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This padded three-dimensional support helps to maintain the shape of a cradleboard (Fig. 1). It is easily slipped in and out of the the cradleboard without readjusting the lacing.


Nancy Iona
2333 South Columbine
Denver, CO 80210 USA
Tel (303) 744-0696

Wyoming State Museum

Illustration: Karen Ackoff after
Nancy Iona

Publication: 1992


Figure 1. Cradleboard supported by a padded doll.


The support which is made from unbleached cotton muslin is shaped like a baby with a head and body. The head and body sections are assembled separately and then joined. The mount is slightly smaller than the cradleboard so that it slips into place easily and avoids any adjustment of the lacings. Each cradleboard is measured carefully to produce a custom-fit support. Accompanying patterns are modified to accommodate individual cradleboards.

Materials Tools Supplies

  • pH neutral paper board, 8ply
  • Pins
  • Polyester batting
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Stick to poke batting into head
  • Thread and needle
  • Unbleached cotton muslin, washed


  1. Revise and adjust the pattern in figure 2 to fit the dimensions of the cradleboard.

  2. Trace the pattern on a piece of tracing paper. Cut to make the pattern pieces, adding a seam allowance to the pattern (no seam allowance is included in figure 2).

  3. Pin pattern pieces to a piece of washed, unbleached cotton muslin.

  4. Cut:Stitch the center head piece to the two side head pieces from X to Y, matching the points A, B, and C.

    1. 2 side head pieces
    2. 1 center head piece
    3. 1 body bottom piece
    4. 2 body top pieces
  5. Trim the seams and turn right side out through the neck opening.

  6. Stuff the head firmly with batting. Use a poking stick to distribute the batting to make the head look life-like. The eye area should be recessed and the cheeks full.

  7. Cut a piece of pH neutral 8ply board to the shape of the body bottom piece.

  8. Stitch the top body pieces along A, X, and B.

  9. Stitch the assembled top body pieces to the body bottom piece from A to C, leaving an opening from C to B.

  10. Trim the seams and turn right side out.

  11. Insert the board and place it on top of the bottom body piece to form a rigid base.

  12. Stuff the body with batting until it is full but not very firm.

  13. Close the shoulder area by hand-stitching from C to C, leaving a 21/2in opening at the center.

  14. Attach the head to the body with basting stitches or pins. Test to see if it will fit the cradleboard, and make necessary adjustments.

  15. Attach the head to the body with permanent stitching, adding more batting to the neck area before the final stitches.

  16. Gently insert the padded support into the cradleboard.










Figure 2. Padded doll pattern.

Adapted From

Iona, N. 1985. Padded doll supports cradleboard. Conservation News, 2(4). Rocky Mountain Regional Conservation Center, Denver, CO.

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