In creating my puppets, I had planned to refer to several books on my shelf; I own a small library of books on the topic of building puppets and also a couple of books on making Waldorf dolls, but none of my books offered much help when it came to creating a glove-puppet with a Waldorf style doll-head. When making a glove-puppet, it is usual to have space inside the head for the fingers of the puppeteer; however, on a traditional Waldorf doll-head, it would be very difficult to create a space inside the head. This left me with a bit of a problem - I now had to design a pattern for a glove-puppet from scratch.
I sewed test patterns from muslin and then proceeded to cut up precious pieces of vintage velvet which had been hoarded for many years in my fabric-stash, only to discover that my patterns were flawed. Back to the drawing board, and on to using revised patterns to cut the next series of puppet-bodies from some lovely brown velour... only to discover that my pattern was still not quite right! Luckily, I was able to buy more brown velour to use when I finally perfected the pattern!
In this tutorial, I will give you guidelines for creating your own pattern, however, I strongly recommend that you create puppet bodies from muslin (or some other scrap fabric such as an old t-shirt) to test your pattern before you cut your puppet-body pieces from fine cloth.
MAKING THE HEADThere are several good books on making Waldorf doll heads, including one titled Making Waldorf Dolls published by Hawthorn Press. Additionally, you can find excellent instructions on the blog Doing Without. Below, I offer a very basic outline of instructions, however, if you've never made a Waldorf doll-head, I suggest you refer to secondary resources for more specific information.
1/2 cm wide and approx. 5 1/2 or 6 cm high, I cut the width of my fabric about 13 1/2 cm wide, folded it and sewed it into a tube. Then I made a tight gather at the top, turned it inside-out, stuffed it firmly (so the height was approx. 6 cm), and tied it off at the bottom.
Anyhow, to create this type of head from felt, you will need to draw a head with a face in profile and cut 2 pieces. You will also need to cut one gusset-piece to go up the back of the head. I do not show it in a photo, however, I sewed a test pattern from scrap-felt to make sure the size and shape of the head was correct. My first version was too small, so I enlarged the pattern slightly and then proceeded to use the corrected version of my pattern to cut my peach-colored wool felt.
MAKING THE BODY
The portion at the top, extending up from the neck, will form a pocket at the back of the puppet's head to accommodate your fingers. It is 7 1/2 cm wide.
At the widest point, the arms measure 21 1/2 cm.
The widest point of the body should measure approx. 19 1/2 cm.
The height of the entire pattern should measure approx. 30 1/2 cm (or taller.)
1/2 cm tall.
You will also notice, in the photo above, that I finished off the puppet head by removing most of the fabric which had been hanging off the bottom of the head. I left approx. 2-3 cm of fabric, folded it toward the back and carefully sewed it down.
Then I pinned the hands onto the right-sides of puppet body pieces and sewed them in place.
Note: I left 1/2 cm at the top of the neck unsewn. This allowed me to roll the fabric under when I pinned & sewed the front of the body to the head.
To attach the head, I pinned the front of the neck (where I had removed the tall flap of fabric) beneath the face and then sewed the pocket-flap to the back of the head.
Note: I did not sew down the top of the pocket at the back of the head. Leaving the top of the pocket open left a little more room for my finger(s), and, because I have covered the heads of my Root Child puppets with stretchy knit hats, this works out just fine. According to your preferences, you may or may not want to sew the top of the pocket shut.
COSTUMING THE PUPPETS
I also stitched up flower-petal pinafores from wool felt to garb my Root Children for their Spring and Summertime festivities. I hope you have fun, too, coming up with your own original costuming ideas and designs.
|Mother Earth glove-puppet by Melissa|
RESOURCES FOR PURCHASING SUPPLIES
|Mother Earth glove-puppet by Jen of SEWNnatural|
|Tiptoes Lightly marionette by Rhonda of Joy Grows|
Keep an eye out later this week for a marionette tutorial on Rhonda's blog!
|Mother Earth glove-puppet with a knit body by Melissa|