Thursday, May 20, 2010

Soft Sculpture Doll Fabric--pros and cons

For many years, there were two main options for making soft-sculpture dolls--either using muslin or "dolly cloth" which is a skin-toned, very thin knit fabric.  In my early years of dollmaking, I found the muslin to be more sturdy, but less than satisfactory for sculpting fat cheeks like I wanted.  It was fine for your Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls, or your Sunbonnet Sue's.  The dolly cloth made beautiful dolls, but one had to be careful, because if you looked at it crosseyed it would run.  And run.  And run.

Now, after more than 25 years of making soft-sculpture dolls, here's my viewpoint/hints on doll fabrics.  Maybe even a few websites, smile.  You just  never know....

Muslin--You must use a pattern that specifies muslin or cotton cloth.  Most patterns for soft-sculpture dolls requires a one-way stretch, and muslin has a no-way stretch.  I tried doing a doll, cutting it out on the resembled a "Conehead" by the time it was stuffed and sculpted. Best sewing machine needles to use with muslin is either a good Universal needle or Sharps, if  you can find them.

Dolly cloth--It has gotten better over the years, but you still have to be careful.  This fabric makes beautiful dolls, more like the collectibles that I used to make, but not quite as child-friendly as what I usually use now. Use a #11 Ballpoint needle in the sewing will push the fibers out of the way instead of cutting them.  When stuffing the doll, use big pieces of fiberfill at first, then move them to the outside and continue to add stuffing to the middle, push to the outside, etc...that way you won't have lumpy babies.  I used this fabric for my "Chubby Chuckie' doll in my etsy store.

The new kid on the block--The majority of my babies are made from this material--it's called "Craft Velour" and it is wonderful!  It's soft, like a velour would be, it has a one-way stretch to it, is very forgiving, sculpts beautifully, and is a dream to sew on.  I still use a Ballpoint needle, just because it IS a knit of sorts, and it just adds to the durability of the dolls.  The dolls machine wash and dry beautifully (pin them into a pillowcase first, please, smile) which makes moms of little ones happy. 

This fabric, sad to say, can't be bought at your local Joanne's Fabrics...I wish!  But I do have two websites where it can be purchased.  One is the Dinky Baby site, and the other is CR's Crafts website. 

Well, there you have my take on fabric.  The good, the bad, and in the case of the muslin baby cut on the bias....the UGLY!!!

Happy dolling,,


It's called "repurposing".  Saves money, less trash.  Good stuff.

To see the dolls I currently have for sale, check out my etsy store

If you would like a custom doll, you can email me at my business email

No comments:

Post a Comment