Make Your Own “Ugly” Dolls
3 fun craft projects you can do in a weekend.
by Jess Redman and Meg Leder
- Before you start, there are a few basic things to note:
- Prewash and iron all fabrics before beginning.
- All patterns include a 6mm (1/4 in) seam allowance. However, note that pieces such as faces, noses, and eyes (often made of felt) will usually not have seam allowances, as they don’t require them.
- Each pattern specifies how much to enlarge it in order to make the toy at the size pictured. However, you can enlarge the pattterns to whatever size you desire – just remember that your fabric requirements will change.
- When tracing pattern pieces onto tracing paper, be sure to transfer all markings.
- When cutting out body fabric to be sewn together, be sure to pin the template to the right side of the fabric for one of the pieces, and to the wrong side for the other (so you end up with a “mirrored” set of body shapes). This will ensure the patterned (right) side of the fabric shows when the body is turned right-side out.
- Any toys with small parts such as buttons are not suitable for children under three years of age. However, in most instances these components can be substituted with felt, fabric, or embroidery.
- The glossary below is a quick, handy reference that includes definitions of commonly used terms and abbreviations, as well as explanations of how to do some basic sewing.
- Instructions for some of the toys will direct you to pin the presewn arms, legs, and/or ears into place on the right side of one body piece, “pointing in toward the body.” This is so that when you sew the two body pieces together (right sides facing), you will attach the limbs/ears to the body at the same time. It is important to ensure you position the appendages so that they will be facing the right way when the toy is turned right-side out (e.g., so that the toes point outward). The diagram below shows an example of how to pin limbs onto the body correctly. It shows one body piece placed right-side up, with limbs pinned on (pointing in toward the body). The next step would be to place the remaining body piece right-side down on top, and sew around the body (leaving an opening for turning right-side out and stuffing).
- Work from left to right. Pass needle up through underside of fabric. Insert the needle to the right of this point, parallel to the edge of the fabric. Pull the thread almost all the way through, then insert the needle through the loop from underneath. Insert the needle to the right of the last stitch, and repeat this process. Continue in this manner. Chain stitch (ch) yarn over hook, then pull yarn through stitch on hook.
- Work from right to left. Pass needle up from underside of fabric, then insert it about 3 mm (1/8 in) to the right of this point. Bring needle up again about 3 mm (1/8 in) to the left of the starting point. Continue in this manner.
- Line up fabrics to be joined side by side. Pass needle up from underside of first fabric, then insert parallel into second fabric. Bring needle up again about 3 mm (1⁄8 in) along on the second fabric. Insert needle parallel into first fabric. Continue in this manner. (The stitches should be almost invisible.)
- When sewing, you place pieces of fabric with their “pretty” sides facing each other (i.e. the sides that will eventually face out). You sew on the “wrong” side of the fabric so that the seams will be hidden when the piece is turned right-side out.
- Use consecutive straight stitches, very close together, across the entire shape to be filled.
- Work from right to left. Pass needle up from underside of first piece of fabric, then insert needle a little to the left on the second piece of fabric to make a diagonal stitch. Bring needle up parallel on the first piece of fabric. Continue in this manner. (Stitches should be as small as possible.)
Reprinted from More Softies Only a Mother Could Love: 22 Hapless but Lovable Friends to Sew an Crochet, edited by Jess Redman and Meg Leder by arrangement with Perigee, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., Copyright (c) 2007 by Penguin Group (Australia).