Monday, 31 March 2014

What do you do with your scraps? I've made this...and you can do too. Tutorial.

Fior di Cafe. Made with Guatemalan fabric, leather and cord scraps.
Hello there!

Are you lot at all like me, that I keep pretty much everything and wait for the right time to transform whatever I've kept into something else? Then you're probably as messy as me and whenever you need something you can't remember in which of the boxes, bags or suitcases you've stored it *sigh*; I wish I had a studio for it all.
But anyway...

I had a lot of cordleather and Guatemalan fabric scraps that I'd been keeping for a while and I've decided to make something with it, so I've made this little doll. It's probably more of a little girl's thing but I'm thinking of sticking one on a bag or similar to add a bit of colour, maybe on my traveling rucksack when I take it out again (hopefully soon!).

Or you could always decorate the curtains in your daughter's room, hang it somewhere in your garden or make her sleep in a little box. The possibilities are endless.

Materials you'll need. You can add your own too!
Right, so materials.

 - Cord, shoe-laces, yarn and similar stuff to make the arms and legs and sometimes your doll's hair.With the yarn, you should braid 3 pieces for a bit of thickness and consistency. Secure the ends in a knot.
- Leather scraps to use as hair and tiny round pieces of leather to make the eyes. I kept those after riveting handbags and purses, I knew they'd come in handy! (They're in the little transparent bag in the picture)
- Fabric scraps to make their little dresses.
- Studs, tiny rivets, beads, you name it, to decorate the dresses.
I bought these beauties at Chichicastenango market

In this picture we have 2 triangle shaped pieces of fabric, coverstitched to avoid the thread from sticking out. My triangles are not perfect and I don't pretend them to be, I'm not doll-maker and I see a lot of beauty in imperfection. My favourite pieces are always a bit asymmetric too, as you would have noticed by now if you'd known me :-)

Next, take your cord (or shoe-laces or braided yarn) and place them on a table on a vertical 'A' shaped position, these will be your 'legs'. Place your 'arms' horizontally over the legs (take your measurements placing your 'dress' over the 'cord', leaving enough fabric on the triangle's tip to fold over and hide on the back later on) and stitch them together. You can start by sewing the 'legs' together first, then adding the 'arms' and finally adding the front of the 'dress'.

Ok, I'm having to take a break here. This tutorial thing takes forever and I need some energy. I'm not telling you what I'm snacking on or I'll make you jealous. Ok, I'll tell you...'eggs alla coque'. Who said you could only have them for breakfast? Yummy!

Right, I'm back. That was amazing.

As you can see on the 2nd picture, I cut the knots before folding the leftover fabric over 'cause they made it a bit too bulky.

On the 3rd picture, I added the back of the 'dress' and stitched it all together making sure I caught everything hidden underneath. Note that I left a bit of leftover fabric again to fold it and cover the stitches on the back afterwards.

I added a few strategic stitches along the outside of the 'dress' to close it down. In my opinion, you don't have to go over the whole length but it's up to you.

 At this point, you're ready to make a 'head' for your doll. I've made mine cutting a cotton pad as in the picture. Use sharp fabric-cutting scissors for best results and make sure to shape a little 'neck' on it too; this you'll have to stitch between the front and the back of your 'dress'.
I thought a bit of colour would be appropriate for the face since 'Fior di Cafe' is a Guatemalan doll, so I soaked my cotton pads in guess what? Yes, you've guessed it, watered down coffee! (Any other ideas?)

Ta dah! We're, like, half way through now.
Time to gather your leather scraps. Mine are as colourful as possible, as usual.

Make sure the amount you choose covers the back of the 'head'.

Use a cotton bud to spread your white glue all over the back of the 'head' and place your 'hair strands' in a way that they cover the whole surface. (To use the 'cord' as 'hair in another one of my dolls, I found that hot glue worked better and a lot faster!)

The leather scraps should be long enough at the top to fold them over to the front and cover the 'forehead'. First, you'll have to let the glue set for a while though, coffee break anyone?

We're nearly there now, don't you give up!  Add some extra little scraps of 'hair' to cover possible gaps... Check that your glue is dry (I wouldn't know how long it takes, I kind of always start making or doing something else and end up going back to it the next day), turn your doll over, apply more glue to the 'forehead' and fold the leather over. Make sure you cover the sides of the head too, maybe using thinner strands of leather.

When it dries up, unleash the hairdresser in you and give your doll a haircut! (I went for the 'layered with a fringe' look, yeah!)

 A bit more glue for the 'eyes', use a marker pen to draw the lips, attach a safety pin to the back of the dress to use your doll as a brooch and you're ready to make some little girl happy (the little girl in you?) Just don't give it to a 2 year old, it wouldn't last long. 

 Oh! And as you can see, I've added a bit of leather at the front of her dress too, to make it prettier :-)

So there you go...Fior di Cafe and her friends.

And now...what do you do with your scraps? Food, photos, fabric, buttons, metal, anything goes! I'd be interested in knowing :-) 

Answers in a postcard or else you can leave a comment on here. 

Have a lovely week everyone!

Idoia xx

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