Cut & Sew with Me!

Earlier this week I released my second fabric collection, “Woodland Adventures”. This collection is a mini series of cut and sew fat quarter dolls. Inspired by our forest friends and natural elements, these dolls are sure to spark many adventures!

I truly love these dolls because they are simple sewing at it’s finest. One fat quarter project can typically be completed in an hour, which pales in comparison the many hours of imaginative play they inspire!

Each fat quarter contains simple instructions to guide you through the process, but I wanted to share a more in depth step by step with you as well. These simple dolls are a great way to teach (or learn) sewing, so let’s get making!

Supplies Needed:

  1. The fat quarter doll of your choice. You can order one in my Spoonflower Shop.
  2. An iron to press the fabric.
  3. Scissors to cut the pattern and trim threads.
  4. Pinking Shears; these are recommended but not required.
  5. Pins or clips to hold the fabric together. I prefer Clover Clips because they don’t hurt when stepped on if you happen to misplace one!
  6. Stuffing to give your doll dimension.

Additional Supplies Not Pictured:

  1. Sewing machine and basic cotton thread.
  2. A needle for hand sewing the gap closed.

Step one is to press your fabric. After you have pressed the fabric, cut each element along the dotted line. These lines are designed to give you a quarter inch seam allowance for sewing the dolls. Once you have cut each piece, lay them down right sides together and pin or clip together.

While you are pinning, choose a spot to leave at least a 1-1.5″ gap for turning your doll inside out. On the animals I usually leave a gap along the bottom, and on their accessories I choose a straight side.

Now that your pieces are held together, sew around the doll with a quarter inch seam allowance, beginning and ending on either side of your turning gap. It is helpful to use a short stitch, especially when sewing around the curves. I typically use a 1.5 stitch length, and lift my presser foot when needed to turn the fabric.

Before you turn your doll inside out, trim excess fabric everywhere except along the gap. Pinking shears make the edges look especially tidy when you turn it inside out.

Another helpful tip is to use your straight scissors on any corners to cut as close to the seam as possible. In the example below you can see I am cutting perpendicular to the thread as close as possible without breaking it. This is a very useful trick to avoid any puckering at the corners when you turn your doll inside out!

Once you have trimmed the edges and corners, turn your fabric inside out. Use your fingers or a chopstick to poke the curves and corners all the way out. Next, you will tuck in the seam allowance across the gap, and press your doll with the iron.

Right now is the time when you will be tempted to skip ahead to stuffing your dolls… Do NOT do this! I repeat, do not skip this step! Ironing the seam allowance all the way around is going to make your doll look as nice as possible, and make hand sewing the gap closed much easier. Learn from my mistakes, and iron it before stuffing!

See? Doesn’t that look so nice?

Each doll has a little heart on the back of it’s head, which would be a great place to write a quick little note. If you choose to personalize your doll, a fine tip sharpie would work great. Make sure you place a piece of cardboard or folded card stock inside to prevent bleeding to the front.

You are almost to the end! Stuff your doll, being careful not to overstuff. You want to stuff it just enough to give it some shape. If you overstuff, it will be difficult to hand sew the gap closed.

Ta-DA! Now that your doll is stuffed, use an invisible stitch to hand sew the gaps. I like to use this video as reference. Once it is sewn shut, give your doll a hug and bask in the glory of your finished project!

I hope you have enjoyed this Handmade Doll Tutorial! Please share your finished project on Instagram with #woodlandadventurescollection . You can also tag me @ hayleyraedesigns ; I would love to see what adventures your new friend inspires. Happy Sewing!

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