We are onto part 5 of our sew along – which will be putting skin on our head, and attaching it to the body! If you are just finding us now, head back to the beginning of this tutorial! Here is a quick series of photos that will show you what to do to “skin” the head.
The first photo shows how I have the skin fabric doubled, with the grain going up and down, and the head on it. Note: I was in a rush and didn’t pull my back string down. This doesn’t affect the doll however it does make a lumpy back of the head. I normally wouldn’t leave it that way but this is for my son Benjamin and he doesn’t care.
The face of the doll should be facing the fold. You will see that you actually need very little fabric, however if you purchased a kit from me I sent enough for probably two heads!
You will trace with a pen along the outside of the head. Then sew, using a stretch stitch or even a straight stitch will work. Trim so there is 1/8th of an inch of seam allowance.
Then pull it over the head. It should be VERY snug. The snugger the better, because it will prevent neck wrinkles. Next we will use a length of craft string to tie the neck. Note the 5th photo. I have stretched the bottom fabric taught, and pulled the head slightly back to stretch the fabric as tight as possible. Then I wrap the neck tightly and tie it off. Snip the string tails.
You then have a cute little head! If you look at this photo, you will see that there are no neck wrinkles above the line. This is very important, but also very tricky. Keep trying if you find it difficult. Eventually you will get the hang of it! I also trim the muff at this point to a more workable size.
Now you will grab your body that you partially stuffed. Open the neck, making a space in the abdomen to fit the muff with my finger.
Push your head in! You will see that my doll is not stuffed enough, but don’t worry. We will fill in the shoulders and belly as we go.
You will be doing a ladder stitch now. This is a fairly simple stitch that closes two pieces of fabric with an invisible stitch. It has a distinct puzzle type fit. There are many videos on youtube that you can watch to learn such as this one. You will be starting at one shoulder, moving across the front of the neck.
You will want to stop at the opposite shoulder – do NOT sew the back of the neck. Once you have sewn across the front, open the back and stuff with wool. I push the muff forward while stuffing, which ensures the little face is looking up at you when finished! Make sure to stuff the shoulders too.
Then continue sewing across the back until you reach the first shoulder again.
Sew around the entire head a second time. The more you go around the cleaner it will look.
At this point, after twice around with ladder stitch, I like to do an invisible backstitch to reduce the “ladder” look of the seam. There are amazing video tutorials showing this stitch such as the one here. You do not have to do this stitch. You can just do a third round around the head with the ladder stitch if you prefer.
The neckline should look clean, with no wrinkles above the neckline.
And there you have it! Your head is now attached. Next time we will be embroidering the face! If you want to work ahead, please check out my traditional tutorial here that explains the facial embroidery. Otherwise I will be embroidering this little guys face soon in the next post – part 6!