Soft sculpture is an ideal medium for modeling baby faces. Their plump cheeks, rounded chins and rosebud lips are easy to sculpt with fabric, fiberfill and a few stitches. Once you get the basic shaping techniques down, you can get creative with stitching and shaping to give your little munchkins expressions and personality. You can use these same techniques whether your baby face will grace a doll, a brooch, a magnet or any other creative use you can imagine.
Things You'll Need:
- Knit Fabric
- Sewing Needle
Make the Head
Cut a circle from flesh colored knit fabric that measures three times the circumference that of the desired finished head.
Leaving long tails of thread at the beginning and end of each row, make two rows of running stitches around the circle 1/4 and 1/2 inches from the edge.
Gather the circle evenly along the threads so that the head looks like an un-inflated balloon. Make sure to keep the right side of the fabric facing out.
Stuff the circle firmly with fiberfill, shaping the head as you stuff. Leave the stitching at the bottom of the head slightly open.
Sculpting the Face
Thread the needle with an 18 inch length of thread. Bring the needle up through the opening at the bottom of the head and out where you want one side of the nose. Take a small stitch there to anchor the thread, then push the needle through to the other side of the nose, catching some of the fiberfill. Use your fingers to shape the nose slightly, and pull the thread just tightly enough to hold the fiberfill in place. Take another small stitch to anchor the thread.
Bring the needle up inside the head to the bridge of the nose, catching a bit of fiberfill and pulling the thread up tightly enough to plump the nose. Bring the thread back into the head, carrying it loosely inside the stuffing to the outside corner of one eye.
Using small stitches, outline the upper curve of the eye, pulling the thread tightly enough to sculpt the eye socket. When you reach the inner corner of the eye, stitch back in the same way to shape the lower curve.
Pinch up a bit of fiberfill along the lower curve of the eye, pulling the fabric above the stitching down slightly toward the cheek. Stitch up and down behind the fiberfill to form the bottom of a closed eyelid.
Bring the needle to the outer corner of the opposite eye, carrying the thread loosely inside the stuffing. Repeat the shaping to sculpt the second eye.
Bring the needle down through the head and out at the corner of the lips. Pinch up the fabric with a small amount of fiberfill to plump up the lips. Work the needle back and forth through the fabric and behind the fiberfill to the other end of the mouth. End with the needle on the outside of the fabric.
Bring the thread over the bunched up fabric and fiberfill, pushing the needle down at the starting corner of the mouth. Pull the thread tightly to create a crease between the upper and lower lips. Take a small stitch at the corner to anchor the thread and bring the needle up at the center of the upper lip. Take a small stitch there, pulling the thread down to shape the upper lip. Knot the thread tightly against the inside of the fabric. Clip the thread a couple of inches from the knot, leaving the end buried in the fiberfill.
Experiment with different types of fabric and patterns for doll heads to get different effects.
Deb Powers is an avid urban gardener who works with a community collective to promote sustainable urban agriculture and build partnerships between local business owners and community organizations. Powers serves as a social media and marketing consultant for local non-profits and businesses, and is collaborating with a coffee roaster to publish a cookbook highlighting coffee as a culinary ingredient.