I designed a simple barn owl stuffed toy years ago which has been one of my most popular soft toys. I think I've made hundreds of them and have even adapted it to create a larger, more sculptural clawed barn owl that also has wings - which I still make today.
Anyway, I've decided that it's time to offer my little barn owl softie as a digital sewing pattern, so that you can enjoy making them for your little ones. Their cute Babushka-like shape reminds me of the shape of a chubby penguin, so my sewing pattern also includes templates and instructions for making penguins!
I've spent the past couple of months designing the penguin soft toy and putting together a new sewing pattern for both of them. It is now available to download via my online store.
Here are some recent pictures of my work table this past month or so... doll making can be a messy business but also provides me with some surprisingly funny little scenes, when I walk into my sewing room / cabin of a morning.
I'm busily working on some new cloth dolls which I hope to have available by end of November (but probably early December). Looking up just now, I caught sight of these two little heads resting in crochet cotton balls and smiled... they looks so content. So thought I'd share that with you :)
I'm spending this lovely rainy day sewing clothing for my new collection of cloth art dolls. The dress I'm currently working on is Victorian inspired, and I've found that to get that lovely Victorian dress shape, the dolls really need to wear a petticoat and bustle underneath.
This next group of dolls should be finished and available to purchase via my online store by the end of November. To see some of my dolls, take a look at my gallery page or have a look back through the Willowynn artworks category on my blog.
At work, stuffing fabric snails while warming up in the sun.
My workroom gets the winter sun and is the best place to be when it's cold. I've opened up all the windows to let in the fresh air, as it's been really wet here lately. I'll be closing them and lighting the fire soon though... once the sun disappears behind the trees.
I found an old, torn linen cushion cover. I'm keeping the zipper and making giant snails from it. I was going to try to mend it. to use it as a cushion cover but it has a massive hole which is very frayed. Also, I think this linen is the perfect fabric for making snail shells.
I use second hand fabric for almost everything I sew - old woolen blankets, scraps and remnants. With so much fabric and old clothing going to landfill, I don't like to buy new. Also, I think things like linen and wool are so much nicer when a little worn.
Giant linen snails coming to my online store very soon.
Lovely rainy afternoon here in my workroom, stitching tiny things.
I haven't shared any of my textile work here for a little while but rest assured, I'm still at it. I started the year a bit lacking in motivation, inspiration and confidence... so I've been occupying myself with other things, hoping it would all come back... and it has!
New dolls coming soon... then lots of creatures.
The group of cloth dolls I'm working on right now are taking a LOT longer to finish than I anticipated... and school holidays start next week. Soooo I hope to have five new dolls available here in early October rather than September (as originally promised). Here's one of their tiny dresses...
I made a little video demonstration (below), showing how to embroider French knots. I found this embroidery stitch quite tricky when I first tried it and looking at diagrams in embroidery books didn't really help me. But I've since taught myself how to sew them so thought I'd show you how I do it.
The key is to hold the thread taut with one hand while you wrap it around the needle and insert it into the fabric. Hold on to the thread until just before it is pulled all the way through the fabric (see video below).
This is an example of a singular French knot but you can make them larger by wrapping the thread around your needle twice rather than once. This video shows how I stitch the French knots onto my fabric mushroom hanging ornaments.
... and here is a little diagram showing French knots in more detail. I drew this a while ago for one of my sewing patterns. Enjoy!
This face looking up at me while I embroider his tummy. I know he's not real but I kind of hope I'm not hurting him...
Two new barn owl soft sculptures will be available via my online store from 10am Thursday 31 August (Sydney time).
I've spent ages trying to perfect my platypus soft toy so that I can offer a sewing pattern with instructions on how to make one. The body is pretty straight forward but the feet and bill have really challenged me. I think I've finally figured it out now and I'm really happy with the way it's turned out, so I should have the pattern ready for you to download very soon. I hope you like it. *Pattern can be purchased here.
My son needed a platypus (and this photo of me making it) for something at school. It took me several prototypes to get the shape you see here and there are still things I'd change... but I'm thinking of maybe offering it as a sewing pattern. Would you make a platypus? They're pretty fantastic creatures.
My little Willowynn stamp isn't small enough for these tiny legs, so I hand-draw my label with my ultra fine waterproof pen.
Thanks so much guys! Lots of hanging mushrooms (and fox and bunny dolls) in the post. It might not look like it, but that's a lot of work boxed up right there and it's such a great feeling to see them all finished and heading out into the world. Dolls, owls and whales next...
This is where I work every day... my favourite room in this tiny old house. My boys like it in here too as this is where the buttons, scissors, string and good pens are. Right now I'm working on some owls, whales and four new dolls which will available via my online shop soon.
My messy table is filled with work that I hope to have available via my online store over the next few weeks.
It's been one of those lovely steamy afternoons with the sound of thunder in the distance...
My new letter-pressed 'certificate of authenticity' cards printed by Jo and Andy from Olive and the Volcano just arrived...and I'm over the moon... and thank you Nettie (Ginger Blue Graphics) for helping me with the design!
Some mushroom hanging ornaments on my work table this week. I'm trying to get some sets of these ready for Christmas.
I love it when the perfect material for what I need happens to be rubbish... like the plastic from old milk bottles.
Let's all start wearing cloaks again! This is a little cloak I've made for one of the cloth dolls I'm working on at the moment. It's made of a beautiful mustard velvet I cut out of a curtain.
Busily working on finishing three new cloth dolls by the end of the week. I'm fascinated with historical fashion at the moment...
They'll be listed in my online store soon.
My current fixation is this shell from a giant panda snail. It's helping me with what I'm working on right now.
There are rejected shapes, limbs, heads and ideas all over the place this week. I'm modifying, tweaking, improving and trying for curvier curves. Trying not to obsess or over think...
Sometimes I walk in and wonder if I've just interrupted something...or maybe that's just me. Too long sitting in this room by myself?
For ages now I've been planning to make my own logo and then carve it into a rubber stamp myself. I love making things and thought this would be a fun and not too difficult or time consuming thing to do. I was wrong.
I think sometimes it's good to outsource those jobs that require just a bit of professional experience and skill. Like my logo and stamps.
So I asked the lovely, talented and patient Annette from Ginger Blue Graphics here in the Northern Rivers to help me create this logo which I'm so pleased with.
And these awesome rubber stamps (with beautiful wooden mounts made from Western Australian Jarrah) are made by Scott at Penrith Rubber Stamps in Sydney. I could not be happier.
Hello and welcome...
My name is Margeaux Davis. I'm a cloth doll artist, toy maker and illustrator.