How to make a doll


The pattern for the 13 inch doll is very simple. It is a nice size for children to hold.

If you have never made a cloth doll before, the instructions will guide you. Be creative and have fun!!!!!

1. Doll Making Supplies:

• Body fabrics – Brown or tan colors are suggested for African Dolls –
(approximately 1/2 yd for each doll)
• Clothing fabrics with matching threads.
• Polyester Fiberfil for stuffing (Cotton Batting is not as suitable for stuffing and costs more.)
• Black Acrylic yarn for hair. Boucle type of yarn works extremely well.
• Tools for turning dolls and clothing inside out: crochet hooks, blunt end of chopsticks, or eraser end of pencil.
• Stuffing tools: blunt end of chopsticks, flat head screwdrivers or eraser end of pencil. A 6 inch forceps from a medical supply drug store is an excellent additional tool.
• 2 oz. jars of water-based acrylic paints – off white, black, red, brown, dark pink or coral
• Small paintbrushes – 10-0 liner (fine point), and #2 flat for filling in.
• Waterproof permanent markers like Pigma Pens or Zig Millennium in brown and black for outlining eyes and lips. Look for double-sided pens with thick tip and thin tip.
• Scissors, pencils or pens to mark pattern.

Optional supplies:
• Disappearing marker pencil.
• Narrow elastic, ribbon or string for skirts or pants waist.
• Embroidery thread for embroidering face.
• Iron on adhesive paper for faces such as Therm O Web HeatnBond.
• Wax paper or cardboard for making pattern templates.
• Access to a sewing machine.

2. Cutting and Sewing the Doll’s Body

Trace pattern onto fabric twice and cut out two copies. Freezer paper pattern: An easy way to draw a template pattern is to trace the
doll pattern, without seam allowance, onto freezer paper (paper with wax ononly one side). Then, iron the freezer paper, waxed side down, onto the wrong side of a doubled piece of fabric. The paper pattern will stick to the fabric. Then sew along the edge of the freezer paper, leaving an opening where it is indicated on the pattern (this is the place where you will put in the stuffing later). Before cutting, allow a 3/8-inch seam allowance all around. After sewing, carefully remove the freezer paper pattern, which can be used several times. Alternatively, make a reusable template pattern out of cardboard or sturdy fabric. Trace around the pattern, and then sew along the edge of the tracing, leaving an opening where indicated on the pattern. Before cutting, allow a 3/8 inch seam allowance all around.

To paint or embroider a face before sewing
Some people think it is preferable to paint the doll’s face and sew on the doll’s hair before the doll is sewn together. (The advantage of doing it this way is that you can cut a new piece of fabric and start over again if you are not satisfied with the face and hair that you do the first time.) If you would like to do it this way, then follow the instructions given for the doll’s face, eyes and hair. Then you can continue stuffing the doll and sewing the doll together, as described below. Remember to leave room for the seam allowances. Also, remember that when the doll’s head is stuffed, the fabric will bulge, and that will mean that the doll’s head will become smaller after it is stuffed. Please note that the eyes should be positioned in the middle of the head and not at the top. Place a piece of cardboard or paper underneath the fabric before you start to paint, so that the paint will not bleed or smudge. Begin by lightly drawing the face on the fabric, with a regular or colored pencil. If you make a mistake, you can erase the pencil marks and start again. Instead of a pencil, you could use vanishing-ink pens or markers, which have the marks disappear within 12 to 24 hours after use. Sew both body pieces together wrong side out, right sides together.

TIP– For flat-type “pancake dolls” only: To eliminate neck wrinkles on flat-type “pancake dolls” – before sewing the doll pieces together, place a narrow dart from one side of the neck to the other side. The reason necks wrinkle on pancake dolls is that the neck needs some shaping, to be more like the round
shape of a real neck. Sewing a horizontal dart to remove excess fabric and wrinkles helps to solve this problem. Remember to leave a side opening for stuffing. Use a short stitch to reinforce the seams at the crotch, armpit, neck, and any other extreme curve such as a thumb or ankle.
Clip or notch all curves where shown on pattern. Clip inward curves. Notch outward curves ( △ ). Finally, turn inside out. To turn dolls right side out – use a crochet hook, the blunt end of a chopstick, or the eraser end of a pencil. Place the tool inside the doll at the end of an arms,
legs and head and then gently push the fabric until that particular part is right side out. Do each part separately and then turn the whole doll right side out. Use the pointed end of the tool on the inside of the doll to smooth out all the turned seams.

3. Stuffing the Dolls

Before you begin stuffing, baste down the side-seam opening on each of the two pieces of fabric separately. Doing this prevents the seam
allowance from fraying while you stuff the doll, and it also makes a nice crease in the fabric, when you are ready to stitch the opening together for the completed doll. Polyester Fiberfil is the best material to use for stuffing. (Pieces of foam or odd pieces of material are not suitable for a child’s doll.) Fluff out the stuffing before you put it into the doll. Keep adding more stuffing, until the doll is firm and the head is a nice shape. Pay special attention to stuffing the neck well, so that the head does not flop. To stuff the doll, use a flat-headed screwdriver with a comfortable handle, or any of the other turning implements already mentioned. Forceps are also helpful for moving the stuffing around. Order of stuffing: arms and legs first, then head, then body. It is a good idea to feel the body parts you are stuffing with your eyes closed. When your eyes are closed, your fingers will find the lumps and the places that need more stuffing. It’s amazing how well this works! The flat head of the screwdriver helps to guide more stuffing under the surface of the doll fabric to areas that need help. Begin with small amounts of stuffing, making sure that the stuffing goes into the ends of the toes and hands. When the doll is stuffed to your satisfaction, sew the side seams together.
Optional: After stuffing the arms and legs, you might like to add a stitching line between the legs and the torso, and the arms and the torso. This will give the doll more flexibility.

4. Drawing Faces

Materials for painted faces: Markers such as Zig Millennium or Pigma permanent markers can usually be found in craft or office supply stores.
These pens are waterproof, permanent, and won’t bleed. (Sharpie pens tend to bleed, so they are not recommended for this project.) Suggested colors for the skin are brown or black; with red, orange or pink for the lips. Use size .05 or .01 markers for the eyelashes. Off-white acrylic paint, instead of stark white, makes the eyes look more realistic. To apply the acrylic paint, you will need several small brushes (10 – 0 liner brush and #2 flat brush).

Materials for Embroidered Faces: Embroidery thread, embroidery needles, scissors. Optional: Disappearing marker for drawing face outlines. Drawing the face: The doll’s eyes should be placed in the middle of the face, and not too far to the edge. This is so that when you stuff the doll, the eyes will be in the right place and not at the side. The mouth should be just a little below the eyes, and not at the bottom of the face. If the face is put on before the doll is stuffed, you must allow for the face proportions to change when they become rounded. Always begin by drawing your doll’s face on paper, before you draw it on the fabric. Use a piece of paper about the same size as the fabric that you are using for the head. Lightly draw a line horizontally and vertically through the center of the “face,” as shown on the pattern. The eyes should be drawn approximately midway between the chin and the top of the head. Mark the centers of the eyes on the horizontal line an equal distance from the midline. If you place the eyes slightly lower than the horizontal, and slightly wider apart on the face, your doll will have a younger appearance. Divide the lower half of your face into thirds and mark a small dot on the center line at these points. These will be the positions of the nose and the mouth.

5. Drawing the Doll’s Eyes

For younger (baby) dolls, use rounder eyes, smaller mouths, larger irises. For boy dolls, use simple, open, less elegant eyes; no eyelashes. Open smiling or laughing mouths are excellent. African eyes are elongated and not round. The angle you place the eyes at changes the expression dramatically (straight, turned up at corners, turned down at comers, etc.) Eyes look more natural if the top outline is higher and rounder and the bottom outline is flatter. TIP: Place your thumb where the eye should be and draw around the top of your thumb. Then reverse the thumb to face down and draw around it again for the bottom of the eye. The eyes should be about two thumb spaces apart. TIP: If you use a disappearing marker or pencil when you draw the eyes, you will have more control, and can make changes if necessary. The pencil marks will disappear in a few hours. TIP: Eye Stencil: If you find an eye shape that you like, you can make a cut-out stencil for the eye. Line the center line of the stencil up with the center of your doll’s face, and draw the eye, then flip the stencil over to the opposite side of
the face to perfectly position the 2nd eye and draw it in. Placing pupils: The size and placement of the iris can change the expression completely. If the pupil fills most of the white of the eye, the expression of the doll looks younger. If you leave too much white at the top, the eyes will look surprised. Irises slightly to one side look sweet or shy, front and center look direct. Irises slightly toward the top lid will look thoughtful and dreamy. Experiment until you are happy with the expression. Please do not use beads for eyes because these dolls are designed for young children and beaded eyes can be a choking hazard.

The next section “Drawing the Doll’s Eyes” gives tips on drawing eyes. Please read before continuing. Practice drawing your doll’s features on a piece of paper, to make sure you have the right proportion and position, before you draw on the fabric. You can also experiment with different shapes. You might like to try rounded or oval eyes, with or without eyelashes and eyebrows. The nose could be a little button, or a long, straight nose. Tiny dolls might need only two tiny “commas” for nostrils, or maybe even no nose at all. For your doll’s mouth, try different sizes and shapes of hearts, or smiley “u” shapes. The more styles you try out, the easier it will be for you to choose a face that you like.

Finishing your Doll’s Face: Choose eye, mouth and cheek colors to complement your doll. Use the black pen to draw the eyes and eyelashes,
the brown pen to draw the nose and eyebrows, and the brown or the red pen for your doll’s mouth. Be careful when using drawing pens, they have a very fine tip. Always hold them in an upright position (not slanted) to prevent damaging the pen tip. Use Acrylic paints to fill in the eyes and mouth. For embroidering, pencil the features on the doll’s face to use as a guideline . Two sided iron-on paper, is another way to put features on a dolls face. If you have access to the special Iron-on adhesive paper you can trace or draw the doll’s eyes and lips on the paper, cut it out and iron the shapes onto the fabric. (Red fabric for lips, white fabric for eyes.) The fabric will not fray, and the features will be very clean and sharp. One such brand is Therm O Web HeatnBond UltraHold Ironon– adhesive. It makes a beautiful doll’s face. You can paint in the irises over the white fabric.

6. Ideas for Making Doll’s Hair

Yarn: Black or dark brown Acrylic yarn. Textured or Soucie yarn works nicely. Instead of yarn you can also use black, brown or even colored
upholstery fringe, fleece or felt. Sew around the back of doll’s head. Trim as desired. * If you are sewing the hair on before the doll is stuffed, use zig-zag stitches to sew the yarn on to the back of the head. You can use vertical, horizontal or circular rows. After the doll is put together you can add yarn on top of head to finish off the style. You can make braids with the yarn and sew them on. Be imaginative. Yarn is very adaptable. Wind the yarn 7 or more times around a stiff cardboard approximately 3 “wide by 8 “deep. Tie the yarn together at the center top of the cardboard and then remove the yarn from the cardboard. Use one or more bunches of yarn for a boy doll’s hair. Use four or more bunches for a girl’s doll. Yarn can be cut and trimmed. Sew the bunched yarn on the seam at the top of the the doll’s head, cutting and trimming the yarn
as desired. Sew strands of hair vertically. Sew strands of hair horizontally. Sew strands of hair in a circular pattern. Sew loops or bangs on top of the doll’s head. Leave long ends on the bottom. Put into a ponytail or braids. Sew the fringe on the seam at the top of the doll’s head. Fill in the back with more rows.