My friend Diane told me this all started because her daughter really wanted an Ugly Doll, but she didn’t want to buy a toy that was so easy to make — this doll is just like a flat drawing, but softer and with stuffing. The power of this project is bringing a child’s drawing to life in another medium.
Craft by Diane Bromberg.
Felt is an ideal fabric for this project because it doesn’t need finished edges, so you can cut out appliqué shapes without being concerned about fraying. Making this doll can be a great first sewing project for a child.
Your child’s drawing
Pen or chalk
Scraps of fabric
Sewing machine and/or needle and thread
Work with your child to draw the doll. It should be something your child is excited to own, but that isn’t too hard to sew. Try to keep the overall shape relatively simple. Color isn’t terribly important now, but if you have fabric scraps lying around, maybe you can start with those before drawing, matching the fabric scraps to markers or crayons you already have.
Freehand draw the child’s drawing to your fabric using a pen or chalk. Don’t worry about being too precise; this is a forgiving project. Cut out the doll, leaving a 1/2″ seam allowance around the entire outline.
Embellish the doll. Decorating may involve appliquéing facial details with fabric scraps, embroidering fingernails, or adding whatever details you’re inspired to do. This is your chance to give your doll some character.
Place the doll fabric wrong sides together, and sew around the outline, 1/2″ from the edge, with a machine or by hand, leaving a 3-inch gap. Turn the doll right side out, and poke stuffing into it with the back of a pencil. Sew up the hole.
Looking for more collaborative crafts you and your child can do? Learn how to make a potato-print Milky Way or giant snowflake.
All photographs by Meredith Heuer. From Side by Side, by Tsia Carson, © 2012 by Tsia Carson. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, Boston, MA. www.roostbooks.com.