Mad In Pursuit Notebook

funnel spider

The Making of a Pocket Saint

In Florida, after I showed my wonky little Addie (Doll #1) to Pat, I stuck her in the long pocket of my travel shirt and there she stayed till we packed up for home. Addie added something to our visit, a silent but watchful participant and a reminder of childhood and of homemade toys.

An idea was born.

How could I make a shorter doll who would fit in any pocket and would have a meaningful purpose (or at least a story)?

Process (This is for my own documentation and may not serve very well as a beginner's tutorial.)

Sketch a 6" tall doll outline (see drawing below). Trace 1/2 the pattern on tracing paper and add a line for the 1/4" seam allowance. Lay the pattern on the fold of a piece of muslin (or fabric of choice) and cut. Repeat for the doll back (or just cut a general shape for easier sewing and trim after stitching). With pencil or vanishing ink, lightly trace the actual doll outline onto the wrong side of the fabric -- this is the stitching line.

With right side of pieces sandwiched, sew the doll edges together, using a small straight stitch. Leave an opening on her side for turning and stuffing. (Next time I may leave openings in her armpits, since it was very hard to maneuver stuffing into her skinny little arms.)

After stitching, trim the seam allowance to 1/8" and clip the curves. Turn the doll rightside out. Insert a chopstick or similar tool to smooth out the seams as much as possible. Starting with the hands and arms, stuff the doll with Poly-fil as firmly as possible, using a big tweezers and chopstick. Close the side opening by hand, with a ladderstitch.

I used an Eggshell Prismacolor marker to paint a flesh tone on her head and arms.

The face was drawn first in vanishing fabric marker, then outlined with brown Pigma Micron #01 permanent marker. Color was added with Prismacolor pencils and a white Jellyroll gel pen.

I glued a scrap of batting to her chest for boobs.

Hair: I laid out some strands of perle cotton and held them together with a strip of painters tape on either side of the midpoint. Then I sewed back and forth over the midpoint... which became the center part. I tacked the hair on her head with thread and then agonized over having to style it.

After some experimenting, I used on old red t-shirt for her clothes. Her robe is basically a modified poncho -- a length of cloth with a head hole. The hem of the shirt formed a great little turtle neck, which also wrapped around for her cumberbund. Yeah, it's sort of like the outfit your mom made you if you were a shephard in the nativity play.

Headband: copper wire around some string and gold thread. Bracelets: loops of wire.


I've always had a fascination with "little people." When I was young, I longed for a tiny secret sharer, all my own, to confer with. My Aunt Mary told me stories of leprechauns but the whole elf thing got kind of ruined for me by Keebler commercials. I tried striking up a relationship with my guardian angel but I got nothing. I missed out on fairies altogether. I did have brief imaginative relationship with Archy the poet-cockroach of archy & mehitabel fame. But I actually wanted a real person, like the man popping out of the envelope on the Post-Dispatch's letters-to-the-editor page. I remember coveting his companionship before I could read.

In discovering my heavenly host of mentor-mothers for "Tribe of the Breakaway Beads," I did study how the ancient Greeks honored the idea of a personal daemon; and the Romans, a personal genius. The notion of hovering, caring spirits nearby became a little more real to me.

So here I am taking another pass at creating that special little friend who exchanges her watchfulness for my caring. If I can figure out how to make them a little more efficiently, they might make good gifts.