Three common and easy-to-make cloth doll joints are the box-stitch joint, which involves sewing a long, thin box for bendable elbows and knees, and the button and saddle-stitch joints, used to create movable arms and legs. Use these joints to make a cloth doll or to repair or restore a worn favorite.
Decide where on the cloth doll you want the joints placed.
Flatten the joint area to separate the fill.
Start a line of stitching at 10 stitches per inch across the joint.
Stop at the end and pivot on the needle. Take two stitches at a right angle to your first stitch line.
Pivot again and sew another line parallel to the first.
Pivot again and secure with a back tack.
Seal the tops of the doll's arms.
Choose buttons that cover 90 percent of the tops of the arms. The bigger the arms, the bigger the buttons.
Place one button on each shoulder.
Use a double strand of heavy-duty thread on a long doll-making needle. You'll be sewing through both buttons with each needle pass.
Begin to stitch the button in place on one shoulder as if you were sewing a button on a shirt.
Take the needle through the doll's body to the opposite shoulder area and go through the arm and then through the second button.
Stitch again, going through the button-arm-body-arm-button loop.
Continue until both buttons are stitched in place.
Secure the thread with a drop of glue. The arms will now move.
Use the saddle-stitch joint when you want the doll's arms and legs set into the body and top-stitched in place.
Stitch the tops of the legs and the arms closed.
Open the sides on the doll's body where the arms will go.
Press the raw edges of the doll's body under.
Insert the arms into place and pin them.
Set under the presser foot and stitch at 10 stitches to the inch.
Back tack to secure the thread.
Open the bottom of the doll's body where the legs will go and press the raw edges under.
Insert the legs into the bottom opening. Pin all the layers together.
Place under the presser foot and slowly stitch the legs.
Back tack in place.
As you fill the arm or the leg, it's a good idea to stitch the joint and then continue to fill. The back-stitch joint is similar to the box-stitch joint, except that only one stitched row is made. Four-hole buttons work better than two-hole buttons. You can use buttons on hips as well, if you shape the bottom of the body and the top of the leg to look like arm placements. It's the thread going through the multiple layers that creates the doll's movement.
Tips and warnings
- As you fill the arm or the leg, it's a good idea to stitch the joint and then continue to fill.
- The back-stitch joint is similar to the box-stitch joint, except that only one stitched row is made.
- Four-hole buttons work better than two-hole buttons.
- You can use buttons on hips as well, if you shape the bottom of the body and the top of the leg to look like arm placements.
- It's the thread going through the multiple layers that creates the doll's movement.