Tuesday, October 11, 2011

~Gingham Doll Craft~

Martha Stewart Living October 2011

*Happy to have our internet up and running again! The recent rainstorm disrupted our service. Guess that's what happens when you live out in the country. Hmmm...maybe we will look into a satellite connection?* 

Directions can also be found online at http://www.marthastewart.com/

Tools and Materials

Gingham cotton fabric, B&J Fabrics
Sewing machine and sewing supplies
Polyester stuffing
Embroidery floss
Yarn scraps
Baby Doll TemplateBoy Doll TemplateDad Doll TemplateGirl Doll TemplateMom Doll Template

Gingham Doll Family How-To

  1. Print desired doll template, and cut out.
  2. Fold fabric in half with right sides facing; press, and trace template onto fabric. Cut out for 2 layers.
  3. Allowing a 1/4-inch seam allowance, sew almost all the way around the body. (Leave a 1-inch opening on the torso.)
  4. Turn doll right side out, using a chopstick for corners.
  5. Stuff with filling. (Use chopstick as needed to push stuffing into arms and legs.) Handstitch the side opening.
  6. Embroider facial features: A few back stitches create eyes and a mouth.
  7. Make the hair. For ponytails and braids, cut 20 to 30 strands of yarn about 12 inches long. Drape sideways over head of doll, and sew at center (or slightly off center) to create a part. To leave hair long, stitch onto doll across the back of the head. For ponytails, clasp sides, and secure with a piece of yarn; stitch onto the head at that point. For pigtails, braid the ponytails, and secure ends with another piece of yarn. For short hair, embroider all over the head using small back stitches.

In the October issue of Martha Stewart Living I noticed a picture of some really cute gingham dolls.  Thinking they were too difficult for me to make, I did my typical dog-ear on the page and considered it a maybe.  Then, the kids got sick and the rain came. This combination is a rather tricky one.

It was nap time and the kids were sick and tired of being inside.  I had about two hours to myself, when all of the sudden the gingham doll idea came back to me.  Honestly, I felt like soaking in a hot bath as I was up for most of the night with Gabriel the night before.  Then, my motherly instinct kicked in and I knew that some new toys would provide at least a few hours of entertainment for the kids. 

Once they were asleep, I got busy cutting and sewing as fast as I could.  I finished the last bit of sewing just as Sarah awakened.  The embroidering was left for another evening, after I got my soak in the tub.

As it turned out, Gabriel wasn't all that interested in his doll.  He named it Buddy, tossed it into the toy box and has long since forgotten about it.  In contrast, Sarah liked her dolls but preferred her naked, on-its-last-leg "baby" over these.  Such is life, huh?  Well, I had fun making these dolls, maybe a little more fun than the children had playing with them.   Then again, who knows about tomorrow? Like the weather, their interests are constantly changing.

Photo Gallery

I printed the different doll patterns from Martha's website.  I decided to make the "mom" doll for Gabriel and Sarah.  Actually, a whole family of doll patterns can be downloaded and printed from the website. 
On this particular afternoon I was at home without our car.   Therefore, running to the craft store for gingham fabric was not an option for me. 

I decided to be creative and so I went on a fabric hunt in my closet.  Remember, the children were asleep and the clock was ticking!  Luckily, I found the perfect gingham stand-in.  It was an old polka dot dress that shrunk (or maybe it got a little too small?).   
I pinned the doll pattern to the fabric so that the pattern could be cut out.  Note: the fabric was cut from the skirt first and then the doll pattern was pinned to it.   
Next, I cut around the doll pattern.
The pins were removed and then I turned the doll right side out.  Next, I stuffed the dolls with some leftover spider webbing that we used for our Halloween decor.  I was at home with two sick kids and I couldn't get to the craft store for the fabric OR for the special doll stuffing. Next, I sewed up the side of the doll.
One doll was now complete.  I repeated the same process for the second doll.  I ended up running out of the spider webbing (this was used in place of stuffing) for the second doll.  Oh no!  You can't give one kid a doll without giving the other something!

I began thinking about what I could use for the stuffing material.  Ah ha!  I remembered that my pen pal from Ohio sent me some handspun lambswool a few months ago.  I went to my yarn bin and pulled some out.  

Shown here is the the handspun lambswool.
The doll was stuffed and then the side was handstitched closed.
I also had some beautifully dyed lambswool that makes perfect hair for corn husk dolls, or in this case polka dot dolls.  The dyed lambswool was used instead of the yarn (for the doll hair).  I rubber banded two small sections of lambswool together and then hot glued the hair onto the dolls.  Oddly enough, it looks like real human hair, doesn't it?  The dyed lambswool comes in a wide assortment of colors.  Some of it is was spun with sparkly threads too.
Sarah decided to adopt Gabriel's doll.  What a kind thing to do!
Joy is not contingent upon material value.  All it takes to stay happy is the desire to be.  The feeling itself comes from making the creative project fit within your lifestyle.  I am very familiar with this life lesson, but you could say that I'm in the process of actively learning this lesson.  
Later, I sewed on the button eyes and then embroidered the nose and mouth onto the dolls.  Keep in mind that I had/have no idea how to properly hand-sew anything.  I just threaded the needle and began sewing up the sides of the dolls.  A quick youtube video about button-sewing really helped me.  As far as the embroidering, I went for it without any clue as to the proper techniques.  Another lesson that I learned from doing this craft project was this: don't use lack of experience as an excuse for not trying something new.  Let's hold that thought.

~Craft-tastic! ~

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