simple wool baby tutorial
A simple doll made from scraps and thrifted sweaters, bits of silk, and stuffed with organic cotton for extra squish. A perfect doll for a winter baby, a gift to make that comes together in a very short time.
Sewing machine not required, but is helpful. Some hand stitching experience is also helpful for this project.
Gather your supplies:
Thread, scissors, sewing needle, scraps of wool and silk, a short length of wool roving to form the head, and cotton stuffing for the body.
Note: most of the photos and instructions reflect the process for making the smaller, wider baby. Notes are included if you'd like to make the taller version.
To begin, first cut two pieces of wool into a long rectangle. For these dolls I used cashmere sweaters from the thrift store, but anything stretchy, relatively thin, and soft will do. The pieces used for these babies are roughly 10"x5"
Round all four corners of the rectangles and line them up, right sides together, to sew them together. You can choose whichever side to be the "right" side, I chose the inside garter ridge to show on the outside of the dolls.
Sew all the way around the rectangles leaving a gap on one of the longer sides about 3 inches long to fit in the head. A straight stitch will work just fine, or zigzag around the edges as well for extra sturdiness.
Turn the rectangles right side out and press if desired.
To form the doll's head, wrap your wool roving into a ball. It should be fairly large in relation to your doll as their oversized heads are part of their squishy charm.
Push the head into the gap in the seam of the doll body (this is now the bottom of the shorter doll) and position it in the center of the opposite long side.
For the taller doll, orient the gap on the side and push the head into the rectangle so that it is positioned along one of the shorter edges.
Use a needle and thread to cinch the head in place and by wrapping the thread around 3-4 times and tying off tightly. Instead of clipping the thread so that it is visible, try tying the knot then threading the end through once more before trimming it off on the other side.
To make the hands, pinch a bit of fabric at the upper corner of the rectangle near the doll's head. Bring your needle around to cinch the hand shape by creating two to four stitches to pull together and gather. Gather and knot the hands, then pull your thread ends through as above to clip them inconspicuously.
For the taller doll, you won't have a corner to use for the hands, so just gather as large a pinch of wool as you'd like from the two longer sides on either side of the head and cinch closed.
Fill your doll's body with cotton stuffing without filling it too aggressively. You do not want it stretched taut, but instead loosely filled for optimal snugglability.
Hand-stitch the gap in the body closed.
Next, gather the middle of the doll to make a star shape. I did this by beginning on one side of the doll's body, putting one stitch in the front, one stitch in the opposite side, and one stitch in the back of the body before bringing the thread around to the starting side. Pull the two strands tightly to cinch the body and tie with a firm knot. Thread the ends back through and clip.
Your doll's body is now complete, and we can move on to creating the hat.
To determine the size to cut the triangles for the baby's hat, measure its head circumference. This small baby has a 5" head circumference, so I cut a triangle out of two pieces of silk that had a bottom measurement of about 6.5" across to account for seam allowance and a bit of overlap where it is stitched.
The shape need not be precise, just something like this:
Sew the two pieces of silk together, leaving a 2" opening along one side to turn it right side out.
Turn the hat right side out and press the seams flat. Stitch the opening closed.
To affix the hat, position one bottom corner of the triangle at the back center of the head. Begin stitching the silk hat to the baby's head using a simple whip stitch. Continue all the way around the front of the head until you reach the spot you began.
When you return to the back center and the bottom edge of the triangle is sewn on entirely, begin stitching the hat closed up the back of the head/hat.
Stitch up about halfway up the hat, and then knot the thread. You can now tie a knot at the top of the hat, and your baby is finished!