Felt Wee Folk-New Adventures: 120 Enchanting Dolls

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Salley Mavor’s book Felt Wee Folk inspired tens of thousands to handcraft dolls from simple materials. Now, she invites you to return to the wee world with Felt Wee Folk—New Adventures, starring 120 dolls to spark smiles and creativity. As requested by fans, this long-awaited follow-up shares more challenging projects. Explore fresh scenes and an array of new outfits, hairstyles, and accessories, with full-sized patterns. Make bendable dolls that resemble you, your family, or your favorite fairy-tale characters with wool felt, chenille stems, and decorative stitching. Display the figures in a dollhouse, atop a wedding cake, or in a holiday scene to be cherished year after year. From the pages of Mavor’s award-winning children’s books to your home, the enchanting wee folk dolls appeal to crafters of all ages and skill levels.

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Chapter 1. Once Upon a Thread

ePub

THE AUTHOR’S STORY

Salley at Rhode Island School of Design, 1977

y favorite way of working is in mixed media. For as long as I can remember, I have felt that my pictures were plain and unfinished unless something real was glued, stapled, or sewn onto them. I have found a method of working that allows me to explore and play with a variety of supplies and techniques. Although I have no set formula, the common thread in my work is, well, thread. I embroider, wrap, and sew felt and found objects together, creating three-dimensional scenes in relief that are photographed and reproduced in picture books and on posters and cards.

Growing up in a home full of art, music, and dance contributed to my belief that creative expression is a fundamental part of life, defining who we are as individuals and as a society. When I was a little girl, my sister and I spent countless hours creating a miniature world with our toys and found objects. Scraps of cloth, old buttons, snaps, and eyehooks became clothes, accessories, and furnishings for our dolls. Our measure of excellence was the impeccable doll clothes sewn by our Southern great-aunts, Dell and Alma Salley.

 

Chapter 2. Gathering Materials

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any of the materials used to make the projects in this book, such as chenille stems, unvarnished wooden beads, embroidery floss, silk ribbon, faux flowers, and acrylic paint, are readily available from craft and needlework stores. Obtaining some supplies, such as wool felt, wool fleece, wool/silk blend thread, and glass beads, may require seeking out mail order companies and Internet businesses that sell these items. Refer to the list of suppliers in Sources. Some of the best supplies, though, are right under your nose or outside, under a tree. Sift through boxes of old trinkets or gather acorn caps, shells, and other natural wonders from outside.

Salvaged, interesting items can add a distinctive personal touch to a project.

BASIC MATERIALS FOR MOST DOLLS

Chenille stems (pipe cleaners)

Chenille stems are 12˝ long and come in two widths, 3mm in diameter (thin) and 6mm in diameter (regular). They are used to construct the doll bodies, providing a bendable padded wire to cover with embroidery floss.

 

Projects for children to make:

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PROJECTS FOR CHILDREN TO MAKE

These projects are fun and easy for children to make. They are simplified adaptations of the wee folk and fairies featured in this book. Some children with sewing experience and fine dexterity can move to the more complicated wrapped versions of the dolls.

simple flower fairy

Flower Fairy, 2½˝ doll

Materials

Makes 1 doll. See Gathering Materials for more information on supplies.

Chenille stem 3mm in diameter

12mm unvarnished wooden bead for head

Acorn cap to fit bead head

Wool yarn for hair

Small piece of green felt for tunic

5 faux flower parts (rings of petals) for skirt

Pair of faux flower petals for wings

Colored pencils for facial features

16˝ length of size 3 perle cotton thread

Large-eyed needle

White glue

MAKE IT

Body

1. Bend the chenille stem in half (A).

2. Use the photo (below) as a guide to bend the toes (B), underarms (C), hands (D), and neck (E).

 

Chapter 4. Step-by-Step Directions for Doll Bodies

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his chapter shows how to make a variety of dolls, which range in size from a 1½˝ baby to a 4½˝ adult. The many size choices make it possible to customize dolls for different uses and create family groupings with multiple generations.

There are two basic body types: standard and sturdy construction. The standard body is the simplest design and is sufficient for most uses. The sturdy body requires more steps and includes extra chenille stem sections. The reinforced frame makes a stronger armature that holds up better to repeated handling. The sturdy body is also more suitable for the taller dolls because the thicker limbs look proportionally balanced.

Tips for Body Wrapping

To wrap the chenille stems, keep the embroidery floss in the original skein wrapper and pull out a few feet of floss to start. Do not cut the floss, but continuously pull out more from the skein as needed. T

It takes time and practice to learn the wrapping process, and for most people this is the most challenging part of making the dolls. When wrapping, try to keep the floss from twisting into a tight spiral. Untwist and flatten out the six strands of floss as you wrap so that the strands fan out. Try applying different amounts of tension to the floss as you wrap, to find the right balance between overly tight and too loose. The goal is to cover the chenille “fuzzies” and create an even and smooth surface.

 

Chapter 5. Blossom Fairies

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Make a collection of fairy dolls, from the tiniest 1½˝ baby to a full-grown 3½˝ fairy. These dolls have floss-wrapped arms and legs, which require more skill and dexterity than the children’s fairy project. Construct their wrapped wire bodies (see Step-by-Step Directions for Doll Bodies) and dress them in bright petal petticoats and embroidered wool felt tunics. After the glue dries, they are ready to fly!

For more specific directions, see these sections:

Basic Materials for Most Dolls

Faces, clothing, and accessories: See Making Wee Folk and Fairies.

Stitches

Patterns

Additional Materials

Makes 1 doll.

Wooden bead head 10mm–16mm

Embroidery floss

Wool felt for tunic

Faux flower petals for skirt and wings

Wool fleece for hair

Acorn cap for hat

DRESS IT

1. Add the flower petal skirt (see Faux Flowers, Skirts).

2. Embroider the felt tunic and poke the neck through the neck opening.

 

Chapter 6. Dollhouse Family

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In matching miniature scale, a make-believe family resides in a time-honored dollhouse. Among other household adventures, Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, and the kids cook at the stove, eat at the table, wash up in the bathroom, and sleep in their beds. To keep up with the family’s active lifestyle, use sturdy body armatures.

For more specific directions, see these sections:

Basic Materials for Most Dolls

Faces, clothing, and accessories: See Making Wee Folk and Fairies.

Stitches

Patterns

mom and grandma

Grandma 2 (4˝ doll)

Additional Materials

Makes 1 Mom doll or 1 Grandma doll.

1 sturdy 3¾˝ armature or 1 sturdy 4˝ armature

1 unvarnished 20mm wooden bead for head

Wool/silk thread for hair

Cotton fabric for skirt

Seed beads for buttons

4mm-wide silk ribbon for blouse bow (optional)

baby

Baby (2˝ doll)

Additional Materials

 

Chapter 7. Harvest Folk

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Dressed in the colors of fall, these wee folk are busy gathering seeds and berries to keep in store for the coming cold weather.

For more specific directions, see these sections:

Basic Materials for Most Dolls

Faces, clothing, and accessories: See Making Wee Folk and Fairies.

Stitches

Patterns

parents

Additional Materials

Makes 1 Father doll or 1 Mother doll.

1 standard 4˝ doll armature or 1 sturdy 4½˝ doll armature

1 unvarnished 16mm wooden bead for head

1 acorn cap to fit bead head

Wool fleece for Mother’s hair

Metallic seed beads for buttons

children

Boy and Girl (2½˝ dolls)

Additional Materials

Makes 1 Girl or 1 Boy doll.

1 standard 2½˝ doll armature

1 unvarnished 12mm or 14mm wooden bead for head

1 acorn cap to fit bead head

Wool fleece for Girl’s hair

Size 3 perle cotton for belt

 

Chapter 8. Driftwood Clan

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Assembled like a photograph of a family reunion are several generations of wee folk, from young children to venerable grandparents. Even a pirate is welcomed back to mingle with the crowd.

For more specific directions, see these sections:

Basic Materials for Most Dolls

Faces, clothing, and accessories: See Making Wee Folk and Fairies.

Stitches

Patterns

grown-ups

Additional Materials

Makes 1 Grown-Up Woman or Man doll.

1 standard 4˝ doll armature

1 unvarnished 20mm wooden bead for head

1 acorn cap to fit bead head

Wool fleece for hair

Wool felt for clothing

Metallic seed beads for buttons

twins

Additional Materials

Makes 1 Twin Girl or Boy doll.

1 standard 3½˝ doll armature

1 unvarnished 16mm wooden bead for head

1 acorn cap to fit bead head

Wool fleece for hair

Size 3 perle cotton for Twin Girl’s belt

 

Chapter 9. Woodland Folk

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Camouflaged in shades of green, a multigenerational family gathers in a mossy corner of the forest floor. What is it like for them living in the woods? Make the Woodland Folk grandparents, parents, and children with the materials listed.

For more specific directions, see these sections:

Basic Materials for Most Dolls

Faces, clothing, and accessories: See Making Wee Folk and Fairies.

Stitches

Patterns

grandmother

Grandmother (4˝ doll)

Additional Materials

Makes 1 Grandmother doll.

1 sturdy 4˝ doll armature

1 unvarnished 20mm wooden bead for head

8 size 6/0 beads for hairpiece

Cotton fabric for skirt

7 faux leaves each 2˝ long for skirt

2 faux flower petal disks 1½˝ in diameter for sleeves

MAKE IT

Sleeves

1. Slip the hands through the center hole of the flower petal disks and slide the petals up the arms.

2. Sew the centers of the petal circles to the body’s shoulders. (The felt bodice will hide the raw ends.)

 

Chapter 10. Royal Family

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Shiny metallic thread and gold acorn cap crowns help make the king, queen, prince, and princess look impressively regal. In addition to the royal family, a crew of characters including a jester, knight, and wizard add to the medieval entourage.

For more specific directions, see these sections:

Basic Materials for Most Dolls

Faces, clothing, and accessories: See Making Wee Folk and Fairies.

Stitches

Patterns

MAKE IT

Legs and Arms

Wind metallic thread around the arms and legs after the dolls’ armatures have been wrapped with embroidery floss. Crisscross the thread up and down, making a pattern on top of the original layer of floss wrapping.

Embroidery

Use a combination of floss and metallic thread to decorate the felt clothing with embroidery stitches.

Crowns

Spray paint the acorn caps, covering only the outside, because glue will adhere better to the unpainted inside surface.

 

Chapter 11. Nativity Scene

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Create a seasonal display that will be cherished and enjoyed year after year. Along with Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus, the crèche scene includes a shepherd with his lamb and the three wise men bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

For more specific directions, see these sections:

Basic Materials for Most Dolls

Faces, clothing, and accessories: See Making Wee Folk and Fairies.

Stitches

Doll Stand

Patterns

mary

Mary (3¾˝ doll)

Additional Materials

Makes 1 Mary doll.

1 sturdy 3¾˝ doll armature

1 unvarnished 20mm wooden bead for head

Wool/silk thread for hair

Cotton fabric for skirt

1¼˝ metal washer for doll stand (optional)

MAKE IT

Skirt

1. Follow the directions for sewing a cotton fabric skirt (see Cotton Skirt).

2. Gather the waistband and sew the skirt onto the body’s waistline.

 

Chapter 12. Winter Play

ePub

Make a winter scene come to life with this flurry of dolls. Bundled in their warm wool felt jackets, mittens, and snow pants, they are eager to play outside in the chilly weather. Jack Frost beams as they ski, sled, and skate on the wintry snow and ice.

For more specific directions, see these sections:

Basic Materials for Most Dolls

Faces, clothing, and accessories: See Making Wee Folk and Fairies.

Stitches

Doll Stand

Patterns

jack frost

Jack Frost (3˝ doll)

Additional Materials

Makes 1 Jack Frost doll.

1 standard 3˝ doll armature

1 unvarnished 16mm wooden bead for head

Wool/silk thread for hair

Metallic thread

½˝ snowflake button for walking stick

Chenille stem 3mm in diameter for walking stick

1˝ metal washer for doll stand (optional)

MAKE IT

Walking Stick

See Canes and Ski Poles for steps to make the walking stick.

 

Chapter 13. Hansel and Gretel

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Lost in the woods, this delightful Hansel and Gretel find a gingerbread house decorated with enticing candy. They also find something scary!

For more specific directions, see these sections:

Basic Materials for Most Dolls

Faces, clothing, and accessories: See Making Wee Folk and Fairies.

Stitches

Patterns

hansel and gretel

Hansel (3˝ doll)

Gretel (3˝ doll)

Additional Materials

Makes 1 Hansel doll or 1 Gretel doll.

1 standard 3˝ doll armature

1 unvarnished 16mm wooden bead for head

Wool fleece for hair

Wool felt for clothing

Metallic seed beads for buttons

witch

Witch (4˝ doll)

Additional Materials

Makes 1 Witch doll.

1 standard 4˝ doll armature

1 unvarnished 20mm wooden bead for head

Wool fleece for hair

Metallic seed beads for buttons

HANSEL AND GRETEL PATTERNS

 

Chapter 14. Sherwood Forest

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Hiding in Sherwood Forest you will find some dashing, heroic characters: Robin Hood, Maid Marian, and the Merry Men. Expand this scene to your heart’s content with friars, sheriffs, villains, and friends.

For more specific directions, see these sections:

Basic Materials for Most Dolls

Faces, clothing, and accessories: See Making Wee Folk and Fairies.

Stitches

Patterns

robin hood

Robin Hood (4˝ doll)

Additional Materials

Makes 1 Robin Hood doll.

1 standard 4˝ doll armature

1 unvarnished 20mm wooden bead for head

Wool fleece for hair

Leather cording for belt and quiver handle

Flexible green twig and 2 strands of floss for bow

Wooden sticks or toothpicks for arrows

maid marian

Maid Marian (4˝ doll)

Additional Materials

Makes 1 Maid Marian doll.

1 standard 4˝ doll armature

1 unvarnished 20mm wooden bead for head

 

Chapter 15. Mary Had a Little Lamb

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Mary had a little lamb with fleece as white as snow. It followed her to school one day. It made the children laugh and play to see a lamb at school.

For more specific directions, see these sections:

Basic Materials for Most Dolls

Faces, clothing, and accessories: See Making Wee Folk and Fairies.

Stitches

Doll Stand

Patterns

mary

Mary (3¾˝ doll)

Additional Materials

Makes 1 Mary doll.

1 sturdy 3¾˝ doll armature

1 unvarnished 20mm wooden bead for head

Wool/silk thread for hair

Cotton fabric for skirt

4mm-wide silk ribbon for hat

Seed beads for top, vest, and hat

1¼˝ flat metal washer for stand (optional)

DRESS IT

Skirt and Blouse

1. Follow the steps in Cotton Skirt to make Mary’s skirt.

2. Cut the pattern piece out of felt and embroider the blouse using a decorative blanket stitch.

 

Chapter 16. Nursery Rhymes

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Enter into a make-believe world inhabited by familiar characters from childhood nursery rhymes. Little Bo-Peep looks for her sheep, Wee Willie Winkie runs through the town, Jack and Jill climb up a hill, and the Crooked Man walks a crooked mile. Little Miss Muffet sits on a tuffet, Peter keeps his wife in a pumpkin shell, and Little Boy Blue sleeps under a haystack.

For more specific directions, see these sections:

Basic Materials for Most Dolls

Faces, clothing, and accessories: See Making Wee Folk and Fairies.

Stitches

Doll Stand

Patterns

little bo-peep

Additional Materials

Makes 1 Little Bo-Peep doll.

1 sturdy 3˝ doll armature

1 unvarnished 16mm wooden bead for head

Wool/silk thread for hair

Cotton fabric for skirt

1¼˝-wide lace for apron

3mm-wide velvet ribbon

1˝ metal washer for doll stand (optional)

Chenille stem, 3mm diameter, for crook

 

Chapter 17. Wedding Cake Toppers

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Add a personal touch to a wedding celebration with these cake toppers. From traditional to alternative, customize figures to match the look and style of the real-life couple.

For more specific directions, see these sections:

Basic Materials for Most Dolls

For the brides, follow the directions for adding breasts to the armature (Finishing the Body).

Faces, clothing, and accessories: See Making Wee Folk and Fairies.

Stitches

Doll Stand

Patterns

fairy bride

Fairy Bride (4˝ doll)

Additional Materials

Makes 1 Fairy Bride doll.

1 sturdy 4˝ doll armature

1 unvarnished 20mm wooden bead for head

2 small beads for breasts

Acorn cap to fit head

Faux flowers for skirt and wings

Wool/silk thread for hair

Faux flower stamens for bouquet

Small beads for bouquet

Ribbon for bouquet

1¼˝ metal washer for doll stand (optional)

 

Chapter 18. More Adventures

ePub

 

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