25 October 2008

softie doll tutorial

as you may recall, a couple weeks ago i stitched together this doll for elle's birthday.




they have become fast friends. elle calls her softie "frost" and totes her along just about everywhere.




want to make your own? here's a basic tutorial...

materials:
felted wool (3 colors for skin, cheeks, and hair)
variety of fabric (printed cotton wovens, corduroy, etc)
variety of colored thread
stuffing material
dried beans, optional
fusing material, such as heat n bond


1. sketch and cut out the pattern. i use heavier stock magazine/catalog pages for durability, but you may prefer tissue paper for ease of pinning.

eta: i used to have a smallish pattern here, but a couple generous readers have drafted correctly scaled patterns and generously shared them here.

the following are jpg files drawn up by the artistic hubby of lisa hanna:

leg/foot

head

face

body

hand/arm

a HUGE thank you to lisa & hubby! :)

for those who'd prefer a pdf, avani palkhiwala has created this gorgeous file for us:

Doll Pattern PDF

thank you, avani! i'm in awe of your generosity and killer pdf-making skills!


2. pin your pattern pieces on the fabric/felted wool and cut out each piece (unless you'd prefer to go this route** in step 5, as i often do). you'll also need to cut out a wool piece for the hair, as well as two cheek rounds. i like my rounds to be different sizes for a touch of whimsy, but if the type-A in you brandishes a heavy stick at the thought of this, feel free to make yours identical.

(note: seam allowances are included, so no need to add your own unless you'd like a slightly larger doll.)

you should end up with something like this:




3. pair a hand piece with a sleeve piece; pin right sides together and sew.



open, press the seam flat, and topstitch.

the right side should look like this:



and the underside like so:




repeat with the remaining arm pieces and the leg/sock pieces.


4. pair a hood and body piece, right sides together, and sew. open, press, and topstitch. repeat with the remaining hood and body piece.




5. fuse one side of the heat n bond onto the backs of the felted wool face, cheeks, and hair pieces. **instead of cutting out the wool pieces separately (in step 2), i personally like to trace the pattern onto the heat n bond, cut out the pieces with a slight margin, fuse them on to felted wool, and then cut out the fusing and wool together.

peel off the waxed paper backing from the face, fuse to the doll's front piece, and topstitch around the perimeter. repeat with the hair and cheek rounds; topstitch decoratively as desired. (on elle's softie i hand-stitched the cheeks; on penelope--below--i machine-stitched a circular swirly.)




now you should have this:




6. pair up the arm pieces and sew right sides together. sew a second seam to reinforce the stitching. trim seam allowances and flip right-side out. repeat with the legs.

with cotton-ball size puffs, stuff the arms and legs with your stuffing material. push each piece in with a pencil firmly to the end of the appendage; if you try to stuff too many puffs at once or too large of a piece of stuffing, you'll end up with lumps.

7. baste stitch the arms and legs where you'd like them to attach on the right side of the doll's front piece. the appendages should all be sewn facing inward at this point.

8. pin front and back pieces, right-sides together, with the arms/legs sandwiched in between (the sandwiching is the tricky bit). sew together along the outer edges, leaving about a 3 inch space to turn the doll right side out. reinforce your stitching by sewing back over the seam.

9. turn the doll right side out and say hello to your almost-completed softie.



10. stuff body with small tufts of stuffing (if you want the softie to be self-sitting, you can fill the bottom fourth with dried beans or a similar weighted filling).

11. hand stitch the gap closed, and voila. meet penelope.




if you find yourself thinking after that 11 step process: hmmmn, i'd like a doll but i'd rather not have to do the actual making of it, here's a giveaway just for you.

to enter for a chance to have penelope live at your very own house, simply describe to me in the comment section below one of your favorite gifts of all time. no pressure to wax eloquent; the winner will be drawn randomly.

this drawing will close on wednesday, october 29th, so please enter promptly. grazie!

65 comments:

Anonymous said...

WOW! can I please have this adorable little doll?!! My girls would just adore her like crazy. The doll might even be screaming out our name!

Thanks,
Addy

addyb28@gmail.com

Angel said...

Thanks for the tutorial! I have 4 little girls on my list that would love these for Christmas.

My favorite gift received would be a retro Pottery Barn black phone and my favorite gift I've given has been a custom nursing cover-up, taggie blanket and mini diaper tote I just made for my best friend's baby shower. she loved it!

~Angel

Jill said...

How neat that you put the tutorial up -- I was just coming to your blog to ask you if you'd used a pattern for this doll (been thinking about how much I love it!), and if you'd tell us where to get it! Perfect timing!

Thank you so much for posting this! I haven't even read the tutorial yet -- I was so excited that you'd posted exactly what I'd come here for that I had to comment first! A little backward, I know, but my excitement compelled me to do it!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

~Jill~

carole said...

That is just about the cutest thing I have seen in a long time. That glimpse of your machine reminds me of my mother's old Singer (which i wish I had because it is the smoothest running machine)
My favorite gift arrived yesterday - after being given a diagnosis I would rather not have, my youngest (away at college for her first year) sent me an awesome pack of prismacolor markers to cheer me up. I told her once that I always wanted a yummy set of artist grade markers - I can't believe she remembered and managed to 1. Find a post office 2. package it properly 3. purchase proper postage.
My heart swelled like a kid on Christmas morn when I opened it. Kids really do get us sometimes!
Thanks for the Tutorial, I will definitely be using it!!

A's Mom said...

That is too cute!

little pumpkin grace said...

As cheesy as it may sound, my current fave gift is an art project Grace just brought home from Mother's Day Out. It's a halloween scene with construction paper cutouts of her little hands upside down to make ghosts. LOVE EVERYTHING about it, esp. her 19 mo. old chubby little hands captured forever.
~Jessica

Amanda said...

When I was a little girl, my mother traced my hands onto an old, pink striped terry cloth bath towel. She cut it in to rectangles and made me a pillow. Before she stuffed it, she turned my handprints into chickens (you know...with the beak on the thumb and the stick legs) and then she gave it to me for special. It was the coolest because in her supremely busy life (going back to college, raising 5 kiddos, being a pastor's wife.....)she handmade me this snuggly treasure. And then saved it for me to have even now.

p.s. Just discovered your super neat blog. Thanks!

~love said...

that's exactly what i was thinking....i need one without the 11 steps! =)
one of my favorite gifts of all time was a barbie mansion complete with elevator and swimming pool. i sure loved it then...but looking back, i love it even more now. i bet my parents had so much fun watching us LOVE that house.

deconstructing jen said...

Um, yeah so the sewing machine and I are not on friendly terms. As a matter of fact I might be sending mine some hate mail soon so I'll opt for the contest route.

The best gift ever, well, that's a tough one. I think it has to be the diamond earrings my husband got me one year for Valentine's day. Ironically it had absolutely nothing to do with the jewelry cause I'm a pretty low maintenance jewelry gal but more to do with the fact that he even considered doing it and managed to keep it a surprise (which he can NOT do).

Katie Miller said...

I just love that little doll and I know my three year old would make a great mommy for her. So I will tell you that my favorite gift would have to be my favorite nephew who was born on my birthday a few years back, who has become my best little bud!

Cris Pansiera said...

Luvvvvvvv Penelope!!!! Thanks for the tutorial...Hummm I think the best gift I've ever got it's my camera....My hubby gave it to me last year...But I also remember a doll house when I was a kid!
XX
CRIS

Treasuresofjoy said...

I am sooo loving this tutorial. If I don't win I may be able to takle this in my schedule somehow!

My daughter was my greatest gift. Corny... I know, but after 5 years and one miscarriage we had her, then many more miscarriages and 5 years later no more children. Most people in my place unfortunately don't even have one baby. I truly treasure my one little gift.

~ANG said...

Oohhh, the best gift ever? Hmmm I'd have to say the first gift my husband ever gave me (while we were still dating) is my most favorite...the unabridged collection of everything ever written by Edgar Allen Poe. Books...he knew my weakness!

Jen said...

Favorite gift? It's going to have to be a tie. My parents gave me skydiving lessons for my 18th birthday and my husband rented a Jeep and we ventured out into the Appalancian mountains when I turned 30. I'm all about adventures and making memories.

Ohh I would love that doll. My little girl is turning 3 in December, and I haven't touched a sewing machine in years.

Brandie said...

What an adorable doll! I made one a few weeks ago but she is very small. I love how this softie is just the right size. I would love to win this:)

One of my favorite gifts as a child was a fashion designing kit. It came with model forms to trace and then you could draw on the clothes. I remember spending hours making all kinds fashion catalogs. Soo fun!

I'm thinking of making a few of these softies for my daughter and some of the other little girls in my family. Thanks for the great tutorial!

Tonya said...

that is the cutest little thing I have ever seen...you are such a perfectionist in your sewing...

love it...

Tonya

Jenn said...

adorable Nic! She is the perfect combination of scrappy loveliness!

favorite gift is my "ugly" Christmas plate with A's thumb prints along the outer edge posing as Christmas lights. It melts my heart :)

take a bow Jenn

Liliana said...

Thanks for sharing this with us!!!! I can't wait to try it myself...but you could save me the trouble & draw my name!!! My DD would love it!!! lol!!

My favorite gifts have always been the lottery tickets we got in our stockings from my Dad. It's always so exciting to see how much everyone won!! He passed away in February but I will continue his tradition with my own children.

Thanks!

Deanna said...

LOVE this adorable doll!

I'm off to make some for Christmas gifts!! my niece will love it!

deanna

Loves Me Not said...

Ok...so you have to offer this in your Etsy shop! They would sell like crazy.....but then you would be like me and be sewing 200 pairs of red velour pants...a bit of exageration there, but you get my point! I love it! ~Amy

jorth said...

My favourite gift was the Saturday morning I was lounging around, and in a bored funk asked the Galumph if we were doing anything interesting today.

"Actually", said Galumph, "there is something I want you to do."

Great, I thought, I have to unstack the dishwasher, or wash the sheets, or some other boring householdy job. "What is it?", I sighed (none too pleasantly, I'm sure).

"Well", said Galumph, "I'd really like you to come into the city with me, and pick out your engagement ring!"

I can't remember quite what my answer to this was, but I'm pretty sure that admist all the hugs and kisses that he got the message.

Yep, that was a pretty darn good gift!

xo Leisl

PS Super gorgeous doll!

Kimberly said...

Oh my. I really, really need to learn how to sew!

My favourite gift was the gift of a child-free weekend with Neil. My mum babysat both our girls overnight (and did crafts and baking with them so they didn't miss us hardly at all), and Neil and I went to Seattle and were able to go to the Temple, hold hands and reconnect, shop without any whining or crying in the background, and just...be. Together. It was incredible.

Courtney said...

My favorite gift of all time that I have recieved is when my hubby made a photo album of our first child without me ever knowing..I love looking back at the pics and they are kept very nicely!

One of the best gifts of all time that I will be giving to my youngest child is a new dolly (that's if I win;-P) made by a fantastic woman!

PamperingBeki said...

How cute is that!?

My favorite gift ever? It's what my dh does every year for Mother's day. He plants tomatoes. :) It's so simple, but he does the work which I love and then I get to enjoy fabulous home grown tomatoes all summer long. It's my favorite gift and I get it every Spring.

hartwelldesigns said...

oh girl!! you need to sell these on etsY!! I would soooooooooo totally buy a few for my great-nieces!! they are precious!!

Angel said...

I just finished my first 3 dollies this afternoon and blogged it. Your tute was perfect and they are so much fun to make. Now I have 3-4 more to make (and one for me too).

www.tadacreations.blogspot.com

~Angel

jona said...

WOW!! THank you for sharing your tutorial with us! My daughter is going to go nuts (she's 16 and loves to make dolls). You are very talented!

xoxotova said...

BOTH of your dolls are PRECIOUS! xoxo'stanya

Leah said...

This is fabulous little doll. I shall just have to use the tutorial to make my baby niece one - and I'm sure my daughter will want one too!!

Angela said...

Absolutely adorable! I love it and want to make it today!

SETT said...

Hello! I found your tutorial.
I would like to translate it into Russian and post it in my site. I will mention you and your site (let me know which one).
Is it possible? What will be your condition?
Delia
My site is www.tatianka.ru

It's The Little Tings said...

Oh, how sweet is she? Love it, and I know my girls would too. I think I will go whip one up, today! Thanks for sharing the how-to for her.
A favorite gift - the Galen Rowel book of photography my husband gave me for my birthday.

PaisleyJade said...

Thankyou!!!!

MrsKAD said...

wonderful doll! Can I buy one instead of make one!!!!! Actually I'm serious - for our little red-headed cousin, Marley!

Cocukla Cocuk said...

Thank you for this nice tutorial

Sarah said...

What a fun colorful doll you have made! I would love to feature you on my blog, Dolly Donations. We are making dolls for orphans :) Thanks so much for sharing!
Sarah

sarah said...

so i think i am ready to try making my own. do you have any suggestions for where i can find quality felt for this project?

sarah said...

so i think i am ready to tackle this project as my daughter's birthday is fast approaching. do you have any suggestions for finding quality felt or a recommendation for a brand for this project? thanks, sarah

Lady Multi-Tasker said...

This is such a beautiful doll! I can't wait to try it! How did you do the eyes and the smile?

maggy, red ted art said...

Oh my, she is adorable. My 3yrs old just saw and said "Mummy look, it is Mary" (we are full of the nativity at the moment)...

Was wondering if you would be interested in "Guest Posting" this over at Red Ted Art? Would be LOVELY to have you there.

http://www.redtedart.com

Do email me on info (at) redtedart (dot) com if you are interested!

Many thanks!

Maggy

Zee Onkens said...

Yes, I do find Penelope so cute. As for my favorite gift (as a little girl), I think it was the Barbie with her toddler. My mum made a cake with the Barbie tucked in it and cake her skirt... then I look anxiously at the gifts waiting to be opened, hoping one of them contained the toddler.

Lisa said...

Hi I would love to make this for my neighbor girl's 3rd bday...where do you get the felted wool? Joanns? Off etsy? If you use someone specific can u please link? Thanks!

Lisa said...

Also do you have the pattern as a pdf? so we can print it out?? :)

nic said...

hi lisa: thanks for the awesome suggestions! i just added a link to my favorite place to purchase wool felt (weirdollsandcrafts.com), and i will do my best to figure out a pdf pattern and a place to host it...we are not so high-tech 'round these parts, but if i get that squared away, i'll update the post.
:)

Lisa said...

Thanks so much! Even if u have it scanned in and want to email it to me, I would be most appreciative! Lisaehanna@gmail.com
Going to get some wool felt online from ur place right now!

Lisa said...

I have exciting news! I myself am a horrible artist, but we have had so many ice snow days I put my "not horrible at all artist" aka my husband, to work on the softie doll pattern! So now I have a pattern from your original drawing and dimensions. I also have a scanner and can send you the pattern pictures for you to add to the site! Let me know if you would like me to send them!
signed
bored in snowy/icy Texas

nic said...

oh my goodness, lisa, you are amazing! i would LOVE to have the pattern images--i can't believe you found time and energy to get that all done. thank you!!

Lisa H. (Sewing or Something) said...

My softie owl pattern and tutorial is coming this week! I will reference your softie doll and tutorial since she started it all.
www.sewingorsomething.blogspot.com/

Lisa H. (Sewing or Something) said...

My owl tutorial and pattern is done!
I think I have way too many pics..lol but oh well!
http://sewingorsomething.blogspot.com/2011/03/make-stuffed-soft-owl-with-pattern-and.html

Kate said...

I just posted a link on my blog to your tutorial - I love these dolls! Thanks so much!

Please let me know if you'd like me to change or delete the posting!
Kate

http://betweenthetoys.blogspot.com/2011/04/softie-dolls.html

Christina said...

Just found this via Jorth's blog. I have been wanting to make my daughter something like this - thanks so much for the tute!

Lisa H. (Sewing or Something) said...

My owl tutorial and pattern is done!
I think I have way too many pics..lol but oh well!
http://sewingorsomething.blogspot.com/2011/03/make-stuffed-soft-owl-with-pattern-and.html

Jen said...

Favorite gift? It's going to have to be a tie. My parents gave me skydiving lessons for my 18th birthday and my husband rented a Jeep and we ventured out into the Appalancian mountains when I turned 30. I'm all about adventures and making memories.

Ohh I would love that doll. My little girl is turning 3 in December, and I haven't touched a sewing machine in years.

Lisa H. (Sewing or Something) said...

My softie owl pattern and tutorial is coming this week! I will reference your softie doll and tutorial since she started it all.
www.sewingorsomething.blogspot.com/

Amanda said...

When I was a little girl, my mother traced my hands onto an old, pink striped terry cloth bath towel. She cut it in to rectangles and made me a pillow. Before she stuffed it, she turned my handprints into chickens (you know...with the beak on the thumb and the stick legs) and then she gave it to me for special. It was the coolest because in her supremely busy life (going back to college, raising 5 kiddos, being a pastor's wife.....)she handmade me this snuggly treasure. And then saved it for me to have even now.

p.s. Just discovered your super neat blog. Thanks!

MrsKAD said...

wonderful doll! Can I buy one instead of make one!!!!! Actually I'm serious - for our little red-headed cousin, Marley!

Courtney said...

My favorite gift of all time that I have recieved is when my hubby made a photo album of our first child without me ever knowing..I love looking back at the pics and they are kept very nicely!

One of the best gifts of all time that I will be giving to my youngest child is a new dolly (that's if I win;-P) made by a fantastic woman!

Loves Me Not said...

Ok...so you have to offer this in your Etsy shop! They would sell like crazy.....but then you would be like me and be sewing 200 pairs of red velour pants...a bit of exageration there, but you get my point! I love it! ~Amy

Deanna said...

LOVE this adorable doll!

I'm off to make some for Christmas gifts!! my niece will love it!

deanna

Anonymous said...

bonjour

Merci pour le patron de cette jolie poupée faite pour le plaisir d'une fillette

sarvenaz

Eva van Gorkum said...

Hey, I just made this super doll!
I made a boy with trousers
and a girl who wears a skirt!
I like your motes!

thanks,
eva
(netherlands)

Arianna said...

Your doll is adorable!! Thank you for the tutorial... you can see my doll here on my blog: http://cuoriebottoni.blogspot.com/2012/01/la-copertina-per-il-mio-nipotino.html

Kristy said...

This is so sweet! We are sewing plush friends for children on my blog this month and I'll be sending folks your way to check out this sweet pattern! Thanks for sharing! :)

Anonymous said...

This doll is super cute! I'm making it for a friend's little girl for her first birthday this week. Thanks for the great tutorial!

Sarah Azman said...

Hi, i cannot find the Heat n Bond thing anywhere. Can i handstich it?