Monday, March 5, 2012

How To Make A Simple Country Doll Body-Doll Bodies Everywhere!

           I've been busy hand sewing doll bodies.  This is what they look
like before they are stuffed with wool..................

This is what they look like after the pieces have been stuffed
 and sewn together, I still have a long way to go before they are done.
How To Make A Simple Country Doll Body
I thought I would show the process I go through to make a simple doll body.  I start with a cotton utility cloth.  It's not as heavy as canvas but,
it's heavier than muslin, I think it makes a sturdy body.  HOWEVER, you can use any fabric you want, the pioneer doll was made from whatever was available!
Lay 2 pieces of fabric together with the right sides together.
For this doll I simply drew the body parts on the fabric with a water erasable pen.  Don't worry too much about getting the proportions exactly right.  Remember, the pioneer lady would not have had a pattern to go by.  The real charm of the pioneer doll was its simplicity and uniqueness!
Looks like she's going to have a big head and short body!
Sew the parts together.
I hand sew, (doubled thread for strength) using a simple
back stitch.  But, you can use the machine.  Sew
a double seam at the neck for added strength.

Leave open for stuffing:
top of arms
top of legs
bottom of the body
opening for arms on side of body
Cut the sewn pieces out about 1/4 in from the seam.
Turn the pieces inside out.  I use a pair of tweezers
to help reach inside while turning.
I usually tea stain at this step in the process.
Stuff the pieces with whatever you want, I use wool roving but
any stuffing will do. Remember the pioneer didn't have high quality polyester stuffing, they made do with whatever was available. Bits of fabric, sawdust, bran, cotton and wool are among some of the stuffing the pioneers used.

Helpful hints for stuffing:

Lightly spray parts with water. The fabric stretches
easier and you can pack the stuffing firmer.

Use knitting needles, chop sticks, or wooden dowels to
help pack down the stuffing.  Make do with what you have
in your kitchen, sewing box, or hubby's tool shed!
Stuff the head, arms and legs, then attach to the body with a
 heavy button hole or carpet thread.
Use a heavy needle, and be careful not
to stick yourself!!!
I leave a place between the legs open to finish stuffing
 the body.
Sew the opening between the legs closed.
A simple Make Do country doll body ready
for a face, hair, and a simple country

How easy was that!!!!


  1. WONDERFUL! Thank you Sherri, great lesson:)


  2. This is just perfection. Great lesson and wonderful photos. What a lot of work you have done!

  3. I think she has a great shape. There's something so viscerally satisfying with that plain cotton fabric, isn't there? :~)

  4. I put a link on my Prims page on my artwrinkles blog. Thanks for the good pictures.

  5. A very nice tutorial! I like to make dolls, until I get to the face, then all goes wrong that can. And I like what you said about pioneer women using what they had and the doll doesn't have to be perfect. Good! now I'm not excluded.

  6. Hello! What a lovely post! I love to see how people make their dolls! I really love the striped stockings and boots! Great idea!

  7. hi, thanks for the tutorial. i was wondering do you embroider the face before sewing and stuffing? or after. if you embroider after the doll is sewn how do you tie the knot if you can't get to the back side?


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