Working on a New Doll

DSC04814Step 1: Cut out all the pieces. I really suck at following patterns, so I don’t use any. Well, that’s not totally true. I use a pattern, it’s just in my head, and it’s one that I made up, that’s all. I know this may seem a little strange, especially to those of you who are real seamstresses, but I’m incompetent when it comes to following a pattern by someone else. It’s wool felt; it’s a very forgiving medium (or, at least I think it is), so it’s just easier for me to wing-it and cut out the doll pieces without a physical pattern.

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Step 2: Stitch the face in black. I don’t draw on the felt, it takes too much time, and sometimes the marks don’t come off the felt. It’s easier to again, just ‘wing-it’ and stitch the face down. If I feel like I’ve messed-up, I just take the stitches out and do it again.

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Step 3: Eye color. I do the eyes first because I like to. It makes the face more alive while working on it. I cut out little pieces of black felt and tack them down with glue, then stitch them down for the pupils.

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Step 4: The whites of the eyes and the ‘Barbie Doll Eye Dot’ I stitch in the whites of the eyes, and use a french knot for the gleam of light in the pupil of the eye. Sometimes I make stars instead of dots in the pupils.

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Step 5: Stitch the face onto the main body and start adding the lip color and the eyelid color. The reason that I stitch the face down on a separate piece of felt is because when I embroider the face, the felt does get a little stretched in some areas and bunched up in others. It’s not much, but enough that I prefer to make what I call “Patch Faces” and sew them onto the dolls body instead of stitching directly onto the front body piece.

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Step 6: Add the cheeks. This time I made circles, sometimes I make half circles. Sometimes I add additional stitches and colorful embroidery to the face. This doll is going to have a fairly busy and colorful outfit, so I decided to not get too over the top with the face decoration.

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Okay, then there are a ton of other steps, like putting together the ears, arms and legs, stuffing them, making sure that the arms and legs are even before sewing them to the body, trimming off any slight excess felt and making sure everything matches up….and I have pictures of that, but I’m not a patient person, and wanted to skip ahead and show you how the doll (more or less) is stitched together. It’s not at all a hard way to make a doll. Anyone can do it. I use really basic stitches and very simple techniques.

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And here she is, all stuffed and naked, ready for her clothes! I’m sorry about the not so fantastic pictures. I’ve got a fairly simple camera. I’m putting together a video for YouTube that will show the process in more detail and hopefully with better resolution!

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