Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Peg people

At some point in the wedding planning I wanted a peg people topper and DH humored me. They were really popular at the time, usually with the people in their ceremony attire. They were especially popular with the hipster crowd (which we are not, unless you count liking a certain off campus coffee shop frequented by the slack line and chaco wearing crowd). When DH and I started deliberately hanging out, it was Halloween and I was mechanic!Kaylee from Firefly/Serenity. However, I thought her pink!Dress was more wedding appropriate and since … well if you saw Serenity, you know.  So I set out to make my own. I posted this DIY on another site a while ago but I’ve edited it a bit.

Photo By Epic Photography

Here's What You Will Need:
(I bought most everything at Hobby Lobby, Micheal's or similar probably would work just as well)

Pink, White, Brown, Green, Black Paint (it was all stencil paint, green is sparkly since that was the only appropriate shade)
Gold Ink Pen (not sure which one I ended up using since we bought a couple silver/gold packs for this and    for addressing invitiations)
Sand paper
Paint brushes (I used mostly small detail brushes and a sponge brush for the large areas)
A Saw (hand, table, whatever you are comfortable with. DH's "workshop" is our patio closet, so we used a handsaw)
Round Dowel Rods at least 8” long (ours are, I believe, 1/2" dia could be 3/4")
1.5” wooden balls (come in little bags of ~8)
small nails (optional)
muslin (or some sort of light-medium weight fabric)
crepe paper in variety of pinks
matching/coordinating thread (all purpose cotton)
A stand of some sort
Wood Glue
Modge Podge

Inspiration/ General Pegs

  1. Scour the internet for someone who has made a full sized image of your inspiration so you can see any potential problems. (Or use this as an excuse to watch one of your favorite episodes again, and again, and again)
Yes, this is off Hulu. I loaned my copy of the series out and it came back horribly scratched
  1. Saw off lengths of dowel rod that compliment the round wooden balls you bought. (We though 4” lengths would work with 1.5” balls)
  2. Sand the end to be shoulders, add a waist if you care to by sanding obsessively. Drive nails into the bottom of the “heads” if you want an easier thing to hold when painting

  1. Pencil in your design (lightly!)

  1. Paint away- save the small details until last

  1. Drill a very small hole in the head (possibly could do this before you paint it but we didn’t think of that), the diameter should be slightly larger than the smallest nail head you can find (we used wire nails?). Drive the nail into the top of the dowel length and squish the head on. If it’s too loose you can put a tiny bit of wood glue in the hole to cement it.
  1. Find a stand you like/fits your cake (or be like me and make your peg people too big for your cake), paint it and once dry, glue (wood glue) or screw (something stronger than a wire nail) your people to the stand.


  1. Do complicated math to find the perfect dimensions (only do this if you are ridiculous about details, and like two variable equations, I don’t so I made DH do it)
    Hint: Her dress is as wide as she is tall
  2. Make a paper pattern (or four) to makes sure it fits
  1. Cut out your fabric and stitch the side seam(s) leaving a 1-.5” gap at the top (you will create spiral lacing for this later). You can hem the edges of the gap if you are concerned about fraying. 
  2. Hem (I just turned the fabric and used a running stitch as I don’t think anyone is going to inspect my technique) 
  1. [optional] Use an additional length of fabric, cut against the bias for seam binding Cover the hem with the seam binding to give a tidier appearance, of if you want to thread thin wire through to give a definite shape, like a hoop skirt.
  2. For the ruffles:
    1. Calculate the total slope of the skirt (Pythagorean’s theorem can be used here.)
    2. Divide the slope by the number of desired ruffles (this will be your visible distance)
    3. Add a small amount to the visible distance for overlap (mine was about .25-.3cm) to create total strip width
    4. Throw out the calculations and wing it (and watch your SO pout)
    5. Cut strips in whatever way works for you of the total strip width
    6. Working from the BOTTOM UP stitch each row. You can pin a row and then stitch but that just caused excess holes for me. I again used a running stitch
I now use plain pins... I discovered these pretty colored ends melt if you iron over them
    1. Once you get to the rows that hit the gap, turn the ends so that they cover the edges of the gap- but not the gap itself

  1. For the Waistband:
    1. Turn the fabric and stitch to create a rough waist band (be tidier if you are not covering it, though I encourage it)

  1. Take whatever you are using for the seam and just like with the seam binding, stitch so that it covers your rough waistband. Also, turn the edges at the gap, just like you did with the ruffles

  1. Spiral Lacing (I suppose you could do traditional lacing but that just seems like too much work):
    1. Starting from the bottom of the gap, use your needle and thread to create a sort of corkscrew up to the end of the waist band
    2. Slip the skirt onto your peg doll and gently tighten the lacing.
Can I just say how proud I am of that hair bow?

As you can see in the picture from the reception (kransekake!) I eventually purchased a proper stand, sanded it. Put modge podge on top until it looked like a dance floor and painted the edge with a green that matched the vest and some brown. They now rest in a pseudo-shadow box with my bouquet and some random wedding stuff in the living room bookcase. I think they are adorable.

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