Introduction: Making a Nativity Scene: the Baby Jesus
Step 1: Materials
To make your baby Jesus figure you will need:
* Cotton tubular gauze finger bandage
* Skin-coloured cotton knit
* White cotton knit strips
* White cotton fabric
Step 2: Making the Head
Cut 5 cm (2 in) tubular gauze. Sew up one end using a running stitch, then pull tight to gather the fabric. Turn right side out and stuff the head with unspun sheep's wool. The head should be about 2 cm (3/4 in) long and 5 cm (2 in) in circumference.
Tip: Use a chopstick to stuff the head with one hand, while using the other hand to squeeze it into shape.
Bind off the eye line just below the centre of the face with strong thread. To do this, lay the thread into two mirrored loops. Fold the first loop over the second loop, then, holding the loops between thumb and forefinger, place them around the head and gently pull tight enough to make a depression.
Cover the head with skin-coloured cotton knit and wind strong thread around the neck.
Choose a suitable colour yarn and sew a small amount in place with small stitches for the hair.
Step 3: Making the Arms and Legs
For the arms, cut a strip of cotton knit 5 x 6.5 cm (2 x 2 5/8 in). Fold the outer edges to the centre, then fold the whole strip in half again to make a thin roll. Wind the roll crossways with strong thread, leaving 0.5 cm (1/4 in) at each end for the hands. Cover the hands with skin-coloured cotton knit.
For the legs, use a cotton knit strip 5 x 13 cm (2 x 5 1/4 in). Fold in the same way as the arms. Drape the folded strip over the centre of the arms and use strong thread to bind the two halves together from the fold for 2 cm (3/4 in) to make the body. Wind the thread tightly crossways around each leg.
To attach the head to the arms and legs, cut a slit into the head fabric to make a front and back flap. Position the body between the flaps, wind around the flaps with strong thread and sew in place.
Step 4: Dress
Cut the dress out of thin white cotton fabric using the dressmaking pattern provided. Put the dress on the baby and sew the neck opening shut. Fold back the seam allowance at one cuff and sew around the dress to the other cuff with small stitches.
Cut out a square 11 cm x 11 cm (4 1/4 x 4 1/4 in) of a thin fabric such as an old muslin square or remnant of linen to make a blanket for the finished baby. Lay the blanket on a surface with one corner pointing upwards and place the baby's head just below this corner. Fold up the corner at the feet and then fold each side gently but firmly around the baby.
Tip: You could also wind thick wool yarn or gold string around the baby crossways to hold the blanket in place.