Sunday, November 27, 2011

Spirit Dolls

I had one on-line friend ask about the spirit dolls and my making of them. I've got a few pictures.
In this picture you see the little pod. I start with an egg shape that I trace on the wrong side of a piece of fabric. I chose the wrong fabric here - it is a piece of an old tie, maybe one of my long passed uncles - but it is dark. I pin the fabric to the other fabric which will be the back and then hand stitch around the outline. I then cut out the fabric leaving about a 1/4 inch all around.

The fabric is then snipped on the back to form a slit, turned inside out and stuffed. Then I glue on a face and let that dry while I make a few more of the little fabric bodies. In the picture to the right you will see the face glued in place and waiting to dry. The face is made by my friend Steve Smith of  Talking Earth Pottery and they are some that he has given me. He told me that maybe I could use some to add to the dolls I make. He uses the faces on some of his pots. I add the beads around the face to secure the face on the fabric. I don't want to have it fall off so I use the type of beading used in making cabochon jewellery.

More beads are added for surface decoration as well as the picot edging all around. This picot edging also stabilizes the seams because it is stuffed quite well. The surface beading follows the design on the material and beading it flattens out the doll to some extent. When it is all beaded I add legs and arms and I cover the back with a piece of felt that I sew on with the blanket stitch. This piece of felt will cover all the stitches.

These dolls to the right (in the bad lighting picture) are some that were finished a few months ago. I can either sew pin backs to them or add a magnet so they can hang on the refrigerator or filing cabinets. I try to also sew on  what we used to call a fetish a long time ago when I did other kind of bead work. In the one to the left you will see a bear and the other one has a bear as well but it is dark blue. These seem to be the only fetishes I can find right now. I've got to go to Toronto to find different bead stores to find more. Sometimes I add a tiny heart or a pearl or fancy button if I can find them in the stash. The hair that you see them wearing are beads that are sewn on and hang like dreadlocks.
So, that is it. The dolls in progress are just two that will be made from ties (I experimented) and then I'll go back to the brightly coloured fabric in my stash. Have a good one


  1. Oh, they're wonderful! What a clever idea.I love the look of the beading. The faces are so lovely--what an incredible gift. I'm especially loving the one in the middle... I want to hold it in my hand, and it's putting me in mind of the worry dolls I had as a child, or a security totem to carry with you and give you strength. So glad you posted photos of these!

  2. This is really cool. I'm teaching myself to make dolls, and I was wondering if you could postinstructions on how to make the other kind of dolls. T.I.A.