How to Sew a Cloth Doll Pattern Using Bear Joints

Written by deb powers Google
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How to Sew a Cloth Doll Pattern Using Bear Joints
(Porcelain doll image by ta_samaya from

Jointed cloth dolls are much more fun to play with and easier to pose in displays. One of the easiest ways to add joints to a cloth doll pattern is to use plastic teddy bear joints. The simple, three-piece joints consist of a plastic disc with a centre spindle, a plastic disc with a hole that fits over the spindle and a locking washer that keeps the joint from slipping out of place. You can use bear joints in any cloth doll pattern that has separate pieces for the body, arms and legs.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Doll fabric
  • 4 teddy bear joints

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  1. 1

    Cut out the pattern pieces for the doll body, head, arms and legs.

  2. 2

    Make a mark on the doll body, arms and legs where the centre spindle of the doll joint will pierce the fabric. Generally, the marks will be at the sides of the body at the shoulder and hip, and at the inside of the leg and arm pieces.

  3. 3

    Cut a hole through the fabric at each mark. Gloria J. Winer, who compiled "Mimi's Handbook for Dollmakers," suggests reinforcing the hole with a little Fray Check to keep it from fraying. If you do, allow it to dry completely before continuing.

  4. 4

    Follow the pattern instructions to sew the pieces up to the point of stuffing the limbs. Insert the bear joints before sewing the tops of the arms and legs closed and putting on the head.

  5. 5

    Slip the spindle piece of the doll joint inside the limb of one joint at a time, with the spindle facing the hole in the body. Push the spindle through the hole. Stuff the limb and sew the seam closed.

  6. 6

    Working with one joint at a time, slide the larger flat disc into the body, lining up the hole in the disc with the hole in the fabric. The rounded side of the disc should be facing out, against the fabric.

  7. 7

    Line up the smaller disc (locking washer) behind the larger disc, fitting it into place with the holes matching.

  8. 8

    Attach limbs to the body by pushing the spindle through the hole in the body and the holes in the two plastic discs. Before pressing the joint closed, be sure that the arm or leg is facing the right way on the body--feet facing front for the legs, thumbs facing front for the arms. Press the joints firmly together until they snap into place.

  9. 9

    Stuff the body to desired firmness. Attach the head to the body according to the directions given with the doll pattern. Add eyes and hair and embroider facial features to complete the doll as desired.

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