Dollmania Part 2: Sirius Black and Severus Snape Dolls

I was fascinated by MTV’s Harry Potter World Cup this past week. Probably because by the time I heard about it, this very elaborate “Best Character” poll that started out with 64 players was already in the Final Four, of which Sirius Black and Severus Snape (my two favorite characters in the entire series) were two of them.

I’ve made Potter-related jewelry and scarves before but this was a bit of a challenge.

Mimi Kirchner’s doll template (Printed on “Booklet Setting”)
2 White felt squares
2 Antique White felt squares
2 Smoke felt squares
1 Silver Grey felt square
1 Brown felt square
1 Red felt square
12-color pack Janlyn six strands cotton embroidery floss
Grey Mouliné six strands cotton embroidery floss
1 bag acrylic pillow stuffing
1/2″ two or four-hole buttons
Small embroidery needle

Sirius Black’s physical appearance varies wildly between the books and the films: in the books, Sirius is a 6′-plus reedy man with a long scraggly black beard and hair, made shabby by twelve years of false imprisonment. In the films, he’s played by 5’9″ Gary Oldman with shoulder-length brown and grey hair and beard. In the books, he has gray eyes; in the films, blue. So the physical appearance of his doll could go in several directions — and I opted to go with some details from both depictions. The color and cut of his clothes also varied but whenever I imagined the character, I saw him in red. There being no template for men’s clothes, I used the body template to cut one larger piece in white felt and two larger pieces of red, cutting the front pieces to resemble a shirt and jacket.

There were no templates for men’s hair either, so I improvised by using the template for “Wig 2” and lengthening the back of it to give Sirius long hair. I drew the moustache and beard free-handed before cutting them out.

The idea of Sirius having tattoos was apparently Alfonso Cuaron’s (director of Prisoner of Azkaban) and the film’s art director chose a variety of runes and alchemical symbols as well as rings on his ringers and bracelets to decorate the fugitive cartographer with (he also, as seen in Order of the Phoenix, has his prison ID number tattooed on his neck). I always liked this addition and I wanted to incorporate it into the doll’s design — if for no other reason than to distinguish him from any other red-clad, bearded bohemian character he might be mistaken for (Jack Sparrow, Vlad the Impaler, et al.) His chest tattoos were the easiest and I chose to give him an open shirt as well as jacket.

You might notice the shirt buttons are on the left side of the shirt — or the “female side.” It might be his symmetry with Severus (who is wearing one of his mother’s blouses at one point in Deathly Hallows) but I always pictured Sirius as being gender neutral in his choice of clothes.

If the range of physical markers and outfit choices for Sirius was wide open, the choices for Snape were extremely limited. He wears a black teaching robe and under that a very long multi-buttoned coat with a high collar and long tight sleeves. Again, there was no template for how to make an outfit like this so I opted to go with the most feasible choice — I used the doll body template (cut slightly larger so that it would fit over the actual doll’s body) and traced a long skirt-like addition underneath, before cutting the whole piece from the black felt and repeated the same on the other side of the felt.

For the “buttons,” I used silver embroidery floss and, cutting several 2.5″ strands, sewed them in a small cross-shape down the front part of the coat, just a shade left of center.

(Severus kind of looks like a nun from behind. ‘Think anyone’s ever told him that?)

The coat being open at the sides was something of a happy accident: I’d originally wanted the coat to cover everything but Severus’s feet. When I realized that the shapes I’d cut out wouldn’t fit, I noticed that it actually gave my doll more mobility, because this way the legs would still be free to position. The opening also shows off the Slytherin green thread I used to sew the legs to the rest of the body. Because the open sides left that front panel open, I cut out an identical panel to conceal the reverse side of my silver “button” stitching and sewed it on, using the whip stitch.

Like Sirius, I designed and cut out a new wig stencil for Severus — one that would have long lank pieces of hair that would fall across his face. I’m still, to my great shame, not very good at doing noses so, alas, Severus’s most notorious feature is missing from his doll!

And that was Dollmania Part 2. Any ideas for Part 3?

~ by blackmoodcraft on July 18, 2011.

One Response to “Dollmania Part 2: Sirius Black and Severus Snape Dolls”

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