After getting several questions and comments on those softies I made for the Craft Hope project for Konbit Sante, I decided to post a little tutorial for making them.
I was determined to participate in your Craft Hope group, but I am so short on time these days that I had to be strategic in making these softies. I made a quick mental list of my requirements:
- easy and fast to make, i.e. requiring minimal hand-stitching and no complicated steps or materials
- safe for babies and young children, i.e. no buttons or other inappropriate materials
- cute, of course!
I was inspired by my own little swaddled cutie. Here he is, in a gratuitous baby photo:
I decided to make a swaddled baby softie, with a simple embroidered face in the Walforf style. Playing with some new watercolors, I drew and painted my vision then cut out a simple pattern.
And here is my Swaddle Softie Tutorial:
- Print and cut out the pattern. Here it is (PDF).
- Cut out 2 of each piece from the same fabric. I used plain linen for the head and fabric scraps for the body.
- Using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, sew each head piece to a body piece, right sides together.
- Press the seams toward the body piece.
- This step is optional but I thought it added a little finish to the doll: top-stitch 1/8 inch from the seam, on the body side (over the pressed seam allowance).
- Pick out some embroidery thread (I chose cherry red for the mouth and black for the eyes) and using a washable fabric marker, draw the doll's eyes and mouth according to the pattern. Then using some simple stitches, embroider the mouth and eyes on one of the assembled head-body combos.
- Pin the front and back pieces of the doll, right sides together. Sew around the doll with a 1/4 inch seam allowance, leaving a 2-3 inch gap at the bottom. Clip notches around the curves, as indicated in pattern.
- Turn your doll inside out and fill with polyfill or other stuffing material. I wanted to use something easily washable. If you're lucky like me, you get to have an assistant help you with this important stuffing phase!
- When your doll is stuffed with filling, pin the bottom to close the gap.
- Then close that gap by stitching close to the edge with your machine if you're pressed for time like I was, or by hand with a blind stitch if you want a neat finish.
- Finally, to make the hair, thread an embroidery needle with about 3-4 strands of black embroidery floss. Pull your thread through the needle so that you have enough for a double thickness of floss. Stick the top of the doll's head (pinch the seam so the needle goes through the seam allowance on both sides) with the needle and pull about 2 inches of floss, or just enough to tie a knot. Tie an additional knot on top of that so that there's a little ball of thread at the base. Clip the floss about a 3/4 inch from the base and separate the strands. You should now have a little tuft of hair as in the picture below this one. (I hope these instructions make sense!)
- Remember to spray your doll's face with water so that your marks for the eyes and mouth disappear (unlike the doll in the photo below!)
And there you have it!
Dear readers, please let me know if you have any questions in the comments. And if you make some of these swaddle softies, share some pics with us in the Stumbles & Stitches pool on Flickr! (Please do not use this tutorial for commercial purposes, thank you!)
Jenny, I can't tell you how much I am inspired by your creative process! I think your sketches are as wonderful as the finished project! There is something about the linen combined with the bright fabric that is so fresh and modern. And kudos for creating our first PDF file!
Henry really has his own face, doesn't he? He looks like Ben for sure, but with a twist. He is precious, I can't wait to see him this summer!