In our family, we like to focus on personal gifts and/or experiences when it comes to special occasions. As we have a pretty tight mission budget (contact me if you’re interested in becoming a supporter), I got it in my head to make a doll to gift to Cambria on her birthday. I was quite pleased with how it came out, given the last time I sewed anything (other than an AWFUL hem on a pair of pants) was when I was a kid. A friend asked me to tell her how I made the doll (who was dubbed “Rosie”), so I’m sharing with all of you.
I purchased the pattern from Gingermelon‘s shop on Etsy. She has a huge selection of gorgeous patterns to choose from. It took everything in me not to buy ALL of them. I even sent the shop owner a message describing my lack of experience, and she helped me to pick out the TagAlong Doll as a beginning doll. Now that I know I can do it, I reeeeally want to try the Japanese doll as Christmas presents for Cambria’s friends.
I found the felt in BenzieBazaar‘s Etsy shop, and the 7mm eyes in 6060, as both were recommended by Gingermelon. I was very satisfied with each of these shops and will definitely be using them again. (All of them were way nicer with shipping to Japan than most companies are.)
I bought thread, yarn, and a felting needle at a local craft shop. Did you know there’s a difference between sewing thread and embroidery thread? I basically closed my eyes and wandered the store and hoped that what I came out with would work.
At the very first step, I realized that I forgot pins, so I used needles to hold the pattern onto the felt as I cut. I also forgot black thread to make the super kawaii eyelashes. Tip: Find time to shop without the kids, if you’re in Japan and take approximately 3.2x longer to find things, anyway.
I decided to embroider my initials into the body. I figure the blatant imperfection adds character. Right?
When you sew, make sure you stitch in far enough that the felt won’t pull apart when you stuff it. I had to re-do the body because my felt was fraying. (Is that the word? Anyway, don’t do that.) I finally came up with this.
And then we came to the hair. There were two options: glueing hair onto the head, or needle-felting it on. I decided to go big or go home, and nervous as I was, needle-felting hair onto her head was the easiest (and most fun) part. I wanted to make her look like Cambria, so I parted it on the same side that Cambria parts her hair on, and draped some strands into her face similarly to Cambria. Tip: 22 month olds can and will pull needle-felted hair out of dolls’ heads.
I finished up her dress the night before Cambria’s birthday. The pattern was simple, and making the daisy was cute fun. I forgot a bead to go in the middle of it, but I think it looks fine.
If you have determination and any semblance of hand-eye coordination, you can do this. I can’t wait to start my next one!