Tuesday, 30 September 2014

DIY Couple Rag Dolls

WARNING: This isn't a thorough tutorial as I took bits and pieces from other tutorials and lack expertise

Last week I spent most of my time sewing these cuties for Firu. He's going back to Germany tomorrow and I wanted to give him a memento of myself so he won't forget me. Silly, I know, because he's my boyfriend but that's just who I am. Sewing a doll was something that popped into my head long before I went home but I only looked for the tutorials after I decided to buy the materials. Also, I got pretty lucky for the most part because people were providing me with extra materials left and right. Thank you to everyone who contributed. Since I'm modifying a lot, there are certain materials in the original tutorials that I didn't use and vice versa. I'll try to make this as clear as possible, so here we go.

For the base doll as well as the clothes for the girl, I was saved by Katie's tutorial on A Beautiful Mess. You can start by downloading all her patterns - trust me, if you're a newbie, this will help immensely! - and cut the muslin out. Since I was also sewing a boy doll, I didn't make the faces the same to hers. Mine's pretty simple actually; just sew on two buttons as eyes and a red/maroon thread as lips then glue on a smiley-felt for the girl's lips. The button eyes can look pretty creepy but it reminds me of Coraline so I'm perfectly content. For the clothes, I still followed Katie's instructions in regards of the dress but made a patternless shirt for the guy. Big mistake! I don't recommend you do this. Here's what you should do:
  • Retrace the pattern you used for the dress top on the fabric using a pencil
  • Before cutting, make sure you measure it by putting the doll on top of the fabric and lengthen the top if it seems to be a bit on the short side. Remember, long is always better!
  • Follow the instructions regarding the sewing of the top
  • You're done!
As for the pants, here's what I did:
  • Put your doll on top of the pants fabric and trace the hips as well as the legs area, making sure you leave ± 1 cm between the lines and the doll
  • Cut two pieces of the traced form and hem the ankles and hip parts
  • With the pants still inside out, sew the two pieces together
  • Cut a line at the front leading to the crotch but not all the way through and hem one side
  • Turn them right side out and put them on the doll
  • Put the hemmed side over the other side and sew a button on top of them
I actually put them on first before hemming the ankles and hip area but I find it quite difficult to do - although doing it the other way around might find to be hard too. Please take your pick and choose wisely. 

Oh but we're not done yet! After all that is done, you'll definitely have two bald dolls with jazzy outfits. You've got to put the hair on them though, right? If you don't want to, you can just skip this step. But if you do, I used this tutorial from YouTube. I find it quite easy to do although I think getting thicker yarn would've helped. As I tried to explain in these pictures:
  • You cut a strip from your leftover muslin and lay it out
  • Take a thread of the yarn and start lining it left to right. One side will be the fringe/bangs and the other will be the rest of the hair so make sure you get the length right. They don't have to be the same length but be careful not to get them tangled. 
  • After you're done, sew the yarn onto the muslin strip. This is tricky so make sure you get all the yarn in place. 
  • Then just repeat until you get the thickness that you wish. Mine was 3 layers thick.
  • Now hand stitch the fabric with the hair in place onto the top of the doll's head
  • After it's all set, cut out the extra muslin
  • If you wish for your dolls to have a certain hairstyle, you can just give your dolls haircuts afterwards

So that's how I did it. As you probably would have guessed, I'm not an expert in this by any definition of the word. Thought it would be nice for another newbie to hear from a fellow amateur. Those experts can always make something hard look easy. I know, in learning something new, sometimes we're too afraid to stray from the forged path but don't be scared to try something more compatible to you. Also, I thought you might like to see what I did to the back of the dress so you can see it on the photo above. And I'm not ashamed to show you the botched shirt of the guy doll.

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