Monday, September 8, 2014

The comprehensive making of Coraline! A soft-doll story

Have you seen this movie

Do you share my love for it? 

I absolutely ADORE this movie, it is completely animated and the first of its kind to be filmed in 3D.  I love the set, it’s overcast gloominess that has such depth and character… and then Coraline herself, a face full of expression… a spirited girl with courage and a desire for justice.  In fact, all of the characters are quirky, crazy or eccentric in their own right, and the soundtrack wraps the whole movie up in a dramatic and haunting bow.  It gets a bit dark nearing the end so not advisable for young ones, always best to watch it yourself first if you have any doubts.  (You can see the trailer here).  My Rosie has just turned Nine and has been watching it for the past year, and it was at her request that I made a Coraline doll.

There were so many facial expressions to choose from!  
Which to pick?!

I searched the Net for some inspiration and came across this post at Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary.  Elizabeth made her daughter a Coraline doll and has a free pattern available on her site.  I decided I wanted to make a smaller version (10” tall, about the same as a Barbie doll), so I used Elizabeth’s pattern for the front of the face, ears, body and coat.  I created my own patterns for the legs, arms and other clothing.  I started with the face…

Don’t you love the sticky-out ears?  They’re not so obvious when her hair is attached.  I used Prismacolour pencils to colour her face, with a brown fine-point permanent marker (Zig 005) for the outline of her eyes, eyebrows and freckles.  Then to create the whiteness of her eyes I used a white gel pen.  (I’m sorry about the blurry photo!)

I gave Coraline a couple of dimples at the end of her smile.  I did this by starting behind the ear, out at the corner of the mouth taking a small stitch and then returning to the starting position behind the ear and tying off.  You can just about make it out in the above photo.  She has a wooden dowel in her neck to support her rather large head.  (Again this is in Elizabeth’s instructions)

Next up, time to make some skinny jeans…

You’ll notice in the above photo that I’ve stuffed the legs and feet?  Well, yeah, the feet would not fit through the skinny jeans so I had to insert each leg through the bottom opening of the jeans leg, and then sew both the jeans and the top of the legs to the body at the same time.  It was a bit tricky!  I put some more stuffing in her derriere as well, as it was looking kinda flat!

Next up, I made her top.  I found the perfect knit fabric colour-wise by the way of a summer jumper hanging on the $2 rack of clothing in my Coles supermarket.  So I made my purchase and cut it up for my wee doll.  I used the draping method.  I cut some fabric utilising the seam as the ‘turtleneck’ for Coraline’s jumper, and then pinned around her.  I then sewed around her arms and body ensuring that there was a sufficient seam allowance and that the jumper would still fit well once it was turned the right side out.

I was pleased with the result, and sewed up the opening on the reverse of the jumper which was also a handy finished seam already on the up cycled garment!  Then we move on to Coat country…

I couldn’t get hold of vinyl material for the coat but it might have been tricky to sew with at such a small scale anyhow.  I purchased this faux suede at my local Spotlight and it had the right worn-in grungy kinda look which really appealed to me.  I zig-zagged the seams first, and did a lot of the sewing by hand.

Then up for some fun!  Completion!  In hindsight I wish I’d have used Elizabeth’s complete head pattern as the additional gusset would have given my doll a flatter head which is a significant feature.  But none-the-less, our wee Coraline sprouted locks (I used Pure wool entwine 8ply colour no 58 made for Spotlight pty ltd - Just to be thorough… ha ha!)

She still does not have welly boots (gum boots) or a bag… but she’s very happy bare-foot for now!

Okay – so here are some interesting links!!  This first one blows me away!  There’s an artist in the UK who knits in miniature!!!!  Her knitting needles are the size of embroidery needles!!!!  Check out the following video to behold how she knits so small - your jaw will drop!

Then there is this video link to get an insight in to how much time, talent and effort goes in to just the hair of these little characters, alone:

Then there is this video to see how the movie was made – you really get a good idea of the scale and complexity of the project. 

I hope you enjoyed my ‘making of’ post!  Have you made any/many dolls yourself?

Be back soon!

Vikki xo

Stop press:  For those of you who were interested in my posting about sensory defensiveness, I have not forgotten.  I just needed to take some time out from thinking about the whole thing – after I completed the therapy I was mentally and emotionally exhausted.  I’m rebuilding my strength and interest in so many things that I’d put to one side… so it won’t be too much longer before I’m ready to share more (smile).


Jenny of Elefantz said...

Your patience at making these tiny little dolls over the years has astounded me. Gosh, you're amazing, Vikki-girl!

By Hoki Quilts said...

You are am-az-ing and your skills blow me away. So careful, so precise, so beautiful Miss Vikki.

Joy said...

You really are unbelievably clever. Just love your work xxxx

GerryART said...

What patience you have, Vikki.
She is adorable ‼️‼️‼️

Any more floating along in your imagative, creative mind⁉️⁉️

Sue Niven said...

You did a great job on the doll Vikki! I have not seen the movie, but now I think i will! Love this post and thanks for all the interesting links. Keep well.

PatchworkPottery said...

Fabulous!!! You did an amazing job!

Anonymous said...

It's really cute! How did you manage to sew the head's pieces together? I can't figure it out


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