Just look what I’ve been up to! Yup, taking dolls to pieces . . . before putting them back together again!
Now, originally, the plan was to simply take Lily and Noah apart and make new cloth bodies for both of them, so that I could “weight” bodies, heads & limbs and make them feel more like real babies. However, once I started looking closely I realised that Alice (the reborn bought on ebay) had not been made with the correct body.
I don’t know if you can see, but if you look at limbs, Noah has FULL limbs (since they were attached to a vinyl body; Lily has 3/4 limbs; and Alice has 3/4 arms but FULL legs. She was reborn using a body for both 3/4 arms & legs which meant that her legs were actually too long.
Lily will need some adjustments because her limbs don’t have grooves so that they can be attached with cable ties, but I know how to sort that out. Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself.
Basically, I decided that Lily wouldn’t need a brand new body, since the one from Alice looks like a nice fit for her. In photo, just placed to check for sizing, nothing is attached. Whereas on Alice (same body) – you can see how it makes her legs too long and the body just looks too short.
It’s therefore Alice and Noah who need a new body. Off I went browsing on various reborn sites . . . trying hard to find a shop which stocked bodies in the 2 sizes I needed to avoid having to order on two different sites, therefore pay two lots of shipping. But had no luck.
So . . . I decided simply to buy a pattern, some plastic joints & cable ties, and to make my own!
I bought a pattern by Ragdoll Fairy with instructions to make cloth bodies in all sizes (ranging from 14” to 22” dolls) and with the option to mix & match joints for whatever length limb (full, 3/4, 1/2 and 1/4). It’s a question of just cutting out the right bits, in the right size then mix & matching for the doll in question. I also bought in a supply of the necessary plastic joints (in 35mm and 45mm) so I was prepared for all eventualities. And set to work.
I didn’t have any “doe suede” or flannel which is the fabric used for cloth bodies so just used an ivory cotton for my first attempt. My aim was to have a trial run with the pattern, work out exactly which size body I needed to make, and manage to put one doll back together again.
And I did – yay! I’m not 100% satisfied with Alice’s new body and there are a few things I would change (for next time). Her shoulders are too large and (while I marked the exact spot) I think they should have been attached slightly higher. I made a 21” body and used the shoulder pattern for that size, but Alice would look better with a smaller shoulder . And, if you can see a crease across her tummy, it’s because the pattern gives a very tubby tummy which I chose not to completely pad out as it made Alice look too fat.
The part I was really pleased about though is the joints! Everything swivels round nicely and Alice can pose in some very unrealistic positions lol. The rest is really simply a question of tweaking for next time.
I honestly feel things went very well for a first attempt. Pattern called for some elastic sewn onto the bottom, which I didn’t add, and I think the bottom looks fine without.
Anyway, I followed instructions (found on various sites) for weighting her and putting her back together again. She is actually the same length (since her legs were too long before) and fatter than she was when I first got her, but has lost weight. Her maker had used steel balls for weighting. I have removed those, and weighted with micro fine glass beads (in vinyl gloves for head & body) and then plumped her out with fibrefill. When I’ve had time to save up, I’ll order in some “baby fat” or some high density poly pellets as I think they would give a more realistic feel & weight to the body. For the moment she’s a feather-weight at 1.650 kilos for approx 50cm.
Anyway, I did what I set out to do. Alice has a brand new cotton body, even if her shoulders are a little puffy. Stay tuned in the coming weeks to see what a difference a new body will make to Lily and Noah.