Doll Making | Cotton-Stuffed Muslin Doll

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Doll Making | Cotton-Stuffed Muslin Doll

For a little girl's playtime

Slender, cotton-stuffed muslin doll—a quaint and charming playmate. Wired arms and legs make her an endlessly maneuverable, obligingly flexible companion for "make-believe." Dress her for everyday in a striped cotton frock and a perky pinafore—or, for parties, in a dotted Swiss dress and bonnet, saucily puffed and ribbon-trimmed. Lace edged organdy undies, white socks and wing-bowed felt shoes complete her wardrobe.

EQUIPMENT: Scissors; needle and thread; tissue paper; pencil; No. 1 knitting needle wrapped at tip with a bit of adhesive tape to blunt point; glass drinking straw, ¼" in diameter and about 2" shorter than knitting needle; toothpicks.

MATERIALS: for Doll's Body: ⅛ yd. 36" flesh-colored muslin; 2¼ ft. heavy, pliable wire; cotton for stuffing; small amounts of oil paints—red, brown, blue, white; 6" theatrical crepe hair or 6" lengths of yarn. (To curl yarn, wrap it around a matchstick or bobby pin; steam press. Let dry.)

For Clothes: Scraps of the following: old white socks or white rayon jersey for stockings; white felt for shoes; white organdy for panties, petticoat and pinafore; striped cotton for play dress and handbag; dotted Swiss for party dress and bonnet; matching ribbon for bonnet tie and dress sash; lace edging for panties and petticoat; narrow elastic. Snap fasteners.


Basic instructions to cut and sew: Patterns are given actual size for doll body and all clothes not cut as straight rectangular pieces. Trace all patterns onto tissue paper (see Tracing Instructions). Cut out and pin to fabric. Place FOLD line on folded fabric. Fold fabric on straight of goods. Seam allowance on doll body is ⅛", on all clothing except shoes, ¼"; on shoes, just enough to allow for whipstitching soles to uppers. Sew all seams on inside. Turn hem allowance to inside, slipstitch. To gather, use small running stitch.

Body: Cut two body sections. Trace and cut stencil for features from heavy paper. Paint face (Fig. 1), using toothpick for a paint brush. Eyebrows, nostrils, and outlines of eyes and mouth are brown; mouth is red; eyes are white with blue centers. Paint cheeks red, dabbing paint on lightly with a tiny piece of cotton. Sew front and back of body together, leaving opening at top of head for stuffing. Clip seam allowance as indicated. Turn right side out. Poke out arms and legs with blunted knitting needle inserted through glass drinking straw to make turning easier.

Cut wire 21" long for legs. Bend in half (Fig. 2), bend small loops at each end. Insert in doll. Stuff legs and body up to waist. Use small pieces of cotton (about 1" long) to prevent lumpiness. Use blunted knitting needle to push cotton solidly into body and around wires. Cut wire 10" long for arms, bend loops at ends (Fig. 3). Stuff arms, remaining body and head. Turn in raw edges of top opening; sew together. Bend up ends of legs ½" to make feet. Attach hair. Spread the 6" lengths of yarn or crepe hair to about 1" in width. Stitch through center (Fig. 4). Sew in place (Fig. 5).

Stockings: Cut piece of fabric about 2½" long, 1½" wide. Hem ¼" at top. Wrap around doll's leg, with bottom edge extending slightly over instep. Turn under raw edges at back; whipstitch together.

Shoes: Use patterns to cut soles, uppers and bows. Place uppers on doll's feet; whipstitch together up back of heel. Whipstitch soles to uppers. Tack bows to instep, stitching through foot to sole.

Panties: Cut piece of fabric 5" wide, 1¾" long. Fold in half, crosswise; sew side seam. Stitch a triangular crotch, ¾" deep and ½" wide at base (Fig. 6). Cut out as shown, leaving about x" seam allowance. Clip seam allowance, almost to stitching line, at point of triangle. Hem ¼" at leg openings and top, leaving small opening in top hem to insert elastic. Sew lace edging around leg openings. Cut piece of elastic to fit doll's waist; insert in top hem.

Petticoat: Cut piece of fabric 10" wide, 3" long. Fold in half, crosswise; sew back seam. Hem ¼" at top and bottom, leaving small opening in top hem to insert elastic. Sew lace edging to bottom. Cut piece of elastic to fit doll's waist; insert in top hem.

Dotted Swiss Dress: Cut piece of fabric 16" wide, 5" long. Fold in half, crosswise; sew back seam, leaving opening at top about 1½" long. Hem ½" at one edge for bottom of dress, hem ¼" at other edge for neckline. Cut ¾" lengthwise slits below neck hem on each side for armholes. Gather neckline to size of doll's neck. Cut two sleeves from pattern. Sew underarm seams of each sleeve. Hem ¼" at bottom edges. Seam sleeves to armholes, gathering to fit. Gather lower edges to size of arm. Make rolled hem around neck opening; sew snap fastener to top. Tie ribbon sash around waist.

Bonnet: Cut back section from pattern. Hem ¼" at neck edge. Fold under ¼" on remaining edge and run gathering thread around it. For brim, cut piece of fabric 5" long, 3½" wide. Fold in half, lengthwise; sew seams at ends. Turn right side out. Gather folded edge of back section to length of brim. Sew back section to brim, easing in gathers evenly all around (Fig. 7). Tack a ribbon bow to brim at X (Fig. 8). Gather bottom of back section to fit back of doll's neck. Sew ribbon tie to back of bonnet. Tie bow under chin.

Striped Dress: Front and back are cut in one piece. Cut from pattern, folding fabric both lengthwise and crosswise, making four thicknesses. Sew side seams to X. Cut 1½" slit in center back for neck opening; roll hem. Hem ¼" along bottom, neck and armholes. Gather neck and sleeves to fit doll. Sew snap fasteners to neck opening.

Pinafore: Cut bib top from pattern. Fold and hem neck edge as indicated. Hem ¼" along all other edges except bottom. For skirt, cut piece of fabric 2¼" wide, 9" long. Hem ¼" along one long edge and both short edges. For waistband, cut two pieces of fabric ¾" wide, ½" longer than waistline of doll. Hem both ends of both strips. Turn under and crease seam allowance along long edges. Gather raw edge of skirt to fit waistband. Topstitch one edge of one waistband strip over gathered skirt (Fig. 10), other edge over bib top. Slipstitch other waistband strip to inside of pinafore, wrong sides of strips together. Cut small square of fabric for a pocket. Hem one edge, turn under remaining edges and sew to skirt. Sew snap fastener on back of waistband. Sew shoulder straps to back of waistband.

Doll Making Figures 1
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Doll Making Patterns 1
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