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Topic: Sophie and Doufi  (Read 808 times)
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elderflower
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« on: June 12, 2014 01:13:32 AM »

   
This is my entry in the Miscellaneous/Mixed media section of our Needlecraft guild annual competition, Intermediate category.  The theme is Out of Africa.

Starting out I just planned to make a traditional reversible rag doll, like one I had from Swaziland when I was little, but I kept getting ideas and adding things.  Sophie, with her apron (entirely hand sewn because the power was off and I needed to get it finished) and  bonnet,  looked a bit like an  old-fashioned Boeremeisie (Afrikaans farm girl).  So I made her a slate in her apron pocket for doing her school work.
Sophie's apron has drawn thread work at the hem and on the pocket took me ages. I don't know why I decided it would be a good idea.

And it occurred to me how much our modern tablets/iPads  etc. resemble the slates of my childhood in shape and size - So Doufi became the 21st century African girl and she has an iPad and a  computer bag to keep it in.

Sophie's future might have been "Kinder, Kuche, Kirche" but Doufi could end up Prime Minister.


Back Views


Both Together

Technical details
IPad and slate
I used old X-ray film for the iPad screen and, although at first I was going to paint the slate, in the end I used X-ray film for that too.  The piece of "slate" is actually a thin slice of balsa wood sandwiched between two pieces of X-ray. The frame either side is also balsa wood old scraps left over from when my husband and his brother were boys and used to make model aeroplanes.

Concealed Joints
The arms are button jointed, like previous dolls, but this time I wanted to conceal the buttons. 

So I made an inner arm of calico identical to the outer arm but minus the thumb. (1) It was stuffed firmly and the outer "skin" of cotton jersey - with the thumb already stuffed - fitted over it.
I have tried to show in the pictures that the button was stitched to the calico arm and inside the skin  on the side that is away from the body;  but the thread then passes through the skin that is against the body (2). It does the same in reverse for the other arm (3) and is tied off on the second button (4).  I put a little stuffing to cover the button inside (5) and give a smoother finish to the arm.  The outer skin is mattress/ladder stitched to finish off (6).

Hair

I also tried a new technique for the hair.  Both dolls have a crocheted wig base with strands of 3 ply acrylic yarn hooked through it using a rug making latch hook.  In Doufi's case the yarn was first knitted up double 100 rows over 31 stitches.  The piece was then wet and ironed dry to set the curls. Then I cut off both edges which gave me 200 strands of curly hair.
Next time I will make the crochet base denser.  It needed a lot of hair  to make sure the scalp didn't show through.

Gele or African Headdress
The traditional ways of tying Gele are a bit bulky for doll size so I used a matching satin ribbon to edge the piece of fabric and added two ties for tying.
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Mamaneedles
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« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2014 04:41:59 AM »

They are beautifull! The unclothed picture is kind of freaky, ahah!

I see you used DC for the wig, I use HDC and there's less skin showing through at the end.

The ipad/plate is genious.
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alwaysinmyroom
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« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2014 06:34:50 AM »

Your dolls just get better and better!  I love the story as well...

You also are quite generous in sharing your tips and techniques...I love the idea of a crochet cap to do the hair...I used a similar idea to make a beard and now I can see how it can translate into doll hair!

Where do you find such lovely African fabric?  The print is just beautiful!

Also, using x-ray film for the ipad screen! Good recycling! (In one of your other posts, I snagged the idea of using old CD's to make my own little mirrors for embroidery!)

The details just delight me...
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« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2014 12:07:41 PM »

This is amazing! Not only the design and the execution, but the social statement you've made. I'm very impressed.

Off topic: I also love your tablecloth! I have a very similar one with guinea hens instead of elephants that I acquired in Tanzania.  Smiley
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elderflower
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« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2014 01:53:32 AM »

The unclothed picture is kind of freaky, ahah!
Yes, dollmaking is sometimes a bit gruesome. Like when you stab a huge long needle right through the eye to the back of the head. Cheesy
I see you used DC for the wig, I use HDC and there's less skin showing through at the end.
I think you are quite right. Thicker wool would have made a huge difference.
You also are quite generous in sharing your tips and techniques...I love the idea of a crochet cap to do the hair...I used a similar idea to make a beard and now I can see how it can translate into doll hair!

Where do you find such lovely African fabric?  The print is just beautiful!

Also, using x-ray film for the ipad screen! Good recycling! (In one of your other posts, I snagged the idea of using old CD's to make my own little mirrors for embroidery!)
It is the reason I am so fond of Craftster - the way people share their ideas and how to do things.  I have learnt a lot here and am really glad to pass on anything I have discovered.
The African print is local.  You can get these very flimsy coarse cotton fabrics with bright prints quite easily here. They come in standard 2 m lengths.  I can try and post you a piece if you like.

@mdelilahcarlson The tablecloth is by Kudhinda fabrics.  I have seen them in South Africa and Australia too. So quite likely it is the same.

Thank you so much everyone. At the prize-giving last night she/they came first. Which moves me up to the Master Class next year  Undecided
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« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2014 05:16:12 AM »

Oh my goodness, they are beautiful!  I hope you win.  I would most certainly give you the blue ribbon.   Grin
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« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2014 12:23:55 PM »

So much more amazing than the thumbnail was letting on! How amazingly awesome and astounding. The pic of the naked/bald dolls is kind of creepy but worth it as it is informative. Thank you so much for sharing this!
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« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2014 05:53:41 PM »

This is really cool. I've got a pattern for an awake/asleep dolly that would work well like this. They look so incredibly freaky undressed though, lol.
Love all your details, thanks for sharing Smiley.
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elderflower
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« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2014 10:56:52 PM »

Thank you very much. I had a lot of fun making them. I'd never thought of an asleep/awake doll but it sounds like a really sweet idea.
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« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2014 08:49:38 AM »

oh I remember those!  I also had a fairy tale doll that was similar...a princess on one side and a swan on the other...it was based on the Grimm fairy tale, The Six Swans.
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