Of all the embroidery and hand-stitches, ladder stitch is the one I use the most. It's how I close up all of my soft toys, dolls and soft sculpture, sew on extremities like ears and tails and attach tiny sleeves to doll dresses.
I recommend ladder stitch in all of my soft toy sewing patterns and, as I am often asked how to sew a ladder stitch, I thought it was time I filmed a little demonstration for you.
Please excuse the poor quality, my less than lovely gardening nails and the sound of macadamia nuts being harvested on the farm across the road!
If the seam turns out a little puckered (as it has in my demo), you can go back over it with a second row of ladder stitch to smooth it out, or just make your stitches a bit closer together.
I also drew a diagram (below)...
I hope that helps!
To celebrate International Womens day this year (March 8) I decided to make a collection of cloth dolls inspired by the suffragettes of the early 1900's who campaigned and fought for the right for women to vote.
They are wearing Edwardian-style clothing and 'Votes for Women' sashes, in the suffragette colours.
All three dolls will be available to purchase via my online store from 8 pm Monday 11th March (Australian eastern daylight time - AEDT). Each doll is between 20cm - 25cm tall and costs AU$380 + shipping from Australia.
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.
The art prints of my paintings 'The fox and the Crow' (inspired by the Aesop fable) are now available to purchase in my online store. Hooray! I'm so happy with the way they turned out. They are professionally printed on the most beautiful art paper and are available in two sizes.
Wishing everyone a safe and happy Christmas. I hope that the new year brings you peace and maybe something exciting.
I made this little painting of a fox and owl enjoying a Christmas tree in a snowy forest, as a card for my children. We are in Australia so Christmas doesn't look like this for us, but this is the Christmas I dreamed of as a child. Next year it will be a wombat and wallaby gazing at a decorated gum tree :)
A free afternoon for a little bit of painting. I'd like to be hanging out in the shade under that tree right now :)
This painting is now available to purchase as an art print.
After a few requests, I thought I'd demonstrate an easy technique for turning out very narrow sewn shapes for stuffing, with a short video demonstration (below), If you have ever tried to sew and stuff really tiny doll legs, arms or the stalks in my mushroom sewing pattern, you will know how tricky and seemingly impossible it is.
I've found a brilliant technique for doing this with ease, using a drinking straw and something long, small and pointy - like a small crochet / knitting needle or skewer.
My next group of dolls are almost finished. I'll list all four little ladies in my online shop on Monday 3rd December from 7pm Sydney time (Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT)).
Each doll measures around 20 cm and is handmade from carefully salvaged second-hand and vintage fabric and firmly stuffed with wool. Bearing a small 'Willowynn' logo hand-drawn onto the inside of one leg, each doll comes with a small signed, dated and letter-pressed certificate of authenticity, in a recycled cardboard gift box made my myself.
Please be aware that my dolls are intended as a treasure for display only and are not suitable as a toy for young children; due to delicate hand stitching, hair and small buttons.
They are priced from AU$380 each + shipping from Australia. I should also point out that I (regrettably) don't have a reserved cart in my online store. So you'll need to move quickly through the checkout process!
I'll also have a couple of my finished dolphin soft toys available to purchase as well. I hope you like them!
A couple of my recent drawings... moody eucalyptus trees (based on a photo taken by photographer Ian Brown), and a crow. I've found that drawing branches is quite relaxing, the more twisted and wonky, the better.
And this little crow was a good exercise in varying tones and getting the blackest blacks from my pencil. Also, I really like crows :)
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.
School holidays means drawing instead of sewing. I don't know why. Also there are lots of fairy wrens flitting around at the moment. If I sit very still, they come through the windows and hop around on my desk. Here's a little watercolour drawing I made, inspired by my little friends.
We've had almost a week of steady rain here in the Northern Rivers so I've been sketching my boys with their gumboots and umbrellas, among other things...
My new dolphin soft toy sewing pattern is now available to download via my online store. My boys and I really love marine creatures and I was inspired to make this one after our regular sightings of pods of dolphins swimming in the sea at our local beach.
This sewing project is nice and simple and works really well with old denim or cotton sheeting. Enjoy!
Lovely rainy day rugged up and making things in my NEW cosy work space. I'm now in the tiny cabin in our yard, surrounded by trees. It's the work room of my dreams. Thank you Matt, for sharing it with me (it used to be his).
Another scene from the Aesop's fable, 'The fox and the crow'... a little challenge (see previous blog post) I set for myself this year. This one is watercolour, pencil and ink and is now available to buy as an art print, in my online store.
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.
The clothing sewing patterns for my stuffed animal dolls are now available to download and print! Hooray! Now you can make little overalls, pants, coats and dresses designed to perfectly fit your Willowynn animal dolls.
These little clothes are simple to sew and are the perfect project to use your special scraps of fabric. I particularly like using remnants of old woollen pants or skirts for the little coats and old denim or corduroy for the overalls (dungarees) and pants. And little squares of cotton print fabric are perfect for the dresses.
The coats (or jackets) can be made with a hood or a collar and can even be made reversible. There are three different dress styles to make - gathered, A-line and an apron style (also reversible). My boys now have a whole wardrobe of clothes for their stuffed animals which, they discovered, fit some of their smaller non-Willowynn toys.
I'm really happy with the way these have turned out and I hope you like them. Let me know what you think. How is the fit? What did you make?
I've been busy designing some little clothing pieces for my Willowynn stuffed animal dolls. So far I've made a jacket (with or without hood), overalls, pants and some little dresses.
I hope to have the sewing patterns / templates for these clothes available for you to download and print in a couple of weeks. I can't wait to see the clothes you make for your Willowynn stuffed animal dolls!
To challenge myself to draw and paint more this year, I'm illustrating an Aesop's fable. It's good to push yourself out of your comfort zone from time to time, isn't it?
Anyway, here is what I have so far. I really enjoy illustrating and have only just recently started using watercolour and I'm loving it!
This one (above) is now available to buy as an art print via my online store.
An alternative (or an addition) to the chocolate eggs for Easter... and a little present that can be handmade by you. My bunny and bear soft toy sewing pattern is available to download via my online shop. Plenty of time to sew this before Easter!
This little bunny rabbit softie would be an adorable companion for a baby or small child. Designed to be endlessly carried around and looks so sweet nestled in amongst a child's pillows. I think this is the perfect project to upcycled that piece of fabric you’ve been saving for something special, like an old baby blanket or soft flannelette sheet.
To make the bunnies you see here, I used an old woollen blanket and soft pieces of grey and pink flannelette from baby bed sheets.
My new group of four handmade cloth art dolls will be available to purchase via my online store from 10am (Australian Eastern Daylight Time - AEDT) Friday 9th March.
Each one of a kind doll is around 20cm tall, handmade here in Australia from vintage and second-hand fabrics, comes with a cloak or shawl and has tiny lace-up boots painted on. Intended as an art piece to display, and not suitable as a toy for children.
These dolls are priced from AUD$340 each + shipping. There's a more detailed description of the dolls below... I should also point out that these dolls sometimes sell in minutes so be sure to move through the check out process quickly if you would like one.
Small fabric art dolls designed and handmade in Australia by myself, from carefully salvaged second hand and vintage fabric.
They are firmly stuffed with wool and their limbs are attached to the body with moveable button joints. Each doll wears a removable cloak or shawl and little lace-up boots (painted on). Their dresses are not removable. Each doll bears a small 'Willowynn' logo hand-drawn onto the inside of one leg, and comes with a small signed, dated and letter-pressed certificate of authenticity.
These dolls are intended as a treasure for display only and are not suitable as a toy for young children; due to delicate hand stitching, hair and small buttons. These are entirely artist-made cloth dolls with some imperfections and visible stitching. Though I have made them with the utmost care and attention to detail, spending many hours perfecting them - please be aware that limbs, head, hair and clothing are hand-stitched onto the body and will come loose if pulled repeatedly or handled roughly.
Length = 20cm (8in)
Dolls will be carefully packaged in a lidded cardboard gift box which I have made myself from recycled brown card.
All four cloth dolls will be available to purchase via my online store from 10am (Australian Eastern Daylight Time - AEDT) Friday 9th March.
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.
Six weeks at home with my kids during the school holidays means I don't get very much of my work for Willowynn done... in fact I don't really even try to get any work done. I have been drawing though... which has been so nice. I think I'll try to spend more time drawing and painting this year... it's something I used to do all the time but dropped away once I had children.
My name is Margeaux Davis. I'm a doll-maker, sewing pattern designer and illustrator, based in northern New South Wales, Australia.