by Lee Menconi-Steiger

Print this doll out on fabric, then stitch and stuff her.

click on picture to open printable page

Materials you will need:
white cotton or blend fabric, 8-1/2 x 11"
*sand or aquarium gravel, 1/4 cup (to help her stand up)
*matching thread
*clear spray sealer
*freezer paper (from the plastic wrap and foil section of the grocery store), 8-1/2" x 11" (alternatives to freezer paper: use page-size labels, contact paper, or smear glue stick over a piece of plain paper and iron it to the fabric. In Australia and some other places, copier paper comes wrapped in something similar to freezer paper. You can also purchase special fabric for some printers.)
*optional: white fur, tiny beads, tiny flowers

Tools you will need:
iron, printer, sewing machine,
scissors, hand needle, turning tools, funnel

Printing the Doll

*Place the back of the fabric against the shiny side of the freezer paper. Using a dry iron on medium heat, press the fabric to the freezer paper. (Iron from the fabric side so you can get out any bumps and lumps). Machine baste around all edges of the fused fabric/paper. Most people skip this step, but my printer demands it. You can try it both ways, and use whichever works for you.

*If you aren't certain which side of the paper your printer prints on, do this test: Make an "X" on one side of a sheet of plain paper. Place this paper in the paper tray or slot, with the "X" facing you. Print something on the paper.

Did the print come out on the side with the "X"? Then your printer prints the top side of the paper. If it printed the unmarked side of the paper, it prints the bottom side of the paper.

*Remove all loose threads and lint from the fused fabric/paper.

*Set your printer to "envelope" or "thick paper" if it has such a setting.

*Place the fused fabric/paper in the paper tray or slot so the fabric side will be printed.

*How to print depends on your computer and the internet browser you have, but try this: Look for the word "File" near the upper left hand corner of your screen. Click on that. A pull-down menu will appear. Click on the word "Print", and a new menu will appear. Look for "Copies" or "number of copies" and make sure "1" is specified. Click on "OK", and it should start printing.

*Spray the printed fabric with sealer to fix the color.

Disclaimer: Some printers may not... er... respond well to printing on fabric. Mine sometimes makes a dreadful noise and jams. And bits of thread and lint from the fabric may cause printer problems now or later. You might wish to contact the manufacturer of your printer for their recommendations. That said, proceed at your own risk!

Note: even if you seal it, the ink may not be waterproof. Keep your doll dry! And most inks will fade in bright lights.

Sewing the Doll

*Remove the paper (it can be re-used if you remove it carefully). Don't cut out the doll.

*Fold the fabric in half, then hold it up to a light or against a window (during the day, when there's light outside), and match up the register marks (those little crosses all over). Pin securely.

*Machine stitch around the doll, just inside the color, from the bottom of one side, around her head, to the about halfway down the other side of her skirt. Leave about an inch open to turn and stuff, then stitch the rest of the side to the hem. Leave the entire hem unsewn. Do not cut or stitch the areas between her elbows and waist. Trim seams to about 1/4", and clip the curves and angles.

*Cut out the base, leaving about 1/4" of white all around it. Pin base right sides together to the doll's hemline. Make sure her feet are facing toward the front, and match the lines on the base with the skirt's seams. You might need to fudge this a bit, get it smooth and pin it. Stitch around the base. Trim the base seam, then turn doll right side out.

*Stuff the head and neck lightly, keeping the hat kind of flat. Use a funnel to add the sand or gravel at the bottom of the skirt, then stuff the body making the skirt full and rounded. Ladder stitch the opening closed. She's done, but you could also....

*Stitch from front to back a few times in the gray space between her elbow and waist to flatten her out a bit.

*Cut 1/4" strips of white fur and glue or stitch them around the hem of her dress and jacket, cuffs, and muff.

*Add tiny beads for her earrings and buttons.

*Add tiny flowers to her hat and muff.

Copyright Lee Menconi-Steiger 1999.
You may make as many of these dolls as you like for yourself or gifts.

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