use the old pattern and match up needle holes in order to solve the puzzle! Here’s a peek at what I was working with:

I invented a special “joint” form paperclay so the cloth counterparts could be “inserted” into the body, like the original. They are actually held in place with wire. See how they actually weigh the arms and legs down? Just like the real McCoy!

Becky’s face is done in a way that keeps the original doll in mind as much as possible. The face was digitally photographed and subsequently altered with Adobe Photoshop, to get a black and white pencil sketch. The sketch was then converted again so only the shadows and facial landmarks show.
Print this onto inkjet photo transfer paper, and you’ve got a perfect foundation for a true vintage baby face.

I’ll show you how to paint the face and build up color, layers and details using Genesis Artist Oil Paints or traditional Fine oil Paint. Below are two versions of the same face. The first is with the Genesis paint and the second is done in Oils.

The hair is painted right onto the doll. Have fun making whimsical baby pin curls!

Lastly, there is a sweet dress pattern that you can use. Or, even better, design your own!

I hope you will take the challenge, and MAKE A BABY! To sign up, use the link on the right hand sidebar. I will be available to answer any questions you may have, and will plug you into a special Becky classroom where we can all collaborate. Winners will be published in doll art-related newsletters and possibly a magazine.

Have fun!

Read more ...

Friday, September 05, 2008

Penny Doll

Here I am at the September Dollirious Club meeting, with my Penny Doll coming along. As you see she is not "quite" done yet..... that's ok. She seems to have a lot of patience!
Read more ...

Sock Dolls

Neta Amir from Tel Aviv, Israel invited me to come to her new sock doll workshop. I sure wish I could go! But alas Seattle is very far...

Look at what she can do with socks- quite amazing!!I did find her advertisement fun and inspirational, and I am sure you will agree!

According the the advertisement, Neta will be teaching small groups how to create the dolls, make the faces, and create unique embellishments. She promises that these dolls will each have a "unique spirit." Looks like fun! I certainly believe her.

Neta's work can be seen at
Read more ...