Tuesday, March 4, 2014

New Little Fox: Chester Plus Instructions & WIPs

Hi everyone, I wanted to introduce you to Chester. 

I made him when I was feeling frustrated and lost with my craft. I just had to create something for the sake of creating, so I made this little boy. I've been meaning to make a fox for over a year but just never got around to getting orange dye, so I just never made one. When I make a doll, I always keep a story in my mind because it helps me flesh out the character as I put him together. For him, I envisioned the story of the runt of the litter who was born with patches of him that were not an even color (his outer right leg & inner left leg and arm).  He's  the little fox that's doesn't play with the others but is still wanting to fit in. Perhaps someone to use the key around his neck to give him a forever home.
I really wanted to do a progress post, but I had gotten a little carried away in the middle so I actually do not have any photos during that time.

Step 1 (Brainstorm): For me, this is always to brainstorm and gather inspiration. I look at pictures of fox kits, other commercial fox plushes, fox dolls, and art. I then draft a pattern inspired these pieces. 

Step 2 (Gather materials):  I like to gather his materials for and determine a color palette if I'm making accessories. I had picked seafoam green and a soft blue violet for his palette, but decided that his character did not need those accessories so in the end I did not make them. For him I needed ecru mohair, orange dye, white & black minky.

Step 3 (Draft pattern & prototype): For him, I made a 3 piece head (two for the face, one for the back). I used two darts on his head to give it more of a 3 dimensional feel. From the face pieces, I cut out the sections I wanted white and the sections I wanted orange. I ended up with a 5 piece head. I drew his ears as inspired by the photos I looked at earlier. For his body, I make a 2 piece body and use darts to give it more dimension. As with the face, I cut out the parts of the chest I want white and the parts I want orange. I end up with 4 pieces. I then draw arms, legs, and tail and cut out the black and white pieces from the orange. Now I have a total of 37 pieces. 

If you are not sure about your pattern, you should prototype it first before using more expensive fabric. I prototype on muslin because it does not stretch. Choose your fabric according to the stretch of the fabric you are using.

Step 4 (Dyeing): I trace the pattern onto the mohair to determine how much mohair I need to dye. I usually use a very small seam allowance but because I know dyeing mohair will shrink the backing, I add extra to the seam allowance to accommodate shrinkage. Afterwards I let my mohair dry overnight. 
Step 5: All of Chester's pieces cut out. There are five piles: light orange, dark orange, ecru, white, and black
 Step 5 (Cut & Sew): Here is where I got a little swept away and forgot to take photos. After you cut your pieces, you sew them and turn them. Since I am jointing my doll, I mark on my doll where I am putting the joints, so when it comes time to joint, it will all be symmetrical. The tail and tag are placed in the seam of the body before the body is sewn. All pieces are then flipped.

Step 6 (Stuff & Joint): I start by stuffing the head and limbs and not closing them off. Then I insert the joints and sew it closed before attaching the head and limbs to the body. I then add weight to the tummy, stuff the neck firmly, and sew it closed with.
Step 6: Pins to mark eyes and nose. Body isn't stuff yet, but the ears are pinned to the head
Back of doll with tag, tail, and crumpled ribbon.

Step 7 (Felt face): Prep the face by plucking out the mohair. Glass eyes are put in, secured with both thread and E6000 glue . Eyelids, waterlines, and the base of the face are felted on. Tear drop shaped pieces of felted wool were added, then blending into the base. A nose was then added.

Step 8 (Finishing Touches): Doll was blushed with pastels.  Inner ears were shaded with a taupe blend. 
For the ribbon around the neck, I took two pieces of seam binding ribbon, sprayed with water, crumpled, and left to dry overnight. I added a key and made a 6 loop bow.


  1. This is so crazy adorable. You did an absolutely wonderful job on him.

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you Sugar! How is your own mohair doll making coming along?

    2. Gosh, sorry I somehow missed this >-<

      No problem ^-^ Not too bad. I made a small-ish bear from a pattern in a magazine, but I really just wanted to make my own pattern. I found some nice faux fur I had stashed away, and so far this is what I've done: http://sugarstitchplush.tumblr.com/image/79148699216 I'm still going to make a few changes before I start on a mohair bear (I've got plans for one inspired by cacti X3)