Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Wow. This was the most labor intensive gift I've ever done. Of course, most of my gifts have been either store bought, or at if homemade something that I've done before and started by July. I am so happy how she turned out. It honestly wasn't as hard as I worried it might be, but it's not the easiest craft in the world.
My hardest part was all the different places I had to look for instructions. Since I'd never made a doll before, it was a bit confusing. I decided to put all the links I looked at/needed here in one place, along with what I actually did and tips for other first time doll makers.
Stuff I bought:
1 bag poly fiber stuffing
1 crib sized cotton batting
3.5 oz skein brown cotton yarn
3 inch doll needle
1 pk tea bags
Stuff I used but already had:
1 old trouser sock
size 5 kids white turtle neck shirt
newborn sized clothes
Total cost of all supplies: $11.74 (of course I have enough stuff to make a dozen more dolls now!)
The head is THE most important part for this type of doll. I used THIS tute, THIS one, and THIS picture set to really understand what to do. The first one is the one that gives instructions for that adorable nose. I honestly needed all three - each one explained just a little different to make it better. When I actually complied the doll, I used the picture one the most since I could see what to do for each step. (in case you are wondering here's the link for the dollar store version - great picture, but no instructions!)
I used an old trouser sock for the inner "stockinette" that they talked about. The doll skin is all from a white turtle neck shirt that I tea dyed skin colored. Dying the shirt worked perfect.
* for the first timer: Plan on doing the head at least 3 times. Just keep reading the tutorials. They do a great job of explaining, but re-reading them helps a lot in understanding what to do! My first 2 times I tried just regular stuffing-IT WON'T WORK! You just can't get it firm enough. Then I went and got Cotton batting. I think regular quilt batting might have worked, but I didn't want to spend more money to not have it work. The sleeve from the shirt was perfect for the outer skin layer.
* The cotton batting was super hard to go through with my 3 inch needle. I wish I could have found a 5 inch one. I ended up using a regular needle and just going through the top of the head (you can actually see a little bit of the string through the skin, but life isn't perfect!)
The only place I found a body pattern was that second tutorial. Her pattern was fine, but I didn't do my head as big as hers. So after I got the arms sewn on, body stuffed and almost put on, I realized it was way out of proportion. Which meant I got to rip it all apart and make it smaller. Actually, in hindsight, I wish I would have made the doll a bit bigger - it would have helped with the clothes part. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
THIS picture set was the best instructions I found for the hair. It does use crocheting, but it was really easy, and the whole head is covered. My 3.5 oz cotton skein was plenty for my doll. I think it would be enough to do two full dolls.
I think making the clothes ended up being the hardest part of the whole thing. I couldn't find online free patterns that actually worked anywhere, especially not for the size doll I had. I tried to just design my own based on my dolls proportions. Um, let's just say I'm not going to be a professional tailor any time soon! I did make 1 dress from a library book that was pretty good - but again, had to do a lot of changing because of the small size. Actually, the best and by FAR easiest way was to grab some old newborn sized clothes that I never really liked and re-size them for the doll. Way easier than trying to make those tiny sleeves!
So there you go. That's my first timers look on making a doll. I did the head about 5 times, the body twice, the hair once, and between once and 4 times for each article of clothing (grumble grumble!) Was it worth it? Well, I guess I'm going to have to wait until Girly-Lou opens it up on Christmas!