How to... make a dolly (from onesies?) (Guest Post) - Red Ted Art's Blog : Red Ted Art's Blog

How to… make a dolly (from onesies?) (Guest Post)

| January 21, 2011 | 39 Comments

I have been wanting to make a dolly for Pip Squeak for a number of weeks now. The idea was to use some her onesies and make them into a keepsake doll (as much as a keepsake for me as for her!!). And although, I don’t think making a doll is hard, you do need to come up with a lovely design – design, in this case is everything! And I just haven’t had the time to sit down and “draw”. And then I saw Nicole at 60 Piggies. Oh my oh my oh my. Why design something new, when a gorgeous little doll is already there? Nicole kindly agreed to share it with us. Now… if you haven’t been to  60 Piggies, you really must go and take a look. Nicole is wonderfully creative – she bakes and crafts with her kids, she shares with your her thoughts AND takes gorgeous photos in the process. A really lovely blog to browse through and be inspired by! Go on. Hop over and take a look. You will not regret it!

Now  to Nicole:

as you may recall, a couple weeks [now a couple of months] ago i stitched together this doll for elle’s birthday.

they have become fast friends. elle calls her softie “frost” and totes her along just about everywhere.

want to make your own? here’s a basic tutorial…

felted wool (3 colors for skin, cheeks, and hair)
variety of fabric (printed cotton wovens, corduroy, etc)
variety of colored thread
stuffing material
dried beans, optional
fusing material, such as heat n bond [or bondaweb]

1. sketch and cut out the pattern. i use heavier stock magazine/catalog pages for durability, but you may prefer tissue paper for ease of pinning.

here’s the general pattern i’ve drawn up; feel free to use this one or alter as desired.

2. pin your pattern pieces on the fabric/felted wool and cut out each piece (unless you’d prefer to go this route** in step 5, as i often do). you’ll also need to cut out a wool piece for the hair, as well as two cheek rounds. i like my rounds to be different sizes for a touch of whimsy, but if the type-A in you brandishes a heavy stick at the thought of this, feel free to make yours identical.

(note: seam allowances are included, so no need to add your own unless you’d like a slightly larger doll.)

you should end up with something like this:

3. pair a hand piece with a sleeve piece; pin right sides together and sew.

open, press the seam flat, and topstitch.

the right side should look like this:

and the underside like so:

repeat with the remaining arm pieces and the leg/sock pieces.

4. pair a hood and body piece, right sides together, and sew. open, press, and topstitch. repeat with the remaining hood and body piece.

5. fuse one side of the heat n bond onto the backs of the felted wool face, cheeks, and hair pieces. **instead of cutting out the wool pieces separately (in step 2), i personally like to trace the pattern onto the heat n bond, cut out the pieces with a slight margin, fuse them on to felted wool, and then cut out the fusing and wool together.

peel off the waxed paper backing from the face, fuse to the doll’s front piece, and topstitch around the perimeter. repeat with the hair and cheek rounds; topstitch decoratively as desired. (on elle’s softie i hand-stitched the cheeks; on penelope–below–i machine-stitched a circular swirly.)

now you should have this:

6. pair up the arm pieces and sew right sides together. sew a second seam to reinforce the stitching. trim seam allowances and flip right-side out. repeat with the legs.

with cotton-ball size puffs, stuff the arms and legs with your stuffing material. push each piece in with a pencil firmly to the end of the appendage; if you try to stuff too many puffs at once or too large of a piece of stuffing, you’ll end up with lumps.

7. baste stitch the arms and legs where you’d like them to attach on the right side of the doll’s front piece. the appendages should all be sewn facing inward at this point.

8. pin front and back pieces, right-sides together, with the arms/legs sandwiched in between (the sandwiching is the tricky bit). sew together along the outer edges, leaving about a 3 inch space to turn the doll right side out. reinforce your stitching by sewing back over the seam.

9. turn the doll right side out and say hello to your almost-completed softie.

10. stuff body with small tufts of stuffing (if you want the softie to be self-sitting, you can fill the bottom fourth with dried beans or a similar weighted filling).

11. hand stitch the gap closed, and voila. meet penelope.

All I can say is aaaaah. I want one… and will be making one (but maybe stitching mine by hand!). Thank you Nicole!

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Category: How To's, Recycling, Sewing

Comments (39)

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  1. Make do mum says:

    Oh I love it, will have to dust off the sewing machine for this one. Only problem is that going through K’s tiny babygros will make my broody!

  2. Red Ted Art says:

    Oh very good point… it is “dangerous” handling baby clothes… 😉

  3. Chris says:

    How absolutely gorgeous! I think my daughter would love making these with me. She is very reluctant to let go of favourite shirts and dresses so these could be a solution!

    • Red Ted Art says:

      Chris – I believe your to do list is indeed growing!!!! Would love to see you finished article if you do manage to make one with DD… I made a doll as a teenager (with help) that I love and still have today. The kids now have it…

  4. maryanne says:

    This is darling! Thanks for sharing your pattern!

  5. Alethea says:

    Those are gorgeous. I may attempt a ‘boy’ version for the Little Man!

  6. Red Ted Art says:

    Ooh what a great idea to try and make a boy version! Do send us a link or picture if you do make one!!!

  7. So cute!!!! What a great guest post — my daughters would LOVE some of these! I’ll be busy for awhile… 😉

  8. Great post. What a cute doll.

  9. Great doll, love it! Thanks so very much for sharing on Craft Schooling Sunday!

  10. Amanda says:

    Such a cute doll, thanks for sharing!

  11. Lorajean says:

    This is so adorable!! Thanks for sharing!!

  12. Sarah says:

    Adorable!!! I sooo need to make on of these for each of kids! They would love them!!! Thanks for this great tutorial!

  13. Thanks for linking up to the Play Academy Maggy (but I think the comment I left on this a few days ago has disappeared?)

  14. Red Ted Art says:

    Oh no Cathy! No idea what happened there.. sorry if it got deleted by accident (can’t think how else it would disappear…) will see if I can find it, but my trash folder is so full of spam… grrrr

  15. maleahbliss says:

    I love these kind of dolls! Can’t wait till I have a little girl to appreciate one! I’d love for you to link up to my new linky party, Tute {Yourself} Tuesday!
    The linky will be open until this evening. :)

  16. Red Ted Art says:

    I did try and come and visit, but couldn’t see the link up?

  17. That is too precious!
    Thanks for linking up to Craftify Thursday! ;D
    Have a great day!

  18. Oh how lovely lovely lovely!

  19. She is adorable! I love the ‘softie’ dolls over the manufactured ones. Thanks for linking!

  20. Anne says:

    I love love LOVE this dollie!!! I linked to your post on Craft Gossip Sewing:


  21. Oh, those are just fabulous. I’m itching to have a go!

  22. monica says:

    So great, I love at first sight!!!! I only have two boys but i’m doing one for me, :)

  23. yenling says:

    wow! love it !! i’m going to make for my 3 girls !! thanks for share :)

  24. AnnaDrai says:

    lovely! thanks for sharing :)

  25. Beth says:

    Such a cute dolly! Thanks for sharing the how-to :)

  26. Laura says:

    How sweet! What a fun way to reuse old onesies.

  27. Fi says:

    This is so, so lovely! I’m going to try and make one, possibly adapt it a little for my daughters 2nd birthday! Thanks so much for sharing!

  28. Red Ted Art says:

    Snap! Something special about 2nd birthdays… I am making one too.. if I can get my machine working again!!!

  29. Ligoakoma says:

    So lovely and gorgeous! I keep a little dress from my daughter just because I couldn’t throw it away. Now I know what to do with it. Many thanks.

  30. This is such a lovely idea! I have bags full of E’s little clothes, I’m going to have a go at one of these once I have brushed up my sewing skills!

  31. Sara says:

    So cute!! Would LOVE it if you would share this at my turquoise lovin’ party going on right now! 😉

  32. Red Ted Art says:

    Thanks for the invite and linked!!

  33. Hilary says:

    So cute. I’ve been looking for ideas to make a doll. Thanks.

  34. Such a wonderful, adorable doll and a great tutorial too! So glad I saw your project featured over at Milk & Cuddles!

    Jenn/Rook No. 17

  35. Carly says:

    Oh my, this is so gorgeous! Not sure I would do such a good job but I LOVE it!

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