I have been wanting to do a sew along for a while! I figured October was a great month to do it in. So today is the start of my free Sprig Sew Along with pattern and tutorial. This doll is a sweet and quick sew that is easy to do and a lot of fun. This is a great pattern to start with, as an introduction to dollmaking, as well as an amazing first pattern for children to try! Here is a quick pic of my little Benjamin (he just turned 5) working on his Sprig!
First of all, you will want to grab my free pattern over in my facebook group Brambles & Blossoms Pattern Love found here. In the group, I am running the sew a long as well, and it is a great place to ask questions and show off your work!
You can also grab the PDF file here: sprig-mermaid-patterns
In this first post I am going to explain the materials you will want to have, what exactly they are and how and where to find them.
Lets go over each type of material.
Head Skin. This is a skin tone cotton interlock knit. It is a medium weight, and has the perfect stretch. Personally I prefer to use De Witte Engel (DWE) fabric. It comes in many different tones. There are a lot of places to find it, however I like to grab mine at Bear Dance Crafts. DWE tends to run on the expensive side, usually around $23+/m. You can choose to use a thinner knit from places like Weir Crafts as well as it is more affordable falling in the $14+/y range. If neither of these are an option, you can use a peach tone t-shirt or dye a white t-shirt with tea to achieve a skin tone shade. It is important to note however, that t-shirts will be a much lighter jersey than an interlock, and will be more difficult to work with. If you do decide to try your first doll with a t-shirt, you will not be getting an accurate portrayal of your talent! The right materials goes a long way into having a beautiful finished product.
Body Knits. The bulk of the Sprig is made in a fun print. This makes it such a creative outlet! I enjoy doing them in jersey knits, or cotton velour.
You can find knit fabric anywhere, from fabric shops to online fabric shops. Lightweight knits are acceptable, however if you find that the jersey is too thin as you work with it, you can line it with a second layer or a cotton fleece (or normal fleece if you prefer). If you choose to use a medium weight interlock, like the knits from Birch Organics, please check how the print looks with stretch. Often the white backing will be seen through the stretch (due to less recovery). There is nothing wrong with this, however it may not be the look you were hoping for.
You will be using a doll making needle (2.5″-3″ will be plenty long enough for this project!). You can find these in sewing shops, online at places like Bear Dance Crafts, and even in places like Amazon. The other type of needle you will need is an embroidery needle for the face. You can choose from two styles, ball point and sharps. Ball point is prefered if you are using a material like a thin jersey for the face (t-shirts) as it prevents holes and running. You can use ball point for all fabrics. Personally, I prefer using sharps when using DWE, and haven’t had issues with runs or holes. However, I suggest getting both styles and seeing what you prefer by practicing on a scrap piece of skin fabric. For your sewing machine however, you MUST use a ball point needle when sewing with knits. If you do not, you will find that your machine will “eat” the fabric, skip stitches, or make holes along the seams.
Wool. Wool is the most important part of your doll. Wool is almost magical. It is so warm, and fluffy, absorbs the scent of home, is naturally fire retardant and is absolutely perfect for creating a doll. If you choose to invest in ONE high quality item for your doll, wool is the one you should choose.
You can use wool batting or roving. I, of course, prefer the highest quality of wool that you can afford. Wool (high quality batting) on average costs around $22/lb. You need approximately 3oz of wool for a doll, more or less depending on how firm you stuff.
Many people would like to use polyfil for their first doll due to it being readily available. You can of course try to make your doll with polyfil, though as with everything, it will not turn out as nicely as if you use the intended materials. Polyfil stuffed dolls will not feel the same, the head doesn’t have the same give (making it more difficult to shape) and it is does not have the same natural weighting that wool provides. However if this is all you have on hand, I encourage you try it anyway!
2-2.5″ Tubular gauze or stockingette is used when forming the head. If you are choosing to use gauze, you will need 10-16″ as you will double it. If you have thicker stockingette, you will only need a single 6-8″ layer. You can find gauze at places like Bear Dance Crafts.
Another option is to use a small white cotton sock (a child’s sock) which works just as well.
Embroidery Floss – You will need embroidery floss in the eye colour and mouth colour of your choice.
You need a beeswax crayon for blushing your doll. I prefer Stockmar brand, and personally prefer the “red” tone. You can find these at waldorf supply shops, places like etsy and amazon.
Cotton Craft String
You will need cotton string for tying your doll’s head. You don’t want it to be too thick to form tight knots, or too thin that it will slice through your hands when tying!
That’s it! If you cannot find these materials, please join us in the Pattern Love group on facebook and I can try to help you either source them, or find an alternative for you!
I look forward to sewing with you! The next part of the tutorial can be found here!