November – December 2012: (Christmas) Victorian Santa

I can finally post about the Santa I made for my dear friend. Prepare yourselves for oodles of pics.

I used the McCalls 8439 pattern but with some alterations (you didn’t think I’d slavishly follow any pattern or instruction, did you?)


I also sculpted the head, because one just can’t buy Santa heads in Britain. I’m very very glad I made the Santa entirely myself, because this way he has so much more personality.

First off, I made Santa’s cassock out of Russian Orthodox brocade sample pieces. Patchworked and then machine-quilted with gold.

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I made the coat and hat out of dark red cotton velvet. I also decided to line the coat (but not the sleeves) which makes it look so much nicer.

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The fur trim is real mink, which was selvedged from an old fur coat 20 or so years ago, which means the pieces were probably 40-50 years old. I have no problem using vintage fur, on the contrary.


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Of course, then came the sculpting of the head and I’m really not good at thinking 3D and creating. So I got an Easter egg for Christmas. 🙂


And used air drying paper clay for the sculpting – with a skull model on my desk and a Santa face pic on the screen. Well … let’s just say that I am very glad Santa has long white hair and a bushy white beard…

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Painting was a lot more fun, that way my dear wonky Santa was really getting some personality.

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And look at the difference when hair and beard are on: so much better.


With the head finished I assembled the body (weighted with a piece of plywood, cut to size) and the head-on-a-stick and stuffed it quite tightly with fibre filling. By the way, I also added wire into the arms.



Adding the coat and glueing down his hat, I then made the sack he is carrying from brocade that was once a waistcoat, filled it lightly, and added berries, cones and fir. Everything got stitched into place, adding a corded belt and a bejewelled belt buckle, and here he is: Victorian Santa or Sankt Nikolaus.

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Last but not least, here he is in his new home. I’m so very happy that my friend loves St Nikolaus as much as I loved making him.




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