How to Sew Nylon Dolls
Recycled nylon from worn-out pantyhose or stockings can be used to create adorable nylon people. Design a whole family or group that follows a theme with just a few well-placed stitches to create facial features and displays of emotion. Costumes can be added and can be as simple or elaborate as desired.
Smooth out one leg of an old nylon stocking or pair of pantyhose on a flat surface. Measure six inches up the leg from the toe and cut through both layers.
Fill the sack-like piece with polyester fiberfill. Poke the end of a craft stick or ice pop stick into the middle of the stuffed piece and wiggle it around a bit to create a hole. Dot some craft glue on both sides of the stick the end that will go into the stuffing. Slide the stick back into the hole and secure the head to the stick neck with a small piece of string. There should be enough nylon hanging below the stick to attach it to the body.
Sketch a pattern of facial features on the drawing paper to help you decide where to stitch to achieve the desired expression.
Thread a sewing needle with single thread and knot the end. Poke the needle through the top of the nylon head and push it back out the same direction. Stitch a circle of the desired diameter in the middle of the facial area to begin the nose. Poke the needle into the nylon and lift up a bit of the fiberfill into the middle of the circle. Pull the needle through the centre and out the top of the head to secure the nose. Pull the thread gently until it bulges out then knot and cut the thread. Repeat with smaller circles to make eyes on either side of the nose. A mouth may be added by inserting the threaded needle through the top of the head and put through the area where one corner of the mouth will be. Use a gathering stitch and place stitches until the mouth is as big as desired. Push the needle back through the top of the head; pull to achieve the desired expression then knot and cut the thread.
Colour the eyes and lips with thin-tipped markers to finish the face. Cut pieces of yarn for hair and arrange it on a piece of tape to make a wig that can be sewn to the head. Pull apart the ends to fray the yarn, or braid it to make pigtails for other hairdos.
Spread out a piece of muslin and fold it in half with the right sides together. Measure out a 5-by-7 inch rectangle and mark where to cut.
Cut through both layers of fabric so there are two rectangle of the same size. Pin then together and sew a half-inch seam along all four edges leaving an opening in the centre of one of the short sides of about two inches.
Turn the body right side out and fill it with polyester fiberfill to achieve the desired body shape. Poke a finger into the centre of the fiberfill so there is a hole. Dot glue on the end of the neck and slide it into the body until all the wood is covered.
Stretch the nylon hanging down from the head down over the body and stitch it to the muslin.
Lay the piece of nylon with the toe section cut off out on a flat surface. Measure and cut a six-inch section from the leg (cut through both layers to form a tube). Cut the nylon tube in half lengthwise. Fold each section in half lengthwise and pin the entire length and one end. Sew the entire length and one end, rounding the closed end slightly to form a hand shape.
Turn the nylon tube so the seam is on the inside and fill it with fiberfill. Stitch small lines in the closed end to make fingers.
Measure and cut a nine-inch section from the same leg if possible (cut through both layers to form a tube). Cut the nylon tube in half lengthwise. Fold each section in half lengthwise and pin the entire length and one end and sew.
Turn the nylon tube so the seam is on the inside and fill it with fiberfill. Stitch small lines in the closed end to make toes if desired.
Sew the arms and legs to the body.
Unfold a piece of newspaper. Put the doll on the newspaper and trace around it, adding about a half-inch for seam allowance. Use this tracing to cut out a pattern for trousers and shirt, or a dress. Add a rectangle and straps to the trousers pattern to make bib overalls if your nylon doll will be wearing them.
Choose material for the desired outfit. Fold it in half with the right sides together. Pin the pattern to the material and cut it out.
Sew the garments together, removing the pins as you sew. Turn and press. Hem the edges to prevent fraying. Dress the nylon doll and add accessories to complete the look.
- Purchase clothes and accessories if you don't want to sew or make them to give you nylon dolls personality.
- Remember nylon stretches. Do not over stuff unless you are creating a fat doll. Nylon also melts. Keep dolls away from heat and open flames.
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