Cloth Doll Archive

Cloth Doll Archive Doll Pattern Adaptation #2 Zombie Poi Spinner

Perhaps you have never heard of a zombie poi spinner! Well, all will be revealed in this blog post.

History Behind the Zombie Poi Spinner

My partner, Steve and I, created an Etsy shop called Vaudeville Hippie. For the reason that we practise a range of circus skills together, which includes the art of poi spinning.  

Steve created one of our collections titled ‘Zombie Jugglerz‘.  Now am I not sure, but I think we were heavily into The Walking Dead at the time, resulting with the inspiration for this range.

For Steve’s birthday doll, therefore, I wanted to create something a bit more masculine.  After a bit of thought, I decided to base his doll on his original design ideas that he developed for the Zombie Jugglers.

Zombie Jugglerz Original Artwork

To create the artwork, Steve wholeheartedly threw himself into this project.  As a result he photographed himself posing with a range of circus props in different zombie stances and facial expressions.

Juggler Photo Reference

Diabolo Photo Reference

Juggler Photo Reference

These were then hand drawn and then adapted in Illustrator and Photoshop with filters.

Zombie Poi Spinner

Zombie Juggler Illustration

Filters were used then applied to the images.  This enabled them to be prepared for a silkscreen print for T-Shirt printing.

Zombie Jugglerz Print

Screen Printed Hoodie


Designing and Making the Zombie Poi Spinner Doll

I tried to copy the stance and facial expression of Steve’s zombie poi spinner photo and drawing as faithfully as I could.  

Poi Spinner Photo Reference

Fabric Cloth Doll


Creating the Zombie Doll’s Body

Although this doll is based on Steve’s work, it has allowed me to start personalising the style of the dolls.  Consequently, the creation of this doll also allowed me to begin to adpat the templates I have been using so far

Zombie Poi Spinner Doll Pattern.


The body parts are a combination of patterns from both Jan Horrox and Patti Medaris Culea to get the shape of the arms that most reflected the photo I had chosen to work from, one bent and one straight, this meant resizing the length of one of the arms to keep them a uniform length.

Zombie Poi Spinner Doll

The legs were lengthened and wire was added inside them to enable the doll to stand in his zombie pose.  

Zombie Poi Spinner Doll

To create a male torso, I widen the waistline so that there was greater balance between the upper torso and hips.  This is because my previous dolls had smaller, more feminine tucked waistlines. 

The Zombie Details

Zombie Poi Spinner Doll

 Bloody veins were drawn on by hand with micron pens and watercolour pencils.  Squirting blood was formed from a little bit of stitching in red embroidery thread.

Zombie Poi Spinner Doll

I took some artistic license with the hair.  Due to the fact I wanted to create a sense that the hair was decomposing. Therefore, a combination of cut up plastic (from beer can holders) and small off cuts of black netting fabric were used to create this desired effect.

Zombie Poi Spinner Doll

The set of poi are simple, small woollen pom-poms.

This post was originally written 2nd May 2015 and has been edited January 2019.

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