Monday, May 4, 2015

Doll Armatures or Dolly Get's a Spine!

Greetings and Salutations Doll Friends!
I've had the draft of this post uploaded for ever so long but am just now getting a chance to come and write up the rest! I tell you, real life keeps me way too busy lately and there is never enough time to play dolls. Hahaha. Such problems! Actually, one of my problems is a am always burning my way into a new project and oftentimes I seem to neglect coming to write them about them... I think I have about six drafts waiting at this moment, in fact. I digress... On to the dolls!

As you may or may not recall, I reccently got a beautiful Postively Perfect Divah Doll. I wrote all about her here. As I mentioned in that post, I wanted to figure out a way to help this beautiful doll stand up and sit better. The bodies on the dolls, as made, are designed much the same as 'baby dolls' in that the body is 'floppy'. Which is great for girls who like to have slumber parties with their dolls and want to sleep with them. However, it makes them really hard to pose in either standing or sitting positions. So, after reasearching all my options, I decided that I was going to attempt inserting an armature (think doll skeleton) into her. Yes, I decided to give her a spine! Teehee. 

The longest part of this procedure ended up being waiting for the armature to arrive after I ordered it off eBay. It came all the way from China and, considering that, really didn't take too long in the big scheme... It took about three weeks. I didn't know which size to order, for sure, so I ordered one that was listed as '20inch doll armature'. I researched first and realized that the little 'beads' on the armature were removable and so I could just 'trim off' any length in the arms or legs I didn't need and I knew for sure it wouldn't be too long. Also, I found a cheaper auction for the 20" one by quite a few bucks and, well, I am me. Ha!

Above is the only real 'tutorial' I found in all of Internetland! I found all manner of videos on YouTube about how to make armatures out of wire (Um, not that brave yet) and/or how to install them into dolls of other mediums, like clay. Not what I was looking for. So, I looked at the basic principle of the idea and decided "How hard could it be?"

Finally, the armature arrived! I was so excited that even though I was due to go have lunch with my amazing girlfriends, I brought the doll, my sewing kit and armature along. I knew it wouldn't take long in actual work time and I can talk and work at same time afterall!

So I roughly measured how long I thought armature should be before I opened up dolls back stitching by laying armature on back of doll. 

Then I very carfeully opened her back stitches. It was kind of tricky around her back tag and I wasn't going to attempt to put it back on after I was done because that would be tricky. She has her butterfly kiss on her neck, anyway, to identify her doll type. Right? 

So I wasn't quite prepared for what I found when I opened her up. (I now feel for Doctors who say that exact thing when opening up live patients! How much it took me aback and this is just a doll!!) 

1)She had/has this long cardboard bit coming out of her head. I discovered it was the closest thing she had to a spine really because it kept her head from being floppy. I tried to take it out and just have armature hold her up but it didn't work very well, so I kept both in there and just put armature up close-by to the carboard bit. I was going to use a zip tie to hold them together but decided that made her too rigid and left them unattached. 

2)Her leg and arms were 'closed' with only a small hole in the middle. I almost cried when I saw that because my whole plan was to insert the armature up and down the legs! After checking, I realized that the armature would go into the holes, but you have to kind of force it down into them and only push it in as deep as you want it to stay. It's all a bit of trial and error, but if you push them in too far, it's a bit tricky to pull them back out, so just go a bit at a time and go equally deep with both legs and arms and you'll do fine. 

I didn't really take as many pictures as I might ought have but the basic procedure is to remove her stitches, take out all of her stuffing (put in a bag as you go so you can put back in and I also added a bit more polyfill to make her more 'dense' when I put it back in), insert armature into her arms and legs and line it up as best as you can with head/cardboard part, then re-stuff her well and sew her back up. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy. Well, maybe not that easy but it wasn't that hard either. I kept reminding myself how great it would be when I was done, being able to have her sit up strait and stand and just kept going with it. 

I learned AFTER I was done that you're supposed to have pliers to pull the armature beads apart. I about ripped my fingers off trimming mine down, so, yeah, learn from my pain and use pliers! I found they sell specialized ones but I can't see how they'd be different, too much, from kind you probably have in your garage so... Up to you how much you want to invest I suppose. I don't think I'll be doing a lot of armatures and I'll probably buy the right size next time, the 18inch kind. Haha!

After getting her all done, I happened to be browsing in Hobby Lobby and asked if they, on an off chance, had doll armatures. Low and behold, they totally do!! So you can get an 18" doll armature at Hobby Lobby for about $8! Lots better than having to wait for three weeks!!

Here is how the cardboard bit coming out of her head looked. 

And minus all the stuffing! 

After armature inserted.

Stitches to close her up. 

Standing on her own!!! 

All dressed and standing up!

That's it Doll Friends!! Hope, if you find and fall in love with a doll who needs a spine, you'll not be afraid to help her out now! Leave any questions in comments! See you next time!!

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