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Topic: Craft a Craftster Friend Doll: Plants and Sunshine - Mini-Gigglygirl!  (Read 567 times)
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EriChanHime
« on: August 06, 2019 10:54:33 AM »



I made this lovely little lady as part of the Craft a Craftster Friend Doll Swap this summer. This is Mini-gigglygirl. I learned (among other things) that she loves plants/gardening, and songbirds, and colorful outfits with fun accessories, and always wears jewelry!

I spent a long time deciding what kind of doll base I wanted to use, as I wanted the finished doll to be nicely drape-y like a traditional rag doll, but with some extra pose-ability and body definition. In the end, after experimenting with modifying patterns, drawing my own patterns, and looking at patterns on Etsy, I realized I kept going back to the Cupcake Doll pattern on Ghilies website (https://ghilie.wordpress.com/tutorials/) -- this is the same Ghilie who originated the popular Poppets pattern!

I loved this doll patterns compact size, cuddly proportions, and interesting jointing/limb structure. Also, I knew from the get-go that I wanted to embroider the face, and the fact that the head pattern did not have a mid-line seam was useful for this. After printing the pattern at a few different sizes, I went with the original scale, which gives a finished doll ~11 tall. I personally like to use unbleached muslin for dolls meant to be in a standard Caucasian skin range.



The first construction step I did was to print the pattern, and then trace the face front piece onto my muslin and draw out the facial features/hair line I wanted--I used a mix of pencil and water soluble marker for this. I embroidered the face fully and then erased the marker lines completely. Her eye outlines are done in stem stitch, her irises/pupils and lips are done in satin stitch, her eyebrows are varied-length rows of back-stitch, and her nose is whipped back-stitch. When I was done, I held the embroidered piece up to a strong work light, and then covered it with the back pattern piece to decide how I wanted everything to line up.



This is the first time Ive ever tried freezer paper pattern tracing and assembly (as the doll pattern pieces have no seam allowance). It worked surprisingly well, and I think I will use this method again for other small dolls and similar size plushies. I definitely spent time fighting with a zipper foot, as each leg and arm is stuffed up to the first joint, then sewn across to provide a flex-point, then stuffed the next bit of the way, sewn across again, etc. Trying to stuff each section full enough while still leaving myself room to sew involved a lot of weird squishing and pinning, but I loved the end results!



Her body is a great blend of squishy/pose-able, and she cooperates fully with a simple stand from the hobby store. This is also the first doll Ive done with a hidden button joint using buried shank buttons, but its a lovely technique that I will definitely use again! Given what I had in my stash in the right size, this girl has hidden hearts in her shoulders. Wink Somehow I forgot to take detailed pictures of this step; Im blaming it on trying to juggle all the pieces and not lose the button somewhere in her arm stuffing.



I also remembered to sign this one (in an inconspicuous spot); this is something Im trying to become consistent about. I always appreciate when art dolls and similar projects that I receive have a hidden tag or signature of some kind so that years from now I will always remember who made it for me, so I try to do the same. Smiley



I waffled several times on how to add hair, as gigglygirl said she had wavy brown hair. I suddenly remembered a tutorial I saw in the early 2000s on DeviantArt for making realistic fur animal tails out of acrylic yarn. IT WORKED! I was super stoked. One wire wig brush and a PILE of brushed out fluff later, I had 10 perfect, wavy hair wefts to use.



I drew the dolls hairline lightly with a pencil, ever so slightly inside where I wanted it to end. Then, I snipped apart the wefts and used heavy craft glue, fingers, toothpicks, and sheer moxie to stick the things to her head. I wove a few around each other to finish off the front of her hairline. Drying overnight was sufficient to hold everything in place, although she looked a bit like shed gotten friendly with an electrical socket



After a gentle brushing, she looked much calmer and more put together. Also, the hair is totally style-able, as long as youre not crazy with it. She had a pin bun for a bit while I worked on her clothes and jewelry.



For clothing, I wanted something that included the colors that my partner mentioned liking, and I found an absolutely perfect fabric in my stash. This is a cutting from a torn aloha shirt (Hawaiian shirt) that used to belong to my Grandpa. It is 100% silk, and had a huge rip in it, and Ive been saving it for something special. I made the sundress by cutting out sections of the print that I liked and then doing some pin draping and fluffing. After machine assembly, I used a length of matching embroidery floss to give it decorative straps and a lace-up back. Even though shes technically an art doll, I wanted her clothes to be fully removable.



Since gigglygirl is up north, I figured she needed a cute wrap to go with her sun dress. I crocheted a little shawl based on the Virus Shawl pattern, done in pink thread I had left over from a project I did years ago. Im not a pink person, so it was just hanging out waiting for the right project/person.

I used a colored Sharpie to paint on her little shoes and then embroidered the flowers on the front with a lazy daisy stitch and continental knot centers. I also added a little memory label to the bottom of the doll stand!

I made her jewelry by hand using jewelry pins, loose pearl beads, jump rings, and a tiny length of chain Id been saving from an actual necklace. This is the first time Ive ever pierced a dolls ears! I used a kitchen awl to wiggle a hole in the right spot without tearing the fabric and then threaded each jump ring with the pearl charms through the hole and used jewelry pliers to close them in her ears. It worked perfectly, and I would totally do this again for doll-sized earrings!



To represent her love of gardening/plants, I decided she needed a little bit of nature. I found this micro-pot at Michaels and couldnt resist. I clipped sections of tiny silk flowers, wired them together in clusters, then wrapped the wires with florist tape. I tucked everything in a ball of foil to hold it down and then finished off the top with tiny pieces of real dried moss.



And here she is, rocking her look and being sassy! Cheesy



Bonus picture! Here are mini-gigglygirl and mini-EriChanHime together right before I packed/shipped. This swap was so awesome! I loved reading about my partner and picking out accessories that I thought could represent her. She totally nailed little me, too, and even my Mom gushed over her. A very cool community-building swap, and I would love to see another someday (But maybe not till next year; I need time to recover!). Grin
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« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2019 11:34:16 AM »

Utterly beautiful work!  I love every well-thought out little detail.  Well done.
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« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2019 06:08:29 PM »

Incredibly done! Amazing amount of careful detail, you really did beautiful work here.
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« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2019 07:42:58 AM »

Bravo! I loved reading about your process and seeing all the in progress photos. What a lovely, well thought out gift for your partner!
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EriChanHime
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2019 12:52:47 PM »

Incredibly done! Amazing amount of careful detail, you really did beautiful work here.
Bravo! I loved reading about your process and seeing all the in progress photos. What a lovely, well thought out gift for your partner!
Utterly beautiful work!  I love every well-thought out little detail.  Well done.

Thank you so much, everyone! This was such a fun, challenging project to work on, and I definitely learned some cool new things. It was lovely to learn more about another Craftster member, too. Cheesy
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« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2019 12:06:55 PM »

Congrats! This has been chosen as a Featured Project! Smiley
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EriChanHime
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2019 01:09:02 PM »

Congrats! This has been chosen as a Featured Project! Smiley

Thank you so much, everyone! Cheesy
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« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2019 07:55:39 PM »

super cute! her hair is amazing!
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EriChanHime
« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2019 09:42:05 AM »

super cute! her hair is amazing!

Thank you! It was definitely something I'd never tried before, and I'm delighted with how well it worked out. Cheesy
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You can also find me on Den of Angels for ABJD related stuff!
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