My son has just got into Pokemon trading cards in a big way and as I’m always sewing things for my daughter I thought this time I’d make him something. As he’s always carrying around his Pokemon cards I decided he needed something to put them in! I found some red, black and white felt and made this deck case. He now wants me to make lots more so he can trade them with his friends to get some good cards. Here’s what to do…
I first came across ‘Waldorf’ style dolls browsing Pinterest. My daughter (and me, secretly) both fell in love with a gorgeous Waldorf doll last year made by Kathe Kruse and being given away in a competition by the UK doll shop Petalina. We didn’t win and without thinking I uttered the words ‘I’m sure I could make one…’ (I wasn’t sure – but that’s never stopped me trying!). So my New Year challenge has been to make a Waldorf doll for my daughter and if anyone else is thinking of doing the same I thought I’d share my doll making journey. This is Lucky’s story.
Having committed to making a doll I then had to find out more about them and work out how to make one! Searching for information led me to some great websites. I learnt all about Waldorf dolls and the philosophy behind them from Fig and Me, a lovely doll focused blog by Fabiola, which provided me, not only with information, but also inspiration and useful links. Fabiola also makes dolls and they all have a story to go with them, which is so beautiful. I searched Etsy for patterns and we settled on the Wildflower doll pattern by Lali doll nursery – as you can see from the images below, they have delicate features and soft kind expressions .
My daughter drew her design for the doll (to be named ‘Lucky’) and her outfit. Armed with the Wildflower doll pattern I set about making my first doll, with some trepidation!
making lucky the waldorf doll
All my materials were from Little Oke Dolls , an online shop in the UK which specialises in doll making supplies, which had everything I needed. I used Swiss Tricot Laib Yala in peach for the skin fabric and natural wool for the stuffing. I also needed doll needles and tying string. I later ordered some Mohair Weft in brown and a wig cap to make the hair.
making the Doll head
I made the doll head first, trying to get that distinctive Waldorf doll look right. It looked straightforward and the instructions were really clear with lots of photos. It took me several attempts to get a nice round shape using the wool and then I discovered that the stockinette didn’t stretch enough to fit over the top. I had to make a dash to the nearest supermarket and bought some tubular bandages instead. They did the trick but I ended up with a bulky knot which I had to cut out and sew up later (so Lucky started life in the operating theatre!). The features on her face are needle felted in wool – I don’t think her features turned out exactly the same as the Wildflower Doll instructions, but I guess that just adds to her uniqueness.
making the body
Cutting out and sewing the body and head pieces was relatively straightforward.
stuffing and finishing
Lucky is only lightly stuffed which has made her body thinner than I would have liked, but I was under strict instructions from my daughter not to over stuff, as she likes all her toys to be floppy and super cuddly (at one point she was taking stuffing out faster than I could put it in, so I gave up!).
The head was a bit fiddly to sew closed as it has to be nice and smooth and tight in order to show off her delicate features. I then embroidered her eyes using the vibrant blue my daughter chose and added a pink fleck.
hair making dilemmas
I then had to work out how to make a wig for her hair ( she wore a hat for a few days!). More research was involved, as Waldorf dolls can have hair made from a variety of different yarns or natural fibres (see the definitive guide on the Fig and Me blog). As the brief from my exacting client was very clear (long brown brushable hair) I chose to use a mohair weft and wig cap. I decided to sew the Mohair Weft by hand onto the wig cap. The result is okay, but I think I’m going to try a different method next time as she’s got a bit of a flat spot at the back of her hair where the spiral ended in the middle. If anyone knows how to avoid this please let me know!
Introducing Lucky, the finished doll
My first finished Waldorf doll, Lucky, sitting quietly on the windowsill! I hope you like her! There will be more on how I made her outfit later…
I am slightly obsessed with bags and I love being able to design and make a bag that does just the job I want it to do. This easy to sew Tote bag is the perfect size for a lunch box, water bottle, journal (or ipad) and an umbrella for those frequent rainy days! You can play around and make it with your favourite fabrics – I fell for the cute Instamatic cameras on this fabric, hence the name of the bag!
What you need:
- 1m fabric for lining and side panels
- 1 fat quarter fabric for main panels
- 1m interfacing (if you want a stiffer bag use a thicker interfacing)
- 140 cm coordinating bias binding
What to do:
Every summer my daughter has to wear shorts to school under her summer dress or skirt if she wants to do any gymnastics on the playing field (it’s a modesty thing I presume). This year, I forgot to buy any new shorts and she forgot to mention that last years were too small! I decided that there had to be a better solution out there, surely someone would sell a school skort (skirt with shorts built in underneath)?
Apparently not. All I could find was culottes. So I then went on the hunt for a pattern. All I could find was culottes or tennis style skorts. But, being a brave and fearless seamstress (!) I decided I could alter a tennis skort pattern.
Making the skort
I found this lovely Heidi and Finn Tennis Skort pattern on Etsy.
We then went to my favourite fabric shop, The Eternal Maker, and found some really nice grey jersey (Robert Kaufman – Laguna Jersey Heather Pepper). It’s super soft and has just the right amount of stretch.
The Tennis Skort has an extra skirt layer on-top which I left out. I also had to adjust the width of the shorts and skirt as my daughter has a tiny waist. I used her old school skirt to work out the length of the skirt (but I still made it too long and chopped some off at the end and re-hemmed it!). I used a pair of her leggings (fold in half and line up the curved edges to the pattern) to adjust the width of the shorts. The shorts I made longer as my daughter likes them long – but you could leave them the original length. I pinned the shorts together with safety pins and made her try them on – it worked as they fit nicely.
…but I don’t have a serger so I can’t sew jersey…
Neither do I! I followed the instructions on the pattern for using a stretch stitch, and it worked fine. I use a walking foot and ball-point needle which worked well. The instructions are clear and have photos for each stage.
I’m still fairly new to sewing with knit fabrics, but I think that the better the quality of the fabric, the easier it is to sew – so don’t be put off giving it a go. I didn’t have any problems with it rolling up at the edges or stretching out of shape – which I was expecting.
For once I’ve managed to make something my daughter likes and her school friends were impressed so it must be good enough! I tried to get a good photo showing the shorts underneath but she was spinning so quickly the skirt stayed in place!
And it’s not only good for cartwheels in the playground, but trampolining in the garden!
Plus I can now make her one for tennis (if I can get her out of her leggings…)
Sleepy toddler? Use this sewing pattern to make them a suitably sleepy friend.
There’s something rather cute about Sloths and they make a change from teddy bears! I’ve designed Suzy the Snoozy Sloth to be very soft, floppy and cuddly, the ideal companion for any little one to snuggle up with. It’s a fairly simple pattern to make, although sewing with plush fabric takes a little bit of getting used to – it’s worth it for the extra cute cuddly softness though! Enjoy using your free sewing pattern to make your very own cuddly sloth toy!
I love making dolls for my daughter because you can give each one their own personality and style. They also make great presents as they are special and unique. I’ve selected some of my favourite doll and toy patterns – it was meant to be a post just about dolls, but then I saw ‘Felix and Charlotte Fox’ and had to add some animals in! They can all be found on Etsy.
My daughter decided that her Beanie Boos Lion, ‘Hero’ needed a make over. So I’ve made a new t-shirt for him (slightly girlie fabric but never mind!). The pattern should also fit other medium size Beanie Boos that are in the same ‘sitting’ position (e.g. Tasha, Safari, Maddie etc). I used a girls skirt from a charity shop for the fabric.
If you haven’t sewn with jersey before, this is a good size to practice on! There are some good tips on different websites – I used the Tilly and the Buttons tips when I started experimenting with jersey (not that long ago). I do have a ‘walking foot’ for my machine which does make a difference, and I use ball point needles. I used a long zig-zag stitch for all of the t-shirt.
It’s all about ‘Space’ at the moment – at my daughter’s school anyway. It wasn’t part of the homework but my daughter, Amelie, decided to design a sock Alien to take into school and to write about. She even offered to make it herself – if I could help with the sewing machine bit (I still haven’t made the ‘plague’ rat she designed for the last topic!). So I made the one that features below and she made her own one, which she didn’t want to feature on my blog in case everyone copied it! The Alien does need legs because it can fly, obviously…
What’s a busy box? It’s a box (any box will do!) where you can keep small toys and games ready to pack in a bag and take out and about.
Keeping a selection of toys in a box all together makes it easy to find something small enough to go in a handbag or for your child to carry when you go out. Handy for car journeys (just take the whole box and place on the back seat), restaurants, church or anywhere else where you want to make sure the children have something to keep them busy.
Here’s some tried and tested (by a 6 and 9 year old) ideas. You’ll know what your children are into and can tailor the box contents accordingly. Continue reading
I decided to make ‘thank you’ gifts for my children’s class teachers this Christmas, these bookmarks are quick and easy to make, a simple gift for anyone.