This summer, both my son Ian and Sam, his best friend from childhood, got married. Here they are at age 3 and at Sam’s wedding last weekend. So, I had the pleasure of making personalized cake toppers for 2 wedding couples! You can see the post I wrote about Ian and Liz’s dolls here.
Sam and Louisa hosted a heart-felt and whimsical ceremony and reception, full of do-it-yourself touches, at their home in Falmouth, MA. Sam is a radio announcer and reporter for WCAI, our local NPR station and Louisa teaches ballet and is also the handwork teacher at the Waldorf School of Cape Cod.
A few weeks before the wedding, Sam and Louisa sent photos of their wedding attire and accessories, including their shoes. As I teach in my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk, the figures are constructed from the feet upward.
I also asked them to send head shots, specifically with closed mouths – no toothy grins, which are difficult to paint. When depicting real people, I like to paint their likenesses way in the beginning of the process. That way, I feel attached to them. They aren’t just dolls, but individuals with unique characteristics who are dressing up for a special occasion.
After forming the bride’s limbs with pipe cleaners and wrapping the arms and legs with embroidery floss, I sewed felt around the torso and stitched on boob beads.
Then, I covered the torso and boob beads with a layer of cotton batting and stitched more embroidery floss onto the upper chest area. Dressing bride dolls is a challenge because so often they wear skimpy gowns that show a lot of exposed skin. It’s so much easier to make the groom’s suit out of wool felt!
To make Louisa’s hair, I stitched embroidery floss onto the felt “wig”, which I’d previously glued onto her wooden bead head (see photo above). I should mention that at this point, her head is not yet glued onto the neck. That came at the end, after her clothing was finished. I popped her head on and off throughout the process to check how it looked.
I found some white silk (or silk-like) fabric in my stash to make Louisa’s gown.
I formed Sam’s pipe cleaner body and he lay on my work table in his underwear, while I waited for photos of his suit.
Using photos of Louisa’s family heirlooms, I fashioned her veil and pearl necklace.
With Sam still in his underwear, I pressed forward and made the platform that they would stand on, which is basically a piece of wood covered with felt. I chain stitched their wedding date in orange and outlined the numbers in purple to make them more prominent.
I used a spider web technique to embroider ribbon roses, which I learned on YouTube.
I added more ribbon embroidery and bead embellishments.
I glued a piece of felt to the bottom of the wooden platform and stitched the embellished felt top piece to it around the outside edge. Then I edged the base with twisted memory wire and braid.
As soon as the photo of Sam in his black velvet jacket appeared on my phone, I got to work creating its wee version.
To make Sam’s floral bow-tie, I decorated silk ribbon with markers and stitched it to his shirt.
It didn’t take long to sew his jacket onto the pipe cleaner body, and glue his head on top. Now, he was all ready to get married!
For her bouquet, i weeded through my collection of miniature flowers, guessing what it might look like. In reality, it turned out that she held a bouquet of dahlias in a very similar color scheme.
Before covering the wooden base with felt, I had drilled holes for sewing their feet in place. I had marked the location of the drill holes on the felt, so it was easy to anchor their feet with a few stitches using a long sewing needle.
Here they are, atop their lemon poppy seed wedding cake, which was homemade by the bride’s sister. Congratulations and best wishes to Sam and Louisa!
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Beautiful work. I love them!
Beautiful!!! And LOL to the boob beads. You do think of everything.
Beautiful! Heartfelt details. Thank you for sharing your amazingly creative process.
Congratulations to all! Beautiful work of love.
Wonderful! What a lucky couple of couples!
Amazing to see the steps to the final person . So interesting. Stitching that is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and process . Blows me away…. Your talent !!❤️
What a treasure to always remember the love of the day!
How big was the bead for her head-
I think the heads are 20 mm.
Wow Salley, it’s all lovely, getting the colors of those flowers so close to what she chose is the cherry on top!
What beautiful heartfelt work, and such a wonderful keepsake. Thank you for sharing!
What a treasure.
You’ve outdone yourself!
Every detail is there!
What a treat to see the “work in progress” of this beautiful cake topper. Thanks!
WOW!!! How wonderful to have such a personal cake topper! May they have a long and happy life together💕👰♀️🤵♂️
Miniature works have always captivated me and you are definitely the queen of creating in miniature.
so beautiful!! I am just beginning to make a doll after buying your book…i am excited
A memory for them to keep forever…
Hi Salley. Congratulations on the weddings of your son and of his best friend. Such a sweet story. I enjoyed reading your narratives about the creation of the cake toppers for each of their weddings. Both are so beautifully artistic and accurate! It must’ve been great fun for you to create them. And now each couple now has a cherished heirloom in remembrance of their special day. How wonderful!
After visiting your felt art exhibit at the Brick Store Museum and reading your Wee Folk craft books, I’ve been inspired to try my hand at creating some Blossom Fairies [ I know…I’m a decade or two late to the dance! LOL ]. Subsequently, I’m finding that most of the source suppliers recommended in the back of the projects book are either no longer in business or may no longer carry the same items. In particular I am not finding any sources for wool fleece [ plant dyed OR undyed]. I’ve tried reaching out to some non commercial possibilities [ such as speaking to the textile dept. at OSV ] which also didn’t yield any success.
Any thoughts or suggestion? Thanks in advance.
Happy stitching! Andrea ________________________________
Thank you for your kind and thoughtful comment, Andrea. There are lots of small businesses that sell wool fleece for needle felting. Even though this is a different use, I’d start searching there. You may not be able to find plant dyed fleece, though.
Oh they are wonderful Salley! I love your work and appreciate how much you share with us to uplift and inspire! Thank you❤️
Thanks so much for sharing your work. I think the books are amazing and your felt people and interiors are so beautiful. Love them.