A Stuffed-up Rag Doll Scrap Book

 

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October, 2013

 

Continuing the scrappy how to books featuring my original doll designs.

 

This one has a hard cover … one of my parents family albums which is now empty of photos and the pages which held them.

 

I stopped making dolls about 10 years ago, and at that time I was selling these for less than $10.

 

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These were my favourite small dolls, and Moonshadow is my favourite design ever!

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The one I managed to keep has a very dark moon!

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These designs never became pattern subjects, so these pages are as near to a pattern you can get … including those very rough, and very basic hand written instructions.

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Moonshadow was actually a small Cousin swinging on a fabric moon.

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The body has got to be one of the least likely shapes to become a doll.

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The trick with these dolls was to always cover the back of the head … the join between body and head is not pretty at best, and less pretty when I knew it was going to be out of sight. Always made sure it was strong, though!

 

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The Dimplings were not pretty, but were quite lovable, and very easy to make.

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The End

 

 

StuffUps …… but only little ones

Stuff-Ups …. but only little ones.

Rag Dolls, Book 1

The book which has taken a week to put together is now together.

In one piece.

Click here to see more details of my other life as a rag doll maker.

The cover will have a title added, probably fabric letters fused on, or a scrap of fabric with the title added with a permanent marker.

(Thinking about it, the letters would have to be cut very small to be fused on!)

Many pages will have addition information, photos of dolls and some trims added now the book is together.

I might even break out the coloured pencils … maybe even the water-colour pencils!

I realize now I should have taken photos of a lot of dolls before I removed their stuffing to use them in this and a lot of other books recording all my rag dolls.

If you would like to see all the pages of the book keep going!

Here is the table of contents

In 2010 I decided that I wasn’t going to make any more rag dolls … not quite game to say never, but probably not. I will certainly not get back to making them in bulk for sale at craft fairs, quilt exhibitions, and through craft shops.

I stopped making them when we moved halfway across the state and lost access to convenient outlets, but I didn’t know what was at the other end of the shift at the time so didn’t dispose of excess baggage before and during the move.

As I used to make dolls by the dozen for sale here are a multitude of dolls in various states of construction, different shapes and sizes, made using similar, but not always identical techniques.

I have some young great-nieces who are showing an interest in sewing, quilting and maybe doll making, and plan to have them come and stay sometimes so I can teach them a few tricks, and I would also like to hand on my collection of original designs. If they find themselves wanting to earn some pocket-money in the future they can make dolls from my designs, and if they want to be more creative they can modify my designs to create their own characters … without crossing any copyright lines doing so.

During 2011 I spent more time in the car than in my sewing room, but the time in the sewing room was spent pulling stuff out of boxes, saving some fabric for scrap quilts, sorting out patterns and body parts, and started putting some scrap books together.

It wasn’t a good idea to start on a large undertaking and the start of what turned out to be a very disjointed year. It will take a long time to sort out the mess I made trying to clear out the mess!

I should have gone through all the boxes, all the folders and all the sample boxes and sorted them into boxes so that all the information I had about each doll was all in one place before I started gluing bits onto paper.

The patterns are my working patterns … they have never been published, sometimes I have the original sketch with a few very sketchy notes on techniques and finishing touches which I thought I might try. Sometimes there are just paper patterns cut from newspaper, templates made from cereal packets. Where possible I have saved body parts that have been cut out, along with clothes ready to make up, or partly made up.

I am going to have to do a separate book with samples and instructions just for the assorted hairstyles which I used

I have un-stuffed completed samples I have had in storage so they aren’t quite so fat when added to the scrap books, though in one case I have kept a doll complete with stuffing and will store her inside the book covers … somehow … but that project will come much later.

After undoing a lot of what I had achieved, I have printed an index page  and the first set of loose leaf pages are almost ready to be sewn together to make the first volume of Rag Doll Records, and have created a slide show of the pages.

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Rag Doll Records

In a past life I made rag dolls … mostly original designs. I no longer have access to the outlets I used, and was happy using, and haven’t made any for about ten years.

There is a cupboard in my sewing room which has held boxes of left over bits and pieces, nicely sorted into different families of designs, while instructions, if there were any, were in the filing cabinet, sometimes even with the patterns.

 

Over the last few months, when I have been home, I have been sorting and trying to work out how to keep a record of each design for future reference, while getting rid of the bulk of materials, plus boxes, folders and scraps of paper.

 

In the years since I last made the dolls I have been playing about trying different ways of making books. I intended keeping the doll details in simple scrap books, but I wanted to include actual samples … less some of the stuffing! However, even without stuffing the sample pieces added a lot of bulk to the books.

 

Luckily I was using spiral bound books, so I have pulled the spirals out and am working on loose pages. I am adding a folded strip of card (cut 2 inches wide and folded lengthwise) from the now empty folders to add bulk to the spine edge of the pages. Now the pages are sitting much better!

 

Next step will be to make covers, then stitch them together. Once again I have turned a simple job into a crafty project … and having some fun along the way. It would be much easier to follow instructions sometimes, but it never seems to happen like that for me.

 

The photos on the page above were taken at a workshop held in Country Craft and Fabrics, Minlaton (now renamed and moved to Port Vincent) … the workshop notes and/or published patterns were stored separately to the patterns I used to make dolls for sale, so I had to search for them as well!

 

With the pages shown here I want to create a book in a box … which will also contain a complete doll sample, complete with all her stuffing! I have very little idea how this will work at this point in time. The pages are A3 size and I have some A3 boxes which will form the box … I just have to work out how it will open for the book part!

Any advice will be gratefully accepted!

There are still some pages to be filled with samples of the body and dress under construction, but here is the doll I want to store in the box part of the book I am trying to work out how to make!

 

 

PS

A diversion(?) last year (2011) has been clearing out my parents house, including a great pile of photo albums. We decided that the bulk would be reduced if the photos were removed from the albums and stored in boxes … and those in those horrible self stick albums really needed to be somewhere else. Which means a whole heap of empty book covers … just ready to be covered with fabric, and filled with new pages! (If only all the covers matched the sizes of the pages!)

 

Teddies and Toys

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New scrap book, gift wrap paper cover, printed label.

2009 Scrap Books 047There are pictures of assorted dolls saved from magazines and catalogues, and articles about doll makers who made some wonderful dolls.

I am not going to make any new dolls.

2009 Scrap Books 048This article is about Marty Maschino, and it was one of her patterns which led to me designing my own bodies, and the clothes to cover those bodies.

I repeat, I am not going to make any new dolls!

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Most of the scraps of paper are from catalogues published from 1995 – 2005.

I am not going to make any new dolls, especially the more primitive ones shown here!

I am just keeping the pictures to enjoy looking at them. And I have saved lots of the primitive sort to drool over.

Not making dolls! But I do have an idea for some scrap books using some of the leftover parts stored in boxes in the sewing room and the shed and under the spare bed! Next years project!

2008

Here is a run down of how I filled in time in 2008.

All completed projects are listed, along with a start list!

Quilt

Not one quilt completed!

The first year since I started quilting that no quilts have been completed. Some hand quilting, some designing, some new projects started, just none completed.

Dolls

Broomstick Snowman

Bears

Patterns

Timber T Tree

Cardboard Cookies

Iris Garden as BOM

Fairy Nice

Witcheries

Broomstick Buddies

Southern Stars

Faux Feather Christmas Trees

Mini Patterns

Calico Candles

Champagne Poppers

String Wreath

Bennie with a Beanie

Chunky Chicken reprise in Patches April/May

Christmas Trees

Balancing Balls plus Spray Paint

New Species Tree No 1 Lurex Yarn Faux Feather

Timber T Tree

New Species Tree No 2 Faux Feathers

New Species Tree No 3 Faux Fur Faux Feather

Tie it on, Fabric 6 ft

Tie it on, Yarn 5’6”

Loopy Crochet 3 ft

New Species Tree No 4, 2 tone Faux Feathers

Decorations

Paper and Paste x 100

Card cut-Ups x 100

Pencil Topper Snowman x 6

Mini Wooden Doll Snowman x 6

Painted Snowman

Wadding Wrapped Snowman

Cardboard Cookies x 40

Plastic Cookies x 40

Beaded Dangles x 25

Bears and dolls torn out of magazines x 35

20 Snowballs (white pom-poms)

Tinsel alternative, 1 ball white Feathers yarn

Over 370 decorations so far!

Arty Farty Books

Popsicle People Patterns

Plastic Cookies Pattern Book

A Guide to Bear Making

Words of Wisdom Purple Edition

Words of Wisdom Plain Brown Edition

House of Toys

Also Rans

Also started the following projects.

Southern Stars quilt top started and finished in June, 2008

5 x Balancing Ball Snowmen

Christmas Trees

5 x Balancing Balls

Hand quilting Bush Garlands 2

Strawberry Patch quilt started

Metal Angel and Tree


img_3911One day Brian brought home a piece of rusty scrap metal which used to guard the flue of a combustion heater.

I asked Dad for a metal float or ball cock, and had a choice of two.

In 2007 I invited the mob for Christmas, and much to my surprise they said they would come, so I decided it would be a good time to get the planned angel put together.

I had to get Brian to cut the metal for the angel, and then I bent it a little bit, and Brian worked out how to keep the head on. I did the wings all by myself!

Then looked at the scraps left, joined them back together again, added a star made of bent wire, a few rusty chains and a couple of butterflies to make a decorated tree.

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Broomstick Santa

broomstick-santa-1I took several quilts, dolls and the

sewing room Christmas Tree

to the Barossa Quilt and Craft Cottage for a

Christmas in July

exhibition this year.

As a result Heather booked me to teach a workshop in December,

‘The Three Santas’.

It has been quite a few years since I made any dolls, and I had only made one Broomstick Santa anyway.

I found bits and pieces of Santapiece and Doorstop Santa,

along with the workshop notes, but had to write

instructions for Broomstick Santa.

So I wrote the instructions, then followed them to make this

Santa dressed in cream.

After the workshop I went to Adelaide, and bent the car,

so Nigel collected all the workshop gear from the very sad car and took to his place,

so the newest Santa only just made it home for Christmas Eve,

along with the two Doorstops Santas,

five Santapieces and two Mrs Santapieces,

and the only other Broomstick Santa.

The one in which I made all the Mistakes …I hope

Monet’s Garden in Close-up 2

monets-garden-2-bFabrics came from the stash and Stitch and Time in Naracoorte, 2004, so I could make a workshop and pattern sample quilt.

The fabric requirements for a twenty five block quilt would have been less than half a metre. I started with a metre, and ran out with just 20 blocks made!

Two days after I started the final episode of Friends was TV, and all the episodes of the program had titles starting with ‘The one in which…..’ I was already running short of the light green fabric after several cutting mistakes, and had already started reverse stitching as well. I had hopes that I would find all the possible mistakes I hadn’t made in the first, still un-quilted top, with this design in this one.

(It worked, because in the third I couldn’t find any more mistakes, unless cutting nearly 50 blocks instead of 25 is a mistake!)

Had it’s first airing as a workshop sample in 2006, was sandwiched with an awful polyester wadding in 2007.

Started quilting in Berri while on holiday, but it needed to be in the hoop on a stand, so most of the quilting was done at home, and at the July 2007 Hi-fibre Retreat.

Binding completed at a Gumtree Quilters meeting, 3rd September 2007

It may be awful batting to quilt, but it is sooo soft!

50 inches x 58 inches

2006

Quilts Started 8, finished 9


You Can’t have too many Friends, or Bears 2004

Billy Tea … but no Damper

Heather’s Horses Again 2004

Olde Worlde Santa 2002

It’s all in the Wording

Nine Patch from Boston 1997

Moonta Bay Jetty 2005

Holly Wreath Table Topper 2004

Christmas Gold 2004

Also started

Monet’s Garden Leftovers

Pair of Peacocks

Australia in Black and White

Palms, Pineapples and Peonies

Echidna Tea Towel Art

Bush Garlands in Red and Yellow

Patterns


Wendy’s Windmill

I’m Here if you Need me

Ready for a Hug

Tynte Street Treasure

Toys for U

Frouwktje’s Fancy

Bundaleer Park

Scrappy Antiques Quilt

2005

Quilts Started 8, finished 9

String of Beads Runner 2 2004

3 x Nine Patch Table Runner 2004

Santa at the Drovers Camp 2002

Double Wedding String of Beads Tale Topper 2004

Gumtree Quilters Scraps with the Gumnut Angels

The Hurrier I Go, the Behinder I get

Memory Lane

Brooke’s Bouquet 2001

My Dad’s OBE

Also started

Christmas Gold

9 Patch Table Runner in Pink

Double Wedding String of Beads Diagonal

Moonta Bay Jetty

It’s All in the Wording

Christmas Trees

String Pine with cotton reel trunk 5 foot

Patterns

String of Beads

Double Wedding String of Beads

Monet’s Garden in Close–up

Tasselling

B C Bear

New ….Beginners One Day Workshop

Cedric

cedric

Cedric was born up the River Murray,

on the houseboat ‘Un-wined’ in August 2004.

He was my second bear design,

though the next design, B C Bear, was completed before Cedric.

He is a composite of Baby Butch and B C Bear designs,

looking more like Baby Butch

but made from the same fur fabric as B C Bear.

B C Bear

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B C Bear

‘Brian Charles’ or ‘before Cedric’

When I told Brian who this bear was he said ‘He looks nothing like me!’

I had no intentions of making a Cedric,

though there was another white bear cut out ready to stitch,

and a body left over from this one, as I redrafted the body while making B C.

B C Bear is the bear shape I have loved for some time, but there are not that many around as either patterns or bears.

I was quite chuffed to get this result so soon after making my first bear.

2004

Baby Butch – A Guide to Bear Making

This is the story of the birth of one little bear.

He is not the best, the cutest or the most lovable little bear,

I have a special place in my heart for my first born bear, Baby Butch.

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Who Needs Help from a friend?

By
Judy Butcher

I asked a friend, who probably wishes to remain anonymous, to make me a bear, but she told me she would teach me to make it myself. We both had busy lives and other things to do, and it didn’t happen, and so she was asked to run a workshop at a quilt group meeting. For whatever reasons that didn’t happen either, but even if it had, I wouldn’t have been able to attend because we had moved half way across the state. I decided to make a bear anyway. Surely it can’t be too difficult!

First up, pick a pattern. Finding the collection of books and magazines was easy because they had just been unpacked and put on the shelf.

There was a head in the first book I opened which I liked. So! It’s meant to be a brooch and there’s no body, only a head. OK. Look at more patterns, pick a body, make it a bit longer, a bit fatter and add a couple of darts.

The arms which belong to the pattern will do the job, but without the separate paws. I thought I’d like to try just clipping them.

Next, legs, preferably bent ones, but the only ones I can find are too big. To fit the body, head and arms already chosen the leg has to be about the same size as the foot on the pattern. Freehand is the quickest way to scale things down if you can draw a bit, but in this case it would have been quicker to find a photocopying business in our new hometown, including the explanation of why it had to be just a smidgin smaller than the third copy, and bigger than the fourth to fit the body.

I am a quilter so making templates is easy, so is marking fabric. I even remembered to reverse pieces as required, then cut it out. I only re-cut the bits I marked sideways on the fabric. And the upside down gusset, though the latter would have been better if I had re-cut it before I had started joining it to the side head.

Stitching the head together was fun, and I stuffed it to check the shape. Then removed the stuffing because I couldn’t find the glass eyes and had to use safety eyes, which need to be inserted before stuffing.

Stitching around the arms was so easy! But it wasn’t so easy to stuff until I had unpicked a bit. Then almost forgot to leave openings in the legs. And of course, ditto the body. Some people learn from their mistakes, but not all, not straight away anyway! Eventually all the bits were stuffed and openings closed.

By now I was feeling like an experienced bear maker. I remembered my friend explaining that any fur caught in seam lines should be eased out with a needle. Did that.

I clipped the nose, paws and bottom of the feet. The last two were my own innovation, and I was really proud of that.

If you are going to use button joints with buttons from your collection, allow about 3 hours to find four matching buttons. It took no time at all to actually attach the limbs after I found the buttons, though I had to guess the placement, as I had so carefully marked the positions on the inside and not used a tailors tack to mark the position on the outside as I have since learned to do.

At this point, if the arms and legs had been longer I had a great looking monkey. Something was missing, and it took a while to work out what. Ears! Something else was missing too, some felt padding behind the safety eyes, but the head was very firmly attached to the body so I made a note to remember that in the future.

Oh help! I have made thousands of rag dolls and their faces are just so easy. Why aren’t bears faces that easy? I finally got something resembling s nose at the pointy end of the face, and discovered by mistake that if you pinch the sides together with a few firm stitches from side to side it made it look half presentable. I’ve since read directions for a bear pattern which includes just that instruction and I wonder if other bear makers have learned their trade by mistake.

All done! Without any help from a friend! But judging by the look on Baby Butch’s face he would have appreciated the presence of a competent mid-wife at his birth. Or is he just worried about what sort of brothers he will get? Baby Butch is one of a kind and nothing like the bears I have seen and loved and wanted to make. However, he has got me hooked on making bears. He has two brothers, and more on the way.

2002

Quilts

Adam

Eve

Bob and Buttons

Cole and Buttons

Shaggy Pine and Snowy

Frozen Assets

Buttoned Down Pine

Christmas Patches Tablecloth

Buttoned Down Pine 2

Buttoned T Tree

Triangle Trees

Table Topper

Table Topper Too

Table Topper 5

Table Topper 3

Table Runner

Table Runner 2

Table Runner 3

Table Topper 4

Table Topper 6

Dolls

Broomstick Santa

Broomstick Golli Girl

Broomstick Doll

Christmas Trees

Curvy Pine

Strippy Scraps Pine (Christmas Tree)

Jingle Bells Faux Fur Faux Feather

Dolls, Teddies and Miniatures

Pyramid Box Tree

Fabric Covered Spiral wire Tree

Loopy Crochet Faux Feather Tree

Decorations

Tinsel Alternatives

Tulle streamers

Ribbon Streamers

Green Boots

Mini Books

Why Rag Dolls are so Lovable

Why Teddy Bears make Great Pets

Run, run as fast as you can, You can’t cat me I’m the Gingerbread Man

Tinsel Alternatives

Christmas trees

Broomstick Santa

I always knew there were better things to do with broom handles than sweep floors!

Add some fabric, stuffing and some scraps of wadding and now they stand around the house as a unique Christmas decoration.

It took about 5 years from the day I had the bright idea until it became a reality.

I had mentioned to another doll maker, that I was thinking of using broom handles to make dolls, and she had some ideas too.

It became a bit of a challenge to get it done.

She made hers first, so then I had to show her mine.

Thankfully she didn’t hold her breath waiting,

because there was a fair time lag!

Designed and made by

Judy Butcher

2002

2001

Quilts

The Pretty Busy Nine Patch

Country Friends, A round Robyn

Trees

The Shed Stick T Trees

Decorations

Cardboard Cut-outs

Paper and Paste Nostalgic Paper Cut-outs

Fabric and Cardboard Cut-outs

Gold Boots

Fairy Nice

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For a long time I thought I should make a fairy, but I didn’t want the usual sequins and glitter style, I wanted it to be more country style. I found a card one day with a naïve illustration of a fairy, and eventually created Fairy Nice, and her angel and even mortal cousins.

They became a very nice workshop!

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Nancy Wake

I started with a name, and designed a doll to go with it!

The doll also had to match the size of some straw hats I had purchased, though I wanted them to have a full head of rag hair under the hat too.

fifteen inches tall.

Santa Collection and the Santapiece

One day I went to Kadina shopping and found a tiny Father Christmas. He was meant to be  a cake decoration, but I loved him anyway!

When I got him home I put him on a shelf, but he was so small he just got lost, so I went looking in the cupboard for something to draw attention to him.. I found 18 more father Christmas’ so sat them on the old treadle sewing machine near the front door..

Now I had a small collection, it started growing . The first additions were all quite small, and eventually I decided the display needed a centrepiece. Keeping the budget in mind, as larger Santas cost larger sums of money, and I was designing and making rag dolls for pocket-money. I designed a Santa doll, and called it the Santapiece. He was joined by Merry Christmas, and most doll bodies I created after that got a Santa makeover.


Twenty years later (2004) there were 220 Santas, including one Brian bought for me. One tree was decorated with 60 of them, in addition to those on shelves, filling the doll’s house and on the floor. Even broom handles got the Santa makeover!

Gnomebodies

(I made the one on the left … the other one came from the nursery … plant nursery.)

After making a few Santapieces in traditional red clothing, I thought it might be fun to use different colours.

I didn’t get the Santa I expected, I got a Gnome instead.

(These last two photos were taken during bathtime for Gnomes!)

If I had thought about it, this was a pretty obvious result, but I didn’t see it coming!

So now I know what Santa does for the rest of the year!