Kenzie’s Christmas Doll & Sleeping Bag Sewing How-To’s
Just as my Grandma made me my ‘Lucy Doll’ – gee, about 63 years ago – this Christmas it was time to create a similar cloth doll for my own granddaughter. I found this ‘Poppy’ doll pattern at Etsy – ran it by my daughter for approval, and it was a ‘GO’. HERE is a link to purchasing that pattern for yourself.
Here’s my (ancient, original) ‘Lucy’ doll. Well-loved and with amputated (but available) legs, she is certainly a ‘doll of the past’, but I love her old-fashioned, Grandma-stitched embroidered face.If you could see her up close, you’d see water marks from lots of kisses!
The directions in the pattern I used were adequate, but perhaps the steps I took to make the doll and the sleeping bag ‘bed’ will help you to make a similar cloth doll.
Window Light Box for Face Tracing
The directions do suggest the use of a light box, but I find a window works fine.
The cream cotton fabric I used seemed too light weight, so I used a double layer of fabric for all of the doll body and face, basting them together to ‘act as one’. As suggested, I cut the cheek circles along the lines on the pattern on my tissue pattern. Doing so allowed me to then use my pattern as a ‘stencil’. For the cheek ‘paint’, I just utilized my own blush. However, I did test on a sample first to determine how much blush/how hard to press/how much to ‘load’ on my brush.
I used 3 strands of 6 strand embroidery floss in a soft brown color (to match hair) for the freckles. The knot I used is one I know as a ‘Candlewicking’ or ‘Colonial’ Knot. Good ole’ You-Tube has a good video for how to do that knot HERE.
For the doll’s hair, I utilized polar fleece instead of the felt as suggested. I was lucky enough to find a blotchy’ brown/blonde tone for another doll project, and this was perfect for my granddaughters’ new Lucy doll.
Eyes, Nose & Mouth
With my Grandma’s tin full of buttons, I crossed my fingers that I could find 2 dark brown 4-hole buttons for the eyes, and YEAH, I scored! I love that I have my Grandma’s button tin, and I can even remember one extended time at her house, sorting them all and stringing together similar buttons. Check out the old-time hosiery garter I found in the Button Tin as well!
Believe me, I VERY securely stitched on those button eyes using a strong white button/carpet thread! Following the pattern’s directions, I used the backstitch to create the eyebrows and eyelashes using a very dark brown embroidery floss, and rosey pink for the nose and mouth.
I dug out my poly pellet stuffing and went to town on her arms and legs – only to feel that she looked like she had a cellulite issue! So…out came the pellets (except I left them in her shoes/feet), and in went the poly fiberfill stuffing. I remember learning from an employee I had at my store, that using very small hunks of fiberfill (rather than large globs) is the best way to get even, non-lumpy stuffing. It is AMAZING to me how MUCH stuffing it takes! This was especially true of the doll’s head! I felt that making this doll was pretty easy up to the point of stitching the body all together. At this point, the project is NOT for a beginner. My doll’s body is a cotton knit. You can see that I autographed her for posterity at the top of her legs.
I followed the directions in the pattern to create the hair flower. I found that I wanted to securely tack each petal to her head. You can see that in the photo below. Also note in the photos how I ‘bury the thread’ after knotting securely. I teach that if you cut thread close to a knot – expect it to come OUT! Instead, I insert the needle into the project and poke it out far away from the knot, then cut close.
For the fabrics for the ‘new’ Lucy, I just dug into my fabric stash of ‘daughter fabrics’ in colors that she loves and that I’ve stuck with for a quilt I made for my granddaughter, etc. The fabric needed is VERY minimal for this project.
I really like that the skirt is loose – and I can see my granddaughter having fun taking it off and putting it on. With that in mind, I made the elastic on the loose side to make the ‘dressing’ easy.
I decided that Lucy needed some overalls as well, so that was really pretty easy. I simply layed her on some fabric with a fold at the side seams, and cut plenty of length in 1 seam pants, cutting a crotch seam ‘shape’ and plenty of height at the waist. Two straps attach with Kam Snaps. Through my work with Days for Girls (daysforgirls.org), I learned of KamSnaps.com. These snaps are the cat’s pajamas, and I doubt I’ll ever use any other type of snap fasteners ever again! Kam Snaps are EASY to use, and STAY ON!!! Below, I’ll add some additional photos of the overall creation.
Dolly Sleeping Bag with Built-In Pillow
I keep a running Pinterest Board (Private) for gift ideas for our grandkids. There, I had ‘filed’ away this picture…so of course, I HAD to add a Sleeping Bag to the combination.
This was SEW simple to make.
First, I laid the doll on my fabric of choice and decided on the measurements.
Next, I cut layers for front and back of the large ‘back’ piece, plus quilt batting for the ‘cushion’.
Then, it was time for the double layer ‘cover’ as you can see in the 2nd photo below.
Behind her head, I created a ‘pillow’ using 4 layers of polyester batting that I simply tucked below the top layer of the back of the sleeping bag.
A Frixion Pen came in handy for drawing the perimeter of this doll-sized pillow which I then stitched through all layers
Rounding the corners of the sleeping bag allowed for easy binding using bias strips of the striped fabric. I LOVE stripes on the bias for binding!
As I tell my young students here at the Sunroom Sewing Studio – Once you give a gift that you’ve taken time to MAKE, you’ll never want to give a ‘bought’ gift again. I can’t wait to give this new ‘Lucy’ doll to my granddaughter! Of course, she can christen her with whatever name she wants, but to me…she is the ‘new’ Lucy. I think I feel my Grandma smiling down from above!
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