Friday, December 31, 2010

Rag Doll Tutorial - Clothes

aThe final installment of the Quaint and Quirky rag doll pattern - dress.  I made this pattern up loosely based on the Leila and Ben Sweet Dress pattern (highly recommended), so you can make matching dresses!  :D

Large scraps for the dress
Any embellishments you want to add
Dress pattern - go here to get it:  Quaint and Quirky rag doll dress pattern
Very thin elastic - approximately 1/8"
Sewing machine, thread, needle
Small safety pin

This is a rough pattern and uses very small seam allowances, so seams are not finished, but you could finish seams with a very small zig zag stitch if you want!

1.  Cut out the pattern, then use the pattern to cut 2 dress pieces and 2 sleeve pieces.  Make sure you cut the sleeve pieces on the fold!
2.  Right sides together, using a 1/4" seam, sew one sleeve to one dress piece, matching curves.
3.  Sew the other sleeve to the dress (right sides together).
4.  Now, right sides together, sew the other dress piece to one of the sleeves, then the other.  When you are finished, you will have the dress connected at the sleeves, but not down the sides.
5.  Flip the dress so it is inside out and match sides and sleeve seams.  Starting at the sleeves, sew using a 1/4" seam.  Pivot, and sew down the side of the dress.
6.  Okay, this is the tricky part.  I always warn you at the tricky parts, so you know when you need a little more patience!  I needed a little more patience, for sure!  You are going to iron the neck, sleeves, and hem.  I take a pointy stick with me to iron so I don't burn my fingers.  Start with the neck and iron under 1/4" toward the wrong side of the neck.  Then iron down another 3/8 to 1/2".  These are approximate measurements, so don't go crazy trying to make it perfect.
(showing the ironed folds)
7.  Save yourself some time and iron the sleeves at the same time.  Press under 1/4" of the end of the sleeve, then fold it again on itself so that you enclose the raw edge. Press. Repeat for the other sleeve.

8.  While you are still at the iron, do the same for the hem of the dress.  Press under 1/4" of the hem.  Fold under another 1/4" and press. 

9.  Back at the sewing machine, sew the neck, close to the edge of the fold.  Leave a 1 to 2 inch gap so you can thread the elastic through later.

10.  Sew the sleeves close to the fold too.  For these you can sew all the way around, since you are not threading an elastic through.  You can try to elasticize the sleeves for a different look, but I find they are too small for this.  The first doll I made, I tried to throw it through the window when I tried to thread the elastic through the sleeves.  Except that it was soft and it just bounced.  Moral of the story?  Bell sleeves!

11.  Sew the hem of the dress all the way around close to the fold.

Everything sewn and ready for the next step!
12.  Attach around a 6" piece of thin elastic to a safety pin.  Thread it through the opening in the neck and back out the other side.  Hand sew the elastic together, then machine sew the opening closed.

13.  Add any embellishments you want.  I folded over the raw short edges on some lace and stitched it to the bottom of the dress.  Then I tied a ribbon around the waist. I gathered the long edge of a piece of lace and tacked the bottom so that it formed a rosette for the hair.  Mademoiselle is finished!

Rag Doll Tutorial - Face

Here is the next installment of the rag doll tutorial!  

Face supplies:
  • Embroidery floss
  • Scissors
  • A long needle

I like to sew the face after the body has been sewn and the hair is on because I think the doll has more of a personality at that point.  I start with the eyes.

1.  Thread your embroidery floss (I split a length of floss in half so that I'm working with three strands) and knot it at the end with a strong knot.  Put the needle through the back of the head to where you want to start the eyes.  That's the only time you have to go all the way through the head until the end. 

2.  Put your needle back in to the face fabric where you want your first stitch to end, and bring it out where you want it to begin, just going through the face fabric (not all the way through to the back).  My stitches for eyes look like this (but touching): 

(sewing the eyes without going through to the back of the head)

3.  When you are finished with one eye, sew the other eye in the same fashion. 
(going from one finished eye to the other eye)
4.  When you sew the last stitch, put the needle all the way to the back of the head again.  Knot well.  I usually knot, bring the needle to the front one more time, pull tightly and cut the embroidery floss so that the tail of the floss is embedded in the head.

 (eyes finished)

5.  Start the mouth the same way as the eyes.  I like a crooked mouth, with a line on one side.  My stitches usually look like this:

6.  Finish the mouth the same way you finished the eyes. 

7.  I like a few freckles where the nose would be, so I might add some with french knots. 

(Dress tutorial is coming later today!)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Rag Doll Tutorial - Hair

Part two of the rag doll tutorial is the hair.  I like this part a lot!
You can see in the pictures my favorite Christmas movie - White Christmas!  Can I please have a dress like Rosemary Clooney's green velvet cast party dress?

  • Scissors
  • Large-eyed needle (but one that is sharp)  I used a chenille needle
  • Yarn in your desired hair color
  • Tape (masking or regular tape)
  • A DVD case
  • Tissue paper

1.  We are going to begin by winding the yarn around the DVD case. The DVD has a smooth side and a notched side.  Begin the yarn at the notched side and wind.
 (notched side - the side you open)

You want to wind the yarn so that it does not overlap and there are no gaps in the yarn.  Wind fairly tightly so that it stays in place.  I wound around 3 to 3.5 inches worth of yarn.  You want to stay in the center of the DVD.
(Ignore the gaps at the beginning and end of this shot.  I tightened everything before I taped)

2.  Next, we will tape off the yarn.  Place a loooong piece of tape across the yarn on either side of the smooth spine of the DVD.
(tape on the back)
(tape on the front)
Stick your scissors in the notched part of the DVD and cut the yarn.
Cut a piece of tissue paper about four inches by eight inches.
Affix the taped yarn to the tissue paper at the top.  (See picture)

3.  Fold the tissue paper over the yarn.

You are going to sew down the middle of the two pieces of tape, pivot, sew back, pivot, and sew a third time.  Try to sew on top of your previous stitches or very very close to them.

4.  Take off the tape and tissue paper (It's like Christmas!)and you will have a secured bunch of hair! 

5.  Repeat this exact process one more time so you have two bunches of hair.

6.  Repeat the process a third time, EXCEPT for the following:
    a.  Only wind around 1 and a half to two inches of yarn.

    b.  See the picture for how you secure the tape.

7.  Place one of your two larger pieces of hair on the doll's head at the forehead.
Thread your needle with a loooong piece of yarn (believe me- once you get that yarn through the eye of the needle, you don't want to run out of yarn!)  Slip stitch on to the head, making sure to cover your machine thread.  When I start, I leave a piece of yarn long enough to be part of the hair and when I end, I do the same thing.  You can knot the yarn at the beginning and end, but I don't think it is necessary.
(I find it easiest to hold all the other hair down with the hand that's not sewing so that it doesn't get in the way of the stitching)
 (making progress down the head)

 (the hair completely sewn)

8.  Around where your doll's ears would be (if she had some), tack the hair down with some stitching all the way around the head.

9.  Put your other large piece of hair on top of the doll's head, starting at the forehead.  I shift it over a bit so that it isn't exactly on top of the previous row of stitches.

 (Piece #2 sewn on)

10.  Take the small, lopsided piece of hair and stitch it down the same way, but put it off center so that it looks like your doll has a side part.  Especially make sure to cover your stitches well because this will be seen on the top of her head!


11.  Time for a haircut!  This is my favorite part!  Brush the doll's hair down in back with your fingers and figure out how long or short you want her hair.  Cut!  Bring out your inner hair stylist! 

Next step will be the face and the clothes!  Stay tuned!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Winnah! (as we say in Rhode Island)

Except I don't say "winnah" because I try to fight against the New England accent!

The winnER of the custom rag doll is The Fancy Fritter!

Congratulations!  Thanks to you all for entering.  I had a great time learning about all your favorite movies.  I'm adding the hair tutorial tomorrow and I will show you which Christmas movie is my favorite (although I like many). 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Rag Doll Tutorial - Body

Welcome to Quaint and Quirky's rag doll tutorial!  This tutorial is a mixture of tips and techniques I found and acquired when attempting to make a rag doll for my baby girl a few months ago.  It will be posted in three parts: body, head, and clothing (just because one post would have been overwhelming!)  It is an easy project and you could still whip up a few for Christmas if you wanted!

On with the show!

Supplies needed:
  • Large scraps of muslin (or similar cotton fabric) in your desired flesh tone
  • Medium scraps of desired leg fabric (I use a different fabric for the legs so she has some built in tights)
  • Stuffing (fiberfill)
  • Pattern - I had to set up a site to host the pdf, so the link is here:  Rag Doll Pattern
  • Fabric scissors
  • Paper scissors (No, they cannot be the same.  Yes, you need different scissors for fabric and paper.  No, I don’t follow every single sewing rule.  Yes, I follow this one)
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Needle and thread
(This list is for the body only, for the hair and face you will also need embroidery floss, a large-eyed needle, yarn, tissue paper, and a DVD case.  For the dress you will need thin elastic and large fabric scraps)

1.     1. Using your PAPER SCISSORS, cut out the rag doll pattern.
2.       2. Lay your pattern out on your muslin and pin in place.  You need to cut two of the head/body,  and four of the arms. Cut.
3.       3.  Cut four leg pieces from muslin OR other fabric (my doll will have gray striped tights on her entire life).
4. With right sides together,  sew one arm together using about a ¼” seam, leaving the bottom open.
  Repeat for the other arm.  Clip notches in the curved area and clip the thumb/hand valley close to the stitching.

[Note:  You can see my mutant finger in this shot.  The Pioneer Woman always talks about her mutant hands in her cooking pictures, but I actually have a mutant finger.  It has to do with a quilting accident I had several years ago.  A story definitely worth telling another day]
5.  Sew the legs, right sides together using a 1/4" seam, leaving the top (flat side) open. Clip curves as you did for the arms.
(legs and arms sewn, clipped, and waiting to be turned and stuffed!)
6.  Turn the legs and arms outside in and use something long and skinny to push out the thumb and hand.  
Stuff the arms to your desired squishability. I don't stuff it too hard because I like some squeeze to the doll, but if you don't stuff enough, it will be too floppy!
7.  For the legs, stuff halfway, then sew back and forth across the leg a few times to make knees.  Stuff the rest of the leg.
(stuffed arms and legs)
8.  Lining up dots on arm and body, pin one arm to the right side of ONE body piece (see picture for placement).  Make sure the thumb is facing up!  Sew arm onto body.  Repeat with the other arm.
(arms when both attached)
9.  Matching leg and body dots, pin legs onto the body, right sides together (feet should be near the head - ouch!).  Sew back and forth several times.
(one body piece with arms and legs sewn on to it)
10. Next, you will be sewing the body and head in two stages   Admittedly this is the trickiest part of the process.  Flip ONE arm into the body of the doll and place the other body piece over (Right sides together), making a doll arm sandwich.   Pin along the side of that arm, around the head, to the shoulder of the other arm (see picture below).
Sew where you have pinned, from the bottom of the doll, up the side, around the head, to the shoulder of the unpinned arm, using a 3/8" seam allowance. Backstich or secure the end of your sewing as you see fit.    Check to make sure that all layers got stitched, especially where the head and body connect.  Now fold the other arm into the center and pin the remaining side of the doll. 

Since that first arm is already sewn, it is easier to manipulate it inside the body to make room for the second arm.  Trust me, I know this from experience.  Sew the remaining side of the body, leaving the bottom of the doll unsewn. Phew!  You made it through the tricky part!

11.  Clip all curves. Turn the doll inside out and stuff to your desired fluffiness. 

(doll stuffed and waiting to be sewn!)

12.  Turn the unsewn bottom edges under and whip stitch closed.  If you don't know how to whip stitch, there is a video tutorial here:  Whip Stitch Video

13.  Your doll is sewn!  She's bald and cold, but she's sewn!  I will be back with the tutorial for hair and clothing later this week.


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