Sunday, June 30, 2013


I'm madly trying to finish my Hoffman Challenge doll. I need to ship it in a week!

For anyone not familiar with the Hoffman Challenge, let me explain: Hoffman makes wonderful quilting fabrics - they are known for their very colorful & detail prints, (many with metallic in it). They host a challenge each year for quilters, doll makers, and wearable art designers. Hoffman chooses a fabric each year (with several co-ordinating fabrics as well). If you want to enter, you need to buy the fabrics and create your art. (More about their challenge HERE)

This is the fabric they choose this year. (I've put a piece of metallic green netting over part of it -- that's how I used it on my doll).
 That large leaf with the 3 flowers on it is 4 inches long! The print is very large on this fabric -- not great for making doll costumes with! (Remember, they make quilt fabrics -- for QUILTS - not dolls). So, it really is a challenge to come up with a doll design using their quilt fabric.

Here's some more WIP's photos:
Instead of a cape, I decided to go with a train instead (can use more of the challenge fabric with the train). I added the arms & sleeves. I made opera gloves out of Lycra, and got some of the trimming started.

 Here's a close up of the train from the back. I layered the sheer metallic netting over the top of the fabric, then did some free-motion embroidery (with Sulky rayon thread) over the top of that, and added some beading to the end. (Sorry, the beading really doesn't show well in the photo.)
Now, time to tackle the face & hair!


Here's a photo of a doll one of my students made for my "Troll Queen" class at Creations In Fiber this summer:

This doll is by Suzzanne McGuirk. She did a great job and created a "Troll Princess". Love those purple eyelashes!
I hope more of my students send me their photos!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Hoffman Challenge doll

Hi All,
I've been working on my latest doll, "The Opera Singer" for the Hoffman challenge. I've been playing with fabrics and trying to figure out my color scheme. Here's a "working" sketch of where I'm going with this character:
 Here's another work in progress photo. At this stage, I've made the skirt & bodice top, which will serve as the "base" for the rest of the costume. The skirt is satin fabric with a self-border (it was a JoAnn's Fabric from years ago when they had their "India" line of fabrics). The top is dubione silk. I patterned the bodice like a period corset, so there's 11 pieces to it (I top-stitched each seam so the seam lines would stand out-- like if they had boning in them).

Did you notice I use the neck as a pin cushion?
Okay, now that I have the basic costume on the body, I get to do my favorite part of designing the costume -- playing with trims & accent fabrics. I start by pulling every possible trim out from my stash that I could see using on the costume. Then, I start pinning and draping things on the form, "auditioning" every piece to see if it will work.
Here's what that looks like:
Now, I'm sure to you, this looks like a mess! But, for me, this is when everything starts clicking, and I get real excited to finish it.
The front & side panels on the skirt are part of the Hoffman Challenge fabrics. The whole costume is designed around these fabrics.
I'll show more of the Hoffman fabric on the next post.

Friday, June 21, 2013


I've been resting up after teaching at the CIFI conference, and now I'm ready to get back to work. I've started a doll that's been noodling around in my brain for a few years. It will be an Opera Singer. She's a "plus-size" gal, with an open mouth.

I've been experimenting with open mouth dolls -- they can be tricky to do. (These photos show the basic stuffed head -- I haven't done any sculpting yet.)

Here's the basic body, all pinned together:

I'm really liking her body. The pattern is a combination of my "Fairy Godmother" & "Troll Queen" patterns. I decided, for time sake, to make her a stump doll, so I wouldn't have to deal with legs, a stand, & interior armature.

She might be something for the Hoffman Challenge, -- if I get it done in time (only 3 weeks until the deadline!!!)

Thursday, June 13, 2013


I just finished teaching my "Troll Queen" class at the Creations in Fibers convention last weekend. We had a great 3 days of doll making. We didn't get a chance to finish our dolls, but everyone promised to send me photos of the finished dolls.

Here's another Troll doll I made for the class. Her name is Mother Morbid and she's a Troll Witch:
She's made from the same pattern as the class doll, with a slight variation on the costume, face, & hair:
And, yes, I DO plan on making her into a pattern -- hopefully by the end of the year!