Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Hand Problem..................

Cloth doll hands can be a real problem - often they are the one feature that will let down an otherwise fine piece, because they are clunky, or unnatural looking. It took me quite a few years of experimenting to come up with a cloth hand that I was happy with - the biggest breakthrough was using the idea of a separate thumb - I was able to locate the thumb in a much more natural relationship with the rest of the fingers, rather than having them all on the same plane. Here's how I do it:
Arms/hands sewn and turned; small hole nipped where "thumb bone" would be.

                    Pipe-cleaner framework made to insert into hand - stuffs and wires in one go!

Frame-work inserted - note the wire protruding from the thumb hole.

           Hand and arm filled and a small piece of wadding wrapped around the base of the thumb.

Thumb covering slipped on - it will be ladder-stitched in place.

                                                                    Expressive hands!





20 comments:

tj said...

...Thank you dearly for this tutorial! I literally break out in a sweat when it comes to cloth doll hands & fingers. I also love the attached thumb and the wire armature and will have to try this on my next doll.

...Again, thank you!

...Have a lovely weekend!

...Blessings :o)

Robin's Egg Bleu said...

Aha! So that's how you make your perfect little hands! I love love love you for sharing this! Thank you!

merrijane said...

Mystery solved! Susie, thanks for sharing how you make your wonderful hands.

Yve said...

Your hands always look amazing! That is usually the part of each doll I make that embarrasses me the most, I've made a delicate little creature in a lovely gown... with huge working man's hands poking out of her sleeves! I will bear your tutorial in mind from now on ;o)

Jan Conwell said...

Cool. Now I have a use for the bag of pipe cleaners I bought last year and never used. ;~) Thank you so much for the tutorial. It was clear and so enlightening!

I've been doing the applied thumb because of IW dolls, but the pipe cleaner thing is genius.

maddyrose said...

Great tutorial. I've noticed the thumbs on your dolls were attached differently and find this very helpful in recreating the natural look of your dolls hands. Thanks for sharing.

Cheryl @ Bingle Bears said...

Thanks for sharing this with us. You make such magical dolls!

Warmly,
Cheryl

Mary Ann said...

I agree with everyone:) The pipe cleaner inserted into the finger is absolutely amazing...thank you for showing us a neat way of making perfect hands:)

Susie McMahon said...

Thanks for the feedback, everyone - I forgot to say in the caption to the second photo that I wrap some wadding around the ends of the pipe-cleaners before I insert the hand framework to cover any sharp wire ends. Fabric choice is important in being able to successfully turn very small cloth fingers - I use a good quality quilter's muslin with a high thread count and sew with a very tiny stitch - the smallest possible on your machine and still be going forward!

Ron Anger said...

And another secret of the universe revealed. Thank you for the insight Susie!

susana said...

that's wonderful to see how 2D turns into 3D and i understand why you show us the different placement. thank you!

Rhissanna said...

Wow! See, I don't even try individual fingers. They fill me with terror. I do the pipe-cleaner thing, though as it gives some movement to mitten hands. I might come out of my comfort zone and try this. Thank you for sharing your technique.

Jo James said...

Love!

Wilma said...

many thanks for these tips - hands often intimidate but you have helped greatly.

Susie McMahon said...

Hopefully, some of you are feeling a little less intimidated by the hand thing......I know only too well that sweaty, hot and bothered feeling that overcomes you when fingers won't turn through properly! I now ease myself into a very calm Zen-like state when I need to turn fingers. It seems to help!

Melinda said...

Thanks for this great tuto !

Kanchan Mahon said...

Your "Sleeping Muse" is so wicked awesome that I seem have no other words for it! Well, I’ll try.


It’s anthropomorphism depicted in a fabulous new manner, she is both subsumed and emerging from the earth.

It’s delightfully allegorical. It’s gorgeous, It’s not just beautiful but thought provoking.

What a wonderful way to describe to a non-artist what it feels like to know your muse is there! Just beneath the surface, but sleeping! I think my muse has been sleeping lately too!

You can check my art and see if you agree!
I sell all my art for charity and have my own website for that too. It’s at

http://www.DreamImages.org I now always know that my muse is just sleeping, still with me, though not all here, and she’ll will wake up for me soon enough!

Wishing you the blessings of peaceful and creative days,
~Kanchan Mahon



PS You win in the category of “Deviously Cool Concepts”
(It’s an expression from the website deviantArt, an artist’s communication site, the largest in the world) One of the great things about deviantArt is that you can collect your “likes” or “favorite" pieces of other people’s work, and create your own gallery with them. I wish I could collect this cool image.

I’m at http://kanchancollage.deviantart.com/gallery/

and you can see what I mean about being able to collect other’s art that you like is

http://kanchancollage.deviantart.com/favourites/

If you go there, check out the sub-galleries in my favorite gallery (second link) it’s a way to categorize your collections. I.e. you favorite photos, or your favorite depictions of children, etc.

By the way,

lk moonwood said...

Fantastic tutorials here! Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge, Susie - you are so generous!
: ) lulu

Зиля said...

Thanks a lot! with your permission, I posted a link to your blog host.

autumndawns said...

Your dolls are wonderful. The tutorial for making cloth hands is very helpful. I have an art doll I made almost 10 years ago who still needs her hands and feet.

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