On my recent tours around the UK and Australia, I met many lovely midwives and birth folk who had great ideas for keeping birth normal and promoting women’s knowledge and confidence. One was Susan Stephenson, a midwife in Yorkshire who presented myself and several other people who attended my York workshop with ‘vaginas’ that she had been making by hand. These were great fun, and useful too, as they help to illustrate how a woman’s body can easily open up to give birth, which is a simple and empowering tool for midwives and birth educators. The vagina ends up being 10cm around when you open it out, which is great to show women what 10cm looks like, although it’s always good to explain that 10cm is only an average and we’re all a bit different!
My home-made vagina has now been around the world and back, as I took it up to Scotland and down under to Australia. It’s now having a little rest before flying to Dublin at the end of June…
I asked Susan if she would be willing to share details of how she makes these, as I felt sure that quite a few of my friends would be interested, and I am delighted that she has found the time to do this, so huge thanks to Susan for the following instructions – and please feel free to share pics of your creations!
Over to Susan:
The easiest way to get the shape and sizes you need is to find a saucer or bowl the right size to draw around.
With the right sides together, sew all the way round the edge, 0.5cm in from the outer edge, leaving a gap of a couple of centimetres so that you can turn it right side out when you’re done.
Fold the circle into quarters, and then use thread or wool (I prefer wool, because it’s a bit hairyer) to sew a running stitch around in a smaller circle, so that when you draw it tight, it will hold your vagina in place 🙂
You can either sew up the little gap you made to turn it right side out, or leave it undone if you want to be able to hide little affirmations/wishes in there. (It might also depend on whether your chosen fabric is likely to run).
I’ve added a little button/bead for extra interest 🙂
Your finished article looks deceptively like a little rose bud, but I like to use the folds to describe how the folds of a vagina are a bit like the fjords of Norway. – A short bit of coastline on the map, but actually if you unfolded it all, it would be very long. Likewise, these folds open out easily to become 10cms…
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