These are the two hands for the doll that i am doing. The reason for the wire is that it reinforces the pipe cleaners and makes it easier to put in the fingers, (easier, but not easy). I have used a neutral crochet cotton to bind the pipe cleaner inside the wire right up to the fingertips. The hands need stuffing, and there is enough fabric there to enable sculpting and making tucks, darts on back of hand and palm to give it character. When doing freehand sculpting, i suggest you do both hands at once. (don't forget to mirror what you do or you could have two right hands or two left hand hands). Look at your own hands and see the lines in it, You will end up fascinated by hands.
This is the pattern piece ready to be traced onto paper. To make the back i just fold it in half, add a seam allowance where the fold is and on doubled fabric cut it out. This doll has minimum shaping as all the details will be in the clothing. I have cut out the darts here, but on the fabric they will be sewn and snipped rather than cut out. Chux or similar product, folded double, pinned in the centre, a dart has been added to the waist to take away the fullness of the pattern the piece of chux needs to be as smooth as possible. Plenty of pins and cut out around the edge. Wired hands. No I am not advocating tobacco smoking, This is a box that I have my thin wire, screw driver and small screws.(You may find them in old fashioned tobacconists), I picked mine up a couple of years ago for 50 cents. I know that i want my doll to have long thin fingers, some exaggerated in form. She is not of a human, but an imaginary creature. I pencil in how i want the length and shape of the fingers to be and put in my screws just enough to hold. I wire both hands at the same time. Unscrew the wires and then i add pipe cleaners, wrap wool around each digit to hold and put aside for later. When I am happy with the fingers, I then use them to trace around on cardboard and i then have a pattern to use for my doll. I hope that you are enjoying this little look into how i work.
These are my favourite reference books. Gray's Anatomy, by By Henry Gray F.R.S. I just love the illustrations. The Dolls Dressmaker by Venus A. Dodge, a fantastic way to understand shape and form. Anatomy of a Doll, Designing the Doll and Fantastic Figures all by Susanna Oroyan. These books in particular are brilliant reference books with designs and types of dolls from all over the world. It is like having a piece of all the creative people in your own home. and lastly but not least, Creative Cloth Doll Making by Patti Medaris Culea. I like this book because of the details of using colour for faces to give them depth. To see how other designers have used the same patterns and all their own ideas form. You can see the individuality in their designs come through.