The Waldorf system of education strives to connect children with nature, cultivate social and emotional intelligence, and provide an arts-rich, developmentally appropriate curriculum, according to the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America. In keeping with these goals, Waldorf schools are filled with playthings that are handmade of natural materials and that encourage children to expressive, imaginative play. The traditional Waldorf doll, a soft doll made from wool and cotton with minimal facial expression, is expensive to purchase, but a Waldorf pocket baby, as adapted from The Silver Penny's Miniature Waldorf Bunting Doll design and Moonchild Studio's Waldorf doll, is not difficult to make with the correct materials and basic sewing skills.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Wool roving or batting
- Thin tubular stockinet fabric for dollmaking
- Pearl cotton embroidery floss
- Cotton knit fabric in a skin tone colour
- Cotton fabric, 8 by 4-inch piece
- Mohair yarn in brown, black, orange or yellow
- Thread to match cotton fabric, skin tone fabric and yarn
- Tissue paper
- Sewing machine
Take a one-inch strip from a 12-inch square of wool batting and wind it around your finger. This will form the core of your doll's head, according to Moonchild Studios. Remove the batting from your fingers, and holding it in one hand, wrap another strip tightly around the core with the other, until your ball is about three inches in diameter. Roll the ball around in your hand to mould it into a sphere. It will compress a bit smaller.
Cut your tube of stockinet to about six inches long. Thread your needle with matching thread. Make a running stitch close to the edge around the one end of the tube, pull the thread tight to close off the top, and make a knot.
Trim the remainder of the 12-inch square of batting into a 6-inch square. Place the ball on the centre of the square of batting and put the wrapped ball into the tube. The ball should be at the sewn end, with the tails of the batting square in the open bottom of the tube.
Mold the batting through the stockinet until it begins to firm up a bit. Tie a strand of embroidery floss around the stockinet at the base of the ball. This will be your doll's neck.
Tie a strand of embroidery floss tightly around the middle of the head horizontally. This will provide some shape to your doll's face--an eyeline and the tops of the cheeks.
Stretch your piece of skin-tone knit fabric around the head and neck from front to back and pin. Thread your needle with matching thread and secure up the back of the head with a whip stitch. Do a running stitch around the edge of the top of the face fabric--as with the tube of stockinet--to secure it around the top of the head. Cut off any excess.
Stitch on tiny round eyes at the eyeline with the appropriate colour embroidery floss. Your stitches should go through the face fabric, stockinet and into the batting so they pull down the outer fabric. Stitch a tiny pink dot of a mouth, centred beneath the eyeline. According to Waldorf Toys, the facial expressions of a Waldorf doll are purposefully vague so children can project whatever emotion they choose.
Making the Head
Fold your rectangle of cotton fabric in half so it measures four by four inches, with the fold at the bottom. Using chalk, draw a "U" arching from the 1/4 inch from the left of the top edge, down to 1/2 inch from the bottom and back up to the far right edge of the top. Sew the two layers of fabric together along the line with your sewing machine or by hand with a backstitch. Trim along the curve and turn the fabric right-side out.
Insert the head and neck piece into the fabric pocket. Center the piece in the pocket and fill in with additional wool batting. It should be full, but still soft and squishy, according to The Silver Penny.
Fold the top edges of the pocket over to the inside 1/4 inch and sew shut with a blindstitch to the doll's neck on each side.
Sew a running stitch about an inch down from the top edge of the body pocket all the way around. Pull the thread to gather the top, creating arms for your doll. Knot the thread.
Make the Body
Wind a length of mohair yarn around a three-inch piece of cardboard. Wind until you have a double layer of yarn all the way across the cardboard. Cut the yarn and slide out the cardboard without disturbing the layers of yarn.
Fold a piece of tissue wrapping paper around the yarn. The Crafty Sheep notes that the paper will help the yarn run easily through your sewing machine. Mark so you know which way the yarn is running. Thread your sewing machine with thread that matches the colour of your yarn. Put the tissue paper packet in your sewing machine. Sew through the tissue paper and horizontally across the yarn in the centre. Go back and forth a couple of times. Clip thread and tear off the tissue paper.
Fit the hair to the doll's head and trim off any excess. Sew the hair to the doll's head with thread of the same colour as the hair down the part line. Make additional stitches along the hairline to shape the hair around the face. Catch the yarn in bundles around the hairline with thread. Tie off and hide the end of the thread within the doll's head.
Making the Hair
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