MAUS, a true story.
Once I read this comic / book I couldn't put it down, it has forever changed a part of me.
I wanted something tangible from the MAUS books, so I decided to take matters into my own hands.
I will show you how to construct Vladek Spiegelman into a doll.
Step 1: Czech List
you will need:
- muslin (two 15" X 11" pieces )
- acrylic paint (grey, black and white)
- thread (grey and black thread)
- sewing machine (this way is faster, but you can also use fabric glue if you do not have a machine)
- paintbrush (this will have multiple purposes)
- iron (for pressing fabric)
- straight pins
- fine tipped marker or archival pen (i use a MICRON pen)
Step 2: Print. Cut. Trace.
print out Vladek pattern and cut out all 5 pieces. (Do not forget the TAIL! it is on the second page)
****TIP: if you do NOT have access to a printer, you can place a plain white piece of paper onto your screen and LIGHTLY trace in pencil the Vladek pattern.
take the muslin, fold in half (or if you have 2 separate muslin pieces, lay them on top of one another) and iron flat. i used two 15" X 11" muslin pieces.
place and pin your pattern pieces onto the muslin and trace (in pencil) each pattern piece. (you will need to trace the arm and leg pieces twice) make sure to leave a bit of room between each pattern piece (at least half an inch). remember to mark the openings (- - -) when tracing.
remove your pinned pattern pieces and set aside. now, pin WITHIN your TRACED pieces (making sure you pin through both layers of muslin). this will help hold the pieces in place while sewing so they do not shift.
you should now have 7 pattern pieces TOTAL.
Step 3: Sew
sew along the solid lines, stopping at those - - - - - marks.
then, cut out each pattern piece allowing a quarter of an inch seam allowance around each individual part.
Step 4: Inside Out.
remember i said that the paintbrush will have multiple uses? well, here we are.
take each pattern piece and turn open end inside out. i like to flip the open end a little (almost like you're cuffing your jeans) then take the end of your paintbrush (i use one with a long skinny handle) and work your pieces inside out.
BEWARE the tail! it's a pain, but keep at it.
once the pieces are inside out (more like the RIGHT side out) be sure to take the end of your brush and run it along the inside of your pattern pieces to make sure everything is on the up and up. er, out and out?
Step 5: Stuff It.
grab a bit of poly-fil (keeping it loose and using SMALL amounts at a time) and stuff each piece using the end of your paintbrush to push and fill in.
do this with all 7 pieces.
Step 6: Oxymoron ALERT: Closing Openings.
see those - - - - - - - lines? (well you shouldn't because everything is inside out...) but remember them?
you can now sew or glue all of your pattern pieces closed EXCEPT for the BODY piece.
i like to hand sew the HEAD piece and make that a bit nice- i use a BLIND STITCH, this makes the closing stitch, invisible.
If you are having trouble with this whole "blind stitch" thing... have no fear (close it up however you can) because you will be painting over it soon enough, just make sure to trim off any excess threads.
Step 7: Assembling (part Of) Vladek
looks like you have some sort of crime scene in front of you? well, we are on the same page here.
take the BODY and LEG pieces and fit the top (sewn edges) of each leg into the bottom opening of the BODY. pin into place and sew straight across the opening of the BODY. if you are gluing, make sure BODY opening is glued shut and place something heavy on top until dry and legs are secure.
do NOT sew the TAIL or ARM pieces on just yet- it will just get in the way in step #8.
Step 8: Paint and Assemble the Rest.
even funner part. (yes i AM aware that "funner" is not a word)
if you do not have grey acrylic paint. you can mix your black and white.
i like to work front first. place Vladek BODY (with legs attached) lying down, facing you (on newspaper) and paint every part of Vladek that is not touching the newspaper. let dry completely and flip him over and do the same for the reverse side. (you might need 2 coats per side) paint your HEAD, ARM and TAIL pieces as well.
Step 9: Finishing
once everything is dry, he'll feel a bit more like leather.now, take one ARM piece (with threaded needle in hand, use grey or white thread) and pass the needle through the shoulder area of the ARM fasten to shoulder area of BODY and back through ARM piece... repeat threading through several times until the arms are secured to the BODY.
re-thread your needle and sew the HEAD piece onto the neck and the TAIL piece onto the back.
once everything is attached, you can now do some of the detailing:
- face (you can draw his features on with your fine tipped pen, or use some black thread to "draw" his eyes and nose)
- finger lines
- whiskars (paint these on or sew them into place)
i felt a bit ambitious and painted his shirt on him, sewed him some pants and his trench coat (i dirtied it up a bit).
although written in comic book form, the story is contrary to it's appearance.
Heroism isn't just reserved for the Super Heroes of the comic world, it is very real and lives among us in human form and lies within.