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Topic: Little Oompa Loompa from a pair of airline socks  (Read 10163 times)
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« on: September 07, 2012 01:49:21 PM »

There is nothing new in this, as similar methods of doll making can be found in lots of other places.  I particularly use Sunnhild Reinckens' book  "Stoffpuppen -wie Kinder sie leiben"; and an old Anna Burda from December 1984 but you can find a lot of the same kind of doll instructions  here and here

List of ingredients
1   One pair of airline socks (these are from South African Airways which always seem to be orange)
2   Wool for hair quite a lot - I used about 4 metres for the long pony tail style
3   About 30cm square mutton cloth or similar stretch fabric.
4   100 x 50 cm batting mine was  0.5 - 1 cm thick
5   Strong thread I used something called "nylon fishing twine"
6   Ordinary thread in the same colour as the socks.
7   Plain white thread for sewing the batting.
8   Embroidery thread for eyes etc.
9   Four buttons to match socks
10   Long strong needle, at least 5.5 6 cm. You need this for sculpting the face and articulating the limbs.
11   Toilet roll centre to help stuff the legs and arms
12   Chopstick or similar to help with stuffing
13   Water erasable marker for hair placement
Also ordinary needles, pins and scissors etc.  Most of this is hand sewing but I did use my machine for the arm and leg seams as I don't think hand sewing would be firm enough to stop the fabric from unravelling.  
From the batting cut:
Two strips - 50 cm long and 15 to 20 cm wide - for the legs
Two strips - 25 cm long and 12 cm wide - for the arms.
Making the head

1   Tear the rest of the batting up into little fluffy bits.  
2   Use some of this to make a firm ball about as large as your fist.  It needs to be quite firm as this will be sculpted a bit to make the head and face.
3   Draw a circle about  15 cm diameter in the  middle of your mutton cloth.  I used a saucer as template.

4   Using the strong thread, run a gathering thread all the way round.
5   Place ball of batting in the middle and draw up the gathers around it.  
6   Draw them up tightly and wrap  the same thread several times round the gathers to create the neck.
Shaping the head

7   Using  the strong thread doubled wind it over the top of the head and down through the neck/under the chin a couple of times.  Pull it tight and fasten it off with a few stitches.
8   Take another doubled thread and wrap it tightly round the head, dividing it into two equal halves, upper and lower,  fasten it very firmly with stitches over the vertical threads on either side of the head.
9   Now slide the thread which is to be at the back of the head down towards the neck to shape the back of the head.
Insert the head into one of the socks right up to the toe.  Using self-coloured thread run gathering stitches all round the neck pull up tightly and bind off with several turns around the neck.

The face

10   Mark with pins where you want the eyes to go and then
11   using the long strong needle and doubled strong thread stitch through to the pins from the base of the back of the head and back again on either side.  
12   Pull up tight and tie off to create the eyehole shaping.

13    Embroider eyes and mouth or paint them if you prefer.

The body

14   Using the rest of the fluffed up batting, stuff the body firmly.  Stuff around the mutton cloth core and push stuffing firmly up to create shoulders.  
15   Cut off the excess sock about one third of the length

16, 17 and 18   stitch up the crotch firmly.

Arms and legs

19   Take the other sock, turn inside out and stitch the whole length, about 5mm either side of the midline, with a good strong zigzag stitch to prevent fraying.
20   Cut it in half across the stitching. The toe of the sock will make the toes of the doll so make this "half" slightly longer.
21   Now cut up between the stitching to separate the arms and the legs.

22   Take the arms and fold them so that the seam is on one side then stitch across the top of the sock
23   also stitch to cut off the corners which will shape the hands slightly.

Stuffing the limbs

Turn the arms and legs right side out.
24   Take one of the 50 cm long strips of batting.  Roll it up tightly into a cylinder and stitch it down.
25    Insert the toilet roll centre into one of the legs and push the cylinder of stuffing down inside the leg. Push it firmly into the toe.
26   Grasp the stuffing through the sock and pull the toilet roll out to leave the stuffing inside the leg.
Repeat for the other leg
Use the same technique with the 25cm long strips of batting to stuff the arms.

Check the length of the arms and legs against  your doll's body and if necessary cut off any excess sock or stuffing.  

27    Run gathering stitches around the top of the arm or leg,
28   turn under a small edge and draw up tight to finish off.

29    Flatten the seam slightly so that when held against the body the "toes" are angled towards the centre  and the hands are vertical.

30   Shape the ankle on each foot slightly with a zigzag running stitch across the front of the ankle.  
31   Pull it up tight to create a small tuck  and then wrap the thread tightly two or three times around the ankle. Finish off with two or three fastening stitches.

32   Shape the hands by running a gathering thread around the wrists
33   Pull up tightly and wrap the thread around two or three times before fastening off tightly.


34   Hold the arms against the body and mark where you want them to go with pins.

35   Take two 50 cm lengths of strong thread and one of the buttons.  Stitch up through one hole of the button and down through the other.
36   Take all four thread ends and thread them through the strong needle.  

37   Stitch through one arm, through the body at one pin mark and out at the other pin mark. Finally pass through the other arm. (I couldn't work out how to take a photograph for this.) Pull up fairly tight so the arms are squashed against the body, to give a firm joint.

38    Take another button and separate the threads where they come out of the second arm into two pairs
39    pass one pair through one hole of the button and the other pair through the other hole.
40   Tie off tightly
41   Fasten ends off underneath the button.
Do the same for the two legs.

Hair long with pony tail and fringe
There are lots of different ways of doing hair.  I use this way when a doll is intended for a small child because it is less likely to pull out.
With a water erasable pen mark the hair line around the face and also mark a circle at the back of the head. Mark the space between the two lines into roughly equal sectors all around the head.  This makes it easier to do the hair evenly all over.
Cut wool into 60 cm long strands.  

42   Thread one strand into a tapestry needle and, working from front to back, take a small stitch at the back of the head. Draw up the wool to leave a tail of about 20 cm.
43   Take another stitch at the front of the head, again stitching from front to back.
44   Finally take a stitch at the back again but this time going from back to front.
45    unthread the needle. Repeat this all over the head.  The threads become a bit close at the back and if there are too large gaps at the front you can fill in later with long satin-like stitches without tails.

The fringe is worked in what I think is called "turkey stitch".

46   Starting at one side of the face take a small back stitch at the edge of the hairline
47   Pull up the wool but not all the way to leave a loop.
48   Take another back stitch over this  
49   Pull it up tight. Repeat all the way along and finish off with a couple of small stitches.

Cut the loops and trim the fringe to the desired length.

All done.

She will need some clothes but since this tutorial is quite long enough I leave that up to you.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2012 01:09:06 AM by elderflower » THIS ROCKS   Logged
There is no right or wrong, when it comes to making art. Making sure that you have fun is the most important part. -Mickey Mouse
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Did he just go crazy and fall asleep?

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« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2012 12:25:56 PM »

Fantastic tutorial! I can't wait to try this out!
Reduce, reuse, recycle it into something useful.
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« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2012 06:01:00 AM »

That is a brilliant way to stuff a tube!!! Thank you for the tutorial. Smiley

I have a button addiction.......
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« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2012 07:00:20 AM »

Thanks guys.  I find it hard to stuff stretchy fabric evenly, especially arms and legs, so find this method suits me well.
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