How to make a standing doll for play using felt
No. 19 in the 30 Days of Dolls Series: Lovely Flower Girl
I’ve been making simple standing dolls ever since I started working in a Waldorf kindergarten. Some were huge, standing at least 30-35 cm tall. (In hindsight, a big dud.) Others were tiny and cute, only 5 or 6 cm or so. But my favourite standing dolls of all measure about 12 cm from top to toe. This is definitely the size that is the perfect fit for little hands, four and five-years-old.
These dolls need to be fairly robust as they are for play. Not for looking pretty on a shelf. Children grab them with glee, and use them to tell their stories, and be their characters as they play out scenes in the doll house, or on the floor, or in a puppet show. So I have learned from experience to use the best quality felt I can afford. Cheap felt pills really quickly, and then these begin to look horrible and uninviting.
You can ‘dress’ a basic standing doll in whatever ‘outfit’ you need to make a particular character or archetype. Want a butcher, a baker, a candlestick maker? How about a blacksmith, a princess, a cook, a pirate, or fisherman? Simple add-ons can help you create Little Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks AND her three bears (make the tube from furry material), Peter Pan with his green cap, Rapunzel, or even Ninja turtles should you desire!
It’s as easy as adding a simple apron with a pocket, a tie around the neck, a baker’s hat, a tiara and silver bead necklace, a cape, a headband or an eye patch, a mask, a cap, or a particular style of hair.
Use google images to find some inspiration and away you go!
How to make a standing doll for play using felt:
What you’ll need to make this lovely flower girl.
- Rectangle of felt for the body 9 cm by approximately 8cm (the circumference of your coin)
- A 20 cent coin (Australia) or something similar about 3 cm across
- Scrap of felt, matching colour of rectangle.
- Two long strips of felt, 17 cm long. One has a width of 1.5 cm; the other 4 cm.
- One strip of felt for the headband, long enough to wrap the head
- A few flowers cut from felt
- A pretty bead for the headband
- A big bead (about 3 cm)
- A 10 by 10 cm piece of cotton stretch knit in a skin-type colour
Photos left to right, top to bottom:
1. Wrap your rectangle around your coin.
2. Trim to measure if necessary.
3. Sew up the tube using blanket stitch. Leave thread attached.
4. Trace your coin on a piece of matching felt. Cut it out.
5. When you get to the end of the tube, attach the circle piece.
6. Blanket stitch the base closed.
7. Pop your coin inside as a weight. Set aside.
8. To make the head, wrap your bead with the cotton knit. Push the wrinkles to either side to make a smooth part for the front of the face. (As smooth as you can, but remember, around here, a wrinkle or two is a sign of a happy life!)
9. Tie off the head at the neck with a piece of embroidery thread.
10. Take a piece of cotton wadding or white wool fleece and wrap it with cotton thread to hold it firm and in place.
11. Pop this inside the tube, then place the head, along with the excess cotton knit material, into the tube on top.
12. Run a gathering stitch from the back seam, all the way around the tube.
13. Pull in the gather, and tie off at the back seam.
14. Use the excess thread to go back around the neck, in and out, to attach the cotton knit to the felt as extra security and strength.
15. To make her skirt, cut a loopy pattern along both long strips of felt. Place the narrow strip on top of the wider strip then run a small gathering stitch from one end to the other.
16. Gently pull in the gather to make a ring.
17. Place the skirt around the body mid-way up the body with the join on the seam. Tie a knot at the back.
18. Use the thread on the skirt to fix the skirt in place to the felt tube.
19. Fluff out the skirt so it flounces.
20. To make the hair, add a piece of wool fleece. Measure it on the head.
21. Leaving the gap for the head, tie off two piggy tails with baker’s twine.
22. Place PVA glue on the head and put the hair in place. Leave to dry.
22 & 23. Attach the flowers to the front of the headband using the pretty bead to hold it in place.
24. Place the headband on her head and tack in place.
What kind of standing doll would you like to make?