Thursday 28 June 2012

Scrap bag dollies - FREE sewing pattern

After the recent invasion of my sewing room by the rascally playroom pals I returned the fabric scraps to their bags and then considered what could be made from bits and pieces in my stash. Of course my 'makes' had to be doll related!

Creating these little girls has kept me smiling from start to finish. They measure just 10cm (4in) so make perfect hangers for door knobs, bags etc. As decorations on the Christmas tree they'd certainly bring a few festive smiles, or how about popping a dolly into a party bag as an extra surprise.

Maybe stitch a doll to a ribbon to make a bookmark or pendant necklace and a safety pin securely attached to the back would create a cute little brooch.

Scrap bag dollies require only tiny pieces of fabric, buttons, beads and any other forgotten odds and ends that have been squirrelled away. Simply gather up a few colourful bits and pieces and start stitching. A perfectly neat finish was not my priority. I've used pinking shears to avoid turning raw edges (alternatively you could use a 'fray stop' product). All stitching is done by hand (running stitch and back stitch). . . . . So let's make a scrap bag dolly.

Knowing that all little girls love pink I thought we'd see how to make this happy little character.

You will need:
Small amount of flesh coloured (or white) fabric for the head (see later description).
Patterned fabric for the body and hat.
A short length of lace.
3 small buttons (2 hands and 1 for decoration)
2 larger buttons (feet).
Drinking straw
Short length of pink yarn for plaits (or use embroidery floss).
Stuffing - If you don't have any stuffing you could fill with tiny pieces of light coloured fabric or how about using a small ball of unused knitting yarn.
Black thread or floss for eyes and pink for mouth plus extra for legs and arms.
Sewing thread for stitching doll parts.
Red or pink crayon to colour cheeks.
Scissors and pinking sheers if available
Sewing needle

Using the shapes and measurements below, cut two pattern templates from thick paper or thin card.

Head and hat template
Body template

Fabric for head -
I have an old peachy/cream pillow case that I use for small dolls. Use white fabric if you have nothing else (an old handkerchief perhaps). You could try making flesh coloured fabric by dipping the white fabric into black coffee. Try a small test piece as the longer you leave it in the coffee the darker it will become. Remember however that it will be a bit lighter when dry. Alternatively you could use tee shirt fabric but as it stretches you might have to cut a smaller circle or the head will be too large.

1). Cut one circle of fabric for the head and gather round the outside about 8mm (just over 1/4 in) from the edge. I would normally use a matching thread but have chosen a contrasting one so that you can see the stiches.

2). Draw up the circle to make a bag shape and fill with stuffing.


3). Tightly draw up the head to close the opening (no need to turn the raw edges in). The finished head should be flattened from front to back and not round like a ball. Remove some of the stuffing if your doll's head is not flat enough.

4). Over-sew to secure the gathers and fasten off (below left). Viewed from the front the head is unlikely to look smooth and round but that is part of the scrap bag appeal.

Fabric for body
5). Choose a suitable fabric for the body and cut two identical pieces. Alternatively you could make the back and front from different fabrics. Place the two pieces together with wrong sides facing out. Starting at the bottom corner of the body, back-sew right round to the opposite corner. Stitch 8mm (just over 1/4 in) from the edge. (A sewing machine can be used for this if available).

6). Turn the body so that right sides are facing out. Turn up 1cm (1/2 in) along the bottom raw edge and press with an iron or score with your finger nail to make a crease. Fill the top of the body with a small amount of stuffing and push a pin through the body, as shown below, to prevent the stuffing falling out.

Legs - approximately 4cm (1.5 ins)
7). I have used two matching buttons for feet and cut four 12mm (1/2 in) lengths from a drinking straw for the legs. As the bottom of the body is still open you can attach the legs to the turned up hem as it will eventually be concealed inside. Use very strong sewing thread (or floss as I have done) and starting at the top, pass the thread through 2 pieces of drinking straw and a button then return through the button and straws back to the top and fasten off. Repeat for the second leg.

8). Attach a button for decoration if required and then oversew the base of the body to close (stitch along the creased fold line made earlier).

9). I stitched a short length of pre-gathered lace to the body to create a skirt. If you don't have this then gather a piece to fit or use contrasting fabric 2cm - 3m deep (approx 1in).

10). Starting at a top corner of the body, thread two 12mm (1/2 in) lengths of drinking straw and a small button onto strong thread or floss using the same method as for the legs. Repeat for the second arm. and fasten off.

11). Attach the head to the top of the body by over-sewing it along the front and then along the back so that the stitching done for the arms at the top of the body is concealed. Mark the postion of the eyes with pins and then try the hat on the head to check their position. (Instructions for hat below).

12). Using the circle template, mark and cut out a hat. Pinking sheers can be used for cutting if available. Gather as for the head and draw up. Put a tiny piece of stuffing into the hat to give it some height.

Check the eye position
13). Try the hat on the head and pull the gathering thread. Pin hat in place. Don't stitch it to the head just yet. Check that the eyes you have marked will be in the right the place.

14). Remove the hat and using black thread or embroidery floss (2 strands only) make two or three tiny stitches for each eye. Use two strands of pink floss for the mouth. Fastening off can be done at the back of the head where it will be concealed when the hat is in place. Colour the cheeks with pencil crayon.

15). Make two tiny plaits (braids) from pink yarn and stitch to the head ensuring stitching will be under the hat.

16). Place the hat on the head and pull the gathering thread. Position the tiny gathers evenly around the hat, pin in place and then stitch the hat to the head (stitch all round gathering line).

Stitch a long loop of cord, tape or ribbon to the top of the hat so that this little sweetheart can decorate a door knob. Alternatively, stitch a safety pin to the back so that she can be worn as a brooch.

Pink dolly's two little friends are just as easy to make. The one on the left has hair made from ric-rac braid. Her skirt is a gathered length of contrasting fabric (2cm deep). Her tiny apron matches her hat and is cut with pinking sheers. Her legs are made from old beads. The beads on the arm are threaded on a single length of string which is knotted at the bottom to prevent the beads sliding off. The dolly on the right has hair made from narrow strips of felt. Her arms are beads on string as described previously. Legs are plaited floss with a button attached to the end of each (buttons have shanks). Ric-rac braid is used for decoration and I have attached a number three to the body using iron-on fusible webbing. This doll will be made into a brooch for a little girl to wear on her third birthday.

I'm certain young girls would all love a scrap bag dolly, but they aren't designed as toys so for reasons of safety they should not be given to very young children . . . . . have fun!