Wednesday, 27 January 2021

Fabric Scrap Dolls


If you're looking for a quick and easy craft to use up fabric scraps and create something lovely, then this is right up your street.  These lovely little dolls are cute and can be as complicated or simple as you want.

I first came across these amazing little dolls at the Medieval Christmas Fayre at Ludlow Castle a few years ago. 

I lovely lady (who I knew from my previous existence in Medieval Reenactment) had a little craft activity where she showed how to make them, and also sold them.

I immediately bought this little family:

To make these dolls, here's what you need:

  • a circle-ish of cream or white fabric
  • a little bit of toy stuffing (just for the head)
  • thread (I use white/cream and black)
  • fabric and wool scraps, felt, binding, fripperies etc. 
  • pinking shears are very useful depending on your fabric - felt doesn't fray, but most other fabric will unless you pink or hem the edges


To start with you will need your circle of fabric, your toy stuffing and about a metre of white/cream thread.
Place a little bit of toy stuffing in the middle of your circle.

Gather the fabric together and wrap the thread around tightly to create a head.  Fasten the thread around the neck.  You may need to arrange the fabric a little here so you don't have a big wrinkle where the face will be.

You now have a head, and four corners of fabric hanging down. Take one corner, fold it under and then gather up to make an arm. 
Take one of the loose ends of thread from the neck and wrap it firmly around the arm in a spiral down to the hand and then back up again.
 Hold it in place while you do the same with the opposite corner and other end of thread to make the other arm. This may take a bit of trial and error to get the arms the right length for the proportions of your doll.

Wrap the threads diagonally across the front and back to create a torso and waist.
You have now created the basic body and for a female you would just need to add clothes.

To make legs, you manipulate the final two corners of fabric and repeat the same process as for the arms.  These can be a bit rougher as most of them will be covered with fabric.
Next, make the clothes using fabric scraps:
  • Some bias binding or a strip of fabric wrapped around and held in place with a couple of stitches are good for leggings or trousers.
  • a little felt hat or a fabric scrap headscarf are good, or you can sew some wool scraps in place for hair.
  • A simple tunic held in place with a wool belt are nice and easy, but you can wrap fabric into a dress, skirt, cloak or apron, or even add wings for a fairy. You could also sew on little facial features.
My nine-year-old daughter sat and made these with me and was delighted with the results.  It's such a quick and simple activity, and a great way to make use of your scraps.
This is one of the activities in our "Year of Crafts". I'd love to hear how you get on if you try this activity. Let me know in the comments.

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