I used to sew so many so many of the Christmas gifts for my family, but as my boys got older I did less and less. However, now that I have a granddaughter, it feels good to get back into it!
This year I’m making Cady this topsy-turvy doll. On one end the dolly is awake, flip up her dress and she’s asleep in her flannel nightgown and cap. I’ve made several of these over the years, and it’s always fun. There’s something quite charming and magical about them.
If you’d like to make your own dolly for someone special, you can find the patterns here. (When you print out the patterns, make sure to tape together the two body sections along the thin line, matching the marks.)
For materials you’ll need:
- 1/3 yard flesh tone fabric for head/ body and arms
- 1/2 yard fabric for day dress
- 5/8 yard flannel fabric for nightgown and cap
- 2 yards lace trim for day dress
- 3 yards lace trim for nightgown and cap
- 1 yard ribbon to trim waist of day dress
- 1 yard 1/4″ elastic
- polyfil stuffing
- permanent markers or embroidery floss for faces
- yarn for hair
- additional trims such as ribbon roses, ribbons for hair, teddy bear, if desired
Start by making the faces. I often embroider them with embroidery floss. If you do so, I recommend you just trace the head/body pattern onto your fabric but don’t cut it out until after the embroidery is done. This gives you material for your hoop to grip onto. Or you can do like I did this year and color in the faces with markers. Make sure to use permanent markers that won’t run if they get wet.
I used my Pigma Micron Pen set in size 01 for the black outlines and red for the lips. I used the brush tip end of a Marvy Le Plume II in Salvia Blue to color in the eyes. Don’t forget to add a tiny bit of white for the catchlights in the eyes. Acrylic paint on a toothpick will work nicely for that bit.
Cut out all pattern pieces from the indicated fabrics. In addition to the pattern pieces in the pdf, you’ll need to cut a 10″x40″ piece from each of the day dress and nightgown fabrics for the skirts and a 13″ circle from the nightgown fabric for the nightcap.
The head/body patterns in the pdf need to be joined together before cutting out. In the photo below you can see the shape you will have (weird, huh?) (You DO NOT need to have a seam at the waistline like I do. I had some small pieces of fleshtone fabrics that needed to be pieced this way.)
The bodice/sleeve pieces are a little confusing. They are cut on TWO folds.
Several folks have been confused by this step, so I’ve added some photos that I hope will clear it up.
First, make a fold in your fabric that is a little deeper than the pattern piece, about 4.5″.
Next, fold the fabric again, this time perpendicular to the first fold.
Now you have two adjacent folds, at a 90° angle to each other. Place the pattern piece on the fabric with the long “place on fold” edge along the long fold, and the shorter “place on fold” edge along the shorter fold.
Here’s a close up of the corner when the folds meet. As you can see, you will be cutting through four thicknesses.
The resulting piece looks like this:
You will need to cut along one of the short folds to make the dress back opening.
Hope that is clear! Please feel free to contact me with any questions.
A 1/4″ seam allowance is used throughout, unless stated otherwise. (Seam allowances are included in the patterns.)
Once the faces have been completed you can sew the two body/head sections together, meeting right sides and leaving an opening where indicated. Also sew the arm pieces to make 4 arms.
Here’s a great trick for any time you need to leave an opening for turning: Sew perpendicular to the seam from the raw edge in to the seam line, then sew your seam. At the end of the seam sew back to the raw edge. Now, when you turn your piece right side out, it’s very easy to find where you need to sew up the opening.
Clip all curves, turn all pieces right side out and stuff with fiberfill. When you stuff the hands, stuff the fingers only lightly, as later we’ll be machine stitching in lines to make fingers.
Here’s a tip for smooth stuffing: Whichever side of the project you want to look smoothest (the faces in this instance) have that side DOWN while you are stuffing. Don’t know why it works, but it always does.
Once all the pieces are stuffed, hand sew the openings closed.
I’m off to finish stuffing now, and then to bed. Check back tomorrow for more of the directions.
Click here to go directly to part 2.