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A few months ago, one of my Facebook readers showed me a fabric design she created. It is now ready for purchase! YAY! I asked Donna (dmDesigns) to share a little about her background, and how she uses this fabric. What an easy doll to sew! It would be perfect for a beginner sewing project! OR how about a VBS craft? Scout badge project? 4-H?
“Hi! My name is Donna and I am a watercolor artist and sewist*:
I’ve been sewing items for Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts for five years. Then I decided to gather a group of ladies in my local area to sew string backpacks and baby dolls. More items mean more shoeboxes! We began to sew our own dolls because I found that for us, it was too expensive to purchase them. At first, I embroidered each face individually. This was very time consuming when done in large amounts. But then I found a company that would print your own designs on fabric, and an idea was born.
To start, I designed and painted the dolls on paper, uploaded the image to my computer, and used PhotoShop to add words (Jesus Loves Me). (If you don’t have PhotoShop, you could use the online photo editing PicMonkey: for awesome photo editing)
It took me almost a year of designing and test printing to come up with a final product.” (Sounds like a labor of love, doesn’t it?)
There are 4 sets of dolls available. There are two that have no words (a lighter skin, and a darker skin version). Then there are two that say “Jesus Loves Me” (a lighter skin, and a darker skin version). We put them in our shoebox gifts for the 2-4-year-old group. Each one is such an easy doll to sew!
How to Order this Easy Doll to Sew:
Here are the 4 links. Choose the one you want to purchase (each design has the same instructions).
Lighter skin dolls (no words)
Lighter skin Dolls with the words: “Jesus Loves Me”
Darker skin Dolls (no words)
Darker skin Dolls with the words: “Jesus Loves Me”
There are “smaller or bigger” buttons to choose the size of your dolls. The smaller you choose, the more dolls can fit on one yard. (Both sizes fit perfectly into a standard shoebox.) If you click “smaller” you will get 40 dolls on one yard of Basic Combed Cotton (it comes 54 inches wide). (Don’t change the “type” of fabric – that alters the size of the yardage.)
Click on Quantity and Unit. (You can order a fat quarter – I suggest for maximum value to order the yard. That will be 40 dolls or 54″ x 36″ – yard.) The yard is $17.50. The shipping time is about two weeks.
“My Fabric Designs” usually has a 25% off sale about every 3 weeks.
Sewing Instructions for the Easy Doll to Sew:
Cut out each doll at least ¼ inch from the dots. (DO NOT CUT ON THE DOTS OF THE DOLL. You need the extra seam allowance fabric to sew!) I back the dolls with fleece or minky so they would be soft. (You could also use flannel or cotton). Lay the top design of the doll face down your chosen fabric (you must have “right sides” together). Now: Sew around the doll on the dots, leaving an opening on the straight line. Clip the curves, trim fabric, and turn inside out.
Time to Stuff: Stuff loosely to be cuddly. Stuff tighter to be firmer. You can use a chopstick, pencil (eraser part!) or even a dull plastic knife to poke out the hands or head. Finally, hand sew the opening closed.
(Stuffing suggestion: I’ve found that the best buy in stuffing is Walmart pillows for $2.39. I usually get about 30 dolls per pillow. I end up spending less than 40 cents per doll for everything. Walmart does have the cheapest minky as well.)
Another alternative could be to sew closer to the doll design, perhaps even going up and down the legs.
This is such an Easy Doll to Sew! I think it would make a perfect project for a Beginner Sewer! Even a child as young as 5, 6, or 7 could make one with supervision.
This is a wonderful project for beginner sewers, perhaps even to earn a sewing badge for Scouts or Pioneer Club. Perfect for adult crafting groups like Donna does – just set up people to cut, some to sew, some to stuff!
If you love to CROCHET – I’ve written about an easy folk doll with all the instructions.
*Sewist: a relatively new term, combining the words “sew” and “artist”, to describe someone who creates sewn works of art, which can include clothing or other items made with sewn elements.
Check out all my other Craft Tutorials!