The Ideal Way to Learn Precision Cloth Doll Making

When You are Ready for a Bigger Challenge:
Precision Cloth Dolls

 

  • Some cloth doll makers start out from quilting. After they’ve made a few quilts, they find an interesting cloth doll to add to the quilt display. Usually, these are simple “pancake” cloth dolls with costumes that complement the quilt.
  • Some cloth doll makers start by making Raggedy Ann and Andy cloth dolls or other simple cloth dolls for their grandchildren. Small children seem to prefer “soft” cloth dolls or animals that they can carry around with them. Usually, these are simple, soft, pancake cloth dolls with costumes that match what the children usually wear.
  • Some cloth doll makers find “abstract” cloth dolls as a way to express their creativity. They often start with a design in a sewing, or craft, or decorating magazine, and go on to more and better cloth dolls.

If you’ve been making cloth dolls for a while and you are looking for a bigger challenge, a precision cloth doll may be ideal for you.

Figurative Sculpture in Fabric and Fiber

From an artistic point of view, the difference between a doll and a sculpture is the sense of frozen time. A doll is just a representation of a person in a sort of abstract way similar to a 3-dimensional stick figure – it has only the life that the child (or adult) projects onto it in their imagination. A sculpture looks like it is a person frozen into a scene in time that could suddenly start moving and carry on with it’s life. A sculpture has a sense of realism in its proportions, anatomical detail, implied motion, and costume accuracy that makes you feel it is about to come to life. A sculpture creates an emotion of some sort in the viewer – a sense of empathy, curiosity, or anticipation that makes the sculpture more than just an inanimate object.

This sense of realism is the difference between an ordinary cloth doll and a precision cloth doll. A precision cloth doll is like a little person waiting to come to life and tell their own story that is implied by the scene that is set. If you want this sense of “life” in your dolls, precision cloth doll making can help you make your work display the transition from object to event. A precision cloth doll can give you a deep sense of satisfaction that you have expressed a story you have always wanted to tell.

From Beginning Steps to Advanced Accomplishment

Mimi’s Victoria Rose 3rd Edition starts at the beginning with Mimi’s Basic Shopping List for Cloth Doll Makers – a separate 30-page booklet that you can take with you to the fabric or craft store on paper, on your smartphone, or on your tablet. It shows you with pictures and descriptions exactly what tools and materials you will need for basic precision cloth doll making. It explains how each dollmaking tool is used and what to look for. If you have a limited budget, or if you’re not sure you want to get heavily involved yet, it tells you which tools to start with and which tools to leave for later. If saves you hours of time and lots of money by helping you get the right stuff the first time and avoiding costly mistakes.

Mimi’s Victoria Rose Shopping List is a separate 3-page list of the exact supplies and materials you need to make Victoria Rose. Again, you can take it to the store with you on paper, on your smartphone, or on your tablet.

Mimi’s Video Handbook for Cloth Doll Makers consists of 13 how-to-do-it videos that show you step-by-step how to do all of the little tricks and techniques that make dollmaking easier and more fun. These are the sewing tricks that you usually only learn by taking an in-person class with a master teacher. You learn not only the easiest and best ways to create dolls and clothing, but also in addition to the “how,” you learn the “why” for each technique, what mistakes to avoid, and how to fix it if you make a mistake.

  • Sewing Machine Basics – how to set up your sewing machine and what accessories make dollmaking easier.
  • Machine Stitching Techniques – how to do critical things like back-tacking and following tight curves.
  • Disappearing Fabric Marker – how to select and use a disappearing fabric marker.
  • Making and Using Templates – how to make and use templates for precision sewing. (Eliminates guesswork following seam allowance.)
  • Preparing Fingers for Turning – how to trim and strengthen seams around fingers before turning so that the seams don’t rip open.
  • Making and Using ginger Turning Tools – how to make tools that will let you turn fingers easily, and how to use those tools effectively.
  • Wiring Fingers – how to wire fingers so that hands can grasp objects or so that fingers can be individually posed for hand gestures.
  • Posing Hands – how to bend fingers so that knuckles look natural and pose hands at the wrist so that poses look natural.
  • Ladder Stitching – how to join body parts and close stuffing holes so that the seams looks like it was perfectly machine stitched.
  • Hair Wefting Techniques – how to weft fibers and yarns so that hair can be easily attached to the doll and will look like natural growing hair.
  • Face Coloring Techniques – how to color the doll’s face so that it looks natural and realistic.
  • Anatomy: Scale and Proportion – how the parts of the body relate to one another so that dolls look like real humans in miniature.
  • Story: Balance and Motion – how to pose dolls so that they look like they are in the middle of movement – like a frozen snapshot in time.

Mimi’s Victoria Rose Instructions have been greatly expanded to 115 pages (56 pages in previous editions). There are more steps with expanded explanations to make it easier than ever to just follow the step-by-step instructions and get a beautiful doll. You can print out the instructions, or you can read them a step-at-a-time on your smartphone or tablet right next to your sewing machine. If you prefer, you can read them several steps-at-a-time on your laptop or computer.

No matter where you’re starting from, beginning dollmaker to advanced fabric and fiber sculptor, Mimi’s Victoria Rose 3rd Edition is the perfect introduction to precision cloth doll making.

Victoria Rose is an easy-to-make, armatured, 16-inch, free-standing cloth doll. She has a young, full-figured, anatomically-proportioned body with a late 19th Century silhouette.

Instructions are included for three face styles:

  • a very easy traced face, embroidered or colored with pencils and/or crayons
  • a trapunto (quilted) face
  • a sophisticated needle-modeled face

Victoria Rose’s clothing was meticulously researched. Her undergarments consist of a set of combinations (these replaced the chemise and drawers, and had no crotch), a corset, a petticoat, and a bustle pad. (The bustle returned as a pad in the late 1880’s.) Her outer garments are a lined walking skirt, a dickey, (rather than a complete blouse to diminish bulk), a lined jacket, and a beautiful hat. Her Victorian boots are paperclay covered with glove leather.

Her hair can be made from either wefted mohair or from textured yarn. Instructions for cleaning and wefting mohair are included.

Suitable for Beginning to Advanced Cloth Dollmakers

This is a Step-by-Step Dollmaking Workshop that comes in a variety of formats to make it conveniently available beside your sewing machine and everywhere you want to view the instructions. Included are:

  • AZW format for Kindle or Kindle PC.
  • EPUB format for most smartphones and tablets.
  • PDF expanded format for large screen laptops and desktops.
  • PDF condensed format for Print.
  • DVD video format for DVD players.
  • MP4 video format for smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktops.
    (Note: some smartphones do not have enough processing power to play videos.)
  • Expanded 115-page instruction book included on DVD (56-pages in 2nd Edition) filled with pictures, drawings, and hints for dollmakers.

This pattern can be used for any young, full figured, anatomically proportioned, female character doll.

You are licensed to sell dolls made from this pattern.

The complete DVD with all files for printing, smartphone or tablet, and DVD or computer video is on sale at 20% savings until New Years, 2018. It makes a wonderful gift for you, and for all of your dollmaking friends.

Get it directly from Mimidolls.Com or at DollmakersJourney.Com.

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Behind the Scenes at Mimidolls

How Cloth Doll Patterns are Changing

As most of you know, Mimi passed away in February of 2017. I have done my best to make sure that all of her teaching patterns remain available for cloth dollmakers around the world.

There are also three new patterns that I am working on to complete the collection of her work. I hope to publish Mimi’s Wee Folks – Elves, Mimi’s High Priestess, and Mimi’s Spartacus sometime in 2018. Part of the delay has been trying to decide just how to publish these new patterns.

To investigate new ways of publishing dollmaking patterns, I did a study of how dollmakers used patterns. What I found is that most dollmakers purchased patterns on CDs and then printed the instructions out so that they could be placed next to their sewing machines while they worked. This is a matter of both economics and convenience.

  • The desired result is to have the pattern instructions in a convenient form next to the sewing machine so that you can follow them step-by-step.
  • The cost of copying and assembling paper patterns, then shipping them to the pattern store, and then shipping them again to the dollmakers is very expensive and time-consuming for the pattern publisher and the pattern shop.
  • The cost of duplicating and shipping CDs to the pattern store and then shipping them again to the dollmakers is relatively inexpensive. Particularly, if the CDs are in an unbreakable polyethylene case (LDPE), because they can be shipped in an unpadded envelope at letter rates rather than at package rates.
  • Dollmakers don’t seem to include the cost of printing from the CD as part of the cost of buying the pattern.

On the other hand, there are still a number of dollmakers who prefer to buy paper patterns, perhaps because they find it inconvenient to print them out from the CD.

So, the first part of making doll patterns more useful was to create a doll pattern that can be used next to the sewing machine and can be distributed at minimal cost.

The second part of making doll patterns more useful was to determine if dollmakers will accept alternatives that to printed patterns, and use smartphones or tablets to hold the instructions next to their sewing machines. This has the added benefit that I can make the instructions much more detailed (longer) without having to print more paper, and I can include videos of techniques that are easier to learn by showing them to you instead of describing them.

Making Instructions Better

This is the story of how we created the 3rd Edition of Mimi’s Victoria Rose. The instruction book will work on your smartphone, tablet, or computer, or if you wish, you can print it out on paper. I say “we” rather than “I” because I feel that Mimi is helping me do this.

The original Victoria Rose pattern was created in 2001 as a paper pattern with a 56 page, step-by-step instruction book and 12 pages of pattern pieces. There was one color picture on the cover and all the other pictures were in black and white. Mimi and I revised the instruction book in 2012 to bring it up-to-date with new techniques and new sources. As our most popular precision cloth doll pattern, it seemed to be the ideal pattern to bring up-to-date again with the new information, techniques, and technology available in 2017.

One of the things that was most important to Mimi was to create patterns and instructions that even a beginning dollmaker could use to create a beautiful doll. The instructions needed to be simple, clear, step-by-step, and complete with no skipped or missing steps. We’ve learned a lot since 2001. We have new techniques that are simpler or work better, and we have new videos that we created for later video workshops.

We’ve added a lot more color to make it easier to understand the instructions and to show more examples of how spectacular the dolls can look. Wherever possible, we substituted color pictures or color drawings to make techniques clearer. We’ve also added lots of new drawings to illustrate the instructions better, and made many of the drawings and pictures bigger so that you can see them easily on your smartphone, tablet, computer, or paper copy.

Instructions Available Anywhere

The biggest thing that we have done is to move to modern technology without abandoning the older ways of doing things.

  • Mimi’s Victoria Rose 3rd Edition comes in four versions (all included) to run on your Kindle (AZW), your smartphone, tablet, or ebook reader (EPUB), on your laptop or desktop computer (PDF for large screen), and also formatted so that you can make a printed copy (PDF for print). You can read the instructions right at your sewing machine. The large pictures and large text will be easy to see even on your smartphone.

D-Instructions

  • Mimi’s Victoria Rose 3rd Edition comes on a DVD, on a storage key, or by digital download. It includes 13 dollmaking techniques videos that can be played on your smartphone, your tablet, your computer (MP4 format), or on your TV (DVD format). You can watch the videos right at your sewing machine if you want.

D-Videos

  • Mimi’s Victoria Rose 3rd Edition includes a separate Mimi’s Basic Shopping List for Cloth Dollmakers that you can take to the store with you to help you get the right tools and supplies for dollmaking the first time with minimum cost and without costly experimentation to find the right stuff. It tells you specific brands and model numbers with pictures so that you can be sure what you are getting. It is 30 pages printed, but it also comes in all four formats, so you can take it on your smartphone or tablet right to the store.

D-BasicShopping

  • Mimi’s Victoria Rose 3rd Edition includes a separate Victoria Rose Shopping List that you can take to the store to get the supplies for Victoria Rose. It is 3 pages printed, but it also comes in all four formats, so you can take it on your smartphone or tablet right to the store.

D-ShoppingList

Of course, Mimi’s Victoria Rose 3rd Edition comes in an unbreakable LDPE DVD case, a USB storage key, or a digital download.

It’s on sale now, for 20% off, until New Years 2018. It’s a perfect holiday gift for yourself, or for any dollmaker you know. Suitable for beginning to advanced cloth dollmakers.

Come visit us at Mimidolls.Com and order your copy now!

 

Mimi’s Health Update – We’ve Moved

Mimi’s Health Update (10/2016)

(by Jim)

Our thanks to all of you for your messages and prayers. Please forgive me for not acknowledging you individually, but I (Jim) do most stuff now except for dollmaking, and we have just downsized Mimi’s studio and moved to a new, smaller apartment.

Previously, Mimi’s colorectal cancer had been inactive in the colon, but not before it had spread to the liver. The latest attempt to kill the cancer involved using radioactive beads inserted into the tumor through a catheter. It was hoped that that would improve her health enough to do a liver resection to remove anything remaining.

Mimi has been a lot healthier lately. The radioactive beads used to treat the tumor have helped. She has been more active, and has helped us move to our new apartment. (Including the painful downsizing of her studio.)

It takes about 3-6 months to see the results of the beads. We got the results of the PET CT scan which covers skull base to mid-thigh. (This is the one with the radioactive sugar that goes directly to areas of high metabolic growth, i.e., cancer.)

Abdomen: Most of the (colorectal) cancer in the liver seems to have shrunk to about 1/8 of previous size. It is not very active.

Chest: The cancer has metastasized again with two small spots in each lung ranging from 0.4 cm to 1.0 cm.

This means that we will NOT do the liver resection to remove the tumor as originally planned, because that would not get it all.

On the other hand, the cancer in the liver is much smaller, so the chemo may work better. The spread of the cancer means that we have started chemo again with a new drug.

Mimi’ cancer has an identified variation of the KRAS gene which provides instructions for making a protein that is involved in regulating cell division.  The new chemo, Vectibix, is a monoclonal antibody that attaches to the cancer cell and makes the cancer cell visible to the immune system. White blood cells then attack the cancer cells. We’re hoping this will do it. Unfortunately, it, too, has some side effects. Mimi is having skin reactions, nausea and fatigue. These side-effects are nowhere near as dangerous as the ones from the original oxyplatin.

The doctor will also look into clinical trials as there are new specific therapies for cancers of this type.

We’ve Moved

We’ve moved to a smaller apartment because we need to be on the first floor. Mimi can’t make it up and down stairs anymore because of the chemo-induced peripheral neuropathy from the oxyplatin.  We got a slightly smaller place so that it will be easier for me to take care of. This meant that we have had to downsize Mimi’s studio. It’s always painful to let go of things you have spent years collecting. After going through everything three or four times, we’ve gotten down to size where the studio only takes up half of the living room and a large closet by the front door.

Mimi's New Studio

Mimi’s New Studio

We’ve given away about 50% of the supplies and about 80% of the books will be for sale on Amazon. Art materials generally went to the fabric artists of the Southwest Florida Fine Craft Guild. Dollmaking specific stuff went to some local dollmakers. More general stuff went to Goodwill.

If you need our new address, it is:

Gloria J. “Mimi” Winer
Mimidolls.Com
3780 Metro Pkwy #315
Fort Myers FL 33916.

Wells Fargo Does It to Mimi

I’m sure that you have already heard about Wells Fargo firing 5300 low-level employees for opening bogus accounts and allegedly screwing depositors in order to make executive required sales quotas. At the same time, not one single high-level executive was fired for setting up the whole thing, or failing to manage it and stopping it. (Lately, according to the NY Times, they have said goodbye to “Carrie Tolstedt, who ran Wells’s community banking operations… She was allowed to retire at age 56 in July, with a compensation package totaling tens of millions of dollars. She is still eligible for additional compensation this year, according to the Senate panel [investigating Wells Fargo].”)

Also, according to the NY Times, in recent years, Wells Fargo has paid more than $10 billion in fines. That includes penalties for subprime loan abuses, discriminating against African-American and Hispanic mortgage borrowers, and foreclosure violations for cars owned by military personnel called to active duty.

According to CNN,

“Active-duty members of the military cannot have their cars repossessed without a court order, according to the DOJ, which just charged Wells Fargo with illegally repossessing 413 vehicles from members of the U.S. military.”

Wells Fargo was fined 24.1 million dollars for just this item alone.

So what did Wells Fargo do to Mimi?

Nothing that drastic.

When we didn’t get the payment invoice for Mimi’s car from Wells Fargo Dealer Services, I called Wells Fargo customer service to verify that they had received our change of address. Wells Fargo wouldn’t talk to me. They insisted on talking to Mimi, even though I told them she had cancer and wasn’t feeling up to talking on the phone. So they grilled her for several minutes for the answers to the same identification questions that I had already given them the same answers to.

We determined that they didn’t have the apartment number in their files. Then Mimi handed me the phone without verifying that the zip code was correct. I attempted to get them to verify the zip code. They refused. They wanted to talk to Mimi again and go through the whole identification routine again. (I now record all phone calls using an app on my smartphone. We’ll see if it makes any difference.)

I personally think it’s obvious that Wells Fargo thinks it can abuse its customers in every conceivable way. I recommend that anyone who is a Wells Fargo customer find another bank or car finance company. Don’t do business with anything that says Wells Fargo.

Unfortunately, here’s a current item from NBC News:

“… the Commodity Futures Trading Commission ordered the same banks to pay over $1.4 billion in penalties. The formal settlement is for the “attempted manipulation of, and for aiding and abetting other banks’ attempts to manipulate, global foreign exchange benchmark rates to benefit the positions of certain traders,” it said. The more detailed breakdown shows that the FCA is fining Citibank $358 million, HSBC $343 million, JPMorgan Chase $352 million, RBS $344 million and UBS $371 million. The CFTC is imposing fines of $310 million each for Citibank and JPMorgan, $290 million each for RBS and UBS, and $275 million for HSBC. U.K. lender Barclays is also part of the investigation.”

You can’t trust any of the big banks! They are all out to maximize profits at the expense of customers! What to do?

There is something you can do t help!

Put your money in a Federal Credit Union. By law, Credit Unions aren’t allowed to do anything except consumer banking. Accounts are insured to the same level as FDIC insures the big banks. Find one near you at Credit Union Access. We use SunCoast FCU. The auto financing rates are around 2% instead of 7% or more. (We got the car before we moved from NJ to FL, so we weren’t members then.) Their mortgage rates are lower too.

Look into it yourself. Tell your friends about it too. It’s time to abandon the big commercial banks that are doing such a bad job for the little guys like us.

 

 

Mimi’s Health Update, Behind the Scenes Coming Soon

Mimi’s Health Update

Round 5 (3/15/16)

We just got the results back from the latest PET scan. The tumor seems to be dying from the inside out. While the overall size hasn’t decreased, the interior of the tumor shows significantly less activity. Apparently, the outside of the tumor will collapse eventually as the interior is cleaned away. This appears to be the result of the Avastin preventing new blood vessel growth. There are no signs of cancer anywhere else.

The doctors are reevaluating, and we may do a new contrast CT to determine if it is feasible to try the radioactive beads to kill the rest of the tumor and then surgically remove the remains.

Over the last few weeks, Mimi has been feeling better, but she has been having a down week this week with both nausea and pain. It looks like it will be a little bit better going into next week.

 

Behind the Scenes at Mimidolls

Mimi & I are working on a new e-book that will take you behind the scenes at Mimidolls. It will tell you a lot about Mimi and me, and show you how we create a new workshop including why we do it the way we do and which tools we use to get it put together. It should be available here in a few days.