Bed book peek: Dog

Today, I’m happy to give a behind the scenes peek at how I made this dog, which is used as a spot illustration in my new picture book, MY BED. The story about children’s sleeping places in different cultures around the world was published in Sept. 2020. A touring exhibition of my original embroidered artwork for the book is traveling around the United States. Salley Mavor: Bedtime Stitches will next be shown at the Cedarhurst Center for the Arts, in Mt. Vernon, IL from Feb. 28 to May 5, 2021. The tour schedule is listed here.

Update: Signed copies of My Bed can be ordered in my shop here. Watch this 8 minute documentary about how I created the illustrations for the book.

The dog joins all of the other animal icons on the book’s endpapers. If you’d like to see posts about making the other animal icons for the book, please follow the links below: RoosterCamelParrotElephantGoldfishCatDuckSheepRabbitCowCrocodile, Giraffe.

Forming the dog: After drawing a simple dog shape, I bent a pipe cleaner to match the outline. Then I wrapped the legs and tail with embroidery floss, using the same technique that I teach in my how-to book of doll projects, Felt Wee Folk.

Backing: I sewed a felt scrap to the back of the pipe cleaner, cutting the felt to fit as I stitched around the whole body.

Padding: I padded the inside of the body by layering and sewing small scraps of felt inside the pipe cleaner edge. It didn’t matter what color the backing and padding was since it’ll be hidden inside.

Body front: At this point, I must have been so engrossed in adding the top layer of felt that I forgot to take photos until the whole body was covered. So, I’ll try to explain what I did. I cut out a piece of felt that was about 3/8″ bigger than the dog shape. Then, I folded the felt over the pipe cleaner edge and stitched it to the backing. To make it nice and tight, I went around several times, until the head and body where clearly defined. I cut and stitched the felt closely around the legs and tail to make them fit.

Ears, nose, eyes: I stitched a mouth with embroidery floss and sewed on seed beads for an eye and nose. For the ear, I cut out a separate piece of felt, edged it with blanket stitches and sewed it to the head. I chain-stitched a collar and sewed on a bead for a dog tag.

Fur: The dog’s body looked rather plain, so gave it a furry texture using mending wool. I’m glad I kept a collection of vintage cards that were found in a relative’s dresser drawers. They’re from the days when people actually darned moth holes.

Tail: To make the tail look more tail-like, I covered the wrapped pipe cleaner with other stitches.

The dog appears on the back cover of the book. You can see a previous post about making the border here. Stay tuned for more peeks behind the scenes!

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2 thoughts on “Bed book peek: Dog

  1. This wee dog is so adorable! I tried following the link to see how the borders were made but ended up at a page of cool images of individual book pages (I think!). Lovely that you take the time to share your process — I’m fascinated!

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