Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Blanket Doll Tutorial

After reading about positive sleep associations, I decided to make a blanket doll for Little B (also known as a woobie or a lovey). I decided to make a tutorial out of this because: a) it is a project that is completely made from your own head and estimates (i.e. no pattern required), b) it can be made out of stuff you have around the house (provided you sew and have the basics on-hand), and finally, c) we can all use a project that can be started and completed in just a few hours.

To get started you'll need to find a pair of old tights or a t-shirt you can repurpose. I used one of my husband's worn t-shirts (out of the hundreds I had to choose from....ahem...). I then cut out a rectangle about 11" by 17".*

Fold your rectangle length-wise and sew it up, right sides facing each-other. You can also use a pair of tights or pantyhose, in which case you don't need to sew it together. Just cut off the top and bottom.

Sew up one end with thick thread or embroidery floss. This end is the top of the head and will be hidden by a hat, so feel free to make it nice, knotty and secure. Then, cut off the extra fabric above the top (about four inches worth).
Next, you will want to stuff the head with whatever filling you have. I had polyfill around so that's what I used. Make sure to pack it tight to make it washer friendly.

You can tie a rubber band around the bottom to help you sew up the bottom of the head.

However, I found it was easier to sew up without the rubber band in the way.

The next step is to cut out the top of the body. Mine was about 10" at the widest part and 11" long. As I mentioned before, I didn't use a pattern; that's what makes this project so speedy. You can see how lopsided and uneven I cut out the body (see photo above). It looks funny now, but later when you sew it up it won't be so lopsided.

Then, choose a complimentary fabric for the bottom. I chose a flannel to make one side nice and soft. Do this by laying the top onto the fabric and cut around it. Put the right sides together, facing in, and sew it up using a 1/4" seam. Make sure to leave about a 2.5 - 3.5" opening at the top to place the head and tummy inside.

Turn the body right side out and stuff the hands and feet. You can then pin each hand and foot by folding the back onto the front. This will help keep it in place, make the body more even, as well as add visual appeal.

Sew up each of the hands and feet.

Instead of using a zigzag stitch, I used a wavy one to add interest. However, because it's not as stable as zigzag, I sewed two lines to make it more secure.

Now it's time to make the hat! Cut out a large, rounded triangle. Mine was approximately 9.5" long and 9.5" wide at the base. Just eyeball the hat based on the size of the doll's head.

Sew up the side after folding it (right side together, facing inside). Turn it right side out, then fold the bottom of the hat inwards, about 1/2" or so, and sew the brim up using the same stitch you used for the hands and feet. Since there was no stuffing involved, only one seam is needed.

You can knot the top of the hat, if you like that look more.

Or keep the hat tall and pointy leaving more fabric to cuddle with.

Next, you will stuff the tummy. This part is optional, though I think it gives a nice squish to the doll for the baby to squeeze.

Then, sew up the bottom. This part will be hidden, so you can do it by machine with the zigzag stitch to make it more secure.
Place the head and tummy inside the body and sew around the head. Make sure to really stuff the head down in so there's hardly any neck. This will ensure less floppy-headedness for when the doll is being flung into the air at the protest of an oncoming nap!

Depending upon how thick the head is, you will have to hand stitch it in, machine sewing to the left and right of it.

Homestretch now. Attach the hat with pins and sew it on.

Last, embroider the face as desired. I used embroidery floss for this as well. I attempted to make a half-yawn, half-smiling mouth. It most definitely looks hand done.

Snuggle up with the doll while nursing to cover it with your loving and nurturing scent. Finally, give to your little one only at nap and bedtime. This will ensure that the sleep association is made with the object. Hope you and your little ones enjoy!

*Note: all measurements provided are for a finished blanket doll that is approximately 9" wide at the arms by 21" long from the top of the hat to the tip of the toes.


Vicki said...

It's really cute! I like the face. Thanks for stopping by my blog, too. :)

daffodil_duck said...

Yay for baby doll tutorials! I can't wait to see the woobie baby in person. xoxoxo

Renata said...

A little creepy looking but I like it. You should bring it to the pARTy :)

Anonymous said...

thanks for the tute babe! I am making my first baby quilt and pillow set and maybe I'll have some energy left for something like this! I love it. Definitely trying one for Noa.

Anonymous said...

your photos are particularly successful too. nice use of your new camera! xox

HLM said...

Your first tutorial post! I love it. I love the half smile half yawn, and I love that its lack of a pattern makes for a bit of liberation from "everything-must-be-just-so"!