Here we are Maddalee friends, a bit sooner than I thought I would be this week, with needing to wait for Etsy to approve Maddalee as a manufacturer. But that came through today and I finished up with the new Maddalee and Jessa Cloth Kit Cut & Sew Doll Tutorial while waiting for edits on other work. Are they the sweetest dolls ever? Ok, I may be a bit over the top on the little dolls, but my, how they are fun to make. Here you go, full tutorial:
1) Either the Maddalee or Jessa Cut and Sew Fabric Doll Kit panel available here at the Maddalee Etsy shop. (Or both for double fun!)
2) A bit of polyester stuffing.
3) About 7" of narrow elastic.
5) Fabric Shears
7) 1 small safely pin, to thread elastic.
8) Sewing pins
• Press the fabric panel flat.
**Tips and Tricks: Click on any of the photos to see larger detail.
• Carefully cut each of the three pieces out. Remember, we don't cut the legs down the middle until after sewing, it just makes it easier to handle.
• Pin the doll front to back with right sides together.
Tips and Tricks: The fabric is quite translucent, so it can be aligned front to back nicely for accurate stitching. If you need an extra boost in seeing the outlines line up to each other, hold the pieces up to a bright window or light, and check your alignment.
• Stitch by machine, or small hand stitches if you don't have a sewing machine, just inside the stitching line. This can be seen quite well through the fabric. Make sure you leave the opening on the side from under the arm to the top of the panties unstitched for turning and stuffing.
Tips and Tricks: Just take it slowly, when I reach a small curved part, I do 3-4 stitches, make sure the needle is in the down position, lift the presser foot and move the fabric around the curve a bit. Lower the presser foot back down and slowly continue the stitching. Also, if you aren't confident with stitching the pinned fabric pieces, you can do a long basting stitch by hand first, and remove the pins before stitching.
• Clip the inside corners, as marked on the fabric, and cut the legs down the middle on the line. Remove "triangles" of fabric from the outside curves as shown to make the seams turn inside out more easily.
Tips and Tricks: Be careful while clipping and trimming to go just up to the stitching line, not through the stitching line and thread. Nice sharp sewing shears are so helpful here, or smaller sewing trim scissors, if you have them.
• Turn the doll right side out, and press a bit with an iron set on a low cotton setting.
Tips and Tricks: The little legs are the hardest to turn, just be patient and pull a little bit out at a time. The arms are a bit easier. When you are close to having the arms and legs turned right side out, you can use your closed sewing shears and push the little curves out a bit more, being careful not to push too hard so they don't poke through the fabric.
• Stuff the legs up to the panties first, and hand stitch a line from the bottom panty line in front to the bottom panty line in back. This gives us nice legs that can "sit".
• Do the same with the arms, stuffing them next and hand stitching a line from under the arm up to the shoulder to make them move nicely.
• Stuff the head and the body, getting stuffing into all of the hair curls and bumps.
• Once you have the doll stuffed to where you like, stitch up the side with a simple slip stitch by hand.
Tips and Tricks: You can use your closed sewing shears once again to help push small bits of stuffing into the arms and legs, being careful to not push through the fabric. Just stuff to a nice squishieness, not too full, not too soft.
• View of back of doll.
• Now fold the skirt, right sides together, and stitch the seam in the back at about 1/4".
• Fold the hem twice on the lines and press with an iron on a low cotton setting. Stitch by machine, or hand if you don't have a sewing machine.
• Do the same with the waistband, but leave a 1" opening for the elastic.
• Top stitch the waistband right up at the top edge, to make the waistband lay more flat with elastic.
• Take about 7" of narrow elastic, as shown above and insert a small safety pin on the end.
• Insert the safety pin into the waistband and keep threading through, being careful to keep the other end out of the fabric. Keep going, the skirt with gather up almost all the way, or tightly. Maddalee and Jessa have very narrow waistlines!
• Once you have your safety pin back out again, pull and get the elastic a bit more evenly spaced.
• Now tie the elastic into a square knot (right over left, left over right) and pull tight. Once you see the knot is secure and tight, trim the ends off.
• Let the elastic knot pull up into the waistband, and slip stitch the opening shut.
• Slip the skirt up onto the doll.
Well, hello Maddalee! The instructions for sweet Jessa are just the same.
I hope you enjoy your little dolls, and come back to see more as we get them designed!
Was this tutorial fun? I would love to hear from you, my sweet Maddalee friends, and I hope you are all well.
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