Emily, corpse bride doll

Oh poor, tragic corpse bride.  I was hardly aware of your existence until girl child decided to develop a wee crush on you a few months ago.  When the girl started swishing and glooming around the house, dressed in layers of tulle, bemoaning her loveless and rotting state. 

This doll was intended to join Smootch in her final appearance as the Corpse Bride in her school's Halloween parade, where Smootch in her tulle and blue make up had to tell all the kindergartners she was 'a bride, who is dead' because none of them knew what a corpse was.
What kind of six year old doesn't know what a corpse is?  Aren't they learning anything useful at school?
Or maybe I live in an oddly grim world with my little gleefully gruesome offspring?
Anyhoo.  The doll wasn't quite ready at Halloween.  She's a few days late.  I suppose from her perspective, what's the rush?
Corpse Bride.  She is, obviously, based on the Tim Burton movie of the same name, although I have had to take some detours from exact replication.  Due to limitations of my skill, materials, and time.  I only have a little of each.
She was challenging for me in a few ways.  A couple of firsts.  Full painted face, bones, bridal couture.  First dead body.  She was also full of small deviations between what I wanted to see and what actually happened and I have had some opportunities to make peace with my own imperfections and limitations.
I debated giving her button eyes and a sewn mouth but I thought that this particular dead girl should stay on the side of more cartoonish than creepy.  She probably wouldn't worry my children but I have some friends who are sensitive and you can bet your flesh that girl child will haul her to school for show and tell.
A few specs.  She was sewn in linen and then painted with acrylics.  Her texture is somewhere between leather and soft plastic.  A little disturbing.
Hair is poly yarn, stitched on the part then glued into position. 

The dress is a cream coloured cotton, treated with watered down acrylics.  I built it in layers on her rather than make a dress first and then fit.  Seemed like she wouldn't mind if I sewed the skirt right onto her torso.

 Her shoulders are attached with buttons to allow the arms a little movement.  Got to be able to pick them up and move them into a zombie like embrace, yes?
I do.  You may kiss the bride.


And if you are wondering, doll making is creepy, even when you are not creating a corpse.  This project made me feel particularly ghoulish at times.


The veil was part of some destroyed under skirting from one of Smootch's dress.  Scraps of it have been hanging around for years in the dress up bin.  I stole a bit, cut it to shape, did some zig zag stitching to prevent frays, and looped it over a wire I wrapped with white yarn and laced with flowers.


And that is Emily, the corpse bride.


  1. Emily is amazing! You talk about your lack of skill but believe me this doll shows your immense skill. Love her!

  2. I have to agree with bigbluebed, this doll took a lot of skill and it all shines through with how wonderful it came out. Great job!

  3. This is the kind of writing that ensure that I will always follow your blog! Of course kids should know what corpses are....what is the point of unschooling if they don't get the important stuff when they need it? My own three year old has seen birth and will happily explain that babies are made inside the mommy and come out her "peewee." In the meantime, my traditionally schooled seven year old just learned what colour yellow is...austistic, sure, but really? I've been calling the educating powers that be the "Fail Board" and not the school board. There is just no substituting for a caring parent's attention to detail! This doll is extravagant and imaginative and entirely suitable for your family. I love it.

  4. Thanks everyone!

    Michelle C,

    Smootch complains all the time about school and how they won't teach her what she wants to know and she just has to do 'pages and pages and pages of booorrrring stuff that she already knows'.

    Your comment reminded me of when Smootch was playing over at a friend's place one time and they were playing a game where they were having babies. When I came to pick up the girl, the parent there, a medical doctor, took me off to the side and asked if Smootch was present for the birth of her brother because her play was so realistic. Smootch seemed to know a heck of a lot about birth. She wasn't there for Birdie's actual delivery (though she did hang out for a bit during labour at the hospital), but I had to laugh because when I play imaginative games with her I don't censure out the stuff that really happens. Real life is the best teacher.

  5. How gorgeous she is! (Child and doll) Wednesday was Sally Stitches this year and none of her friends (heck half of the adults) had no idea who she was. I guess her image is not as iconic as her boyfriend Jack Skellington. None the less, Wednesday was not dismayed and absolutely loved her costume. The doll is beautiful, and once again I am reminded about the half done Coraline doll in my UF project bin. Maybe in time for Christmas.