Monday, April 13, 2015

Opposing Forces of Stretch

I had a Eureka moment the other day, quickly followed by a swift palm slap to my forehead. How is it possible that it took me this long to figure out? I've been making and designing softies for years and I'm sure in the back of my mind I knew this, but the fact that it took so long to bubble to my consciousness is a bit embarrassing. 
What is this revelation I am talking about? 
Stretch and the use of opposing forces to counter balance each other, thus making a well rounded shape easier to obtain then ever before.

Here are some examples of what I'm talking about (using the soon to be released Otter pattern)

With the stretch going vertical the head ends up quite elongated with a fairly large forehead. It also took a lot of squishing and careful stuffing to keep a consistent 3D shape.
* His missing eye is not a result of the stretch, but a great example of the importance of very small holes when placing safety eyes.*

  I ran into the same problems when I had the stretch going horizontally, but instead i got a really wide, squat head. Keeping a smooth 3D form was even more difficult with this one, as you can tell by the wonky shape of his head. 
With both of the examples the head ends up flat and it would take a bit of sculpting to get a decent round cheek shape.

Now if I cut the face (front) and the back of the head with opposing stretch directions, they work to balance each other out. This little change results in a much easier to stuff foundation and rounder, smoother 3D end product.

The vertical stretch in the back keep the horizontal stretch in the front from stretching to wide and vice versa for the length

I hope this little tid-bit of knowledge helps you in your future softie and doll making ventures. Keep your eyes out for the Tiny Otter Pattern set to release tomorrow April 14th!!


  1. Omg this explains my baby's head!!!!

    1. It explains so much, trust me I wish I had realized this long ago. I will be making the correction to my patterns, but until then this is a much easier way to spread the word.

  2. Great observation! I know you said you'll be making updates to your existing patterns, but I bought the ogre pattern a while back and am just finally getting started on one. What do you recommend for heads like his with multiple pieces? Maybe stretch going the same front and back and opposite for the sides? I'd love to know what you think before I start cutting into my fabric! Great post and I LOVE your patterns. So excited to finally have some time to try one ��

    1. Hi :)
      Patterns like the Ogre remain unchanged, their multiple pieces already work together to create balance.

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