Saturday, February 19, 2011

Quick and Easy Fabric Doll tutorial

My best friend’s daughter is turning 1 this weekend. My kids call her Baby Kayla. Not “Kayla”, but “Baby Kayla” which is incredibly sweet. It might not be so sweet if they’re still calling her that when she’s 15, but for now we’re sticking with it.

Of course I had to make her gift. I struggled for quite a while trying to come up with something appropriate for her age and finally decided on a doll.

I wanted it to be soft and washable, with nice long sturdy arms and legs that she could drag her around by. Of course there are countless ways to make a simple fabric doll but this is what I came up with. The design is not purely original since I’ve seen dolls similar to this in stores, but I thought I’d share the pattern that I drew up and instructions on how to put her together.

Click Here for the pdf pattern


Fabric: I used cotton. You’ll need a color for the face/arms, one for the body and one for the legs. You’ll need minimal amounts. Perhaps a fat quarter for the body.

Fleece: just a decent sized scrap for the hair. You could also use felt.

Stuffing: I used polyester fiberfil

Marking pen or chalk: some pattern pieces will be drawn on the fabric and then sewn so you’ll need something to mark your fabric.

Fabric or permanent marker: I used this to draw on the face but you could embroider the face or use buttons or other options.

General sewing supplies: sewing machine, thread, scissors, etc.

Let’s start with the appendages. You’ll notice on the pattern that the arm and leg pieces do not have a seam allowance. This is because it’s much easier to simply draw the pattern shape on the fabric and sew directly on the line. This allows the shape of the hand/foot to be much more accurate than if you cut out the piece beforehand.

Place your arm/leg fabric right sides together and sew directly on the marked line. Leave the end open for stuffing. Then simply cut around your sewn pieces, turn them right side out and stuff with polyfil. The pieces don’t need to be stuffed all the way to the end since about an inch of the arm/leg will be sewn inside the body.

Now let’s start on the body. Before you cut out your body pieces you’ll want to piece the head fabric onto the body fabric. Cut pieces of each fabric that will be large enough to accommodate your pattern and then seam them together.

Then place your pattern piece onto the fabric, making sure to line up the line between body and neck on the pattern to your seam and cut out 2 body pieces.

Before we can sew the body together we’ve got to work on the hair and face. Cut out the hair pieces. Seam allowance is included in these pattern pieces. I chose fleece for my doll’s hair because the ends don’t unravel and I felt it would be softer and more durable than felt.

Lay the front and back hair pieces on the head and stitch down along the bottom edges. For the pig tails, cut out 4 pieces. Sew 2 pieces together for each pig tail and set those aside. We won’t need them until we get ready to put her together.

Options for your doll face are limitless. I chose to draw on a face using permanent marker. I used these Micron markers which work great on paper and fabric. If you’re going to draw on your face you might want to test your marker on a scrap piece of fabric to make sure it’s not going to bleed or do anything funky.

You could also embroider on your facial features, or cut them out of felt and sew them on. Some stores even sell iron-on doll faces which would be cute as well.

Make any other embellishments to your doll at this time. I made a little felt flower for the front of my doll. A little pocket would be cute too etc.

Now it's time to attach your doll's hair and arms. Place them where you think they look good and then turn them in toward the inside of the body. Cover the front of your doll with the back body piece and pin in place.

Sew around the body leaving the bottom open. Turn your doll right side out and stuff firmly. Don't stuff all the way to the bottom edge.

Turn the bottom edge of the fabric under and pin your legs in place. I closed the bottom seam on my machine. It was a little awkward but not impossible. You could hand sew the bottom opening closed if you prefer.

And, she's done!

As always, if you have any questions or if something isn't clear, leave a comment or shoot me an email at

Friday, February 11, 2011

Who's Obsessed?

Owl's are really in now right? I've been trying hard to resist jumping on the bandwagon but recently I've just given up and embraced it. I've slowly started adding some hooters into my decor (and I'm not talking about women in orange hot pants who serve wings - much to the chagrin of my husband).

I found this set of brass ones at the flea market a few months ago for $6.

This planter was on sale for $2.50 at Hobby Lobby. I love how my spiky succulent looks like out of control head feathers.

My most recent trip to the flea market netted me these gems for only 50 cents each!

They were a little too 70's for my style so I grabbed a can of Krylon fusion spraypaint (because I'm not sure what substance these things are made of) and gave them a quick coat of white.

They're a welcome addition to a blank space of wall in my living room. I don't know if I'm completely happy with them yet. I feel they need to be paired with some other things to really make them pop, but right now I'm enjoying them.

How about you? Have you embraced the owl revival?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Rhinestones are a girl’s best friend

When I was a little girl I would pry open the lid of this box and immerse myself for hours in the wonders it possessed.

My great grandmother’s costume jewelry:

And now all these years later they’re mine and the wonder and joy of them have not diminished in the least.

Unfortunately some of them are beyond repair, but most of them are in great shape and just need a little TLC.

I’ve already repurposed some of the clip on earrings that have lost their mates, into rings. The rest I plan to leave as is.

And I found my old Cabbage Patch ring! "Memories, like the corners of my mind . . . "

These two have always been my absolute favorites. When I was a girl I would pretend they were real diamonds and I was a princess.

My little princess gets to wear them now too.

I showed her how I used to wear them while pretending to be an exotic dessert princess.

Maybe now I'll find some occassion to wear them myself - and I'll make my husband address me as, "your ladyship".