I made these for my 4-year-old daughter Joanna for Christmas. They were a big hit! They look more complicated than they are. You can make a doll and a nice little wardrobe in an afternoon.
What you will need:
For the doll: Skin-colored cotton fabric and matching thread, ultra firm fusible interfacing, Heat n’ Bond (or similar) sewable iron-on adhesive, pencil or air-soluble marker, cotton fabric and matching thread for hair, sew-on hook and loop fastener (hook side only), and craft paint and brush for facial features.
For the clothes: Scraps of fabric, matching thread, Heat n’ Bond (or similar) sewable iron-on adhesive, and white felt.
The templates for the doll and clothes are found here: (Or you can just click on the “Patterns and Templates” page in the menu at the top of this post.) You’ll want to print those out. It is preferable to either print the doll and hair on card stock, or trace it onto card stock once you’ve printed it, since it will need to be cut out and traced. The clothes work just fine on regular printer paper.
Once you’ve printed your doll template, cut it out. The printed side of the template will end up being the BACK side of the finished doll. Marking it as such might come in handy later.
Take your skin-colored cotton, and cut out two 7.5″ x 10.5″ rectangles. Cut a rectangle the same size from the ultra-firm fusible interfacing, and from the fusible adhesive. (Note: This is the size I cut when I was taking photos for this tutorial…when I made them the first time, I made a whole bunch on on big piece of cloth. In hindsight, it would be easier to cut your fabric a little bit bigger (maybe 1/2″ all the way around) than your fusible interfacing/adhesive, so you don’t run the risk of getting your iron sticky if you don’t line it up perfectly.)
Take one of your fabric pieces, and place it on top of your fusible interfacing, with the fusible side up (touching the fabric). Iron these together.
Next take your piece of iron-on adhesive, and iron it on to the your other piece of fabric, paper side up (shiny side facing fabric). My fabric didn’t have a right/wrong side, but if yours does, you’re going to be ironing the interfacing and adhesive to the wrong side of the fabric.
Peel off the paper backing…
…and place the fabric shiny side-down on top of your other piece, with the interfacing side up. Iron this down. You will now have a sandwich with fabric on top, then the adhesive, then the interfacing, then finally fabric on the bottom. It should be well stuck together.
Next, take the doll template you cut out, and with the printed side up, trace it onto your fabric sandwich. I use an air-soluble marker that disappears in a day or so, but if you don’t have one, lightly tracing in pencil will work. The traced side will be the back of your doll, so if anything shows it won’t be a big deal.
Cut out your doll…
FLIP OVER your doll, so the traced side is now the back. If you don’t do this, then the clothes wont fit right as she is not perfectly symmetrical.
I did an overlock stitch around the outer edge of my dolls. You could also do a zigzag or even a straight stitch maybe 1/8″ to 1/4″ in from the outer edge. Be careful around the hands and feet…I went to fast on my sample here, and messed up her thumbs. Also, I found that using my regular foot instead of my overlock foot resulted in a cleaner edge.
Trim around the edges, but don’t cut it out on the traced line yet. Place both pieces on the WRONG side of whatever fabric you are using for the hair. Iron this down.
Cut out both pieces on the traced lines.
Now, peel the paper off of the back hair piece (not the bangs) and iron this, adhesive side down, onto the WRONG side of another piece of the hair fabric. Cut this out. You now have a piece of two-sided back hair, and single-sided bangs.
Center your doll’s head over the back hair piece…
Then peel the paper backing off the bangs, and place them over the face of the doll, lining up the outer edges with the back hair. Carefully iron this down, making sure to get along the edges and under the ears so the two pieces of hair are fused together.
Next, using matching thread, run a straight stitch around the bangs, about 1/8″ in from the edges. Do the same on the exposed back hair piece above the shoulders.
For the face, I just lightly penciled in simple eyes and mouth…
Then carefully painted them on with a tiny brush and craft paint. You could get as creative as you want with the face: tiny buttons for eyes, add pink cheeks, etc. I went for simple.
This is probably the trickiest part of the whole project…getting the velcro on the doll. For my first ones, I cut strips and attached them one by one, trimming as I went. You can do that, or you can try what I did here, which is a little bit easier. Find the leotard template, and trace it on the paper side of a piece of iron-on adhesive.
Cut 3 pieces of HOOK side velcro, and line them up on your ironing board, hook side DOWN. I had to hold them carefully as they wanted to move around and curl up a bit. Place the leotard cut-out adhesive side DOWN over the velcro. I placed a piece of scrap cloth over both, while holding it all down, and then ironed it. You’ll need the scrap cloth as the velcro might melt otherwise. Iron quickly, just until it is fused. It should look like this:
Here’s what it looks like from the back:
Now, cut out the leotard shape, but cut it slightly INSIDE the traced line, so that it will be smaller than the leotard when you make that later. You can see my cut line at the bottom…it’s maybe 1/8″ in from the line. I also cut a much deeper scoop in the neckline, so the velcro won’t show with a v-neck dress, etc.
Peel off the paper backing, and place the velcro on the doll front. I just held it in place and stitched it down around the perimeter (using white thread in the needle and skin-colored thread in the bobbin) because I think that trying to iron it on would melt the hooks in the velcro. After sewing the perimeter, I also stitched up and down the edges of the individual velcro strips that run down the middle. That way it’s all secure.
We are almost done with the doll! The last step is to put velcro on her feet. Trace the bottom part of the flats (on the clothing template) and cut them out of velcro, again making your pieces a bit smaller than the flats, so the velcro won’t show when she’s wearing them. I cut off the top part of the flats entirely, so I was basically left with a small strip that just covers the bottoms of her feet. Stitch these on around the edges.
Your doll is done! Yay!! Now let’s make her some clothes. You can get really creative with these! I’ve included several pieces in the clothing templates, but you can trace your doll template and make basically whatever styles you want. I’m going to show you how I made mine using the short-sleeved dress template. First you will trace the dress on the paper side of a piece of iron-on adhesive.
Trim around the edges, but not on the tracing line, and then iron adhesive-side down onto the WRONG side of your dress fabric.
Cut this out along the traced line.
Peel off the paper backing, and iron adhesive side DOWN onto a piece of white felt.
Use a piece of cloth over the dress and felt, as the felt might melt otherwise.
Cut it all out along the edges of the dress. You can cut out the neck, or you can leave it as shown and make a little white collar, which I will show you in a minute. I forgot to take a photo of this next step, but next you will use matching thread (white in the bobbin) to stitch about 1/8″ in around the outer edge of the dress. You could technically skip this step, but with a lot of play time the edges of the dress could peel away from the adhesive over time…plus I think the stitching just looks cute.
Having the felt on the back of the clothes gives them a nice thickness/sturdiness for playing. It’s also how they stick to the velcro, but are still super easy to remove, so your little one can dress and undress her doll easily.
Now for that collar…snip straight down through the felt, splitting it in half as shown:
Then fold down each piece, and pin in place.
Stitch along the edge. You’ll end up with a cute little white collar.
The rest of the clothes are made the same way. You can make them fancier by embellishing them however you wish, with stitched details, or rickrack, buttons, ribbon, etc., sewn on top. You are only limited by your imagination!
I’m going to go ahead and add instructions for the tutu part of the leotard. I have a bunch of tulle I bought by the yard off bolts, but you could use the tulle that comes on spools as well. I cut a strip 3″ wide by the width of the tulle. I’ve never paid attention to how wide tulle is on a bolt…maybe 42″? No idea, lol. Anyway, I folded this strip in half several times until it was only 8″ to 10″ wide (the 3″ side becomes the length) and ran a basting stitch about 1/2″ from the top.
Then I gathered it until it was the width of the leotard at the waist, and tied off the threads at both sides so the gathering would stay in place.
Then I pinned it to the leotard, and stitched it down just above the basting line. Be careful not to sew over your basting stitches, so they will be easy to remove. Once the tutu is sewn to the leotard, snip the basting threads in the middle, then pull out from both sides.
I hope you all enjoy making this project, and I hope your little girls enjoy playing with this doll as much as my Joanna has! If there is anything in these instructions that is unclear, or you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments. And I’d love for you to let me know if you make these and like them. As always, you can do whatever you like with your finished product (use them personally, give them as gifts, sell them, etc.) but please don’t print and sell my templates. And if you share this tutorial, I’d really appreciate a link back to this post. Thank you!
Shared at Friendship Friday Blog Party