I was recently told by a 4 year old friend of mine that the dolly I made her was falling apart. It was the first doll I had ever made and she’s become a bit tattered and torn over the years. But to be honest, I was pretty surprised (and proud!) that she had lasted this long!
Ava came across Poppy (the dolly) and was so enamoured with her that I thought I’d make one for her too, and perhaps my sewing skills have improved in the past few years and she won’t fall apart any time soon…we’ll see!!
So, in case you didn’t already know, my husband is a super talented published illustrator, and has recently been published as an author/illustrator too! I know, right?! So cool! A few months ago, Heath released his second written-as well-as-illustrated picturebook called “I Wanna Be A Pretty Princess’ and it’s amazing.
In this gorgeous book is about a young (unnamed) girl who desperately wants to be a pretty princess. I’m not gonna give too much away, but there comes a point in the story where she is more than happy to dress in her favorite tutu, pearls and rainbow tights and smear make-up all over her face.
Ooooh! If you would like a copy of this book, you can order it online here or here or at any worthy bookstore!
I adore this young lady so much that I thought I might just make a mini version of her! Ava is also obsessed with her Jemima doll (from Play School, we’re in Australia, remember!) and I love the way that this toy is made, so I based my pattern on her.
So, here’s a tutorial for you on how to make a pretty dolly girl of your own!
The pattern pieces are here.
**Please note that I am in NO WAY a proper seamstress and my pattern drafting skills are far from perfect. I am an amateur crafter who loves to create and make stuff and thought I’d share her with you. If you would like to use these pattern pieces, please be aware that it may not be PERFECTLY exact so always allow a ¼ inch seam allowance and feel free to adjust as you see fit!**
Plain ‘skin coloured’ fabric
Wool in desired hair colour
Firstly, cut out your pieces. The pattern pieces attachment will tell you how many of each you need. Please remember to allow a seam allowance on each piece! About ¼ inch worked for me.
Make your hair! I followed this fabuloustutorial, it’s excellent, explains it perfectly, and does a much better job than I can! Here are my pictures though just in case you wanna scope out how I did it for this pretty lady!
Sew the face onto one of the plain pieces! This part is a bit tricky as it’s really hard to know EXACTLY where to place everything. Heath tends to say that the eyes need to go in the centre of the head. I ignored this info, then I think he was right in the end as I ended up moving my pieces later on.
Mark on your eyes and mouth with a light pencil or fabric chalk before attaching, then sew on as you wish!
Then, with right sides facing, attach the face pieces together leaving a gap at the bottom for turning out.
Fill the head piece with stuffing (as full and form as you can!) and then blind stitch the bottom hole as neatly as you can. Put aside.
Next, move on to the body. Place body pieces together, right sides facing, and stitch all the way around, leaving the arm holes and bottom parts open.
Next is the arms and legs. Now-I had grumpy times with my original cut-out pieces, so I restarted both of them so they allowed more of a seam allowance and allowed me to turn them out more easily (hence my harping on about the seam allowance…experience!)
Put pieces right sides facing and sew around the edge TWICE for reinforcement. Leave the top ends open for each.
Turn arms and legs out, then stuff with stuffing, filling them as firmly as you can.
Then, attach the arms to the body. Do this by tucking the loose end fabric into the open hole on the body, fold over the loose body seams and blind stitch as best you can. This can be really tricky, so if you’d prefer to machine sew it, please do (I did). It doesn’t look as neat but I trusted that it would be much firmer and hold for longer!
Once the arms are attached, fill the body with stuffing through the bottom hole, then, add legs into the hole and blind stitch the bottom hole as neatly including the legs in too. You’ll find that if you allow a bit of room at the top of the legs it will work much better for you!
Now attach the head to the body! You will be sewing through the seams as closely as possible here, but allowing the needle to go through the stuffing will work really well too.
It’s now time to dress her!!
Obviously you will want to dress your dolly as you wish, but please feel free to pinch a few ideas from this lovely lady!!
To attach her hair please follow thistutorial because she explains it much better than I ever could!
Sew together the boots with a backstitch, stuff, then attach to the feet, reinforcing around her ‘ankle.’
Sew the tuille carefully and gradually through the machine, folding every 2 centimetres. Do this 4 more times and layer each on top of the other to form a nice full skirt.
Attach this to the waist of the girl!
There is also a dress attachment in the pattern that may be a bit easier to use (I used this dress in the aforementioned ‘Poppy’ doll I made a few years ago!)
Here are sue pictures of how I attached her hair! As I said, please follow these instructions
, but I thought I’d show these if you were interested!
And here’s my finished little lady