Agosia Arts is about celebrating the natural world, fine craft and conscientious recycling. My main goals with this blog are to : 1) provide a peek behind the scenes at how my work is produced; 2) document my problem solving process; and 3) encourage others to try new things. If you have questions, email me at Thank you for visiting!

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July 11, 2016

What To Do When Your Roadrunner Needs To Lose Weight: Altering the Body Size of A Cloth Figure

When making bodies for my cloth figures, I prefer using wool. There are many reasons for this; it has visual weight, is easy to sew by hand and provides wonderful texture. All fabrics have been prewashed and I purposefully try to felt wool to increase its density. Most fabrics are stable, but sometimes they behave in an unexpected manner.

This pair of roadrunners provides an example of a fabric surprise. Both birds are made from a variety of wools. The plaid used for the body of the right-hand bird is quite firm, with zero movement, but the brown herringbone on the left-hand bird stretched quite a bit during stuffing. As a result, the body and the neck are wider than they should be (see arrows at left)  I could live with the body, but the neck needs to be altered. The head looks out of proportion on top of the thick neck. The heads are only pinned on at this point, so a fix is still an option.

What to do? I have already strung the joints and don't want to take the body apart or start over. Thankfully, the solution is simple - sew an afterthought dart directly into the stuffed body. The first step is to determine where to place the dart. In this case, I decided to run it up the back and neck, but it could go anywhere. I could have placed a few on either side of the neck and down the shoulders, which wouldn't be visible, but I decided to take in the body and neck at the same time.

The dart can be sewn at this point, but it is much easier to pin the dart in place first. You need strong pins and I prefer to use glass-headed pins, not T-pins, because they won't tangle in my thread. With your pin, take a tiny bite of fabric along one side of the dart. Reach across with the point of the pin and dig into the other side of the dart. Pivot the point down into the stuffing. This action will catch the fabric and pin the fold of fabric down.

Continue on with the pinning until the entire dart is in place. In this case, I took out about an inch of fabric. Slip stitch the seam with a strong thread. I use button thread. The dart slimmed the body a small amount but made a considerable difference in the appearance of the neck.

The head is pinned onto the neck again and the proportions look much better. Although the afterthought dart can solve many body shape problems, it is used to best affect when the body parts are made of firm fabrics.

Stay tuned...

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