I was inspired by Jennifer Strunge's Cotton Monsters to make my Christmas gifts this year. My dolls are not as detailed as her because I wanted to make a dozen or so in a weeks time so I customized the pattern so it would take about an hour to make one.
Step 1: 1. Making the Pattern
I had to customize the pattern so it would be sewn fast but you make your dolls look how ever you like! I went through about four different designs before I settled on this one. In fact this whole in'table was a proof of concept design.
Also I used old clothes I had for the materials so I didn't have to buy any cloth. You can use whatever fabric you like. I used buttons for the eyes because I thought it added to the quirkiness of the doll. Again, use what you think will work best for your design.
What you will need to make your pattern:
paper (I used graph paper)
pen or pencil
I wanted to use one sheet of paper for the pattern and I wanted the doll to fit comfortably in one hand. You can see the sketches I made for the doll. I used graph paper so I would be able to see the seem allowances along with the actual size of the doll.
1. Sketch out your doll the size you want it on your paper.
2. Add your seem allowance, mine was a proper 5/8th inch but I usual use 1/2 inch cause it's easier to eye it on my machine.
3. Cut out your paper doll and lay on your fabric. I only did half the pattern and cut the fabric on the fold so the doll would be symmetrical.
4. Cut your fabric as close to the paper pattern as you can without cutting your paper. Unless you want to make new patterns for every doll, be careful to not destroy your pattern in the process.
Step 2: 2. Starting Construction
This doll really only has two sides, front and back. Each of those pieces are constructed of two or three pieces themselves. So the front is two pieces, the back is three pieces. You also have the hands and feet to sew in between the front and back layers and eyes to sew on the front.
What you will need for this doll:
I used a machine to sew this but you can do the whole thing by hand.
Once you have gathered all your pieces together, let's start sewing! Just FYI, If you have never sewn anything before, you should be aware that patterns come with instructions on what to sew first, second, third, etc. I sewed this doll in the following order:
Back of doll
front of doll
front & back sides together
The first part you want to make is the tail.
Pin those two pieces of fabric together, right sides facing each other and sew down three sides. Clip the ends of the fabric at your corners and turn the tail right side out.
I used a chopstick, but whatever you have handy is fine.
Step 3: 3. Construction Continued
Once you have your tail sewn, next you will want to do the back of the doll.
Pin the top and bottom pieces together, sandwiching the open end of the tail between those pieces. I wanted the tail as close to the center as possible, but if you want it to be off to one side that's fine.
Sew the two pieces together (with the tail in between).
Step 4: 4. Construction Continued
Do the same thing with the front as you did with the back, sans tail.
Pin the top and bottom together, right sides facing each other. Sew together.
Now you have your completed front and back of the doll.
Step 5: 5. Construction Continued
Now you want to tackle the feet.
They are easy to sew, kind of. They are small so they don't take long to make but they are small so the machine might take they from you if your not careful.
The hands and feet are like the tail only short.
Sew on three sides and flip.
I added a small detail after turning to make fingers/toes.
Step 6: 6. Construction Once Again, Continued
Now you have the front side, back side, hands and feet. Now your ready to put these pieces together and have a 'finished' doll.
Lay your front side of the doll right side up.
Places your hands and feet approximately where you want them. I wanted my hands to be just above the pants of the doll and my feet, well where feet normally go.
What you want to remember is that the hands and feet, the open end should be facing toward the pin line of the doll.
Once your feet and hands are placed, lay your back side of the doll right side (the side with the tail) facing down. So everything should be inside the doll right now.
Pin and sew around your doll being sure to leave an opening somewhere so you can turn the doll right side out.
Step 7: 7. Close to the End Now.
Using the chopstick again, turn your doll right side out. The chopstick will help you pop your corners.
Now your pieces look something like a doll. But it's a little flat. If this is what you're going for, then sew the opening closed and your almost done. If you want your doll to have more body, you will need stuffing.
I had an old pillow so I used the stuffing from that. Use the chopstick to get the stuff in places your fingers won't fit. Make it as plump as you want.
Step 8: 8. and I See the Checkered Flag...
I found it easier to sew the buttons once I had the doll stuffed but you might find that different. Once your doll is stuffed use a slip stitch to sew closed the opening. Used the machine because this was a proof of concept doll and nobody would be receiving it as a present.
I used mismatched eyes because I thought it made the doll look that much more silly but again, the design is at your discretion.
Step 9: Wrap It Up!I
Here is the final doll.
I made some more changes to the doll for time sake. I axed the feet and made the tail wider cause it was easier to sew and turn. It also looked better to me. I also added yarn for hair at the top of the doll which made it that much more charming.
The purpose of the doll was to put a smile on your face when you looked at it no matter what kind of day you where having. That was the effect it had on everybody in my house.
Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day!
I would love to see pictures of your dolls and please feel free to ask questions.