Thursday, March 22, 2012

Dolly's Legs

How To Make Simple Country Doll Legs

I thought I would show the process I go through
 to make simple doll legs that have the stockings and shoes 
included in the finished leg.

 I use a utility cotton for my doll bodies and upper legs. 
 I have chosen a little cotton stripe for the stocking 
 part of the leg.

I dyed a heavy muslin a dark brown/black
to use for the shoes.  Sometimes, I use black
cotton or linen.

  HOWEVER, you can use any fabric you want,
the pioneer doll was made from whatever was
available!  Cotton, linen, muslin and
 wool were commonly used.

I sew my dolls by hand using a tiny back stitch,
double thread for extra strength.
  You can use the machine if you prefer!

Cut the fabric into 3 strips.
 the upper leg
  the stocking
the shoe

 Sew the strips together.

  Size depends on how large you want
 your dolls legs to be, how long you want the stockings to be,
& how tall you want the dolls shoes to be, (boots are taller
than a little slipper). 

Another example with a green stripe cotton.

With right sides together lay 2 finished pieces together,
 line up the seams carefully.  I am very particular
and like to have my seams match!

Draw 2 legs onto the fabric.  Try to draw the
2 legs the same.   However, 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!

These legs are long an thin.

Sew on the drawn line.

Cut out the legs, leaving about a 1/4th inch beyond the
sewn line.  You can see an examples below of doll parts that
have been sewn and cut out.  This is a good time to age your
pieces if you choose.  I use my hubby's PG Tips English tea!

Carefully turn your pieces to the outside.
Tweezers are helpful!

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 firmly.

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!

Legs turned & stuffed.

I use a black cotton string threaded at both ends
 to add the shoestrings. Takes a bit of practice!
Start at the bottom and weave your way up.
Tie into a bow and you are done!

Finished legs!

I have just returned from a visit to St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

I enjoyed the balmy weather.

Sailing in the deep blue sea.

The local inhabitants, some a bit scary!

Some quite colorful!

The accommodations.

The beautiful historic island.

Good food, family and friends!!


  1. What a fun post--and surprising because I didn't expect a trip to the tropics! :~)

  2. Hi Sherri, I just realized this is your site. I went everywhere looking. So many nice things. I need to pay more attention. Your dolls are so nice. I loved them all. Martha


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