Ribbon and Lace Angels

I have always been the family’s go-to recipient for things they no longer wanted, but deemed too good to throw out.  As a result, I have bags of sewing notions and boxes of supplies for making miniatures.

At the International Quilt Festival this year, one of the booths displayed a small metal dress-maker’s form clothed in lace scraps.  I adapted that idea to the supplies I had on hand, to make some textile angel Christmas decorations.

ribbon and lace angels

A heavenly assortment of ribbons and lace.

Here are the supplies I used:


Supplies for creating angel ornaments.

  • porcelain doll heads and hands
  • spools for the bodies – I used Gutermann spools, with the thread-locking base removed
  • pipe cleaners for the arms
  • scraps of lace, ribbon, seam tape
  • double stick tape
  • tacky glue

(If you want to use similar porcelain doll heads, Factory Direct Craft looks to be a good source.  I haven’t purchased anything from them myself, because I am already covered up with these things.)

Thread the pipe cleaner through a lace scrap.  You can click on the picture to enlarge.

pipe cleaner arms

The arms are made from pipe cleaners, lace, and the porcelain hands.

On two of the dolls I used a straight piece of scrap, and then tied it at the shoulder with bits of ribbon, and that gave a sort of 1850s look to the sleeve.

pleated lace

Pleating the lace gave a puffy sleeve look.

On the third doll I pleated the lace on the pipe cleaner, and that gave  more of an 1890s puffy sleeve look. (You may be asking yourself, “Do angels in heaven dress according to different fashion eras?”  My answer is “Of course.  But only the pretty fashions.”)

basic doll

The arms are placed in the shoulder area, a spool becomes the body, and it is all taped together.

  • Place the pipe cleaner into the shoulder area of the doll’s head.
  • Remove the thread lock base from the spool, to make it a little more flexible.
  • Pop the petal-shaped top of the spool into the doll’s head.  The straight base will be at the bottom.
  • Cut two pieces of double-stick tape and tape the doll’s head to the spool, front and back, for extra stability.
adding the bodice

Lace is wrapped around and stuck to the tape for a bodice.

  • Wrap a tiny piece of lace around the double stick tape to be a bodice.
beginning the skirt

The beginnings of the skirt. Add in more ribbons and tie it around the spool.

  • Cut one thin piece of ribbon about 8 inches long.  This ribbon should be fairly thin and stiff because it will serve as the waistband.
  • Cut your ribbons and seam binding scraps into pieces about 8 to 11 inches long.  Double them and fasten them to the waistband by doing a lark’s head.  I used about 16 pieces, thick and thin, for one “skirt”, and I did two layers of skirt for each angel.
  • For my 1890s angel, I used a very starchy eyelet trim, and sewed it in a spiral to make a skirt.  Then I just tied a ribbon and a string of pearl beads to make the sash.
  • To hang, just thread a Christmas tree hook through the waistband, or use a curtain clip ring.

I didn’t feel that they needed wings – all that ribbon and lace is heavenly enough for me –  but you could make some out of paper or more lace if you wanted.

I can also picture these with beads for the head and arms, and multicolor sari ribbon or yarn, for a more contemporary look.  You wouldn’t have to use them as Christmas ornaments, either – I think they could be be studio decorations year round.

Here is another angel idea.

tiny angel pin

This is only 2 inches tall.


The back, showing the wings and pin.

When I was in a weaving guild, members took turns creating a pattern sample to send out with the newsletter, and this was one I did.  Another member took the tiny cloth sample, gathered it around a miniature Popsicle stick, and glued paper wings and a pin back to it.  I thought it was adorable and so thoughtful of her to create it from my own sample!