PDA

View Full Version : Dragon Fabric Sculpture Demo


DraigAthar
09-27-2002, 09:42 PM
Okay, I'm going to start a new thread for this, and actually start explaining this whole process. I've got the pattern mostly worked up now, so let me post some photos of it and tell you what I've done. I'm going to do my best to explain this, but I'm sure I'll take too many things for granted and confuse some of you, so PLEASE ask questions and MAKE me explain myself properly. LOL!

So you remember my initial sketch:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Sep-2002/fabdrag01.jpg

Well I started out by making a good solid ink outline of it on another sheet of paper. We'll just start with the body. The wings will be constructed as separate pieces and attached to the body later, as will the ears. So I'll worry about those later and just focus on the body for now. I needed to enlarge the diagram to the size I want the actual fabric sculpture to be. I decided I'd like this guy to stand about a foot tall, which ends up making him fairly long, so this will be on the large side, for a fabric sculpture. In general, working between 10" and about 18" in height seems best for me. Anything smaller and I go insane trying to sew it. Any larger, and constructing a sturdy interior support becomes a challenge.

I just use the grid method to enlarge my inked diagram. The drawing turned out to be about 12cm tall, to it was easy to grid it from cm straight to in and end up with a 12in tall pattern. Here's the inked version, with the grid drawn in:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Sep-2002/fabdrag02.jpg

I know that looks a little strange with legs drawn in on both sides of the body - the lines all start to overlap - but I need to be able to see both sides of the body in the same diagram. To give the fabric sculpture a little more realistic pose, you don't want the legs to be perfectly symmetrical.

Here's the enlarged version, on newsprint:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Sep-2002/fabdrag03.jpg

The tail was too long to fit on a single page so I just added it farther up in the grid, as you'll see there.

Now we have to turn the diagram into a pattern to be traced on the the fabric and sewn/cut out. This is the hard part, because you need to be somewhat familiar with how fabric patterns work. You have to imagine how your 2D diagram will translate into a 3D sculpture. For this guy, I didn't need to make TOO many alterations to the original diagram, I don't think.

Let me just post a picture of the pattern, and then come back and try and explain what I did in a separate post, because this one is getting a bit long. :)

Here's the pattern:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Sep-2002/fabdrag04.jpg

That is now the pattern for one side of the body. I usually just turn the sheet of paper over and draw the other side of the body (with the differently posed legs) in on that side (I tape the sheet up to the window and just trace it). That saves me from having to draw a whole new copy of it on a separate sheet of paper. So even though I'll focus on this one side of the body, remember that there are two separate patterns for the different sides of the body. They are MOSTLY the same, it's just the legs are different.

More to come shortly ...

Amy

DraigAthar
09-27-2002, 10:19 PM
Okay, let me try and go through the pattern and explain some of the things I've done.

First, the feet:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Sep-2002/fabdrag05.jpg

Sewing feet out of fabric either results in really dopey looking feet, or else it's a TON of work to make decent looking feet. So for this project I will hard sculpt the feet on later. This means I just need to end the legs at the ankles, leaving the bottoms open for inserting wire.

You'll also notice in the above picture that the leg has been widened somewhat from the original diagram. Some extra space is needed to compensate for the way the fabric will pull up when it becomes a cylinder. Looking at my original drawing, I gave the dragon pretty beefy legs, so I didn't add too much extra space in this case.

Next, the leg darts:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Sep-2002/fabdrag06.jpg

These darts will be sewn in the body gusset. If you didn't sew these darts in the gusset, the legs would end up sticking straight out from the body sideways. :)

Then there's the body gusset:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Sep-2002/fabdrag07.jpg

The body gusset becomes the belly of the dragon, and the insides of the legs. It's just a mirror image of the legs up to the line on the body marked A to B. That line will be the center of the belly. The points between the two O's will be left open, for stuffing.

Then there's the most complicated part, the head:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Sep-2002/fabdrag08.jpg

I decided to shorten the snout a little. I was afraid in the final sculpture the snout would look way too long. All the marks you see on the head are lineup points for the head gusset.

Here's the head gusset:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Sep-2002/fabdrag09.jpg

Making the head gusset is often a lot of guesswork. You have to imagine the top view of the head, and where it gets wider or narrower. That defines the shape of the head gusset. I wanted the jaw and head to be wide, and the nose a little wider, so you'll see how I've added bumps in the gusset to accomodate this. The lines across the gusset match up with the marks on the head pattern. You have to try and measure the length of the curves of the head so that you make the gusset a proper length that will match up evenly with the head pattern.

Sometimes I will sew up just the head of a pattern like this, to make sure it comes out looking the way I intend before spending time on the entire sculpture. It's much easier to make alterations to a pattern than to the sculpture. :)

I think that mostly describes the pattern. Some of this will make MUCH more sense when I actually go to sew it and can show you what I'm talking about when I get into the fabric.

All of the lines on the pattern that extend inwards past the outline will end up being needle sculpted after stuffing, to give the dragon shape. You'll see that later on, too.

So ... does any of this make sense to you? Let me know if I can explain any of it better.

:)

Amy

Elankat
09-27-2002, 10:34 PM
Strangely enough, I was able to follow it. I had to look at the head gusset a second time, but I'm pretty certain that I had the right "Ah HAH!" moment and understand. :D

But, I've drawn my own patterns before and done a good amount of sewing. I'm interested to see if others understand the process though. I think that as the pieces get sewn, the tutorial will become easier to follow too.

This is so interesting! :D

TeAnne
09-28-2002, 09:22 AM
Cool and interesting. I'll be watching this. I hope you make an Article about it when it's all completed. Who's a clever girl then? WOW

jsr88
09-28-2002, 10:12 AM
Amy...you are doing an excellant job here. The instructions are quite clear to me. (but then I've been working with gussets and darts for ages! :D )

:clap: ~ LOOKING GOOD!!! ~ :clap:

Axl
09-28-2002, 05:07 PM
I know absolutely nothing about sewing and patterns but this still makes sense to me!! Good show :D keep 'er coming ;)

inkskin
09-29-2002, 01:37 PM
Makes sense to me:D Did you take a sewing class or did you work all of this out for yourself?There is so much work that goes into this little guy already!

Heather

DraigAthar
09-29-2002, 09:05 PM
Heather - never had a sewing class in my life. My mom had an antique treadle sewing machine when I was a kid (well, she probably STILL has it) that I one day (when I was 12 or 13? I don't remember) decided to learn to use, because I wanted to make my own stuffed animals. She gave me tips and the rest I just picked up by practicing. I used to sew just from patterns but I guess somewhere along the way I picked up enough to figure out how to start making my own patterns. :)

Amy

David Dowbyhuz
09-30-2002, 01:27 PM
What a wonderfully intricate and complete tutorial, Amy. (Although you lost me at the "darts". :) ) Melody, the textile artist of the family, will know just what you mean.

It'll be a lot fun to watch a process that's so far beyond me!

:D

DraigAthar
09-30-2002, 04:37 PM
Originally posted by Iconoclast
What a wonderfully intricate and complete tutorial, Amy. (Although you lost me at the "darts". :) )

Heh, darts are just folds sewn into fabric to give a garment (or fabric sculpture!) shape. Most articles of clothing have darts in them to make them fit the body better. Check the back waistband of your trousers, they prolly have darts in them. ;)

Amy

Leaflin
09-30-2002, 05:45 PM
I think you did a great job on your demo!
It helps one appreciate how much work goes into a fabric sculpture.
Look forward to seeing the finished piece

kitaye
09-30-2002, 07:32 PM
So far so good. I've done alot of sewing using commercial patterns so the ideas are there for me but, I think you may want to extend the blurb on the leg darts. I think a large part of the darts will become clearer when you start showing the actual sewing part but the pattern part of the darts is a little confusing. BTW I also hope you make this into a full blown tutorial it'll be awsome when you're done.

DraigAthar
09-30-2002, 07:35 PM
Thanks kitaye. I'll do my best to explain the darts better when I actually sew up the dragon - I think it may be much clearer when I can take pictures to show people what I'm talking about.

As for a tutorial, well I've never made one! I guess I did as a demo so I could get feedback about what's clear or unclear. But I could always look into turning it into a tutorial after it's all done, like you suggest!

Amy

Axl
09-30-2002, 07:45 PM
Yes! Tutorial!!!! Junior says we need some lol

Fidget
09-30-2002, 08:29 PM
Amy,
You are doing a wonderful job. Everything is very clearly explained.

I wouldn't of thought of the dart is the legs myself. So much easier to sew and adjust as you go.

But, I don't think Dave still understands.
I once tried to show him why I had to adjust the darts on a dress but he just stood there blinking.
Like he needed to be rebooted.

You are so nice to share this with us.

Melody

DraigAthar
10-01-2002, 07:30 PM
Woo-hoo! Got my silk in the mail today so now I'm ready to start sewing. Soon as I clean the table off so I can set up the sewing machine, heh ...

Amy

DraigAthar
10-02-2002, 01:13 PM
Okay, I spent a little time last night sewing up a test head, to make sure I'd be satisfied with the head pattern before starting on the whole body. Here's how it came out (quickly hand sewn only, and without eyes, so a bit approximate, but close enough to tell me the pattern will work). What do you think?

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Oct-2002/fabdrag10.jpg

And don't worry, I'll go back and explain how I did this when I get to that part in the full sculpture. Right now I just wanted a quick test so I didn't take photos along the way. :)

Amy

David Dowbyhuz
10-02-2002, 01:16 PM
Wonderful! :clap:

coolray
10-02-2002, 04:18 PM
I WANT ONE!!!!!:D


Draig this is great! May I interest you in scupting some pixies?

:)

Terry

DraigAthar
10-02-2002, 05:07 PM
Thanks Dave. :)

Terry, pixies might be fun. I've been wanting to get into some human figure fabric sculptures a bit more - only done a couple before. Got any drawings I could use as reference? You could post them in a separate thread. :)

Amy

p.s. more demo to follow shortly!

coolray
10-02-2002, 05:46 PM
I will fix you right up Draig!!

I'll let you know when they're ready!

Terry

Fidget
10-02-2002, 05:51 PM
Yeah! Yeah! Pixies!

DraigAthar
10-02-2002, 06:09 PM
Okay, so to start sewing up the dragon, the first thing you have to do is transfer the pattern to the fabric.

I use silk for these fabric sculptures because it's quite strong and can stand up to a lot of pulling and needle sculpting. I've used a few different kinds of silk before. For this project, I am using raw silk, also known as silk noil. It's a very neat fabric, a loose weave of nubbly silk threads. It's still got that nice silk drape and look:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Oct-2002/fabdrag11.jpg

Here you can see the texture of it better:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Oct-2002/fabdrag12.jpg

I buy this from Dharma Trading ( http://dharmatrading.com/ ) by the yard. So to start with I like to cut the silk into smaller pieces, to make it easier to work with. I just cut a rectangle that will fit over the pattern piece I need to trace. Silk is usually a woven fabric and it tears cleanly, so the best way to cut nice pieces is to measure the length and width you want and then just cut little nicks in the edge of the fabric, and rip it down the length of the fabric. Makes for a perfect straight edge to help with lining things up later. See how it tears cleanly:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Oct-2002/fabdrag13.jpg

So now I have my piece of silk. I need to trace the pattern onto it. Now, for most fabric projects, you have to be careful what you use to draw marks onto the fabric, otherwise you may end up with unwanted marks on your finished garment/sculpture that won't wash out. But in this case it doesn't matter - you can mark the fabric up all you want because it's going to be painted later. I just use pencil. Lay your piece of silk over the pattern. I use the straight edges of the piece of paper as a guide to line up the straight edges of my piece of silk (this is why I tear it instead of cutting it). Silk tends to shift, so it's important to make sure it's flat and straight before tracing the pattern on, or the pattern itself will be all crooked after you've traced and moved the silk again.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Oct-2002/fabdrag14.jpg

Then you just trace all the pattern markings onto the silk. The leg darts won't actually be sewn on these pieces (they are for the body gusset) but I find it far easier to trace them onto the body pieces and then transfer them to the gusset later. You'll see what I mean when I get there. :)

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Oct-2002/fabdrag15.jpg

Trace the pattern for the other side of the body onto a second piece of silk:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Oct-2002/fabdrag16.jpg

Then you need pieces of silk for the body gusset, one for each side of the body. Don't trace the pattern onto the gusset piece, just make sure it's big enough to cover the gusset:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Oct-2002/fabdrag17.jpg

Trace the head gusset onto a piece of fabric, as well (just a single one):

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Oct-2002/fabdrag18.jpg

Now, you don't need to cut out the body pieces yet. It's actually easier to work with them left as they are, as a big rectangle of fabric. But you do need to cut the head gusset out. It's important to have a good pair of fabric scissors if you're going to do stuff like this often. Buy a nice pair and then never use them for cutting anything other than fabric. I have a special pair of scissors made for cutting small detailed things:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Oct-2002/fabdrag19.jpg

Cut the head gusset out leaving about 1/4" seam allowance all the way around:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Oct-2002/fabdrag20.jpg

Save the silk scraps - we'll use these later on:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Oct-2002/fabdrag21.jpg

That's it for now. As before, let me know if it makes sense, or if I am not being clear at any point.

:)

Amy

DraigAthar
10-03-2002, 06:07 PM
Time to start sewing the dragon up! Dig that sewing machine out of the closet, dust it off, and thread it up. :)

Start by sewing the body gusset pieces to the body pieces. Pin a body gusset piece to a body piece, making sure the gusset piece is in place to cover the entire gusset area, as marked on the body.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/03-Oct-2002/fabdrag22.jpg

Then sew the gusset to the body from the point on the tail to the point on the chest, LEAVING THE BOTTOMS OF THE FEET OPEN. If you've never sewn small curves and detail work like this on a sewing machine, it can take a little getting used to. There's a sort of technique to it. You sew a bit, stop with the needle still in the fabric, raise the presser foot, turn the fabric, lower the presser foot and sew a few more stitches, and so on. You can exercise much greater control over the fabric this way than if you try and stitch it all in one continuous feed. Here's the gusset side of the fabric after sewing (and with the gusset markings transferred from the body piece to the gusset - you can usually see your marks on the body piece right through the gusset, so you just trace them on at this point).

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/03-Oct-2002/fabdrag23.jpg

Do this with both sides of the body. Then cut the body pieces (and the gusset pieces, now that they're sewn on) out, leaving a 1/4" seam allowance all the way around.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/03-Oct-2002/fabdrag24.jpg

Now it's time to sew the leg darts in the body gusset. Here's one of the leg darts marked on the body gusset.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/03-Oct-2002/fabdrag25.jpg

The straight line is the fold line, and the curved lines are the sewing lines. Pinch the gusset (right sides together) folding along the fold line and pin. You have to be very careful at this point not to catch any extra fabric in the dart, like the body piece or a fold of the gusset. Here it is pinned to be sewn.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/03-Oct-2002/fabdrag26.jpg

Then sew along the curved line, backstitching at either end to keep the dart from pulling apart later on. DON'T trim the dart, leave it as is, after sewing, as seen here.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/03-Oct-2002/fabdrag27.jpg

This is fiddly work, but take your time and be precise. It's worth it. :)

I'm not getting any questions on any of this, or any replies at all lately, so I'll assume that means I'm explaining it okay so far, or that I've lost you all completely. Or perhaps that I've bored you senseless. LOL!

Amy

Elankat
10-03-2002, 06:12 PM
Looking great, Amy. I love the test head.

ironhorse
10-03-2002, 06:53 PM
This is SO cool Amy. I look forwad to seeing more!!
TWyla

keiki
10-03-2002, 07:45 PM
I always love to see the creation of life in the hands of an artist.
This guy is shaping up very nicely.
Looking to future installments of his birth.;)

Mom

Fidget
10-03-2002, 07:50 PM
Amy, this is going real well.

David Dowbyhuz
10-04-2002, 04:15 PM
Umm.

Err.

Your gussets (there are gussets, aren't there?) are looking very hem-ish. And your darts, well your darts are, well ... very ... darty?

Oh! And your back-stitching really does go back. Super.

I hope I haven't dazzled you to excess with my incisive eloquence, Amy. It's what I do.

No, don't thank me. It's all a public service. :rolleyes:

David Dowbyhuz
10-04-2002, 04:20 PM
Ok. I'm better now. The foolishness has passed. (For now.)

Seriously, Amy, I have the greatest respect for someone as accomplished, and multi-talented as you. Understanding one sentence in ten has been no deterent to my following this thread.

It's great! :clap:

Leaflin
10-04-2002, 05:04 PM
:clap: :clap: :clap:
Amy.....
I'm with you!
This is a fantastic thread and you are doing an excellent job at explaining.
I really appreciate all the time you are putting into this.

DraigAthar
10-04-2002, 06:54 PM
Thanks everyone. :)

Continuing with sewing up the dragon ...

Next you sew the head gusset to the two sides of the head. This is more fiddly work. It's best to hand-baste the gusset to the head before machine sewing it. You have to put so many pins in to line up the pieces that it's a nightmare to sew it right on machine. So I work from mark to mark - here I've matched up the pieces between the mark at the back of the head and the mark on the brow.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Oct-2002/fabdrag28.jpg

And here I've hand-basted that section together.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Oct-2002/fabdrag29.jpg

Here's the gusset completely basted to one side of the head.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Oct-2002/fabdrag30.jpg

Then you go over this basting with the machine, taking care not to catch any folds of fabric in the seam. It helps to go very slowly and constantly check to make sure you're only sewing what you WANT to sew. :)

Here's the head after the gusset has been machine sewn to both sides of the head.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Oct-2002/fabdrag31.jpg

DraigAthar
10-04-2002, 07:04 PM
To finish off sewing up the dragon, pin and sew the two sides of the body together from the point on the neck where the head gusset ends to the point on the chest where the body gusset begins:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Oct-2002/fabdrag32.jpg

And from the back of the head, all the way around the end of the tail, to the underside of the tail where the body gusset ends:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Oct-2002/fabdrag33.jpg

Then sew the two sides of the body gusset together along the belly line. Open the legs out and match the body gusset sides together, leaving the space between the marks open for turning:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Oct-2002/fabdrag34.jpg

That's it! You're done with the sewing machine (for now ...) and next you need to clip all the seams. You cut little snips into the seam allowance all the way around every seam. This is so that fabric doesn't bunch or wrinkle (especially around tight curves) when you turn it right side out and stuff it. Take care not to cut through the seam itself! If you do that it's pretty hard to fix it, so sit yourself down in a comfy chair and take your time with this, because it takes a while. :)

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Oct-2002/fabdrag35.jpg

DraigAthar
10-04-2002, 07:18 PM
So now you've clipped all the seams, you need to turn the dragon right side out. If you've ever tried to turn a pattern like this with very narrow parts, you know it can be agonizing because the fabric all gets bunched up in the narrow part and you want to tear your hair out trying to get it turned. Well, there's a nifty little turning tool you can buy that's essentially just a hard plastic tube and a long rod that fits inside of it. Me, I just use an old hard plastic drinking straw (Jack Skellington, no less!) and a bamboo kebab skewer (blunted at the tip):

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Oct-2002/fabdrag36.jpg

This is how it works. You stick the tube through the turning hole into the part of the dragon you want to turn, in this case the tail. Push it all the way to the end, bunching up the fabric near the turning hole if necessary.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Oct-2002/fabdrag37.jpg

Stick the rod (skewer) into the end of the tube, sort of pinning the fabric at the end of the tail in the end of the tube. Don't press too hard, though, or you'll rip a hole in the end of the tail.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Oct-2002/fabdrag38.jpg

Now, holding the rod in place in the endof the tube, start shoving the fabric of the tail up the rod and off the tube, thereby turning the whole thing inside out.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Oct-2002/fabdrag39.jpg

Here it is turned. Painless!

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Oct-2002/fabdrag40.jpg

Do this with the legs and head and then use the skewer to push out all the seams so the dragon is fully turned.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Oct-2002/fabdrag41.jpg

Ta da!!! Ready for stuffing!!!

Amy

Fidget
10-04-2002, 07:42 PM
I like that straw and skewer trick. :clap:

Very Clever!!

chookbrown
10-04-2002, 08:03 PM
Amy this is great....I too learned to sew on a treadle my mum had and made a lot of my own and then my daughter's clothes (when they were little, way to cool to wear homemades now... :( ) I have never seen the tube and skewer trick...wonderful...

Colleen :D

DraigAthar
10-04-2002, 10:47 PM
Time to start stuffing the dragon.

First you have to make the armature. For a fabric sculpture like this, you need some sort of interior support to keep the sculpture from falling out of shape under its own weight, and to help keep it permanently posed. And also just to help it stand up without outside support.

I make wire armatures. 16 or 17 gauge electrical wire is great for works in this size. It's strong, easy enough to bend, and economical. You can buy it at garden and farm supply stores for pennies a foot, usually. It comes in smaller bundles than this, but because I use enough of it I just bought a 1/4 mile spool of it:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Oct-2002/fabdrag42.jpg

You'll also need a good pair of pliers. Tapered ones work best:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Oct-2002/fabdrag43.jpg

Get your pattern back out, and use it as a guide to form the armature. For this piece, I'll use three separate wires in the body. First, the main body support. Measure the rough length from the base of the head down the neck and down the length of the body and tail, and cut off a little more than double that length in wire. Bend the wire in half and use the pliers to pinch it together tightly at one end. This will be the head end. Using the pattern as a guide, bend the doubled wire in the general shape of the neck, body, and tail. You can use electrical tape to secure the doubled wires to each other at a few points, to keep them from sproinging apart in odd ways as you work. Don't twist the wires together. This actually weakens the overall strength of the armature. Instead you want the wires to be pretty much parallel. Cut one wire off a short way down the tail from the back legs, as you really only need a single wire to support the tail. Cut the other wire off about halfway down the tail - you don't want it to go all the way to the end. Wrap some tape around the cut ends to keep the sharp edges from tearing the cloth.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Oct-2002/fabdrag44.jpg

Now go back to those scraps of silk we saved from earlier, and tear them into long strips. Use these strips to wrap the doubled wire (mummy-style!) from one end to the other. Wrap it tightly and secure the ends of the fabric somehow (tucking it under, tying it to itself, even taping it down). Wire wrapped in this fashion becomes surprisingly strong, and it also serves to help keep the armature from slipping around inside the sculpture, because the stuffing will stick to the cloth wrapped wire much better than to bare wire alone.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Oct-2002/fabdrag45.jpg

Before you insert the wire, stuff the head of the dragon firmly with polyester stuffing (plain old white stuffing you get in big bags at craft stores). Don't stuff it with big chunks, though. Tear it into small pieces, like this.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Oct-2002/fabdrag46.jpg

Use a dowel (or the skewer from the turning tool!) to push it into the parts of the head, to fill it out well. Don't worry if the head looks really silly at this point. Needle sculpting will come later to give it a better shape.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Oct-2002/fabdrag47.jpg

Insert the wire into the body, tail first. You'll have to shove the wire all the way down to the end of the tail to be able to get the neck end up into the stuffing hole. You may have to bend it a bit to get it into place, but you can always bend it back to the proper shape again.

Stuff the tail from the tip up to where the hind legs start (the dragon's butt, essentially). Stuffing the very tip of the tail is tricky, you have to use very tiny bits of stuffing to keep it from bunching up and looking lumpy. Keep adding little bits at a time, and use the skewer to shift it around inside the tail as you need it. Stuff it very firmly, and do your best to keep the wire in the center of the stuffing, not rubbing against the inside of the fabric anywhere. It takes a little work - just go slow and only add little bits of stuffing at a time. Here's the dragon with the head and tail stuffed, ready for the leg armatures.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Oct-2002/fabdrag48.jpg

Is anyone trying this at home? LOL! :)

Amy

DraigAthar
10-05-2002, 01:13 AM
On to the legs ...

Make a single piece of wire into an armature for the hind legs using the same method for the main body armature. Use the pattern as a guide to bend the leg wires into the right shape. You'll probably have to adjust these once they're in the dragon, but if you use the pattern you get close, to start with.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2002/fabdrag49.jpg

Wrap these with fabric strips as before.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2002/fabdrag50.jpg

To insert the wire into the dragon, insert one leg wire into the wrong leg, up and over the main body wire inside the dragon, and then down through the proper leg. You'll have to bunch the fabric up and around and sort of push and pull to achieve this. Stuff the hind legs around the wires up to the opening in the belly. Again, do your best to keep the wires in the center of the legs and not rubbing against the fabric.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2002/fabdrag51.jpg

Make an armature for the front legs now. By this time, you're getting pretty good at working with that wire. ;)

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2002/fabdrag52.jpg

Stuff the neck of the dragon firmly and then insert the wire for the front legs and stuff those. I find it helps to pin the bottoms of the legs once they're done being stuffed. This way bits don't start falling back out when you go to stuff the belly.

Stuff the torso and belly of the dragon and shift the stuffing around until there aren't any lumps in the surface of the body. Small lumps can be smoothed out later, just get the body filled evenly.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2002/fabdrag53.jpg

Then using a hidden running stitch, hand sew the belly closed. It'll gap open at first because you need to stuff the body fairly firmly.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2002/fabdrag54.jpg

So make sure to pull the stitched up tight. I use doubled thread and go over this twice to make sure the belly seam doesn't pop open again. Here it is all stitched up, just like you did surgery on the little guy. :)

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2002/fabdrag55.jpg

And see, he even stands up by himself, now!

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2002/fabdrag56.jpg

Again, don't worry that this looks a bit odd still. The head is a great big lump, and the body seems a bit undefined, but the needle sculpting will fix all that (hopefully!).

All done stuffing!!

And WHEW, I'm going to bed now. :)

Amy

inkskin
10-05-2002, 01:26 AM
HOLY MO! Look at you go! You are really doing a great job explaining how and showing how you do this. :clap:

Really, thanks for all the work.

Heather

marilyn h
10-05-2002, 12:56 PM
I know you think this is silly. But I have tears in my eyes knowing that someone has been so sharing and informative on how to actually make this critter. Your instructions have been superb. This afternoon, I am going to pull out something to try and start on one of these. Thank you!

DraigAthar
10-05-2002, 07:43 PM
Hey Marilyn, I'm VERY glad you like it! I'd love to see what you decide to try - maybe you can post your own WIP! And let me know if you get stuck anywhere, I've been making these critters for a while so I'd be happy to offer assistance if you ever need it. :)

Amy

maldrin
10-05-2002, 10:32 PM
kudos for an excellent craft
and an excellent WIP

i am very impressed by both...and between you and inkskin,
i'm getting a hankering for going 3d and getting my artwork
off the page for a change.

DraigAthar
10-05-2002, 11:26 PM
Now for the needle sculpting on the head, to make it look less like a big lump and more like a dragon. :)

Needle sculpting is where it starts to get a little more artistic. It's all about shaping the fabric with lumps, folds, wrinkles, etc. So it's really up to you how to finish off a fabric sculpture with needle sculpting, but I'll go through and show you the details of what I decided to do with this dragon, so you can get an idea of how it works.

Use a sculpting needle, they're thick and sturdy and usually about 4" long or longer. I'm clumsy so I always end up poking myself several times in the process of needle sculpting, but such are the risks involved, lol.

I started by marking the head up with lines to guide my needle sculpting. I do this by thinking about where I'm going to want creases and folds and shapes in the head. I wanted nose ridges, brow ridges, eyes, a mouth line, a jaw, etc. So I marked all of these on the head like this:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2002/fabdrag57.jpg

Then I started out on the nose ridges. Using the needle, sew back and forth from the side of the nose to the top of the nose.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2002/fabdrag58.jpg

Catch stuffing up inside the nose area with the needle, so the ridge has some shape to it. Pull the stitches tight as you go back and forth, to pinch the fabric together so it ends up looking like this. Do this on both sides of the nose.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2002/fabdrag59.jpg

Then I worked on the mouth. Starting at the nose end of the mouth, sew back and forth from one side of the head to the other.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2002/fabdrag60.jpg

Don't pull these stitches quite as tight - you just want a suggestion of a mouth, really. Sew back and forth until you get down to the part where the jaw widens. Then change to sewing back and forth between the side of the jaw and the bottom of the jaw:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2002/fabdrag61.jpg

Do that on both sides of the jaw, and the dragon ends up looking like he has some jowls.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2002/fabdrag62.jpg

Then I did the back of the jaw, just sewing back and forth from one side of the head to the other along the drawn jaw line.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2002/fabdrag63.jpg

Then to give the 'lips' area a little more shape, sew from the very front of the mouth back and forth to the corners of the jaw, to pull the lips in a bit.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2002/fabdrag64.jpg

Also, to give the dragon a bit of a chin, I sewed from the top of the nose back and forth to the bottom of the chin, to pull it up and round out that little bottom part of the chin.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2002/fabdrag65.jpg

Then sew the eye ridges back and forth from the side of the head to the top of the head in a fashion similar to the nose ridges and the jowls.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2002/fabdrag66.jpg

I also sewed a small bit at the front of the brow from surface to surface (catching just a small bit of fabric and stuffing) to make a small ridge right across the brow, connecting to the eye ridges.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2002/fabdrag67.jpg

Then I sewed the eye lines. I used a smaller needle for this because it's fine work. It's just a surface to surface ridge of fabric to outline the eye.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2002/fabdrag68.jpg

And here's the head, needle sculpting completed!

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2002/fabdrag69.jpg

Amy

Fidget
10-05-2002, 11:56 PM
OOo Amy,
This is my favourite part.

Your dragon is now coming to life.

Beautiful stitch work.;)

Melody

kitaye
10-06-2002, 12:19 AM
questions! What kind of thread are you using...or did I miss that somewhere? What kind of stitch are you using? Are they like this------- or like this - - - - - or this - - - -? How wide are your stitches?

DraigAthar
10-06-2002, 12:44 AM
Kitaye, I'll assume you're asking these questions in reference to the needle sculpting. If not, please correct me.

I am using all purpose sewing thread (mercerized poly-cotton) doubled up in most places. As for what kind of stitch, it really depends on the area you're working on. The tighter you want to pull the fabric up, the closer you want the stitches. It's just a running stitch going back and forth through a thick ridge of fabric. I'll draw some diagrams if you need me to.

Amy

sassybird
10-06-2002, 01:09 AM
Amy, shamefully I admit to being kicked out of sewing class in the 7th grade because I was not coordinated enough to run a sewing maching. BUT, somehow I ended up dividing my time between fiber art and printmaking. I still don't use a machine, much preferring the feel of fibers running through my hands as I stitch happily along. I also have never used a pattern for any of my work, so your thoughts on paper are appreciated for this wonderful bit of fancy. For someone unable to read a pattern, or a road map for that matter you made this extremely easy to follow. Thank you :D

kitaye
10-06-2002, 01:31 AM
Originally posted by DraigAthar
Kitaye, I'll assume you're asking these questions in reference to the needle sculpting. If not, please correct me.

I am using all purpose sewing thread (mercerized poly-cotton) doubled up in most places. As for what kind of stitch, it really depends on the area you're working on. The tighter you want to pull the fabric up, the closer you want the stitches. It's just a running stitch going back and forth through a thick ridge of fabric. I'll draw some diagrams if you need me to.

Amy

Yep the sculpting. I had assumed you were using a running stitch but I wanted to verify that fact. I wasn't sure about the thread though. In the photo it kinda looked like the clear plastic stuff you can use on the machine. Thanks for clearing that up.

plumpfairy
10-06-2002, 12:38 PM
:D Aloha Amy!
I can see that your medium is very labor intensive! WOW! Impressive!
Sorry, I didn't have the patience to read through it all:( ....but, I certainly have a better idea of what it takes for you to create your adorable sculptures!
Looking forward to the finish!
jana:D :clap: ;)

DraigAthar
10-06-2002, 01:04 PM
Okay, now I have to admit I have no idea what color I ought to paint this guy when it comes time for it. Any suggestions? Maybe I should take a vote, lol. :)

Amy

Fidget
10-06-2002, 01:21 PM
Suggestion Amy?

I see it as green with gold details. Maybe a celtic knot design on the head.

Oh lord, my imagination is running amuck.
Quick put a brush in my hand.

I'm looking forward to what you do.

Melody

DraigAthar
10-06-2002, 03:30 PM
Quick post here - I finished needle sculpting the body. Compared to the head, there's not much to it. Just sewing back and forth from one side of the body to the other along the back of the forelegs and the front of the hindlegs, and along the shoulder a bit.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Oct-2002/fabdrag70.jpg

This is where you start to find the faults in your original pattern, heh. It doesn't look bad, on the whole, but I'm a little unhappy about a few parts. The neck is too thin and a bit long, though it won't look so long once the wings are in place. I don't like the shoulder where the neck attaches, it just has a funny shape. I may cover it up with a bit of mane when it comes time for finishing. I don't like the chest, it turned out a bit lumpy looking and I'm afraid to needle sculpt it too much. So we'll just pretend our dragon is a body builder, heh. The hind legs ended up beeing a bit narrow, which I think is a result of there not being enough bulk across the hips, so I'd need to widen the body gusset I think to compensate. I can go back and alter the original pattern to fix these problems, if I ever want to use this particular pattern again.

Amy

DraigAthar
10-06-2002, 03:37 PM
Now things can start to get tedious, because some of the smaller finishing tasks can take a while. To make the eyes, you just use tacky glue. Squirt a blob of tacky glue into the little outline of fabric you made for the eye. Use a pin to push it around so it touches the edges of the fabric ridge. Then prop the dragon up so that the eye is level (so that the glue doesn't drip down or dry thicker on one part of the eye than another) and let it dry. It'll take at least two applications of glue per eye, sometimes three, because the glue shrinks when it dries.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Oct-2002/fabdrag71.jpg

Because it takes several hours for each application of the glue to dry, it's useful to have other things to work on ... like ears and spines and wings! :)

Amy

DraigAthar
10-06-2002, 03:45 PM
To make the ears, go back to your pattern and draw an ear shape onto the head. I like large webbed ears on my dragons, though you could make them any style you like, really.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Oct-2002/fabdrag72.jpg

Dig out a scrap of silk leftover from earlier and trace two ears onto it. Pin this to another piece of silk (or just fold it in half if it's big enough) and sew, leaving the part closest to the head open for turning.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Oct-2002/fabdrag73.jpg

Cut ears out with a very small seam allowance (less then 1/4", however close you can cut without the fabric fraying at the seam). Clip curves and turn right side out.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Oct-2002/fabdrag74.jpg

Fold the open ends in a sort of pleat, to bring the end to a point and give the ear some shape. No need to turn the raw edges under, just hand sew the end together firmly.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Oct-2002/fabdrag75.jpg

Set aside to sew to the dragon's head once the eyes are dry! :)

DraigAthar
10-06-2002, 03:56 PM
One more post for now. :)

I thought it'd be nice to have some spines to go down the dragons neck, so I started making some with magic sculpt. This is the compound I'll also use to make the feet. If you've never worked with magic sculpt, check out this thread.

http://wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=47553

It's another demo I did in which I rant on about the glories of magic sculpt. Honestly, I don't work for magic sculpt, I just love their product, lol. It's PERFECT for this sort of application, too, because it cures very hard without needing any sort of firing, so you can sculpt directly onto fabric sculptures without any trouble at all. Here's a link to their website.

http://www.magicsculp.com/

Anyway, I clipped some short pieces of wire from my leftover bits of wire laying about (I save everything while in the process of a project - you never know when it might be useful). These are maybe an inch and a half long.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Oct-2002/fabdrag76.jpg

Then I take a little ball of magic sculpt and poke the end of a piece of wire into it. Magic sculpt sticks to everything and anything.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Oct-2002/fabdrag77.jpg

Then I just pinch and form the magic sculpt into a pointy spine shape. I made a few of these and stuck them in a lump of oil clay to dry. I'm not sure how many I'll need or want, so I didn't want to make too many right off.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Oct-2002/fabdrag78.jpg

The magic sculpt takes a couple of hours to cure, itself, so here's more waiting to do. Time to go work on the wings, I guess. :)

maldrin
10-06-2002, 04:13 PM
this is all so amazing and interesting!! really really really

really

cool!

DrLondon
10-07-2002, 10:49 AM
This is an excellent tutorial. Thanks for sharing. It's looking good so far.

TeAnne
10-07-2002, 11:04 AM
Been watching with great interest. :) Thanks for all your time and effort here Amy. Excellent :clap: :clap: :clap:

DraigAthar
10-07-2002, 12:05 PM
Thanks everyone for the replies, by the way. I just keep posting more without going back to comment on the replies, heh. I've got more photos to post later, too, been working on this and that ... gotta run errands first tho.

I tell ya, I had no idea this demo was going to be so LONG. I guess when I'm actually making these things, I don't really think about how much work goes into them and how many different parts there are to it!

Amy

coolray
10-07-2002, 04:12 PM
Amy,

This has been the most informative tutorial I have ever seen on soft sculpture! (I have seen 2) LOL! I started to think that maybe even I could do this, but alas I am stricken with a delima. I don't have time!!

Anyway, thanks for the progress pics and the step by step. This is great for those cold evenings when you just want to conjure up a dragon!

Terry

DraigAthar
10-07-2002, 05:17 PM
Okay, the glue on one eye was dry enough for me to attach the ears before adding the other eye, so that's what I did.

You start by just poking a hole in the head where you want the ear to go. This is another great thing about raw silk. Many fabrics would tear and fray if you tried to do this, but with raw silk the weave just parts and stretches a bit but doesn't tear. It's great. So anyway, I use the skewer to do this, forcing it slowly into the dragon's head where I want the ear (heh, brain surgery!) to be.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Oct-2002/fabdrag79.jpg

Here's the hole that's left when you take the skewer back out. Not sure if you can see it well enough, but the fabric is still just fine.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Oct-2002/fabdrag80.jpg

Then you poke the end of the ear into the hole. Sometimes I use the skewer to do this, sometimes I have to use a needle to force it in there. But you just have to work at it until you get the ear in there a good 1/4" at least, like this.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Oct-2002/fabdrag81.jpg

Then you sew the ear down using a slip stitch and/or a hidden running stitch. You sew all around the hole, and you can tack the back of the ear down to the head a little bit as well, to help keep it in place. You don't have to worry too much about that, though, since the gesso you apply later will firm the ear up and keep it where you want it.

Here's a closeup of the ear sewn down.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Oct-2002/fabdrag82.jpg

DraigAthar
10-07-2002, 05:30 PM
All right, let me start posting about the wings. I'll have to admit right from the start that I don't know what I'm doing with these wings, lol. I made a big pair of wings for the last dragon fabric sculpture I did, but I wasn't really pleased with the way they turned out. So I'm going to approach these a little differently. So I'm making it up as I go along, and you may get to see me goof up, heh.

I want the wings to be semi-furled, like he's just walking along flexing them slightly. But I need a proper wing shape to start with, so I took my pattern and traced part of the body onto a new sheet of paper and drew a wing diagram onto it.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Oct-2002/fabdrag83.jpg

Then I cut pieces of wire to shape into the wing framework. I doubled the wire on the 'arm' of the wing, for support. All of the wire will end up being covered with magic sculpt to give it shape and strength, though, so I don't need to worry TOO much about the wire construction. I hope. Anyway here's the wire framework for the wing. Notice I left a lot of extra wire extending down the wing 'arm', where it will be inserted into the body. You need this to be able to keep the wing in place once you attach it, because it'll end up being pretty substantial.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Oct-2002/fabdrag84.jpg

And then I bent the wing wires into what I think will work out as a semi-furled wing, and started adding the magic sculpt to build it up.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Oct-2002/fabdrag85.jpg

That's it so far. The wings are going to be a challenge.

Amy

joemajury
10-07-2002, 09:03 PM
I talked you into doing this demo, bet you are swearing at me now.
I think its looking great, I hope people realize the work you are putting into this thread, and rating the thread ( bottom of the page ), so that it gets the recognition it deserves.
I to, cant wait to see it finished.

Joe
;) ;)

Ivyleaf
10-07-2002, 11:17 PM
This is excellent :) . Can't wait to see him finished up either! Your steps are easy to follow, and the photos are a terrific visual aid to it all!

:) :) :)
Ivy

Fidget
10-07-2002, 11:31 PM
Amy,
I'm having great fun watching this develop. You have been putting so much thoroughly detailed work into this wip.

I like how you have done the eyes. The ridged circle and glue drop.

Would Magic Sculpt be the same kind of clay as Fimo?
If not, could Fimo be a good substitute for it?

Thanks for putting this together for us.

Melody.

DraigAthar
10-08-2002, 12:14 AM
Thanks Melody!

No, magic sculpt is not like fimo. They are two very different sculpting compounds. Fimo is a polymer clay that you bake (fire) in a home oven. Magic sculpt requires no firing. It's a two part modeling compound (similar to plumber's epoxy but formulated specifically for sculpting). When you knead the two parts together the compound begins to harden and in a few hours it's rock hard. It is so incredibly sturdy, I've deliberately tried to break it and been unable to. It's excellent for this kind of project because you can sculpt it onto ANYTHING and it will cure. It'll even cure underwater. So I can sculpt directly onto the fabric, or onto wires, or whatever, no firing, no fuss. I wouldn't recommend using fimo or other polymer clays as a substitute for this. They are still very fragile even after firing and are likely to break. Also, you can't sculpt fimo directly onto the dragon, as I will be doing with the feet, because you'd then need to put the whole thing in the oven and I doubt the rest of the body would stand up well to 350 degrees F. :)

You can use polymer clays in fabric sculpture if you plan ahead a bit. Usually you have to make the body parts you want out of fimo and then build the rest of the sculpture around the finished fimo parts. I've tried working that way and it's okay but ever since I started working with magic sculpt I LOVE it and I'll use it for just about anything, heh. :)

Check out that link I posted above for the magic sculpt home page. There's more info in there about how to use it than you could possibly want. And tons of great samples of work done with the compound by different artists.

Amy

DraigAthar
10-08-2002, 09:50 PM
Okay I need a couple of opinions.

First, I stuck the spines in the head and neck to check placement. i haven't glued them down yet, though. What do you think of this for placement? My intent is to glue these in and then after painting add a bit of mane surrounding them, so it'll look like the spines are growing out of a tuft of hair.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Oct-2002/fabdrag86.jpg

I also wanted opinions on the wings. I'm still fussing with them and trying to work on a nice furled wing framework. I had devbrain help me by taking a photo while I held the wings up pretty much where they'll be attached, so you could get an idea of how they'll look. What do you think?

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Oct-2002/fabdrag87.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Oct-2002/fabdrag88.jpg

Amy

kitaye
10-08-2002, 10:53 PM
I like the placement and the way the wings are shaped. The wing shape right now reminds me of Dragonheart when Draco is walking along beside the knight. For the spines I would almost want to see one in the midle of his forehead though I don't know how that would look with the hair idea.

Fidget
10-08-2002, 11:18 PM
The wing placement looks perfect.

As for the spines, perfect. At first I thought the third one down should be removed, but with a mane, it does needs to be there.

Sorry Kitaye, I don't agree with one more on the forehead.
With the mane, it is not nesessary. A bit too much.

But that's my opinion.

Hope I didn't step on any toes.

Melody

coolray
10-09-2002, 10:52 AM
You got it going girl!!!

I think everything is okay at this point for the wings, which are awsome, and the spikes (ouch) which are pointy!

Terry

DraigAthar
10-09-2002, 01:56 PM
Well work is progressing slowly, because of all the drying time involved on various parts of the dragon.

I finished the glue applications for the eyes. It took three applications on each eye to build it up to a decent eye shape. I also glued the neck spines into place, and the glue is currently drying on those. I've begun to build the feet up a little with magic sculp - not much to show for those just yet. And I'm working on adding magic sculp to the wings. I've realized I'm going to hit a stopping point soon because I'm nearly out of my last tub of magic sculp. I ordered a new batch yesterday but I don't know how soon it will arrive. So I am trying to use what little Ihave left just on one wing, so I can move on to the fabric of the wing while I am waiting for my shipment to arrive. This is what I've got so far on the wing.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/09-Oct-2002/fabdrag89.jpg

I'm not going for much detail on the wing muscles because I think if I did it wouldn't match with the rest of the sculpture. So I just want lumps and suggestions of wing muscle shapes. I think what I will do after this stage is glue a layer of fabric to the wing framework (to each individual 'finger' of the wing) and then glue a piece of fabric over the entire framework to serve as the wing membrane.

Last time I did a wing like this, I sewed an entire wing shape from two pieces of fabric then turned it right side out and inserted the wire armature and glued it down that way. It was a royal pain in the neck to do it that way so I am hoping this method I'm working on now will end up looking okay, because I think it will be easier.

Amy

DraigAthar
10-09-2002, 11:40 PM
Made LOTS of progress on one wing tonight, so I'm going to try and explain what I did.

I finished adding magic sculpt to the wing frame, just smoothed some areas out and added thicker parts where the joints would be in the wing bones.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/09-Oct-2002/fabdrag90.jpg

Then I tore wide strips of silk to wrap the wing frame with.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/09-Oct-2002/fabdrag91.jpg

I squirted a line of tacky glue down the center of the strip.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/09-Oct-2002/fabdrag92.jpg

And I laid the strip down on one of the wing 'fingers'.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/09-Oct-2002/fabdrag93.jpg

I pressed the fabric around the wing finger so the glue stuck it down well all around. The silk shifts enough that it would glue down to form around the knuckle areas without folding and causing wrinkles. In some places I needed to add more glue to the other side of the wing finger and keep pressing the fabric down. I pinched the extra fabric together on the back side.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/09-Oct-2002/fabdrag94.jpg

Then I just cut the extra fabric off flush with the wing finger and pressed the edges down flat. The glue held them in place and made a sort of seam. I worked so that these 'seams' would be on the back side of the wing, where they would be covered by the wing membrane fabric, so you wouldn't end up seeing them.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/09-Oct-2002/fabdrag95.jpg

I did this for all the wing fingers and then the wing arm as well. I had to add an extra piece at the wrist area, cut to fit and just glued down to the surface. There is a bit of a seam showing there but with a couple coats of gesso I don't think it will show much.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/09-Oct-2002/fabdrag96.jpg

Okay, let me post the rest of it in another post, this one's getting long. :)

Amy

DraigAthar
10-09-2002, 11:55 PM
Next I added the wing membrane fabric. I just took a large enough piece of silk to cover the whole wing frame with extra at the sides, and glued it down to the center wing finger on the back (top) side of the wing.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/09-Oct-2002/fabdrag97.jpg

I pressed the fabric down around the wing finger a bit so that it would look like the wing bones were sticking out a bit on the top side of the wing, see here:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/09-Oct-2002/fabdrag98.jpg

Then I folded the fabric back to apply glue to the next wing finger and glued the fabric down to that.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/09-Oct-2002/fabdrag99.jpg

Working this way I glued the fabric down to all of the wing framework, leaving the fabric a little slack between each finger so that it would look like the wing membrane was slack, not pulled taut like when the wing was in use.

Then once the fabric was glued down to the framework completely, I had to cut the extra fabric off. For the outer edges of the framework I just cut the fabric flush to the framework and glued the raw edge down. For the edges that would be the loose edges of the wing membrane, I had to do it a little different. I started by drawing the shape I wanted to cut.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/09-Oct-2002/fabdrag100.jpg

Then I applied glue and smeared it into the fabric on this line, so that the fabric wouldn't fray as I cut it.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/09-Oct-2002/fabdrag101.jpg

Then I cut the fabric close to the glue sticky line and turned the edge over, sticking the fabric to itself in a sort of hem.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/09-Oct-2002/fabdrag102.jpg

And this is what I wound up with!

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/09-Oct-2002/fabdrag103.jpg

And here's what it looks like from the back/top.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/09-Oct-2002/fabdrag104.jpg

I'm fairly pleased with the way it turned out. What do you think? It looks about like I'd hoped. Now I just need to make the other wing to match and I'll be all set. :)

Amy

Elankat
10-10-2002, 12:00 AM
Wow. It looks great, Amy. :D

Axl
10-10-2002, 12:29 AM
You donno how much I've been waiting for this moment *g* I have to do a sculpture for one of my portfolio assignments to get into college, and I wanted to make wings out of fabric so this is the best help to me in the world! thankyou!!

keiki
10-10-2002, 09:29 AM
:clap: :clap: :clap:

Mom

DraigAthar
10-27-2002, 11:56 AM
Yes, it's time to bump this back up and finish it off! The Magic Sculp has arrived!!! :)

I've been working on the feet. Remember that I just end the fabric legs in stumps to later hard sculpt the feet on. Well I start by tying off the fabric at the bottoms of the legs and pressing a little bit of magic sculp around the bottoms, which pretty effectively seals the bottoms of the legs.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Oct-2002/fabdrag105.jpg

Then I just start adding magic sculp, building up the shape of the feet.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Oct-2002/fabdrag106.jpg

Here's the basic foot shape I decided on. I get my fingers very wet, which smooths the magic sculp out well. I just keep rubbing the magic sculp into the fabric at the edge, where the foot meets the fabric, so that the seam will look smooth. This way, once painted, you can hardly tell the difference between the fabric and the magic sculp, save for the difference in surface texture.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Oct-2002/fabdrag107.jpg

Then after that had cured I went back and added some claws.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Oct-2002/fabdrag108.jpg

Still working on the other feet, but I thought you'd like to see the latest, since it's been so long. :)

Amy

kitaye
10-27-2002, 02:54 PM
HOw did you make the claws. I can't really tell what it is from the photo. It almost looks like bits of razor but I know that is a silly thought.

DraigAthar
10-27-2002, 03:49 PM
Kitaye, the claws are just more magic sculp. It sticks to itself very well, so you can add more on top of previously cured areas.

Amy

kitaye
10-27-2002, 03:57 PM
Originally posted by DraigAthar
Kitaye, the claws are just more magic sculp. It sticks to itself very well, so you can add more on top of previously cured areas.

Amy

DOH! Sorry about that Amy. For some reason when I first looked at it I only saw the light coming from under his claws and I thought that was the claws themselves. I guess I wasn't awake when I looked at it the first time cause I saw the claws plain as day this time.

DraigAthar
10-27-2002, 04:02 PM
LOL, no worries Kitaye, I've had moments just like that, myself. :)

Amy

plumpfairy
10-27-2002, 07:24 PM
:o Okay Amy! You are officially now the DRAGON GODDESS!
OMG! Your work is AMAZING! The wings are AWESOME....as well as the rest of him!
Polymer and monomer combined creates a hyperthermic chemical reaction!:D The exact reaction with some dental materials! I had no idea that the same chemical theory was being used in art clay/materials!
Fantastic!
I was a Dental/Surgical Assistant for 15 years....hence the Dental referrance.;)
Can't wait to see this beauty in the finish!
jana:D :clap: X1000

DraigAthar
10-27-2002, 08:32 PM
I thought it was an exothermic reaction. I'd always heard 'hyperthermic reaction' used in reference to human body temperature, not chemical compounds. But hey, I'm not a chemist so what do I know? :)

At any rate, thanks plumpfairy - I can't wait to see it finished, either, lol. I still don't know what color to paint it. Fidget was the only one who gave me a suggestion so far. :)

Amy

DraigAthar
10-27-2002, 11:06 PM
One more post for the night.

I finished the other wing and all four feet. The glue on the wing is drying and the feet are curing, and in the morning I should be able to attach the wings and start painting!

Here are the feet all done:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Oct-2002/fabdrag109.jpg

And here's a closeup of the front feet just for detail:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Oct-2002/fabdrag110.jpg

Whee, the end is in sight!

Amy

kitaye
10-28-2002, 12:57 AM
Originally posted by DraigAthar
I thought it was an exothermic reaction. I'd always heard 'hyperthermic reaction' used in reference to human body temperature, not chemical compounds. But hey, I'm not a chemist so what do I know? :)

At any rate, thanks plumpfairy - I can't wait to see it finished, either, lol. I still don't know what color to paint it. Fidget was the only one who gave me a suggestion so far. :)

Amy

I thought I had responded to your request already...I was thinking blues and silvers with touches of red. MAke home a true air dragon.

inkskin
10-28-2002, 01:44 AM
wonderful!
I vote pthalo blue:D

captan
10-28-2002, 10:06 AM
omg! looks great so far. I allready want one for myself.

plumpfairy
10-28-2002, 11:12 AM
Originally posted by DraigAthar
I thought it was an exothermic reaction. I'd always heard 'hyperthermic reaction' used in reference to human body temperature, not chemical compounds. But hey, I'm not a chemist so what do I know? :)

At any rate, thanks plumpfairy - I can't wait to see it finished, either, lol. I still don't know what color to paint it. Fidget was the only one who gave me a suggestion so far. :)

Amy

:eek: OH JEEEZE! Amy! You are soooo right! EXOTHERMIC is the correct term.
I just embarrassed the s*^@# outta myself! I am a red pumpkin head!:rolleyes: ;)
I vote pthalo blu too! Those wings are AWESOME!.....shoot! the whole thing is AWESOME!
jana:D :clap: X1000

DraigAthar
10-28-2002, 11:29 AM
Thanks everyone! I'm getting a lot of votes for blue, but I painted the last one blue! How about purple? Or green? Man I just can't choose!

Amy

DraigAthar
10-28-2002, 12:41 PM
Attaching the wings!

First I tried to mark out where I wanted the wings to go.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/28-Oct-2002/fabdrag111.jpg

Then I poked holes in the back of the dragon at the marks and stuck the wire ends of the wings in the holes, pushing it way down into the body. You want the wires to be long enough to keep the wings in place, because the wings work out to be fairly heavy. Then you squirt tacky glue into the hole. Pull the wires back out a little so the glue has a place to go. Use LOTS of glue - I just push the tip of the glue bottle right down in the hole and squeeze until it's all gluey inside down the wire.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/28-Oct-2002/fabdrag112.jpg

Then I shoved the wires back in and positioned the wings where I thought they looked right. I pinned the loose flaps of fabric (wing membrane) to the back of the body to hold the wings in position until the glue dries. I'll go back and sew these flaps down next.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/28-Oct-2002/fabdrag113.jpg

Amy

Elankat
10-28-2002, 03:26 PM
I vote for dark greens and gold. Then you can put a little wreath around his neck and hang him up for Christmas. :)

Seriously though, with the way those wings look, I have a yearning to see him more realistic and lizard-like in color. Or, in honor of when you made him, you could do him in fall colors...red-oranges, golds, and browns.

DraigAthar
10-28-2002, 10:55 PM
Finishing up the wing attachment ...

I slip-stitched the wing membrane down to the back of the dragon. This keeps the wing from swinging out away from the body, and also looks like a wing should. :)

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/28-Oct-2002/fabdrag114.jpg

Then I added more glue to the underside of the wing where it joins the shoulder. This glue will dry and harden to keep the wing from swinging back in the other way, towards the body.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/28-Oct-2002/fabdrag115.jpg

Then I slathered some glue down the back wing seams, too, just to give it strength.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/28-Oct-2002/fabdrag116.jpg

And here's the dragon, fully constructed, ready for gesso!!!

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/28-Oct-2002/fabdrag117.jpg

Amy

Elankat
10-29-2002, 02:01 AM
He looks fantastic, Amy! I really love the way you did the wings this time.

DraigAthar
10-29-2002, 11:46 AM
Okay, now it's time to gesso the dragon. I use acrylic gesso and cover the entire body, including the hard sculpted bits and the glue eyes. This serves two purposes. It stiffens the fabric and locks it permanently into the shape you want it in (over time, the stuffing inside a fabric sculpture can shift and bunch, so if you 'freeze' the surface like this even if the stuffing did shift, it wouldn't alter the look of the sculpture). This is especially useful for the wings because when the fabric is stiff it adds strength to the whole wing structure. It also prepares the surface for painting. If you tried to paint it without putting down gesso first, it'd be a nightmare - the fabric would soak up all the paint and the colors would be blotchy - it'd be like painting on unprimed canvas.

The more gesso you put on, the stiffer the fabric will get. Two coats usually does it for me, to make sure I get a good layer on everything.

Because the ears are still just loose flaps of fabric, the gesso helps you to position them. Get them good and saturated with gesso and then use your fingers to press them flat and shape them however you want them. Acrylic gesso dries pretty quickly, so you have to work fast.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Oct-2002/fabdrag118.jpg

Here's the whole dragon, with its first coat of gesso. Looks better now without all those pencil marks, doesn't it? :)

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Oct-2002/fabdrag119.jpg

Ready for painting!!!

Amy

Axl
10-29-2002, 01:53 PM
this is coming along great! Congrats on the sticky thread too :D This is going to make a great tutorial, you are doing such a fantastic job in exlpaining what you are doing! :clap: :clap: :clap:

coolray
10-29-2002, 04:36 PM
My hat's off to you! This quite a dragon! I am your everlovin follower in this WIP.

Coolray

keiki
10-30-2002, 07:55 AM
Don't know if it is too late to vote for his color, but I like the fall color scheme idea. Bronzes and golds, maybe.
With just a touch of blue underbelly so when he is flying he will blend in with the sky.



;) Call him Rusty?

DraigAthar
10-31-2002, 12:20 PM
Okay, I went with an autumn colors theme. Here he is painted, waiting for some varnish before I glue the mane on. Whaddya think?

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-Oct-2002/fabdrag120.jpg

Amy

Fidget
10-31-2002, 05:55 PM
Oh Amy, this is so amazing.
Beautifully painted. Very lizard.
You're an inspiration to us all.

Many Thanks for sharing your time and talent with us.
Melody

SGShaw
10-31-2002, 07:50 PM
Amy:

This is absolutely awesome. An incredible piece of work, and a fantastic lesson as well.

Could we see a front view? I would like to see his face.

Susan

keiki
10-31-2002, 08:17 PM
WOW. doesn't he look terrific:clap:

Mom

inkskin
10-31-2002, 10:52 PM
YAY!!! You rock,girl. What an informative thread and a spectacular payoff.:clap:

Elankat
11-01-2002, 12:44 AM
Oooh. I love the autumn colors, and I really love the way you did the striping on the tale. Great work on this, Amy. Thank you SO much for letting us peek in on the process. :D

DraigAthar
11-01-2002, 11:23 AM
Done!!! A coat of varnish (matte acrylic varnish) and a tufty mane, and he's done. :)

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/01-Nov-2002/fabdragfin1.jpg

Amy

Fidget
11-01-2002, 11:35 AM
Excellent!

What is the mane made of and how did you attach it?

And does she have a name? How about a poll on it?

It's amazing how the wings look leathery.(is that a word?)

Melody
(groan, I want to make one now)

DraigAthar
11-01-2002, 11:40 AM
LOL, Melody, you should try and make your own, it's good fun. ;)

The mane is black crepe wool, the kind you use for doll hair. It's just glued on and trimmed down.

As for a name, I haven't thought of a name yet. Dave usually names all my dragons. But I'm open to suggestions. :)

Amy

Fidget
11-01-2002, 11:59 AM
How about Rhiannon, a woman of the otherworld in Celtic legend.
The maker of birds, I believe. She always has birds flying around her. A very noble character.

Give me time, maybe I can think of something else.
Melody

plumpfairy
11-02-2002, 08:18 AM
:D BRAVO! :clap: X1000!
What can I say that hasn't allready been said?.....Beautiful work Amy!
jana:D ;)

sunhawk
02-16-2003, 09:23 PM
that was a wonderful demo and a beatiful finished product! :D I wish i was better at sewing, perhaps i'll bone up on it for the summer and this will be my summer project to keep me sane while working! LOL

thanks for the demo!! :clap: :clap: :clap:

Bendaini
04-24-2003, 08:23 PM
I think I will be trying something like this... or maybe making something else with the same technique.... Wouldn't a Centaur be interesting like that? (no, i don't think i would be confident enough to make a human face, let alone the whole thing, maybe something smaller.)

DraigAthar
04-24-2003, 10:30 PM
A centaur would be awesome, I've done pegasus fabric sculptures before and they work quite well, too. I'll have to try and demo one of those someday.

Amy

AriadneArts
05-20-2003, 03:21 PM
WOW! Knock me over with a feather! Amy, I read through this entire thread. Whew! This is a knockout. What a talent you are! :clap: :clap: :clap:

PS: I'd be very interested in a Pegasus demo.

SILKNSATIN
06-11-2003, 09:53 PM
wow you are very good & this is very interesting and i have never understood patterns.Great work.:)

DraigAthar
06-11-2003, 10:25 PM
Thanks, Silknsatin! Hey, another Iowan! I used to live in Des Moines. :)

Amy

orchid black
07-04-2003, 02:16 AM
Thank you, thank you, thank you for the wonderful demo you've given! I love this guy! I've been wanting to do some kind of sculpture, as I've never done it before... he's incredible! I so appreciate all the time and effort put into this, and into making sure we understand how you created him. AND.... I will have to buy some Magic Sculp now..... why is it I get the most creative when I've so much else to do?!?!?

Very inspiring, and I agree... please do a tutorial of a pegasus. :clap:

Emilia
07-04-2003, 02:56 AM
I too sew, so mostly I just looked at your drawing and progress. You sure did a great job explaining.
Congratulations! well done.
I rated this post the best it would allow, which is 5.

DraigAthar
07-04-2003, 10:58 AM
Thank you, orchid black and Emilia. I'm glad you enjoyed the demo. :)

Amy

indimew
08-06-2007, 10:34 AM
Wow...just wow! I have been fiddling around with a couple of dragon designs with fabric and I have been completely discouraged with the way they were turning out. When I saw this guy, my jaw DROPPED!!

He's amazing and gorgeous and your instructions are just wonderful! Thank you so much for all of your help and advice in this thread! I really want to go out and try this now!

DraigAthar
08-06-2007, 10:44 AM
Thanks indimew!

Wow, this is a blast from the past. I hadn't seen this thread pop up in AGES. :)

Amy

Stardreamer
11-11-2008, 06:10 AM
Wow, you should turn this into an article for the channel, this is amazing!