How to Make Cloth Doll Bodies

Written by megan allen
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Long ago, mothers made cloth dolls for their children out of necessity because manufactured dolls were expensive and only for the upper classes. Resourceful women made dolls from scraps of fabric and repurposed material. These dolls were treasured and loved by the children who received them, no matter how humble their origins. Today, making cloth dolls is a very creative hobby. There are so many variations and ways to make a cloth doll that even with a pattern, no two are ever exactly alike.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Pattern
  • Fabric
  • Scissors
  • Straight pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Polyester fiberfill
  • Thread
  • Sewing needle
  • Embroidery floss and embroidery needle
  • Yarn

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    Basic Cloth Doll Body

  1. 1

    Select a pattern for your doll. Find cloth doll patterns online (see resources), or at craft and sewing stores. Online auctions (e.g., eBay) are a source for vintage cloth doll patterns. If you want to be really creative, draw your own pattern.

  2. 2

    Choose your fabric. Muslin has traditionally been the fabric of choice for cloth dolls, but you can use other sturdy cotton fabrics. Just make sure the fabric you select is a solid colour and is suitable for whichever skin colour you choose.

  3. 3

    Pin the pattern to your material with straight pins. Cut out the pattern pieces with sharp sewing scissors. Remove the straight pins. Sew any darts before sewing the pattern pieces together.

  4. 4

    Sew the pattern pieces together, following any pattern directions. Sew slowly on the sewing machine, especially around the curves. Leave an opening in one area to allow for stuffing the doll. Clip any curved seams close to the stitching line. This will give the body a more natural, curved appearance.

  5. 5

    Turn the body right side out through the opening. Begin stuffing the doll body with polyester fiberfill. You can stuff the limbs using the handle of a wooden spoon or the end of a pencil to push the filling in more easily. Try to avoid lumps when stuffing and strive for a smooth body.

  6. 6

    Once the doll is stuffed, fold the edges of the stuffing opening and pin closed. Sew the opening by hand with a needle and thread.

  7. 7

    Give your doll a face. The face is the most important part of a cloth doll, because that is what gives it personality. You can embroider the features or paint them with acrylic paint. It's a good idea to practice the face on a scrap piece of fabric before doing the face on your doll body.

  8. 8

    Add hair according to the pattern directions. Yarn is the traditional choice for hair. Sew it to the doll's head by hand using a needle and thread. Your cloth doll body is complete.

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