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Dolls In Motion
Carol Duvall Show : Episode CDS-464 -- More Projects »

Click here to view a larger image.

Click the icon for figures 1 through 6.

Using a simple wire form and clippers, dollmaker Susanna Oroyan adds mobility to a doll by attaching moving parts. These kinds of doll forms bend easily and can be wrapped with any favorite fabric or ribbon. Oroyan's model may have a wooden head and a frozen smile, but she certainly looks and dresses smart enough to become a prized posession.


20-gauge craft wire - for dolls under 12 inches
16 gauge wire (available in hardware stores) - for dolls over 12 inches
masking tape
wire-cutting pliers
embroidery thread - nine skeins in desired colors
one-inch diameter wooden bead
silk ribbon 1/4 inch wide - 12 yards of flesh color, three yards for hair, six yards shoe color, assorted colors for clothing and trim beads, flowers, etc., for embellishments


  1. Make a "W" shape with the wire. The loop will support a head (figure 1).
  2. Twist the ends of the wire together at the "neck" (figure 2).
  3. Tape the torso below the neck and above the hip (figure 3).
  4. Bend the wire to form the hips (figure 4).
  5. Bend the wire to form arms and tape them at the shoulders (figure 5).
  6. Wrap the armature with batting (figure 6).
  7. Wrap the body with embroidery thread to build out and add dimension to the form.
  8. Cover the wooden bead (which will become the head) by using a needle threaded with embroidery thread. Run the thread through center hole of the bead until three-fourths of the bead has been covered.
  9. Create the eyes and mouth with flat stitches of embroidery thread.
  10. Attach the head to the body by inserting wire into the bead hole at the neck.
  11. Create a desired hairstyle from some curled silk ribbon.
  12. Wrap ribbon around the doll to make the dress bodice.
  13. For the skirt, gather the fabric and hand-stitch it to the doll's waist.
  14. Embellish as desired.
Susanna's Tips:
  • Figures can be built up more quickly by wrapping with two-ply baby yarn.
  • Instead of using embroidery thread for the flesh, the figure may be finished with a layer of wrapped silk ribbon.
  • Shoes may be created by wrapping the feet with an appropriate color of embroidery thread.
  • Silk ribbons may be curled by pulling them over the scissors blade, just as you would create a gift package ribbon.
  • Embroidery thread may be curled effectively by first dampening it with a 50 percent solution of craft glue and water, and then wrapping it over a metal knitting needle.

beads, wire - The Beadery
The Beadery Craft Products
Hope Valley, RI
Phone: 401-539-2432

Anatomy of a Doll: The Fabric Sculptor's Handbook
by Susanna Oroyan (ISBN: 157120024X )
Click here to order this title.
C & T Publishing Inc.
Concord, CA 94518
Toll-free: 800-284-1114

Susanna Oroyan
Author and crafter
c/o Fabricat Designs
3270 Whitbeck Blvd.
Eugene, OR 97405