Thursday, November 18, 2010

Making My First Cloth Doll - Part 2

Last week I started making cloth dolls for the first time in AGES... I printed out the free cloth doll pattern I found online and followed the pretty simple instructions - you can get that free doll pattern here.

This week I worked on the doll a little more and got the legs and arms attached to the body, and then stuffed the body and closed up the head. Here's the steps I took, though I'm not sure I got pictures of every step.

Making Cloth Dolls - Attaching Arms & Legs
1. Lay the head/body piece on the table right side up

2. Next, pin the arms and legs in place on the side and bottom of the body piece. Sorry, I didn't get a picture at this step, but when I start on the second doll I'll try to update this post with it.

3. Sew the arms and legs onto the front side (or right side) of the body piece.

4. Pin the arms and legs together in the center of the body once they are attached to the body piece #1.

5. Now, lay the second bodyhead piece on top of the arms and legs with the wrong side up. This was my first making cloth doll experience so it sounded odd to me that I would lay the right side of the fabric face down and until I understood how it would come out in the end. So for now, picture a sandwich...

The bottom layer is the first, body piece with legs and arms attached, the middle layer holds the arms and legs, and not the top layer is your second body piece laying right side down (so the doll looks inside out.

6. Pin together the bottom body piece and the top body piece and sew the two pieces together. I started at the side of the head  and worked down the head to the neck and then around the body. After sewing all the way around the body I sewed up to the other side of the head leaving a gap of about 2-3 inches at the top of the head.

7. Now pull the arms and legs through the whole at the top of the head. I had to do this in stages. I first un-pinned the arms and legs and then pulled the arms through and then the legs followed easily. They wouldn't both pull through  at the same time, so pulling the arms through first and then the legs was easier.

Now you should have a doll with stuffed arms and legs and an empty body.

8. The next step in making cloth dolls is to stuff the doll using the poly/fil that I stuffed the arms and legs with. This took a large amount of stuffing, but was quick and easy. I stuffed the body until I got to the head and then stuffed the head. Once the head was stuffed I pinned the crown of the head and sewed it shut using a whipstitch.

This part is going to be covered by hair so I didn't stress too much on making it a perfect stitch - only that it was strong enough to withstand a little girl playing with it.

That was enough work in one sitting... so I took a break and started researching how to attach hair to the doll and how to make doll faces. Check that out in my next Making Cloth Dolls post.

Some Quick Tips I've learned so far:
  • I used a blanket stitch for the entire doll, but after turning it right side out and stuffing the doll you could see the stitched. They were large and didn't look that strong. On my next go at making cloth dolls I'm going to use the backstitch - it is easy, but also gives a stronger stitch so the doll will be much stronger for kid play.
  • Youtube is your best friend :) Any time I got stuck on stitching I went to Youtube and found a video that walked me through the stitch and how to finish it up (like the whipstitch at the top of the head. Or stiching around a corner etc. 
  • Be careful stuffing the body parts of the doll - pushing too hard can pop your hem line and then you have a hole. I did this once and had to look up another stitch on how to fix this.. wasn't easy, so just be cautious.

Happy Doll Making!

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