How to Make Handmade Dolls
Choose the yarn for the hair with care; alpaca works for straight hair, and boucle has built-in curls. For shorter curls, embroider mohair yarn directly to head and brush slightly.
What You'll Need:
- Doll template
- 10-by-18-inch piece of washable fabric
- 10-inch square of cotton Jersey
- Skin-colored thread
- Wool or polyester batting
- Yarn (for doll's hair)
- Embroidery floss
Step 1: Cut Fabric
Print the doll template. Fold a 10-by-18-inch piece of washable fabric (for body) end to end, right sides facing; lay template on fabric with dotted lines of shoulders on fold, and cut out along solid lines; pin. From a nearly 10-inch square of cotton jersey (for skin), cut a 3-by-7-inch strip (for head) and four 2-inch squares (for hands and feet).
Step 2: Stitch Fabric
Starting at bottom outer edge of one leg, stitch up side to end of arm, with a 1/4-inch seam allowance. Repeat on other side of body. Sew inner edges of the legs. Notch curves on body. Fold head rectangle in half lengthwise; pin. Starting at the fold, stitch a curved shape across short end, as shown, and continue stitching down open side; snip away excess fabric, keeping 1/8-inch seam allowance. Turn both pieces right side out.
Step 3: Roll Batting
Cut three 2-by-7-inch strips of wool or polyester batting; lay in star shape, as shown. Roll more batting into a 2-inch ball; place on star. Bring strips up and around ball; use a chopstick and your fingers to push batting inside head. Head should be firm; add more batting if necessary, smoothing with fingers.
Step 4: Make Head, Hands, and Feet
Tie thread the same color as skin around head below ball to create a neck. Stitch bottom opening closed. For hands and feet, place 1-inch ball of batting on each square; bundle, tying with thread.
Step 5: Stuff Body
Stuff body, but not as firmly as head. Use gathering stitch to tighten neck opening. Slip head into neck opening. With a doubled length of skin-colored thread, whipstitch head to body, folding under raw edge of body. Repeat for hands and feet.
Step 6: Make Hair and Features
Use pins to mark placement of features. Sew on yarn (for hair) in loops; to keep it in place, make an extra, tiny anchoring stitch at the end of every loop. For features, insert a needle threaded with embroidery floss through the back of the head and out at a pin. Stitch features; needle should exit at the back of the head. Tie off.
Step 7: Complete the Hair
Snip loops of hair, and fluff. Use your fingers to shape the face.