What else do you need to sew a doll?

You have your fabrics, the pattern, now what? You will need yarn, stuffing, sewing threads, embroidery threads, two buttons, a ribbon and basic sewing tools.


THE YARN

For this pattern I really wanted yarn hair, making them can be long or complicated. My first samples had so much hair that their heads were too heavy, plus it took a long time to complete. So I developed a technique for the hair that I think is easy to follow and doesn't take too long to make. It's even faster if you choose a thick, puffy, covering yarn. If the yarn you want is smaller, no problem, you will need a little more so it covers your doll's head. In general, a ball of wool is sufficient, regardless of the size of the yarn. I find it very difficult to make recommendations for this material, there are so many choices. I made some first samples with dollorama balls, and frankly, it comes out pretty well.


You can visit your neighborhood knitting store, knitting is in fashion and little shops are opening everywhere. In Montreal I would start with a visit to La Maison Tricotée. And if you shop for fabric at one of the big chains, visit their wool section you might find the perfect hair for your doll.

I unearthed a batch of "vintage" wool, imported from France in 1977 that I offer on my online store.



THE FILL

Here it is easier. I prefer to work with polyester fill and this can be found in department stores like fabricville or club tissus, in craft stores like Micheals or in my shop. If you have a pillow that you don't need anymore, or one that's not too empty (and not feather!) They can certainly be used to stuff a doll or two.

You can also find wool, cotton, hemp, milkweed or even corn fiber stiffing. Really many fibers can be used and are suited for dolls, you can choose your favorite. Just know that I won't be talking about the other fibers here and I may not be able to advise you on how to use them properly.


SEWING THREADS

There are several qualities of sewing thread, and each has its own favorite brand. It is important to choose a good quality thread for making the doll (in general really) so that the seams hold over time. No need for a thicker thread, a classic sewing thread will hold the road very well if the tension is good and the stitches are not too long.

You can choose threads to match the chosen fabrics or take inspiration from the talented Jess Brown and choose a contrasting yarn so that the seams can be seen.


EMBROIDERY FLOSS

Like sewing threads, a good quality of embroidery floss will make all the difference. Most of the stores that sell it carry the DMC brand and it's also the one I favor. If I don't have the right color, I also sometimes use two or three strands of sewing thread. This can be trickier, sewing thread will knot more easily and it will slow you down.

You need at least four colors, red, pink or orange for the mouth, black for the eyes, a skin-like shade for the nose and a color to match the hair for the eyebrows. Then if you want to add details to the face you can use brown for freckles, blue, green or brown for irises, or even another color for glasses.




BUTTONS

Seamstress or not, we all have buttons at home, right? The step of attaching the arms with buttons is optional, so they are not even necessary. If you choose the method with buttons, just find 2 of the same size, with a diameter of about 1.5 cm and two holes. I like wood buttons because they are natural and warm.



A RIBBON

Both the dress pattern and the jumpsuit pattern are finished with a ribbon or elastic. I also like to use a 2 cm wide strip of jersey, it feels like a little elastic ribbon. You just need a ribbon that coordinates with the garment, 1 to 2 cm wide, it must be able to pass in the opening at the top of the garment. It should measure about 35 cm long. If you take an elastic instead, 5 mm wide should be around 19 cm long (depending on the elasticity of the elastic).


LABELS

I like to use labels to personalize my projects. They can also be used as decoration. I offer a few models, even some customizable. You can also find them online, I particularly like the brand Kylie and the Machine (to buy locally). Or if you sew a lot, you can have some printed or woven especially for you.



Next step, we take a look at the tools you'll need and some you might like.




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