Editor's Note: This series of posts became a book!
Stuffed Animals: From Concept to Construction was published by Lark Crafts in 2013.
One good way to create a round head for a softie is to sew pattern pieces that come together like the seams on a baseball.
The baseball head is made up of two pattern pieces: a side and a gusset. Cut two sides and one gusset. Here is what they look like.
You can either baste the bottom edges and attach them to a body or sew a running stitch along the bottom edges and gather them to close the opening.
You can modify the baseball head pieces in a countless different ways to get different effects.
For example you could elongate the gusset piece, extending it downward so that it becomes part of the body of an animal.
You can shorten it so that it does not extend all the way to the end of the side pieces.
You can make the gusset rounder or leaner.
Once you've made a baseball head let your ideas flow. Add a trunk and make an elephant, or a mane and muzzle and make a lion. Attach it to a bird's body or a doll's. A round head is a versatile thing.
Here are a few softies I've made that use some form of baseball head.
I originally learned about baseball heads from Susanna Oroyan's book Anatomy of a Doll which is now out of print, although it is availabe as an eBook.
I'm excited to say that Susanna's publisher has offered me a copy of the eBook to giveaway! Anatomy of a Doll is an excellent resource, a handbook really, for dollmakers. It includes a multitude of doll-making techniques along with photos of hundreds of different dolls for inspiration. I think you'll really enjoy it.
To enter, leave a comment telling me what softie you're working on, or you're planning to work on soon. I want to know what's on your work desk! Please be sure to mention that you'd like to be entered to win the book. I'll close comments and randomly choose a winner on Thursday morning, March 17, at 7:30 am EST.
And if you don't want the ebook, but just have a comment about baseball heads, that's awesome, too.