Archive for the ‘Christmas Sewing’ Category

A Free Template to use with Your Twinkle Pattern

September 15th, 2019

I had been designing doll clothing and cloth dolls for years, when my husband and I started publishing doll patterns. My husband is an electrical engineer and natural problem solver. He observed how much time I spent carefully cutting out each doll. He noted that I sometimes ruined a carefully constructed doll when I made a mistake on the face. We had tried several solutions to these two problems that worked fairly well, when my husband discovered Spoonflower. Anyone can upload a design to Spoonflower and have it printed on a fabric chosen from the Spoonflower fabric selection. I found it was much faster to make a doll when the pattern has been printed on a Spoonflower fat quarter. The printed faces were wonderfully reliable. We had such a positive experience with the printed patterns, that we decided to make the printed fabric pattern available to the public. When someone buys fabric printed with one of our patterns, we are compensated a small percentage of the sale. We usually take the credit toward a fabric purchase. We don’t make much profit from the fabric sales. We made them available as an extra feature for people who enjoy our patterns.

At first we put out a fat quarter with a trio of dolls patterns and a selection of faces and a work area for the arm and leg templates. We filled extra space on the fat quarter with some shoe patterns, a picture of the completed doll and templates for the arms and legs. Later we put out a fat quarter with a quintet of dolls by limiting the choices of faces and omitting the extras.

The dolls are the same on the two fat quarters and require instructions for my book Sewing for Mini Dolls. Pattern on my Etsy shop.

At this season some doll makers find themselves making multiple dolls for craft shows and charity give-a-ways. We find that some crafters are purchasing whole yards of the quintet on Spoonflower. They are apparently planning on sewing up not just a trio or a quintet but a whole chorus of dolls! For those ambitious sewers we got the idea of providing a PDF file with a whole page of templates so that they can easily print extra copies of the arm and leg templates on printable freezer paper. The freezer paper method should be used to apply the templates. This method is described as an option in the pattern instructions. For your sewing pleasure, the TwinkleTemplates is here for a free download. Be sure to select print full size when you print the templates and check the ruler printed with the templates before using them.

Printable freezer paper is available at sewing and craft stores and on Amazon.



Christmas Sewing, my patterns, Uncategorized

Altering My Patterns for Dora the Explorer and Lalaloopsy Littles Part 2

October 14th, 2014

I altered the nightgown pattern from my Gown, Smock and Two Tiered Skirt pattern to fit eight inch Dora and Lalaloopsy Littles dolls.

Here is my  Lalaloopsy Little wearing and unaltered mini doll (Twinkle) nightgown.


The gown’s hem and sleeves are too long. I shorted the gown hem by one and three eighths inches (3 cm) and the sleeves by seven eighths inch ( 2.3 cm).


When I made the gown for my Lalaloopsy Little, I did not add elastic to the sleeves. Here is my Lalaloopsy Little wearing her altered nightgown.


I used my small doll (Florabunda) pattern for my Dora’s nightgown. Her she is wearing an unaltered gown.


For an easy alteration, I added one half inch (12 mm) to the gown hem and left the elastic out of the sleeves.


Here is Dora wearing the gown made from the altered pattern.


For a fuller gown, I copied the gown pattern and drew straight horizontal and vertical lines on both the front and back pattern pieces.


I cut both pattern pieces apart on the lines drawn. I glued the pieces back together on a piece of grid paper, leaving a one forth inch (6 mm) gap between the pieces. I added one fourth inch (6 mm) to the hem on each pattern piece.


Here is Dora wearing her gown made from this pattern


To order a down-loadable Gown, Smock and Two Tiered Skirt pattern, see the small dolls section of my Patterns page. The down-loadable pattern contains both small doll (Florabunda) and mini doll (Twinkle) size patterns.

To order a book with the patterns, see My Books page. All of Florabunda’s patterns are in the Sew a Small Doll and her Clothing book. Alter Florabunda’s patterns to fit Dora. All of Twinkle’s patterns are in  Sewing for Mini Dolls. Alter Twinkle’s patterns to fit Lalaloopsy Little.


Christmas Sewing, Patterns for Dora the Explorer, Patterns for Lalaloopsy ,

A Gift Bag for Wrapping Kitty Doll

December 22nd, 2013

During September and October I blogged about a doll I made from my Kitty pattern. I made the doll as a Christmas present for a very young lady.

This month I made a draw string bag from two fabric fat quarters and strips of contrasting fabric to wrap this Kitty doll for Christmas. Here is a photo of  the bag turned wrong side out.

wrong side of bagSM

I folded each piece of contrasting fabric in half; sewed the contrasting fabric to the two fat quarters; sewed across the top of each piece of contrasting fabric to form a casing; and then pinned and sewed the two sides together. I started and stopped sewing at the casing openings so that I could insert ribbon drawstrings through the casings.

Here is the doll and her book ready to go inside the gift bag.

Kitty on bagSM

The doll is now inside the gift bag and under a Christmas tree, waiting (fairly) patiently for Christmas morning.

Kitty in bagSM

Christmas Sewing

Remember to Sign Your Dolls

November 24th, 2013

If you are selling or giving away cloth dolls that you have made, remember to sign and date your dolls. When I sign my dolls, I use an air soluble pen first and then go over the purple ink from the first pen with a permanent ink pen. I sign my dolls in an obscure spot on the back of the doll. I had planned to show you my signature on the Kitty doll that I made recently and discussed in my blog. I posed her for the photo and decided that the pose was too humiliating for poor Kitty. So I put her panties back on and told her that she was soon going to be a Christmas Doll. I hope that she forgave me.

Christmas Sewing

Whimsical Christmas Sewing

November 4th, 2013

Years ago a friend of mine and her daughter had a wonderful time filling a Christmas stocking with small gifts for the daughter’s American Girl doll. If you know a young lady who would like to make presents for her doll this Christmas, you might want to check out the free patterns on Florabunda’s Page.

The easiest pattern offers three sizes of bean bags: a small doll size, a large doll size, and a child size beanbag.

The second pattern is for three sizes of cats.

The third pattern offers three sizes of Teddy bears.

There is also a pattern for three sizes of elephants. That pattern is a little more complicated, but is also worth a try, especially if you are invited to a white elephant party this holiday season.  Be sure to make the gift elephant out of white felt.

Remember that these patterns are child friendly and free. Click here to visit Florabunda’s Page.

Christmas Sewing, Free Patterns , ,

Ponytails for Kitty and Twinkle

October 13th, 2013

Today I am going show the two finished dolls that I have been working on for the last few weeks. Kitty is eighteen inches ( 46 cm). Her pattern is found in my new book, Sewing for Large Dolls. Twinkle is six and one half inches (16.5 cm). Her pattern is found in my book, Sewing for Mini Dolls. If you are interested in finding out more about these books you can read about them on My Books page by clicking here.

I gave both dolls two ponytails instead of braids. I sewed Kitty’s wig following the instructions in my book. After I sewed the yarn to the doll’s head, I made two pony tails instead of braids out of the long loose yarn.

To make each small curl for Twinkle, I wrapped a knobby yarn five times around a medium size knitting needle. I cut the yarn and sewed each curl together with matching thread. I then sewed the curl to the doll’s head. When her head was covered in curls, I made each ponytail by wrapping several loops of yarn around two fingers. I then sewed the ponytails in place. Here are my finished dolls.

Christmas Sewing, My books ,

Joining Arms and Legs to a Cloth Doll

October 6th, 2013

Last week we discussed joint safety, while  my cloth dolls Kitty and Twinkle waited for their arms and legs. Kitty is eighteen inches ( 46 cm). Her pattern is found in my new book, Sewing for Large Dolls. Twinkle is six and one half inches (16.5 cm). Her pattern is found in my book, Sewing for Mini Dolls. If you are interested in finding out more about these books you can read about them on My Books page by clicking here.

I used freezer paper to sew the arm and leg templates, and left the freezer paper on the fabric until I had cut them out.

I then removed the paper from the pieces and turned them right side out. I am proud of the instructions in the Kitty pattern for making fingers and toes on her hands and feet. Twinkle also has tiny  optional fingers and toes. When I had constructed the toes and fingers and stuffed the arms and legs to the beginning of the stuffing opening, it was time to join the limbs to the body. First I followed my directions for inserting the joint bolt into the arm or leg and then into the doll’s body. After the plain washer has been placed around the joining shaft, it is time to insert the lock washer. In the past, I have found that it takes a lot of strength to add the lock washer to the joint assembly. To make it easier to push the lock washer down the locking shaft of the doll joint I use a trick that I learned from CR’s Crafts catalog. I put a cup of water in a microwaveable bowl and heat it in the microwave for about 30 seconds. I put the lock washer that I am about to use in the water and heat it for another 30 seconds. I leave the water in the microwave oven to use with the next lock washer and remove my first washer with a slotted spoon. I place the washer on a folded terry cloth towel. When the washer is dry and cool enough to handle, it slides easily down the locking shaft. After all the arms and legs had been joined, I finished stuffing the arms and legs. Then it was time to stuff Kitty’s body.

With my method of stringing arms and legs, Twinkle’s body was stuffed before her arms and legs, but the stringing buttons were inside the limbs and so I finished stuffing them after I had joined them to her body. Now all my dolls need are hair and clothing.

Christmas Sewing, My books ,

Doll Heads

September 22nd, 2013

I am continuing a discuss that I started on September 8 on making two of my cloth dolls. Kitty is eighteen inches ( 46 cm). Her pattern is found in my new book, Sewing for Large Dolls. Twinkle is six and one half inches (16.5 cm). Her pattern is found in my book, Sewing for Mini Dolls. If you are interested in finding out more about these books you can read about them on My Books page by clicking here.

Kitty’s head is made of five cloth pieces, not counting the ears, which are optional. The much smaller Twinkle has a two piece head.

I am very proud of my method of attaching Kitty’s head to her body. I think that it is easy to do. In the book we have a diagram for matching the head to the neck. For this Kitty doll, I asked Tech Support (husband) to take photos. The head and neck will be sewn right sides together. The top of the head will go inside the body and the chin dart will be matched with the neck at the center front seam.

The chin dart is pinned to the center front seam. The raw edges of the head and neck are pinned together.

Here is a close up of the head pinned to the neck.

After the head and neck are sewn together, the head is pulled out of the body and the backs of the head are sewn together. Then the head/body casing can be turned right side out. Kitty’s head is stuffed before the arms and legs are attached to the body with doll joints. After I stuffed her head, I removed the stuffing to show you how much the stuffing compresses in a firmly stuffed doll.

I then replaced the stuffing and added a little more. Kitty’s body will not be stuffed until her arms and legs have been attached.

Twinkle’s head was sewn on by hand using the ladder stitch. Directions for the ladder stitch can be found in my free download Tools, Tips, and Techniques. If you are interested in this booklet, you can find it on my Patterns Page by clicking here.

Twinkle’s arms and legs are attached to her body by stringing, rather than doll joints. Her body is stuffed before her arms and legs are attached.

Next week we will attach the dolls’ arms and legs.

Christmas Sewing, My books ,

Sewing Doll Arms, Legs, and Ears Using Templates

September 15th, 2013

I am making two cloth dolls, eighteen inch ( 46 cm) Kitty and six and one half inch (16.5 cm) Twinkle. I am using the patterns found in my two new books, Sewing for Large Dolls and Sewing for Mini Dolls. If you are interested in finding out more about these books you can read about them on My Books page by clicking here.

Recently I decided that the freezer paper method is my favorite way to sew using a template. I explain this method in Sewing for Large Dolls. The large doll book suggests sewing the arms, legs, and ears as the step after coloring the face. The arms and legs will be used later in the construction, but the ears are needed when the head is sewn together. I decided to sew Twinkle’s arms and legs while I was sewing Kitty’s arms, legs, and ears. I used two folded pieces of fabric for all my templates. Here is how they looked after I sewed them.

My Bernina sewing machine has a knee lift for its presser foot. I find this feature very helpful when I am following templates, because the process often requires raising the foot to pivot the fabric on the needle. My new Brother machine has placed the hand lift for the presser foot conveniently at the side rather than the back of the machine head. I was pleased to find how easy it was to follow the template lines without a knee lift.

I cut out only the ears before I began work on the dolls’ heads. The arms and legs were cut out later, when I was ready to use them. I find it easier to cut out each piece if I leave the template on the fabric until the piece has been cut out.

Next time we will look at constructing doll heads and attaching the heads to the bodies.

Christmas Sewing, My books , ,

Sewing Twinkle and Kitty

September 8th, 2013

I have started making a Christmas Kitty doll for a very special and very young lady. I would like to make a Twinkle doll for this new Kitty doll, but I’m afraid that Kitty’s future owner is too young for a doll as small as Twinkle. I’m going to make Twinkle anyway, because I want to see how difficult it is to make both dolls at the same time. I think that I will be able to find this new Twinkle a good home.

I plan to use my new Brother CS60001 sewing machine for this project. I have made a garment from each of my patterns using my Brother machine, but I have always used my Bernina for making cloth dolls. I’ll share my progress on this project and any new ideas for doll sewing as I go along.

Today I’m going to write about printing and coloring the face. I printed the face page of Kitty’s pattern on to fabric using the techniques described in my doll patterns. The page also contains a face for Florabunda and Twinkle.

I colored all three faces, but I am only making Kitty and Twinkle at this time. This detail shows a smudge left on the face fabric by the printer.

This smudging has happened to me before when I have printed faces on fabric and it is seldom a problem. Even if the smudge had been at the top of Kitty’s face it would have been covered by hair on the finished doll.

Removing the backing is easy.

If the paper still feels sticky or waxy, save it to make another face sheet.

Here is my face fabric after it has been colored.

The picture shows the pens pencils, and paint that I used. Tech Support (husband) came in while I was working. He noticed that I was holding the section that I was coloring between my left hand finger and thumb to keep the fabric smooth as I colored. He suggested that I keep the paper backing on the face page until after I have colored it. I think that he made a good suggestion, but I will have to wait until the next doll that I make to try it.

Christmas Sewing