A few years ago, Red and I were out shopping at a local craft store. Somehow, we managed to end up in the doll making aisle. I can only guess we arrived there after looking through all the toy aisles since they are right next to each other. On a lower shelf, perfect for a then 4-year old’s eye perspective, there were several muslin fabric dolls. The head, body and limbs were all sewn together and stuffed. There were no facial details or hair, but just a blank doll that you could do as you wanted. Red immediately fell in love. As it was only a few dollars I caved in and we bought the doll. We also picked out a skein of yarn for me to make her a doll outfit. Bonus – more yarn for me!
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On our way home, we discussed what she wanted to do with the face. There were so many options that we could have done. We could have sewn one on, drawn one, or painted it. She of course chose to paint. Before I could even get into the house, she was at the craft cabinet pulling out her acrylic craft paints. She told me the colors she wanted to use, and I got them set on a little plastic paint palette. I went into the kitchen to get her some water to rinse her brushes, and when I came back into the next room she was done. Face was completed to her liking. Well, ok then. I guess that was the face making with little involvement from mom. I must admit that was a proud mom moment of her independent crafting!
For the hair she chose red yarn to match hers. After the painted face dried, I sewed one line of hair down the middle to show her. She was happy with it and ready to play with her doll. I guess the hair was also done.
I made a cute little crochet sun dress for her, and of course didn’t write down how I made it. She was over the moon with it and has been playing with this doll for the past 2 years. The doll has had her hair done multiple times, worn necklaces and jewelry, wore dresses too big and too small for her, and has been very well loved.
A few weeks ago, Blondie asked if she could have a doll Red’s. They both have store bought dolls that come out to play every now and then, but I guess there is something about designing your own doll that they really take an ownership of and special bond to. So, while looking into two sad big blue eyes asking silently “why don’t I have one” I of course had to say we would get her one. Knowing that the doll is only a few dollars helped in the matter, and then knowing more yarn for more doll clothes was a definite plus.
I kept thinking about what type of doll clothes to make for these baby dolls. During this time some of the other dolls came back out to be played with and I started comparing what clothes they wore that would fit the muslin dolls. I started looking at the different doll shapes, and the shapes and sizes of their clothes. Then I noticed how many baby dolls the girls had that didn’t have clothes. So, the idea for a few clothes for the muslin dolls changed into dressing all these naked babies.
All three of us went to the craft store since Red wanted to pick out some of the yarn for her dolls. Blondie quickly found the muslin dolls and picked up hers. At the yarn section I guided them to a baby weight yarn by Lion Brand. I knew with some of the smaller dolls the thinner weight yarn would be a better fit and weight when crocheted for these little garments.
Unfortunately, the Baby Soft yarn (find it here) that the craft store had were all pastels and the girls wanted a blue jeans color. We looked around and found that Lion Brand also has a Jeans line of yarn (find it here) that has one specifically for a blue jean look. It was labeled as a worsted weight category 4 but wasn’t much thicker than the category 3 Baby Soft yarn. So, I thought I would at least try it and see what we could get out of it. Then Red picked out a purple from another Lion Brand yarn called ZZ Twist (find it here). It was also a category 4 and similar in thickness to the Jean yarn. So, in the basket it went. The girls were happy, and my head was swimming with how do I make all these clothes.
After looking at all the dolls again, their dimensions, and their clothes this collection of patterns eventually came about. In the end there came to be two sets of instructions. One set is for 8-10 inch doll sizes and the other is 12-14 inches. Below there are two different links that take you to that particular size instructions for all the patterns.
As I mentioned earlier about the yarns, I used all Lion Brand. The Baby Soft I used one size of hook, and then to match the gauge with the ZZ Twist and Jeans yarn I went down in size. I was able to make doll garments varying the yarn weight, but the gauge was consistent. The ZZ Twist and Jeans yarn did produce a thicker and stiffer fabric, but nothing that was not unacceptable for any of the doll patterns. I also was able to use Baby Soft and one of the thicker yarns together in one pattern. If I remembered to switch to the right hook size it worked out just fine.
The pattern collection contains a Sundress, Pants, a Jumper, a Shells Dress, and Shoes. The Pants and Jumper can both be made into shorts instead of long pants. The Shells Dress is cute made as a shirt with a pair of pants or shorts. There are multiple shoe sizes for each pattern as it seemed there was a difference in baby doll foot size.
I have included notes in the pattern on when to change to an optional 2nd color. Also, some of the details are not necessary. The girls and I just felt like these added little details give the garments that much more fun. And, for them, the more color changes the better. For me, it just meant more ends to weave in.
Be creative and have fun. Remember dolls are for kids to play with to assist in their imagination and creativity. Just like Red quickly painted her dolls face, Blondie found some highlighters and drew her doll’s face on before I knew what she was doing. The doll even has a belly button. What better way to get them creative and having fun than by making their dolls and have exciting doll. And, there also won’t be any more naked baby dolls laying around.