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


Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this tutorial. I was looking for a doll pattern that would be quick and easy to make but also CUTE and yours definitely fits the bill. I hope to make a few for charity.

Last Minute Mel said...

This is so cute...i will be bookmarking this to make for my daughter.

Auntie Lolo said...

I love this doll, she is so sweet! I am featuring her on my blog tomorrow, thanks!!


Elizabeth said...

This is SO cute!!! Adding it to my bookmarks! Found ya over at aunti lolo craft's blog :)

Sabrina said...

I really like this doll, thank you so much for this tutorial.
I am going to make one soon and I'll send you a picture.
from your newest follower :)

Leila Sassaki said...

I loved this tutorial! Thank you for sharing! I will try! a
leila -

Sue said...

I love this doll also. I was also looking for a quick and easy pattern for Christmas presents...she is just perfect. Thanks!!


Sue said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TR3E..............and Friends said...

really nice tutorial, blessing for you

Catia Pinho said...

Your fabric doll is so cute!

Maybe you'll like my doll, my blog
xo xo

euapap said...

You are so generous to share this
It is amazing!!

Trish said...

Thanks so much for this! Your tutorial was the only one I could find that had pattern pcs. that didn't have to be enlarged! I made one for my granddaughter!
I don't know how to add a pic or I would. There is one on my facebook

Nina said...

Thanks for this great tutorial and pattern. I used it for a sewing project, Skirting the Issue, making items to donate to local children's organizations.