My friends, Shona and Amy are tying the knot this Saturday. Their wedding is looking to be more of a do-it-yourself type than the formulaic extravaganzas I’ve been to lately. Their’s will be much looser, with lots of friends helping out, which reminds me of 30 years ago, when my husband and I got married. My friend Terry and I volunteered to make their wedding cake. Terry has already baked the cake and she and I will be spending friday working on the decorations. We’ve been planning this cake for months and I’ll try to remember to take pictures as we add the personal touches. I just finished making Shona and Amy dolls to fit a toy boat, which will be on the cake.
To start, I found a wooden toy boat of the right size and type at Bella Luna Toys. I then made two 3 1/2 inch tall pipe cleaner doll forms, the same way as explained in my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk.
This is what the dolls look like undressed. I wrapped some cotton batting around their middle sections and sewed small beads for breasts, which show that these are women, not girls. Just adding stuffing doesn’t look natural and the beads appear more true to life when they are clothed. I started using beads for breasts a few years ago, when I made my self-portrait, because I wanted to show maturing over time. See my piece, Self-Portrait: A Personal History of Fashion here.
Then, I dressed them in clothing that I thought fit their style and personality.
Now that the dolls had heads, they needed a trip to the hairdresser. I put glue on the top and sides of the bead heads and then draped felt over, using pins to keep the felt in place while it dried. I started devising this wig making technique when I made all of those dolls for my Self-Portrait.
After the glue dried, I cut the felt in the back to conform to the round head and glued the felt to the back. Pins hold the felt in place while it dries. I felt like giving the dolls little fashion magazines to read like women in salons, who sit and wait with curlers or foil origami on their heads.
I sewed the seams together and blanket stitched around the felt edges, using flower thread, which is thicker than embroidery floss. DMC discontinued making flower thread, which is too bad, because it’s great stuff. I still have some of this golden wheat color that worked for both Amy and Shona’s hair.
Shona has curls, so I twisted the thread around the needle and pulled it through, like loose french knots. I really felt like a hairdresser then.
Amy’s doll had straight hair.
I made a flag with their names that would fly above the dolls on the boat. Wire along the flag’s edge helps keep its shape.
I painted the boat and sewed the finished dolls to tiny screw eyes on the cabin. Amy loves to fish, so I made her a fishing rod and attached a bead fish.
Shona, who is a bit of a show-off, is ready at the bow, holding on to the flag pole. I’ll let you know how the launching goes.