DIY & Crafts

Just like me doll

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DIY & Crafts

Just like me doll

When 7-year-old Joy-anne Plaxton opened her birthday present, she couldn't believe her eyes: A big blue-eyed doll with little blonde pigtails, dressed in her school uniform, was smiling up at her. "It's just like me!" she said, and gave the doll a great big hug.

"Joy-anne took her doll to school and it went over like gangbusters! Everyone fell in love with it," says her mother, Beverley Plaxton, who designed the doll.

As a surprise, for Joy-anne's Grade 2 class in Toronto, Beverley made a "me" doll for each student, one for the teacher and one for the principal. While the class was at gym, Beverley sneaked into the room and sat each doll at the appropriate desk. When the students returned, they raced to their desks and silence fell as each one encountered her own just-like-me doll.

"I tried to maintain the identity of each child," says Beverley. "There were four boys in the class and even they still treasure their dolls."

Beverley has made many "me" dolls since. She's made a doll with a singing mouth for a favourite music teacher, one in a christening gown for her newborn goddaughter and preppy dolls with knee socks and Lacoste sweaters.

The "me" doll is a delightful gift that's sure to win the heart of someone special. It's huggable, full of charm and unique – after all, it's just like someone you know.
Beverley says all you need to make this cuddly, one-of-a-kind gift is a little imagination, some fabric, yarn, fibrefill stuffing and a few notions. Make sure you know the eye colour, and hair colour and style of the person for whom you're making the doll. For an added personal touch, select fabric in colours he or she loves, or use the fabric from a favourite outfit she's outgrown. Make each doll as individual as your special person with masses of curls, long sleek braids or a short blunt cut. When you're finished, you'll have a 38 cm (15 in) cuddly charmer. The firmly stuffed bodies and removable clothes are designed to be played with, and make the perfect companions for any youngster.

Use firmly woven broadcloth for the body and polyester fibrefill for stuffing. The pattern includes three separate outfits – a dress and pinafore, jeans and T-shirt or nightgown and cap. You can adapt the patterns and choose accessories to suit each doll's "personality."

DOLL

You need:
View and print the pattern (PDF format requires free Adobe Acrobat Reader) and enlarge (see below for instructions).
.5 m broadcloth in desired skin tone, 115 cm wide
Matching thread
1 skein of yarn for hair
.6 m satin ribbon for hair, 13 mm wide (optional)
Polyester fibrefill
Small felt piece for eyes
Orange permanent marker for freckles (optional)
2 small beads for earrings (optional)
Pink embroidery thread for mouth and nose, brown for eyelashes
Sewing and embroidery needles
White craft glue
Dressmaker's chalk pencil
Brown paper
Pencil

To make:

1. Enlarge pattern by the squaring method: On brown paper, draw a grid of horizontal and vertical lines 2.5 cm (1 in) apart. Each square on the diagram equals a 2.5 cm square on your paper. Enlarge by drawing each part of the design onto the corresponding square on your paper. Cut out.

2. Cut out all pattern pieces. Pin pattern pieces on corresponding fabric.

Note: Use 6 mm (1/4 in) seam allowance throughout. Trim seam allowance and clip curves before turning right side out. Overcast raw edges with a machine zigzag stitch or use pinking shears.

I. Body
Fold broadcloth so right sides are together. Using chalk pencil, trace body on broadcloth. Do not cut out. Pin around outline, through double fabric, so pins are perpendicular to line. Stitch along chalk line, leaving 8 cm (3 in) open on top of head. To reinforce neck, underarm and crotch areas, stitch again. Trim seam allowance to 6 mm (1/4 in). Clip seam allowance every 3 mm (1/8 in) on hands and feet; clip every 1 cm (3/8 in) on rest of body. Turn right side out. Press. Stuff legs and arms firmly to within 13 mm (1/2 in) of dotted lines indicated on pattern. (A chopstick makes an excellent stuffer. Be sure to stuff small spaces such as the thumbs.) Topstitch along dotted lines. Stuff body and head. Make sure neck is stiff and head is firm and round from front to back. Shape body as you stuff, to create a round look. Slipstitch top of head closed.

II. Hair
Long hair: Cut yarn into 56 cm (22 in) lengths (number of lengths will depend on thickness of yarn).

Shoulder-length hair: Cut yarn into 30 cm (12 in) lengths.

To form a part in hair, machine stitch through centre of yarn lengths (see Hair Diagram 1). Part should be approximately 6.5 cm (2-1/2 in) long for most hairstyles and 12.5 cm (5 in) long for braids.

Place yarn on head, centring part. Glue part and bottom layer of yarn in place so head is completely covered. Arrange rest of yarn. Secure with a few hidden stitches. Trim yarn to form bangs.

Make braids and tie bows with ribbons if desired.

Curls: Wrap yarn in a single layer around a piece of stiff paper, approximately 5 x 25 cm (2 x 10 in) long. Machine-stitch down centre of paper, forming loops. (See Hair Diagram 2.) Remove paper. Make as many of these as you need to cover head. Handstitch section of curls around front hairline. Fill rest of head with remaining sections. Separate and fluff loops to form curls.

III. Face
Mark nose and mouth lightly with chalk pencil as shown in pattern. Stitch with 3 strands of pink embroidery floss using outline stitch. On a black doll, stitch nose in brown embroidery floss. Slipstitch eyes in place. (Experiment with placement of eyes as they can change the expression. To make eyes more noticeable on a black doll, back the eyes with a slightly larger circle of white felt.) Using a single strand of brown embroidery floss, sew 3 eyelashes for each eye. Add any freckles with marker (experiment on a scrap of fabric first). Sew beads to side of face for earrings if desired.

Dress and Pinafore Outfit

You Need:
View and print the pattern (PDF format requires free Adobe Acrobat Reader) and enlarge (see below for instructions).
.4 m fabric for dress, 115 cm wide (from this, cut 1 piece 20 x 71 cm/8 x 28 in for dress skirt)
.2 m coordinating fabric for pinafore, 115 cm wide (from this, cut 1 piece 10 x 71 cm/4 x 28 in for pinafore skirt)
1 piece broadcloth 15 x 43 cm (6 x 17 in) for panties
1 piece knit fabric 13 x 15 cm (5 x 6 in) or cuff of sock for socks
.9 m pre-ruffled lace, 20 mm wide
Matching thread for each fabric
Small felt piece for shoes
4 small hooks and eyes
2 small buttons
1 package of elastic, 3 mm wide
Bodkin or large safety pin

To make:

1. Enlarge pattern by the squaring method: On brown paper, draw a grid of horizontal and vertical lines 2.5 cm (1 in) apart. Each square on the diagram equals a 2.5 cm square on your paper. Enlarge by drawing each part of the design onto the corresponding square on your paper. Cut out.

2. Cut out all pattern pieces. Pin pattern pieces on corresponding fabric.

Note: Use 6 mm (1/4 in) seam allowance throughout. Trim seam allowance and clip curves before turning right side out. Overcast raw edges with a machine zigzag stitch or use pinking shears.

To make dress:
Note: One bodice front and 2 backs will be used for facing.

1. Bodice: With right sides together, stitch bodice front to bodice back at shoulders. Press open. Repeat for facing. With right sides together and raw edges matching, pin lace around neckline on bodice front and back. Baste. With right sides together, stitch bodice and facing together along neck and centre back, catching lace in seam. Turn right out. Press. Baste bodice and facing together around armholes.

2. Sleeves: Stitch 1 row of basting along gathering line indicated on pattern. Fold bottom edge of sleeve to inside along fold line. Press under raw edge 6 mm (1/4 in to form casing. Press. With right side of lace and wrong side of sleeve together, pin lace over casing so 13 mm (1/2 in) of lace shows below sleeve; topstitch 6 mm (1/4 in) from bottom edge leaving a small opening to insert elastic. Topstitch a second line along fold. Cut two 8 cm (3 in) lengths of elastic. With bodkin, thread each through 1 casing. Stitch ends together. Along gathered edge, pin right side of sleeve to right side of bodice armhole. Pull gathering thread and adjust gathers to fit. Stitch. Trim seam. With right sides together, pin bodice front to bodice back at side and sleeve edges. Stitch together, pivoting at underarm. Slipstitch ends of lace trim together. Repeat for other sleeve. Baste bodice front to facing along bottom edge.

3. Dress Skirt: With right sides together, fold skirt in half so short edges match. Beginning and ending 4 cm (1-1/2 in) from each corner, stitch short edges together. Press seam open. With wrong sides together, fold in half so long edges match. Topstitch pressed edges together around opening. Stitch 1 row of basting along raw edges.

4. With right sides together, pin dress skirt to bodice, aligning edges of skirt opening with centre back edges of bodice. Adjust gathers to fit. Stitch. Stitch 1 hook and eye in place at top of bodice back and 1 at waist. Remove basting. To put dress on doll, slip over feet.

To make pinafore:
Note: One bodice front and back will be used for facing.

1. Bodice: With right sides together, stitch bodice front to bodice back at shoulders. Repeat for facing. With right sides together, stitch bodice and facing together, leaving side and bottom edges open. Press.

2. With right sides together, stitch bodice front to back, then facing front to back, at side edges. Press. Turn right side out.

3. Pinafore Skirt: Press under 6 mm (1/4 in) twice along 1 long edge and 2 short edges of pinafore skirt; topstitch. Stitch 1 row of basting along raw top edge; pull thread to gather.

4. With right sides together, pin skirt to bodice waist only (not facing). Adjust gathers to fit. Stitch. Press under 6 mm (1/4 in) on raw edge of facing. Slipstitch in place along seam line. Sew 2 hooks and eyes in place. Remove basting.

To make panties:
1. With right sides together, stitch side seams. Stitch crotch seam. Press waist edge under along fold line for casing. Press under raw edge 6 mm (1/4 in). Machine stitch, leaving small opening to insert elastic.Topstitch a second line along fold. Thread elastic through casing and pull to fit doll's waist; stitch ends together.

2. On each leg, press bottom edge under along fold line for casing. Press under raw edge 6 mm (1/4 in). Pin right side of lace to wrong side of bottom edge so 13 mm (1/2 in) of lace shows below panties. Topstitch 6 mm (1/4 in) from edge, leaving small opening to insert elastic. Topstitch a second line along fold. Thread elastic through each casing and pull to fit leg; stitch ends together.

To make socks:
Fold each sock piece so right sides are together and long edges match. Stitch centre-back seam, tapering to toe. Trim away excess fabric at toes and press seams open. Press under each raw edge along fold line; slipstitch in place. Turn right side out.

To make each shoe:
With wrong sides together, using a regular sharp needle, overcast bottom edge of shoe. With edges matching, glue strap pieces together in pairs. Stitch straight end of strap to inside of each shoe at dot. Stitch other end on outside of opposite side of each shoe. Stitch button on outside strap.

Nightgown, Cap and Slippers Outfit

You need:
View and print the pattern (PDF format requires free Adobe Acrobat Reader) and enlarge (see below for instructions).
.9 m flannelette, 115 cm wide (from this, cut 2 pieces, each 15 x 115 cm/6 x 45 in for ruffle)
Matching thread
.2 m pre-ruffled lace
1 m ribbon, 6 mm wide
1 package of elastic, 3 mm wide
1 small hook and eye
Small felt piece for slippers
Bodkin or large safety pin

To make:

1. Enlarge pattern by the squaring method: On brown paper, draw a grid of horizontal and vertical lines 2.5 cm (1 in) apart. Each square on the diagram equals a 2.5 cm square on your paper. Enlarge by drawing each part of the design onto the corresponding square on your paper. Cut out.

2. Cut out all pattern pieces. Pin pattern pieces on corresponding fabric.

Note: Use 6 mm (1/4 in) seam allowance throughout. Trim seam allowance and clip curves before turning right side out. Overcast raw edges with a machine zigzag stitch or use pinking shears.

To make nightgown:
1. With right sides together, stitch front to back at side edges. Stitch centre back from dot to bottom edge. Above dot, press under 3 mm (1/8 in) twice along centre back. Topstitch.

2. With right sides together, stitch each sleeve together along side edges. On each, press bottom edge under along fold line for casing. Press under raw edge 6 mm (1/4 in). Pin right side of lace to wrong side of each bottom edge so lace shows 13 mm (1/2 in) below sleeve. Topstitch 2 cm (3/4 in) from fold, leaving a small opening to insert elastic. Topstitch again 13 mm (1/2 in) from fold. Thread elastic through each casing and pull to fit wrist; stitch ends together.

3. With right sides together and side seams aligned, stitch sleeves to nightgown, leaving neck edge open.

4. Press neck edge under along fold line for casing. Press under 6 mm (1/4 in) on raw edge. Topstitch 6 mm from fold, leaving small opening to insert elastic. Topstitch a second line along fold. Thread elastic through casing. Put nightgown on doll and pull elastic to fit neck; stitch ends together.

5. With right sides together, sew ruffle pieces together, end to end, to form a loop. With wrong sides together, fold ruffle so raw edges match; stitch 2 rows of basting. With right sides together, pin raw edge of ruffle around bottom edge of nightgown so seams align with side seams of nightgown, pulling up thread to adjust gathers evenly; stitch. Press seam allowance toward nightgown.

6. Cut ribbon into 2 equal lengths. Set 3 aside. Tie the other in bow; handstitch to centre front neckline.

To make cap:
With right sides together, stitch cap pieces together around edge, leaving 5 cm (2 in) opening; turn right side out and press under 6 mm (1/4 in) around opening. Slipstitch opening closed. Topstitch 3 cm (1-1/4 ins) from outer edge, then topstitch again 2.5 cm (1 in) from edge for casing. On wrong side, make small slit in casing to insert elastic. Thread elastic through casing. Put cap on doll and pull elastic to fit head; stitch ends together. Tie 1 remaining ribbon in bow; handstitch to front of cap.

To make slippers:
Make in same manner as shoes for dress-and-pinafore outfit, omitting straps and buttons. With remaining ribbon, tie 2 bows, handstitch 1 to each slipper.

Shirt and Jeans Outfit

You need:
View and print the pattern (PDF format requires free Adobe Acrobat Reader) and enlarge (see below for instructions).
1 piece denim 35 x 25 cm (14 x 10 in) (from this, cut 1 strip, 25 x 4 cm/10 x 1-1/2 in for waistband)
.4 m fabric, 115 cm wide, for shirt
Matching thread for each fabric
1 small hook and eye for jeans
5 small snap fasteners for shirt
Small felt piece for shoes and small contrasting piece (optional)
7 small buttons
White embroidery floss

To make:

1. Enlarge pattern by the squaring method: On brown paper, draw a grid of horizontal and vertical lines 2.5 cm (1 in) apart. Each square on the diagram equals a 2.5 cm square on your paper. Enlarge by drawing each part of the design onto the corresponding square on your paper. Cut out.

2. Cut out all pattern pieces. Pin pattern pieces on corresponding fabric.

Note: Use 6 mm (1/4 in) seam allowance throughout. Trim seam allowance and clip curves before turning right side out. Overcast raw edges with a machine zigzag stitch or use pinking shears.

To make shirt:
Note: 1 shirt front and back will be used for facing.

1. To make pockets: With right sides together and edges even, stitch pocket sections together, leaving open between x's. Turn right side out. Press under 6 mm (1/4 in) around opening; slipstitch closed. Topstitch around edge of pocket. Turn down flap as indicated on pattern. Sew button on flap.

2. To make sleeves: Stitch 1 row of gathering sitches along top edge of each sleeve. Press up 6 mm (1/4 in) twice along each bottom edge; topstitch.

3. To make collar: With right sides together, fold collar in half so long edges match. Stitch short ends together. Turn right side out. Press. Topstitch along edge.

4. To make shirt: With right sides together, stitch front to back at shoulders; repeat for facing. Baste raw edge of collar to neck edge of shirt, starting at line indicated on pattern. With right sides together, stitch shirt to facing along centre front, neck edge and bottom edge. Turn right side out. Press.

5. With right sides together, pin each sleeve to 1 armhole; adjust gathers to fit. Stitch.

6. With right sides together, stitch shirt together along side and sleeve seams, pivoting at underarm seam.

7. Edgestitch around hem, centre front and neckline. Overlap centre front edges; sew buttons in place. Sew small snap fasteners under each button. Remove basting.

To make jeans:
1. Fold under jean front along pocket fold line; using contrasting thread, edgestitch. Stitch again 2 mm (1/16 in) from first line of stitching. With right side of each pocket and wrong side of front together, pin, matching ABC line and dotted lines indicated on pattern. Stitch pocket in place from A to B to C, then along bottom and back up to A.

2. With right sides together, stitch backs together at centre back. Press seam to one side, and, using contrasting thread, topstitch in place. Topstitch again 2 mm (1/16 in) from first line of stitching. With right sides together, stitch back to fronts along side edges. Press seams to backs and topstitch twice as above.

3. Press each bottom edge under 6 mm (1/4 in) then 13 mm (1/2 in); topstitch twice as above.

4. With right sides together, stitch fronts together from dot to dot, pivoting to edge of fly. On left side, press under fly along fold line; topstitch 6 mm (1/4 in) from fold.

5. With right sides together, stitch front to back along inseams and crotch. Press.

6. With right sides together, fold waistband so long edges match; stitch along each short end. Turn right side out and press. With right sides together, pin one raw edge of waistband (single thickness) to jeans, starting at left side (you will have an underlap at right front); stitch. Press. Press under 6 mm (1/4 in) on remaining long edge of waistband. Fold waistband over jeans; slipstitch pressed edge along seam line. Edgestitch around waistband.

7. Stitch a small hook and eye on waistband.

To make shoes:
1. Glue contrasting pieces to each shoe where indicated by shading on pattern.

2. With wrong sides together, stitch shoe pieces together in pairs, leaving top edge open on each. With 2 strands of embroidery floss, slip needle into bottom left dot. Cross over to middle dot on right side of shoe. Cross over to top left dot. Leave several inches extra for tying a bow and cut; knot end. Repeat for other shoelace on opposite side of shoe. Tie ends together in bow. Repeat for other shoe.

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Just like me doll

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